Summer Associates and the upcoming Fall Associates had a unique experience with their On-Campus Interviews (or OCI) over the past two years. Some of the recruits still have not actually met face to face, the members of their firm who hired them. We talk with Kerry Benn, Director of Series, Surveys & Data at Law360 about Law360 Pulse’s recent survey on this topic and see how the firms, the students, and the schools adjusted during the pandemic. The survey of over 1,200 law students breaks down the popular firms and practice areas, how COVID impacted the process, and how things look as students make their way into the firms this Summer.

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Information Inspirations
Our previous guests Cat Moon and Alyson Carrel are teaming up with Dennis Kennedy later this month for a TRB (Thorn, Rose, Bud) Retrospective. They are asking for law students, legal educators, law school administrators, and education experts to apply for this three-hour event to be held on June 24th and share their COVID era experiences and talk about what they should STOP doing (thorn), KEEP doing (rose), as well NURTURE (bud) once the pandemic comes to a close. 
The offices may be reopening in some areas, but in the theme of “let no crisis go to waste,” Perkins Coie and some other firms are using this transition back to the office to test things like hoteling, reverse hoteling, and telepresence rooms. There won’t be a return to a normal office routine, but the next year is going to show us what is “next” in how we work in a post-pandemic legal industry.
Back in Ep. 112, we talked with Dan Packel about FisherBroyles’ desire to show that a distributed law firm could compete with the AmLaw200 firms. Well, it turns out that they can. FisherBroyles came in at #198 this year and showed that alternative methods to the traditional law firm works. This is making other firms take notice of the competition.
Trailblazers in diversity efforts want neurodiversity included in the conversation. Last week’s guest is one of those trailblazers. In her recent Medium article, Dr. Caitlin Handron openly discussed her battle with bipolar disorder, and “outed herself” to her boss and to the world in order to take steps toward normalizing the discussion of neurodiversity in the workplace. Let’s all learn from her bravery and willingness to be vulnerable, and continue this conversation with our colleagues at our own workplaces.
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Please take the time to rate and review us on Apple Podcast. Contact us anytime by tweeting us at @gebauerm or @glambert. Or, you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 and leave us a message. You can email us at As always, the great music you hear on the podcast is from Jerry David DeCicca.


Marlene Gebauer  0:16

Welcome to The Geek in Review the podcast focus on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert  0:23

And I’m Greg Lambert. So as many of us start making our way back into an office filling up with more and more people. We take a look at the results of a recruiting season which operated under the COVID restrictions, you know, summer associates and upcoming fall associates, they had a very unique experience with their on-campus interviews or the OCIs. And some of them may still not have actually met any members of their firm who actually hired them. We talked with Kerry Benn, Director of Series Surveys and Data at Law360 about Law360 Pulse’s recent survey on this topic, to see how the firms, the students, and the law schools adjusted during the pandemic and how things look as we slowly make our way to the other side of this thing.

Marlene Gebauer  1:12

It sounds great. But before we get to that, let’s get to this week’s information inspirations.

Marlene Gebauer  1:22

If you’ve ever listened to the Zooming Through Law School podcast with our multi-episode guest Cat Moon, you know what the thorn rosebud segment is, think of it as information inspirations on a good to bad spectrum. Well, Cat along with fella Delta model lawyer creator Alyson Carrel, and Dennis Kennedy are presenting a Thorn Rose, Bud, or TRB Retrospective made up of law students, legal educators, law school administrators, and education experts. The cool thing about this is if you fit into one of those categories, they want you to participate in this retrospective so you can share your unique experiences through the COVID experience. The sessions are small working groups that will engage in an exercise using the TRB model. So for example, the thorn, what has the pandemic revealed or made impossible to ignore that we should stop doing? The Rose,

Greg Lambert  2:14

I got a few things right here.

Marlene Gebauer  2:17

Start making your list. Rose is what good has come from the pandemic that we should keep doing. And the Bud is what is something new, we learn that we should nurture and iterate as the pandemic ends. This is a three-hour session on June 24th. And we have a link for more information about how to apply on the show notes.

