The future of summer associate programs
May 20, 2020
COVID-19 has changed the way we work, learn, and socialize-and it’s made many of us question our future plans. As law firms around the country cancel or abbreviate their summer associate programs in response to budget and remote working constraints, their would-be summer associates find themselves scrambling for new summer plans.
Just as Smokeball has helped small law firms adjust to new remote work requirements with secure messaging and file sharing, improved time tracking, and cloud capabilities, we’re now supporting those offering summer associate programs by offering free licenses for all summer associates of current Smokeball clients.
Some firms may be responding to unprecedented circumstances by pausing or contracting, but one Smokeball client has done the opposite, and expanded his summer associate program. In a recent article titled “Small Firms and Solos: Do Your Part for Tomorrow’s Lawyers- Hire a Summer Associate,” Joel Rothman of SRIPLAW calls on small and solo law firms with the means to do so to continue offering their summer programs. He notes, “Even though we are in the midst of downturn, there are busy lawyers everywhere. Bankruptcy lawyers are busy. Divorce lawyers are busy. SBA loan lawyers are very busy. Employment lawyers are super busy.”
Rothman’s firm made the decision to not only continue offering a summer associate program, but go from previous years’ hiring of a single associate to hiring three associates this year, remarking that it would be “unfair not to give three bright people the opportunity for a productive summer.”
“Ask any practicing lawyer and they will tell you that they did not learn to practice law in law school. Lawyers learn how to practice law on the job, not in classrooms. Summer work during law school makes for better lawyers upon graduation, it’s that simple.”
One of the biggest benefits of participating in a summer intern program is that it gives law students a taste of what it’s like to work in a real-world law firm. Many small law firms have been able to use their compact size to their advantage, pivoting their work strategies, and finding flexibility in order to continue working under continuously evolving circumstances. A remote internship with a smaller firm might not be exactly what a law student had envisioned going into 2020 but it may just be one of the most valuable educational experiences of their lives.
Including summer associates in their firm’s Smokeball account will not only enable those students to learn about and help with a wide variety of legal tasks, it will satisfy managing attorneys’ need to keep track of those associates’ work as they learn the ropes. Smokeball’s automatic time tracking creates detailed logs of where law firm staff and interns are spending their time. This data can then be used to track productivity, ensure that tasks are properly prioritized, and give managing attorneys the tools they need to stop problems before they even happen. Smokeball is case management software that enables small law firms to increase efficiency, maximize profits, and work remote seamlessly.
Complimentary licenses for summer associates are included as part of the subscription for all current Smokeball clients. To get started, contact your Account Manager or email email@example.com.
Not a Smokeball client, but interested in how we can help to streamline your practice with or without summer hires? Get started today.
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