Recruiting Co-chair Q&A
What advice do you give law students interviewing for a summer associate position?
Be yourself. It is important to be genuine when you interview. If you try to create the character you think the employer wants to see and leave your true self at the front office door, you will miss the opportunity to conduct a meaningful interview. We look for candidates who will become a part of our Firm for many years. We want to see your personality so we can get to know who you are—and it is equally important for us to ensure you are a good fit for our Firm. Also, you should be prepared to speak to any particular experience or skill listed on your resume. There is no need to embellish. For example, do not suggest you are "conversant" in Spanish if the best you can do is "hola" and "gracias."
What are some traits you see in summer associates who go on to become successful associates?
Passion, the ability to collaborate, and complete commitment. As a former summer associate who has walked this path, I can tell you that first and foremost, it takes deep-rooted interest and curiosity, and, of course, good, old-fashioned hard work. The practice of law is not easy (if it was, we would not be so passionate about what we do), but it is undeniably rewarding.
Next is collaboration – working as a team is how we best serve our clients. Recognizing the talent, applicable skill and experience, and diverse perspectives that your fellow attorneys bring to the table is the most efficient way to arrive at the best result for our clients.
Lastly, you need to commit. You cannot build meaningful relationships with supervising attorneys or clients if you view this opportunity as just a summer job. Make an effort to be in the office on time, attend the wonderful social events we organize, and ask attorneys to go out to lunch as often as you can. When you are trying to establish yourself as a capable lawyer, you, of course, have to do the work and do it well, but also you have to build the relationships that will lead to the work.
What do you think sets Lewis Rice's summer program apart from other programs?
We are fortunate to have such a strong legal community in St. Louis, with many firms offering thoughtfully designed and well-regarded summer programs. But one feature of our program of which I am very proud, and from which I personally benefitted as a summer associate, is the ability to rotate through our practice areas and to contribute to real work product. The ability to experience a variety of work in a real-world context is invaluable. The classroom is critical, but largely theoretical; putting what you learned in law school into practice is the best way to find out what area best suits your interests and skills.
What does serving Lewis Rice as Co-chair of the Recruiting Committee mean to you?
The Summer Program is, by and large, our principal recruiting tool and is, therefore, critical to the future of our Firm. Leading this effort is an enormous responsibility, but it is one I welcome and am honored to fulfill. I also don't lead alone; I co-chair the committee with my friend and partner Taylor Matthews. Taylor and I work with a committee of dedicated attorneys, each of whom commit many hours and bring unique skills to serve the Firm in this important capacity.