- What if Modrall Sperling doesn’t come to my school?
- Will I get help finding lodging and things to do while I am in New Mexico?
- How will assignments be made and will I get a range of interesting projects?
- What technology and personnel support will be available during my summer?
- Does the firm allow summer associates to split their summers with other firms?
- Will I receive meaningful and constructive feedback from the firm’s lawyers?
- Do you have a good summer associate/associate offer ratio or is it a crapshoot?
- How long must your associates work before they are considered for shareholder?
- Will I have to golf, climb mountains and endure a foreign language opera?
- Does Modrall Sperling make lateral hires?
1. What if Modrall Sperling doesn’t come to my school?
The nature of legal recruiting dictates that most interviewing for summer associate positions in most years is done through the on-campus recruiting programs offered by law schools around the country. Unfortunately, the time/space continuum prevents us from visiting all of the schools that we would like to visit for recruiting purposes. Accordingly, we attempt to accommodate interested individuals who are unable to meet with us during on-campus recruiting by arranging interviews with applicants by phone if necessary. If Modrall Sperling doesn’t come to your school, please feel free to contact our Recruiting Coordinator at Attyapplication@modrall.com.
2. Will I get help finding lodging and things to do while I am in New Mexico?
Our Recruiting Coordinator will help you with the administrative details that you may encounter. For example, she will help arrange travel and overnight accommodations for call-back interviews in our offices, and will put you in touch with available housing resources for your summer in Albuquerque. You will have early and frequent contact from the supervisor (associate and/or shareholder) assigned to you for the summer.
Your summer’s stay is important enough that we have a Summer Associates Committee designed to help you find things to do while you are in New Mexico. Of course, many of us will be doing those same types of things anyway, so opportunities abound.
To begin with, we are centrally located in a state that has an incredible history and cultural diversity with awesome natural surroundings. The fact that you will be here in mid-summer is an even better incentive to get out to enjoy our surroundings. Although we enjoy a much drier climate than places like Dallas or Houston, we generally do not have to endure the high temperatures of places like Phoenix or Los Angeles. The reason is simple: Albuquerque sits in the Rio Grande Basin on a high desert plateau at the base of the Sandia Mountains. Like Denver, we are about a mile above sea level. Albuquerque has experienced modest and manageable growth that has left our Western charm intact while still allowing for challenging and sophisticated legal careers. Plus, we are only a short distance from such places as Taos, Santa Fe, and Acoma Pueblo’s Sky City, which are amazing attractions unto themselves. Santa Fe is higher in elevation than Albuquerque and sits at the base of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
3. How will assignments be made and will I get a range of interesting projects?
Before summer associates even arrive at the firm, we solicit written assignments on pending matters for actual clients from all of our lawyers. Because of the variety of practice areas in which our diverse group of attorneys practice, this process generally yields a pool of interesting projects across a wide spectrum of legal topics. We will also have learned directly from you, ideally before you arrive, what areas of the law interest you at this formative stage in your legal career.
Once you and your fellow summer associates receive your basic orientation, our Recruiting Coordinator will serve as the clearing house for most projects. To the extent that the deadlines for pending projects allow, there are opportunities for you to consult with our Recruiting Coordinator and obtain projects that are of interest to you. We will also make special efforts to find summer associates projects of interest or projects that will serve as vehicles to work with specific lawyers.
We do not view our summer program as a profit center, but you will keep time sheets and your work may be provided to clients and/or billed. Although a reasonable level of output is expected from our summer associates, far more important is the quality of your work product and your ability to work well with associates, shareholders, staff, your summer associate colleagues, and clients.
4. What technology and personnel support will be available during my summer?
We make available to our summer associates the same technology resources and personnel support enjoyed by our lawyers. You will have a computer, access to word processing staff and other essentials. Depending on the size of the summer associate group, you will likely share an office work space with a fellow summer associate. Our goal is to prevent feelings of isolation and to promote interrelationships with other summer associates and lawyers. Our Recruiting Coordinator and your supervising attorney will be available to assist you with other needs that arise.
5. Does the firm allow summer associates to split their summers with other firms?
Absolutely. Although we naturally prefer to get to know you better over a full summer, we have no hesitation allowing split summers and have done so on many occasions over the years. Obviously the decision whether to split your summer between firms is a personal one that may require you to balance many competing considerations. We recommend that you consult with your law school’s career placement personnel about the advantages and disadvantages of splitting your summer between two or more clerkship opportunities. We do expect a minimum commitment of six weeks. In the end, we have confidence that your time spent with us will stack up very favorably.
6. Will I receive meaningful and constructive feedback from the firm’s lawyers?
We make every effort to ensure that you receive quality feedback. This can come in several forms. First, as discussed under Summer Associate Program, we have a writing review program designed to give you in-depth and timely feedback from an attorney other than your assigning lawyer on an early written project. Second, you are encouraged to submit drafts of your work to your supervising lawyer(s) and can receive constructive suggestions for improvement before turning in a final version. Third, assigning lawyers are encouraged to give you feedback on your final product. Finally, your supervisor has access to written evaluations of your work that attorneys turn in during and at the end of the summer; you generally can find out from your supervisor (or the Recruiting Coordinator) what the written feedback has been on your finished work by the end of your summer with us.
7. Do you have a good summer associate/associate offer ratio or is it a crapshoot?
We are conservative in selecting the number of students who will fill our summer associate program so that we can avoid having to turn down associate candidates who have devoted their time to us and who meet our overall standards of excellence and ethical integrity. Although we are not always perfect in predicting what our hiring needs will be in a given year, we fill our program based on years of experience with such factors as expected growth, natural attrition, and judicial clerkships.
8. How long must your associates work before they are considered for shareholder?
Associates in the firm are considered after they have worked with us as full-time associates for seven years. During those seven years, associates receive regular formal evaluations from a committee of lawyers whose job it is to obtain and synthesize evaluations from all shareholders. The same committee conducts a “third-year hard look” designed to give associates the best possible opportunity to learn whether there are any reservations that need to be addressed or overcome with particular lawyers. A ninety percent vote of shareholders is required to become an equity shareholder, and the firm does not maintain a category for non-equity shareholders. We do, however, entertain proposals and enter into flexible contracts with a few attorneys on an “ad hoc” basis.
9. Will I have to golf, climb mountains and endure a foreign language opera?
Though some of our current associates might consider participation in such activities a “rite of passage,” we really aren’t interested in overkill where the social part of our summer associate program is concerned. That said, we certainly encourage you to attend the main events that are calculated to give you broad exposure to our attorneys, such as lunches, departmental dinners and the annual “fishing” trip. Other opportunities for outings, which will undoubtedly arise, are generally optional (though particular perseverance in hiking the La Luz Trail up the Sandia Mountains, maintaining full consciousness at the opera, and/or victory in the Modrall Masters scramble golf tournament have been noted in the past).
10. Does Modrall Sperling make lateral hires?
Absolutely. Many fine attorneys have come to us after testing the water elsewhere. Interested lateral hires should make contact with our Recruiting Coordinator at Attyapplication@modrall.com
For more information, please contact our Recruiting Coordinator by emailing Attyapplication@modrall.com, or:Modrall Sperling
P.O. Box 2168
Albuquerque, NM 87103-2168