Greg Lambert  2:38

Yeah, well, I don’t fit in any of those categories. But I wonder if we could get into just letting us be a fly on the wall.

Marlene Gebauer  2:44

I would love that. That sounds like such a great session. I’m like, Well, I don’t know. Maybe we’ve talked to her class. Does that make sense? Yeah.

Greg Lambert  2:53

We’re education experts now.

Marlene Gebauer  2:55

Sure. Anything to do to get in.

Greg Lambert  3:00

Oh, well, Marlene, in my office here in Texas, the lawyers came back to the physical office back in May. And the staff is actually returned this week. So everyone is still feeling things out as we get close to a pre-pandemic occupancy. I think at least on paper, I think and we’re trying to determine what the Office of 2021 and beyond looks and feels like. So Bloomberg Law looked at Perkins Coie’s Northwest offices, I think they looked at Seattle, and Portland, and how they’re set up in progressing as they start to look to an October 1 returned to office. And they’re talking about much more of a hybrid approach right out of the gate, and one in which hotelling is a very big and real possibility, where the lawyers and staff who are not in the office full time will have to potentially use different offices whenever they do need to be in the office. Well, and they may even do something that’s called a reverse hotelling. And so I was going to have you hold your boos until then, where the reverse hotelling is where attorneys and staff who do have offices may have to actually allow others to use those offices when they are not there.

Marlene Gebauer  4:19

Now, just for the record, I said Ooh, and no and not boo. Okay. But yeah, I’ve actually done this before, when, you know, back when I was traveling more, and if you know, someone wasn’t in the office, and you know, that was the space that was available that was back when space was really tight. You know, I stay in their office, and I know people stayed in mind too, you know, and usually, we’d leave one another notes and say, Hey, hey, visiting your office,

Greg Lambert  4:45

they had a guest register where they would just sign in.

Marlene Gebauer  4:48

That’s right. That’s right.

Greg Lambert  4:50

Well, of course, you know, many of these ideas are being cultivated by the design firm Gensler. Some unique ideas are that there will be these telepresence rooms Where the audiovisuals are set up so that any type of teleconference will always make it look like the participants are in the same room, even if they are doing it from home, or they’re halfway across the globe.

Marlene Gebauer  5:14

Alright, so is this like on teams where everybody’s like sitting in the chairs now? Like you’re all in the movie theater?

Greg Lambert  5:24

Yeah, yeah. I’m not a fan of that one. Some people like it. Well, you know, in this article, there’s is an underlying theme of our favorite never let a crisis go to waste. And, you know, I would say that we probably have six months to a year of setting the change that we want to see or at least try as we make our way back into the offices. And just I think just as the staff has proven that they can work effectively from remote locations during the pandemic. I think that attorneys and staff can also adjust and work with a different office setup. And so if you’re going to try it, now’s the time.

Marlene Gebauer  6:04

Well, I would say now’s the time. I wish I was as positive as you are, in thinking that attorneys can adjust. You know, again, we’re still dealing with folks that their normal was, you know, you basically worked really hard and you got that corner office, and I’m not sure how they’re going to feel about,

Greg Lambert  6:25

I don’t think it’s going to be those people that we have to worry about. I think it’s gonna be that that middle range of people, you know, and we got boatloads of non Equity Partners running around firms now. So that’ might be that might be one of the trade-offs.

Marlene Gebauer  6:43

That’s right. That’s right. Well, my second inspiration is more of a follow-up on the previous interview with Dan Packel on distributed law firms in Episode 112. Greg remember when Dan talked about the desire for FisherBroyles, the distributed law firm with no offices and no associates to crack the AmLaw 200?

Greg Lambert  7:02

Yeah, they were they were really hoping they would.

Marlene Gebauer  7:04

Well they did. So with $105 million in revenue, they broke in at number 198 on this year’s list. And a recent article and the American Lawyer, Lizzy McLellan and David Gialinella discuss FisherBroyles and a few other firms who are changing the market and as a result, are making more established firms think about how they have to adjust to compete.

Greg Lambert  7:27

Marlene, over the past couple of weeks, you know, we’ve discussed the efforts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs with both Dr. Caitlin Handron. Last week, and then a few weeks ago with Bloomberg, Molly Huei. And one of the areas that Molly talked about was neurodiversity. Remember, as we both said, we know about that?

