As a Big Law attorney or attorney at a smaller practice, you often come across law students who are seeking work experience during the summer. These summer programs are a good way for firms to identify potential new talent and for the law students to identify whether a certain type of legal practice is right for them. Still, some argue that there can be somewhat of a strange dynamic between practicing attorneys and law students. One Quora reader even asked lawyers whether they think that law students are annoying.
I’d argue that I, along with the vast majority of attorneys, do not think that law students are insufferable. In fact, I found the law students in my firm’s summer associate program to be some of my funniest and most down-to-earth colleagues. As a full-time associate, I recognized that I was once in their shoes and that legal practice is challenging from the start. I certainly can’t criticize their ambition or work ethic.
It’s not annoying, but rather a simple fact that law students often do not know much about the practical aspects of legal practice Law schools don’t necessarily teach it, so they need to learn quickly while they’re on the job. I was in this position as a summer associate at my firm. You just try to absorb as much as possible and rely on the skills you do have (research and writing skills, for instance) to assist your colleagues on a pending deal or ongoing litigation.
The reality is that law students are trying their best. A problem would emerge if law students felt entitled to a job or gave me an attitude while working on a project. That said, I rarely (if ever) encountered this during my professional career. The law students I worked with were all intelligent, hardworking, and kind.