Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

From a reader: "I am interested to hear your thoughts on the sort of small talk that takes place during interviews, lunches, and social events. Perhaps the 'top ten subjects about which one must be able to chat proficiently to be a successful (or at least tolerated) summer associate.'"

Okay, I can try that.

When I interviewed and was a summer, I found that there were a few subjects that people kept coming back to. Most common question, always, was "what kind of law do you want to do?" so having a quick 'n' easy answer to that one would have been helpful, instead of always trying to flip it around -- "I don't know -- what kind of law do you do?"

But beyond law and law school stuff, TV actually always seemed to be a pretty safe one. Even when people are working a bazillion hours a week they end up watching some TV, usually with the aid of TiVo. Everyone knew about stuff happening on American Idol or The Apprentice. Less so with movies, since there were people who'd admit to not seeing a movie in a long while. At some point during the summer I started to notice a pretty safe (and fun) topic was travel -- where people had been, where they were planning on going. Lots of disposable income means people end up going to some pretty neat places, and have some pretty cool stories. So that was fun and innocent and easy. Food's a good one too -- what's the best restaurant around here, what kind of food should I try, what are some neat places to try in the city, etc. Music / concerts -- hear anything good recently, seen anyone perform. Wait, this is actually starting to sound like a primer for having regular conversations with regular people. Because, despite what I end up writing about half the time, lawyers at big firms really are just people. I know, I don't always acknowledge that. But I guess it's true, at least until they make partner. So the normal stuff does work to talk about. Sports, politics, the weather, family... it's all fine. I don't really think you need to do anything special to fit in as a summer associate, really. Unless you're weird to begin with, and then you're beyond hope anyway.