Marlene Gebauer  7:50


Greg Lambert  7:50

I didn’t realize it but May was actually Mental Health Awareness Month. And Dr. Handron did something pretty amazing on the neurodiversity front at the end of May, and she announced that she wanted to “out herself” to both her boss and to the public, as having bipolar disorder in order to reduce some of the stigmatism associated with it. And so she wrote in a Medium article explaining how a project on near futurism that she did, where she wrote a headline for an article that she would like to see as if whatever it was she was working on for over a three year period. were to go absolutely as planned. Yeah, is really an interesting yeah, thing. And she dives a little bit more into it in the article. But that project made her reflect on our own situation, and what she would like to see in the way of progression as to make it better for everyone. And so in this article, she wrote in I’m quoting here, “I’m sharing the story because I consider my disorder to be a natural expression of human diversity. And during Mental Health Awareness Month, I want to do my part to normalize neurodiversity. I’m also sharing because I want to normalize conversations about how to be in the right relationship with ourselves, each other, and the land. Doing so requires conversations not only about diversity, equity and inclusion, but repairing past and ongoing harms.” So it’s such a powerful article and I applaud Caitlyn for having the bravery to be vulnerable, so that others may understand how bipolar disorder affects her and ways in which we can all learn and grow from her experience and this openness.

Marlene Gebauer  9:39

Yeah, kudos, Caitlin.

Greg Lambert  9:42

And that is this week’s information, inspirations.

Greg Lambert  9:50

As summer associates make their way into law firms and fall associates are prepping for whatever form of in-person or Bar Exam they had to face.

Marlene Gebauer  10:00

Whatever you know,

Greg Lambert  10:01

whatever it is, these rising 2L’s, 3L’s and law grads had a unique experience when it came to recruitment and on-campus interviews over the past couple of years

Marlene Gebauer  10:11

law 360 pulse dove into this issue in a recent survey, and we brought in one of the people who pulled that report together to see how things have changed and where we may be headed when it comes to on-campus interviews.

Marlene Gebauer  10:25

We’d like to welcome Kerry Benn, Director of Series, Surveys, and Data at Law360. To discuss the survey results from over 1200 law students who have gone through the on-campus interview OCI process this year. The survey covers how the pandemic affected the OCI process and the approaches that the students’ campus Career Services and law firm recruiting services took in making this year’s summer associate programs happen. Kerry, what were you looking to answer when you develop the survey?

Kerry Benn  10:56

Sure, and thanks for having me, you guys. When we develop the survey, we really wanted to get a sense of what’s on the minds of law students as they go to try to pick a firm for their summer associateship. You know, obviously, you guys know a lot of these summer associateships end with a job offer for people after they graduate from law school. So it’s really important to find that good match, especially given that most programs are still virtual this year. What concerns do students have, what are they looking for in a firm? And who are they to turn into for advice and what firms top the list of their favorite places to work?

Greg Lambert  11:28

The survey itself was broken down, I think until like five areas which were, you know, the most sought after firms, the firm selection process, the most desired practice areas, the impact of COVID-19 and the top schools and the most interviews, when you pull this thing together, were there any surprises that came out to many of the sought after firms? So and I imagine that you know, most of the firms with the most slots in the summer associates were for the summer associates were at the top. But were there any outliers in your results?

Kerry Benn  12:02

You know, there really weren’t too many outliers. Like you said, we weren’t really that surprised by the firms that came out on top. Latham and Watkins, Kirkland and Ellis, Skadden, Gibson Dunn, and Cooley are the top five. They’re all firms, first of all, with great reputations, and like you said, They’re big firms that accept a lot of associates. In fact, we even had people say in some of the questions where we asked for verbatim responses, you know, we asked people, like, why did you choose the firms that you did? And some people were pretty Frank and just said, Hey, I was encouraged to pick this one because I know they accept 50 students or 75 students, or whatever. So I thought my shot would be better than at someplace that doesn’t accept as many

Greg Lambert  12:39

Were there any of the firms that cut down on the number of slots that they normally had?

