The Most Awkward 2024 Summer Associate Moments… So Far

As the designated chronicle of law school and summer associate mayhem, we here at Above the Law must acknowledge this generation’s radical shift toward the straight-laced. Law students generally keep their heads down and focus on work and grades a lot more than past generations. A recent survey reveals they’re way more worried about not getting a job than anyone in this economy should be. When the biggest summer associate scandal of the year to date is “taking a horse-drawn carriage to work” and not “making out with a married partner,” you know times have changed.

Since Taylor Swift explains everything else in the world these days, maybe summer associates have simply moved on from their scandal era.

Welcome to the Awkward Era. Or maybe the Awkwardly Earnest Era based on some of these stories.

Over on Reddit attorneys discussing this year’s summer associates have some true tales of awkwardness. For example, Serious_Elephant_132 writes:

There was a summer on one of my matters who accidentally called me “Professor” a few times early in the program. That was fine enough, and he apologized. I actually thought it was quite endearing and told him it wasn’t a big deal. That is, until he called me “Mom” multiple times in a single conversation the following week. And again the week after that.

Portrait-Sigmund-Freud-1921

It actually speaks to the nervously professional turn of this cohort that a woman handing out mundane, bookish tasks elicits a Freudian slip. If Generative AI really does take these rote tasks out of the hands of young professionals, the next generation of Doms are just going to come with a Lexis password and a set of  legal research questions about the choice of venue clauses.

We’ll know if this comes to pass as soon as we get tips about summers accepting assignments with “Yes, Mistress.”

10 minutes into a one on one lunch (that he was 15 min late to with no explanation) he asked me when I think he should marry his girlfriend because he “trusts my judgment”. Prior to this lunch we’d exchanged maybe 10 words when he introduced himself to me in the cafeteria a week earlier.

This level of trust is exactly why NFTs were invented.

Also, if anyone is friends with the summer from this story, if you get a save the date any time soon… maybe don’t rush to book anything. You’ve got to wait to see if this kid meets someone in line at McDonald’s with conflicting life advice.

From PassHaunting5446:

I was a an event for summer associate with passed finger food. I took the last hors d’oeuvre off a tray, took a bite, then put it on my plate. A summer associate said, “oh, I really wanted that.” Then he took it off my plate and ate it!

Growing up during the Great Depression spawned a generation of Americans pathologically terrified of wasting food and clothing. Growing up during the Great Recession spawned a generation of Americans pathologically terrified of waiting for the next platter of mini-quiche.

This is actually a story that wouldn’t have been out of place in the Scandals Era but with one caveat:

Screenshot 2024-07-10 at 12.13.09 PM

Scaling back on the hard-driving alcohol-fueled Biglaw culture carries a lot of advantages, but there are drawbacks too. One of which being a professionally excused cover for any social faux pas. As Homer Simpson once put it, “Alcohol. The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.”

One summer told an associate that he works more than they do…. okay

In the summer’s defense, he probably is billing 6 hours for the task the associate completed in 1.

Has anyone else had an awkward encounter with a summer? We’re not looking to spoil anyone’s career over minor cringe so we’ll endeavor to keep any stories appropriately anonymized. Feel free to let us know with an email ([email protected]), by text message (646-820-8477), or by the Artist Formerly Known as Twitter (@ATLblog).

Earlier: Some Summer Associate Is Showing Up To Work In A Horse-Drawn Carriage
Summer Associates Way More Worried About Losing Their Jobs Than They Should Be


HeadshotJoe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.


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