Law School Discussion

Any thoughts on splitting the summer...

Any thoughts on splitting the summer...
« on: October 08, 2008, 11:09:34 PM »
... between two firms, given the shape of the economy?

I am trying to choose between two Biglaw firms in the SF Bay area, both of which have excellent SA programs but where I would be doing entirely different things. One firm has a reputation of being a bit of a grind, but the name carries a lot of prestige and the work would be really interesting. Other firm has a much smaller summer program and a homey vibe, but I would have to commit to a practice group I am not 100% sure about yet.

Both firms allow splits in theory, but are less keen on them in reality, and want the summer to spend the first half at their firm.

Am I likely to end up with no offers from either firm if I split? (I am aware that Bay Area is not a particularly split-friendly legal market either.) ???

Any advice would be welcome...


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Re: Any thoughts on splitting the summer...
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2008, 07:05:56 AM »
It probably depends on the market. In Texas, splitting is expected. In NYC, it seems pretty frowned upon. I don't know about SF- might want to ask around.

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Re: Any thoughts on splitting the summer...
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2008, 08:14:28 AM »
It sounds like you already know what each firm offers, I would try to make the decision now based on what you know.  Have you gone back for a 2nd visit yet?  Summer programs don't always give an accurate picture of associate life anyway.


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Re: Any thoughts on splitting the summer...
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2008, 09:37:11 AM »
Won't be splitting this summer.  Because offers may be more difficult to get from the firm SA program, I'd rather not test the waters when the offer letter says one thing, but everyone in the firm told me another re: splitting.  Seems like non split-friendly firms may be OK with 3-4 weeks at a 1L firm so you can hedge and get a second offer, but I'm not planning on even doing that.

Really?  So you're turning down your 1L firm in order to maximize your chances at the 2L firm?

I agree that SF Bay Area doesn't seem as split-friendly, but I think it's easier if one firm is in SF and the other is in Silicon Valley.  If both are in the same location, then it might be harder to justify.  Also, if you manage to squeeze in 8 weeks at each place (as opposed to 5-6), then you'll have more time to make a good impression.

I personally will probably split between an SF firm and my 1L firm (in Silicon Valley), but the 1L firm is only asking for a few weeks at the end of summer.


Re: Any thoughts on splitting the summer...
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2008, 07:56:40 PM »
How do firms generally view splitting if you want to go between two cities that are geographically distinct, e.g., Chicago/NY, or Boston/NY?  Take the case where the candidate did not spent 1L summer at a firm, so there's no "preserving the offer" issue.


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Re: Any thoughts on splitting the summer...
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2008, 09:32:32 AM »
I'd be extremely cautious of splitting this summer.  It's ultimately your choice, and individually, splitting may make sense in your case based on your priorities.  But I'd be worried that a firm could interpret splitting as a lack of commitment to either the firm or possibly a geographic area.  Another problem is that some attorneys may not feel like they had enough time to get to know you, and would be less likely on that basis to vote in favor of an offer.

In times where firms may be looking for a reason to no-offer you, either of the above may really count against you.  It's a gamble on how well you can play the game over the summer by figuring out who in each department "matters" (and it's often NOT the partners), really giving those people a chance to know you, and talking up your commitment to the firm/area in such as way as to be convincing.  It's a balancing act - if you don't talk it up enough, they think you're just there for the summer fun; but if you talk it up too much, and then decide to turn the offer down, you'll risk burning a lot of bridges.

(but if it's your 1L firm, I don't think it matters as much.  The few weeks at the end of the summer really come across as more of a courtesy to the other firm, if nothing else.  It probably won't give an impression of a lack of commitment or eat into your time at another firm too much)