Kerry Benn  12:44

We didn’t ask that actually, we only sent the survey out to the students. So we didn’t weren’t able to collect that data from them.

Marlene Gebauer  12:51

And for the practice areas, does anything stand out on what these top students are wanting to learn and which practice groups they want to work with while at the firm?

Kerry Benn  13:01

Yes, so the practice areas that came out on top were probably what you would expect corporate, general litigation, intellectual property, and m&a. So those tend to be some of the highest-paid areas. No surprise, you know, people, they drive a lot of attention from students,

Greg Lambert  13:17

Labor and Employment wasn’t the top on the list?

Kerry Benn  13:20

No, it wasn’t sadly, well.

Marlene Gebauer  13:25

Well, it’s interesting, though, because, I mean, you hear a lot of some of these new practice areas, you know, like, you know, cryptocurrency and, and things like that. And I’m, it’s interesting that, that they didn’t go for some of those.

Kerry Benn  13:37

Yeah, that’s for sure. I mean, I think maybe people are hesitant to sort of, dive in. And, you know, one thing I’d love to ask about on this survey next year, we didn’t sort of think to do it this year, but we did not ask about what kind of student loans people have. But I wonder whether …

Marlene Gebauer  13:54

that’s a good question.

Kerry Benn  13:56

You know, people want to, like, get the most bang for their buck, because they’re like, if you know, for example, if somebody’s got $100,000 in student loans to pay back, they don’t want to be, you know, maybe working in the public defender’s office where it’s going to take them 40 years to make those payments, unfortunately. So I think that’s something we would add into next year’s survey to see if there’s a correlation there.

Greg Lambert  14:16

Yeah, yeah. Did any of the firms or schools find a way to turn the process that, you know, we found ourselves in this year with COVID, they were able to turn that to their own advantage? For example, were there any unique or aggressive methods that they may have used to attract? Were they able to steer the talent to certain firms?

Kerry Benn  14:38

That’s really interesting because we actually heard things on both sides of this question from students that we surveyed. So some students said that it was really difficult for firms to set themselves apart. I mean, you know, like we’re doing is basically a zoom meeting right now all zooms are the same, and we’re all super tired of it. 15 months into the pandemic. So a lot of students said, these were all essentially interchangeable, but then we also had some students lauding firms for lots of other things. One firm had prospective summers take a personality test to ensure a good cultural fit which this particular student really liked. Another firm went big by taking students to lunches and dinners and planning events. And another firm offered a virtual hospitality suite where prospective summers could do like a virtual hangout with three L’s who had already summered at the firm, and just kind of like, pick their brains without, I guess in a more informal setting, you know, without people, partners from the firm watching or whatever, they could just kind of like get the real lowdown on what was going on, which I thought was a cool idea.

Greg Lambert  15:36

Do you know if any of the and I say this, because I know one of the things that my firm pitched this year was that we were actually going to have in-person summer associate positions this year, and guarantee that they would be working in the office? Do you know if that was attractive to some of the summers?

Kerry Benn  15:59

Yeah. So we actually specifically asked people this, we said, if you were given the option to report to an office this summer, would you do it? and 48% of the respondents said, yes, they prefer to work in an office, even under the current conditions. Another 45% said they’d be interested in working at an office after they were vaccinated or as case rates decline in the particular area. And then a 7% said, Absolutely not, I don’t want to work at an office no matter whether the pandemic is effectively over or not

Greg Lambert  16:28

Only 7%?

Kerry Benn  16:29

Yeah, only 7% said that you know, under no circumstances. But we did also find out 82% said, all their interviews were remote for the on-campus interviewing process. So that was pretty wild.

Greg Lambert  16:42

And just to clarify, when were they taking the survey, what months?

Kerry Benn  16:46

This was back in March. So again, it was a little bit more up in the air, how much things would have improved and what firms would be doing, you know, I know even for myself, like we weren’t, as sure, then, as we are now about when we might go back to our office. So I think that makes a lot of sense that it was more up in the air back then. But we kind of wanted to get this done before any of the programs started. So that was the timeline.

