Foley Chief Legal Talent Officer Jen Patton was quoted in the Law360 article, “Summer Associates Give Firms An ‘A’ On Virtual Programs,” which discussed the results of a survey of 170 law students about their satisfaction with summer associate programs this year in light of the pandemic. While many firms cancelled their summer associate program, Foley offered its program in offices around the country to first- and second-year law students.
Law360’s survey showed that 97 percent of respondents said they were able to make good use of lawyering skills this summer, 96 percent said they received clear instructions on assignments, 93 percent didn't feel learning was hindered by limited access to mentorship, and a whopping 99 percent reported having had the opportunity to network with others at the firm, beyond their summer cohort and direct supervisors.
Despite the relative success of law firms' virtual summer associate programs, making the switch was not a walk in the park, law firm leaders say. The firms' attorneys and staff had to put in numerous hours preparing the technology, planning social events, and executing the new plan within a narrow time frame. But, ultimately, the hard work paid off in that the summer went smoothly, and some elements worked so well that firms discovered an added benefit: There are elements of the virtual programs that worked so well the firms will likely carry them through to future years, even post-pandemic, according to Law360.
Patton said that one of the biggest benefits of this year’s virtual program was that the students were introduced to and interacted with partners, associates and fellow program members in offices across the law firm in the virtual format. Traditionally, the programs are much more office-based. "It allowed summer associates to connect with lawyers in other offices, which they may not have had the opportunity to do as much in an in person program," she said.