When I was researching law firms before on-campus interviews, everybody told me that Maslon was different: different culture, different values, and a different approach to providing legal services. After spending a summer at Maslon, I can now say that the firm lives up to the hype.
The people of Maslon are its greatest assets. As a former public school teacher, I had never worked in an office setting before. I was assigned an associate, partner, and writing mentor to help me navigate the summer experience. They were available to help with small questions, such as critiquing a final draft of a memo; or "big picture" questions, such as discussing long-term success at a law firm. But really, everybody at Maslon was my mentor. I felt comfortable going to anyone's office to discuss substantive legal questions, firm life, or last night's Twins game. The Maslon summer associate program is not a "test"; everybody wanted me to succeed. Each attorney, paralegal, and assistant made me feel like part of the team.
One of the best things about the Maslon summer associate program is that it gave me insight into the life of an associate at Maslon. I found that Maslon attorneys work extremely hard, but they do not allow work to hijack their lives. On my first day, an associate came into my office at 5:05 P.M. and asked, "Why are you still here?" I usually arrived at work around 8:15 A.M. and I left at 5:00 P.M. Although the occasional project or activity necessitated longer hours, I never felt overwhelmed by the work. And I did not feel that my daily routine was so different from first- and second-year associates.
My work made me feel like a valued contributor. Unlike at some other firms, where summer associates complete "canned" assignments, I had the opportunity to do real work that was interesting, instructive, and actually helped the firm's clients. After I wrote a memo in preparation for a discovery motion, I was pleased to find that portions of my memo found their way into the court brief. Then the partner handling the case brought me to observe the oral argument. I also had the opportunity to meet with a client and help write an affidavit on her behalf. But the highlight of the summer was a trip to rural Iowa to watch Alain Baudry examine an expert witness. These experiences were individualized to my interests and helped me learn what it would be like as an associate at the firm.
But the summer wasn't always about work. I participated in several fun activities and got to know the attorneys on a more personal level. Although I had no previous experience in estate planning, I had a great time volunteering at Wills for Heroes and helping people who keep us safe every day. I discovered construction skills I never knew I had at Habitat for Humanity, and I helped pro bono clients at the Legal Access Point Clinic. There were also recreational events: Twins games, curling, mentor dinners, and of course the all-attorney retreat!
In sum, the Maslon summer experience was the perfect blend of work and observation, fun and relaxation. I can't imagine spending my summer at any other firm.
William Mitchell College of Law, Class of 2014