Marlene Gebauer  17:11

COVID wasn’t the only big story of the past year. Racial and cultural issues were also a big factor in the US as well. Were schools and firms doing anything different in 2021 OCI programs when it came to attracting minority and underrepresented students into the OCI process?

Kerry Benn  17:30

Yeah, that’s a great question. This is something that we didn’t really ask about this year, but it’s definitely something that seems like we should or could ask about it in the future. We didn’t ask a lot about what particular diversity efforts came up. If I can, like nerd out about surveys for a second, it’s very easy to like, it’s, it’s hard to like, we find that it’s easier to ask people about things themselves, right? Like, how much money do you make, what school? What firm Do you prefer to go and work at? But it’s difficult to ask people to accurately describe, what did the firm do in terms of diversity efforts in the hiring process, you get a million different answers. And that sort of doesn’t go anywhere. So maybe there’s something to be said for even doing a separate firm survey of firms about their, you know, OCI or summer hiring programs, because I think we’d be able to better get out that data and that from that angle. But we did ask survey takers, what was important to them when they were looking for firms as just sort of like an open-ended question. And diversity and inclusion programs came up multiple times, you know, in those sort of shorthand answers. But I will say, you know, for more information on diversity and inclusion at firms, you can stay tuned over the summer for Law360 Pulse’s diversity snapshot and glass ceiling report, which looks at diversity within the ranks of firms, partnerships, equity partnerships, and leadership committees. Also, you know, just related to the idea of, of racial justice and diversity at firms and everything, Law360 Pulse just did a wonderful package of stories, our reporters looked at the reckoning around diversity and racial justice that stemmed from last year’s murder of George Floyd. So our reporters found that you know, law firms obviously stepped up donations to racial justice organizations last year. And we found that that wasn’t just a flash in the pan firms are actually continuing to put up their money and to form organizations like the law firm, Anti-Racism Alliance, and create partnerships with racial justice organizations. So you know, we haven’t really talked about that much in the case of summer associates, but Law360 Pulse has been doing a lot of really good reporting around the subject that I would encourage people to check out.

Greg Lambert  19:38

Great, great. And I imagine that surveys like this, also spur other articles that you’re working on, as well as that, is it? Are you leveraging these with your reporters to go out in and follow up with some of the students or to ask questions that arise from these surveys?

Kerry Benn  19:56

Yeah, exactly. That’s right. We did a package of stories here. And you know, some of it was about how firms can stand out and how and then some of them also just about how you can stand out as a student. And so that’s where we kind of hand this over to our reporters, we say, here’s the data, but like go interview, some sources go follow up with some of these folks. Typically, when we do a survey, we obviously guarantee anonymity, you know, we don’t release people’s data. But like, if we often include a box that says, like, check your if you were open to being interviewed by a reporter, and so we’ll have people follow up and talk to folks about that.

Greg Lambert  20:29

That’s good. You know, one of the things we talk a lot on this podcast about is the fact that there are some graduates coming out this year, who are some of the first Gen Z law school grads, so these would be like 1995 and beyond. Pretty soon we’re going to if we haven’t already, we’re going to get our first person that was born in the year 2000 or later, that’s graduated law school coming up. So we talked about some of the differences in this generation. And one of the things that stood out when I looked at the stats of the survey was that 2% of the respondents either did not give their gender identity, or there was I think there was 1%, that actually identified as non-binary when it came to gender. Do you think that as we get more and more of these Gen Z’s into the OCI pipeline, that there will be this cultural shift that law firms and Career Services will need to start taking into account?

Kerry Benn  21:33

I definitely think that’s the case. Yeah, I will say those percentages you mentioned which, like 2% of people didn’t give their gender and 1% identified as non-binary. That’s pretty typical for our surveys, actually, even in our partner compensation survey, which obviously deals with partners. So there are people who are generally in their 30s and beyond, there, were still a small fraction who identified as non-binary or declined to disclose their gender. So I’m not sure it’s just the student survey. specific to that. But I will say with a lot of our other reporting, we’ve definitely seen Gen Z and even millennials demanding changes to the law firm culture, Law360 Pulse actually just ran a survey and just published our results. We did the survey in conjunction with the legal recruiting firm, Major, Lindsey, and Africa. And it was about how lawyers feel about returning to the office. So actually, more than half of folks from the baby boom generation were either eager or very eager to return to the office. And the younger cohort was exactly the opposite. More than half of millennials were less eager or not eager at all to return. On that survey, we didn’t get a significant response rate from Gen Z, just because there aren’t that many of them in the legal workforce yet. But three times as many baby boomers said they’d want to go back to the office every day than millennials did. So definitely seems like we’re in for a shift in work culture as younger generations come into the workplace and especially into positions of power.

