It’s hard to believe, but many summer programs are reaching the half-way point. At many firms, you’ll have a mid-summer review, during which you’ll hear feedback about your work so far. The mid-summer review is also an opportunity for you to make an impression and ask for particular work or experiences you haven’t had yet.
Here’s how a mid-summer review usually goes –
A partner (or two) will sit down with you and walk you through feedback from your assigning attorneys. Usually this is anonymous – you won’t know which attorney said what (although you can often guess). This feedback should not be a surprise to you if you’re following my prior advice and asking for feedback after handing in assignments! But if you are surprised by anything, make sure you accept any feedback, good or bad, calmly and professionally. For the most part, you can expect to hear good things (the bar is pretty low for summer work), but many firms try to give a little constructive criticism to each summer to give you something to work on for the second half of the summer. Be gracious and thank the reviewer for that feedback too.
Then there’s usually time for you to ask a question or two.
You can ask clarifying questions about any of the feedback, including for advice on how to implement any critiques. And you should take this as an opportunity to ask for any work experience you want before the summer ends. Do you want to work on a particular kind of matter? Have you been hoping to get inside a courtroom? Let your reviewer know that you would love to get that experience before the end of the summer.
If you have no questions at all, you should still leave the meeting having done something other than nodding along as you heard the feedback. It can be as simple as wrapping up the meeting by saying something like, “Thanks, you’ve answered all my questions. I’ve been getting a lot of great experience on ABC cases and am really enjoying the summer. I appreciate the feedback and will work on XYZ going forward.” This shows you are a live human being on the other end of the discussion and were taking in everything they said.
And that’s it! Mid-summer reviews tend to last 30 minutes max and are pretty low key as firm reviews go, so don’t spend a lot of time stressing out beforehand.
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