Marlene Gebauer  22:56

Sounds like a work clash.

Kerry Benn  22:59

Yeah, right. Now, I know it’s, I mean, I think the legal industry just has this reputation always right, of being very sort of old school and businesses and getting done unless there’s a handshake over the boardroom table at the end. And I definitely think about this pandemic has allowed people to maybe prove that that’s not strictly necessary. And so people are kind of like, well, don’t take this newfound freedom away. You know,

Greg Lambert  23:20

I’m just curious on the survey, the way that you’re setting up the survey, as you look at more diversity in the people that you’re asking to take the survey, are you having to adjust the way that you ask questions in the survey or expand the drop-down answers?

Kerry Benn  23:40

Yeah, definitely. You know, we, I think like we, for example, we’ve been doing our diversity snapshot for almost a decade at Law360. And we’ve expanded it to include not just racial minorities, but also LGBTQ in more recent years, and folks with disabilities, that kind of thing. So it’s just a much wider sort of bucket of people. And also again, yeah, like, I think five years ago, we would not have even had a choice for non-binary not because obviously, those folks matter and are important, and I don’t mean to suggest that but it just wasn’t at the front of anyone’s consciousness to sort of include that. So it’s certainly something that we talk about with every survey release. Okay, like what, you know, what options do we need to have for this question, what options for that question to make sure that we’re trying to encompass, you know, every group possible?

Marlene Gebauer  24:26

Were there any trends and in the comments of the survey participants that law firms need to be aware of that may require them to change the way they run both their OCI processes, and the summer associate programs? For example, are students wanting to do more pro bono or community work? Do they want to be rewarded for more practical skills work that they’re doing in law school, or you know, the dreaded, I don’t want to be required to work 80 hours a week in order to be seen as successful and I mean, I’ll attach the whole billable hour debate to that as well. I mean, are they? Are they looking to be assessed on something other than that?

Kerry Benn  25:07

Yeah, I would say definitely they are. It’s, it’s kind of all over the place. I mean, I feel like, you know, survey side, nobody wants to work 80 to 100 hour weeks or whatever. But we definitely did get this was where some of the short answer questions that we posed really came in handy, just about what people were looking for. You know, we had one person who said they were looking for really high per-attorney pro bono hours, and also less insane billable hours was the exact quote, and in which by which they cited 2000, instead of 2300. a year, which still seems frankly, insane to me as a non-lawyer. But I definitely think there’s there you know, not only from this survey again, but just in our Law360 reporting in general, I think, and it ties back to that whole, like, maybe the younger generation is coming in and saying, wait, I don’t want to, you know, never see my family, I want to have work-life balance. We also did have one student say they didn’t get an interview because they felt that firms were placing more emphasis on moot court and Law Review than their practical experience. So it sounds like maybe something that firms need to consider more as, you know, internships or other practical experience, at an equal weighting as some of the sort of more esoteric, or just sort of thought exercise, things like a moot court. And yeah, I think just generally, like we had another respondent who said, one of the criteria they were looking at, for a firm was that they didn’t want something that was going to have them be doing a lot of like, evening activities, and that kind of thing, because they had a young child at home, which they knew was different from many of their peers, but firms really need to be looking out for things like that, and making, you know, young parents or like, whatever the person’s role or life situation, you know, people obviously are coming from all different areas, so firms need to watch out to be inclusive of all that kind of stuff.

Marlene Gebauer  26:57

Yeah, it’s interesting, because they have to sort of look more broadly because you know, you’re wanting to get more diversity and all types of ways. And I think, you know, historically law firms have been very, okay, you, you fit this mold. And if you don’t fit this mold, that doesn’t work for us.

Greg Lambert  27:15

We want diversity, but we want them to act just like everybody else.

Kerry Benn  27:18

Yeah, you still have to fit in the box.

Marlene Gebauer  27:20


Greg Lambert  27:22

I know, this wasn’t covered in the survey itself. But thinking back to last year, I know that there were a lot of delays in say the start of the fall associates and some of the summer associates there, there were some delays as well. What are you hearing on the ground as far as Timing is everything back somewhat to normal on timing?

Kerry Benn  27:47

Yeah, it seems like things went back to normal pretty much this year, like most of the firms seem to have their usual 10-week programs, or whatever it was, I know, last year, a lot of them got cut down to like four weeks because of the onset of the pandemic, like right around the time that all this was happening. So you know, and firms were really left scrambling last year to try to figure out how to do this virtually, and so on, it went fine last year, we actually did a survey at the end of the summer for associates last year, which we’ll plan to repeat again this year. So you can watch out for that. But it’s sort of like the bookend to this survey, right? Like, here, we are asking people how they want to choose a firm or what they are looking for. And then at the end of the summer, we’ll kind of survey people like, how did it go? What was the virtual stuff like? I know, a lot of folks said on our survey that we’re talking about now that one of their biggest concerns was that they wouldn’t have the ability to have strong mentoring connections, it’s different when you can’t just drop into someone’s office, right? Like if to set up a time for a zoom call, you know, it’s just the whole thing. And so, you know, people were worried that they wouldn’t have that sort of natural interaction with their mentors and their co-workers. So it’ll be really interesting to see, you know, it seems like the programs went back to their normal length. And they’re, like we said, some of them are actually going back to the office. But it’ll be interesting to see whether some of those concerns were borne out or not. So look forward to that, like, sort of towards the end of the summer from us.

Greg Lambert  29:08

And thinking back to the 2008 graduating class, 2008-2009. There was kind of that those classes that had a long-term effect of the downturn.

Kerry Benn  29:22


Greg Lambert  29:23

I mean, I, again, not not in the survey, but from your personal experience. Do you think there’s going to be any type of long-term effect for the graduates for the last couple of years?

Kerry Benn  29:35

I mean, I’d like to say I hope not but you know, that might be naive. I think there probably will be just because especially once you get a number of classes kind of piling up all looking for work, it tends to you know, there’s how much work is there to go around? I was actually just listening to another podcast last week where they were talking about this, just how it can have even a generational effect down the line when you’re graduating class in 2008 or, you know, 2020. So yeah, I guess we’ll have to wait and see, I know last year, at the end of the programs, a lot of firms sort of pushed out the hiring, you know, typically you’ll walk away with an offer, if you, you know, did well at your associateship, a lot of firms either pushed out the start dates or something like that. So it’ll be interesting to see whether they sort of move back on the normal track this year, or whether they continue to defer. And it seems like the financial problems that firms expected last year from our reporting maybe weren’t as bad as they, you know, once we got to sort of like July or August, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be as bad as we all thought it was going to be in March. So I’m hopeful that, you know, we’ll get back on track and it’ll be sort of a blip for those students, but certainly doesn’t like I don’t mean to downplay their experience. I know that that’s really stressful, you know, people even on our survey this year, said one of their second-biggest worries after the access to mentors was not getting a job offer at the end. So we’ll definitely have to wait and see.

Greg Lambert  30:57

Well, it might make for a good survey down the road, which kind of dovetails nicely to our last question, which is, what are some of the other surveys that you have going on with the Law360 Pulse?

Kerry Benn  31:12

Yeah, so like I mentioned, we’ll follow up with the summers later this year. So definitely keep an eye out for that. We’re also right now working through our lawyer satisfaction survey. So we just had that in the field. And now we’re kind of crunching the numbers, we’re hoping to publish some reporting and everything on that in early July, fingers crossed, that’ll be good. It’ll just be sort of like, you know, again, how satisfied are you with your job? I think that’ll be interesting in light of COVID, too, just because it’s like, in a lot of people’s minds, work-life balance got better because you can be home with your kids and stuff. But then for many people, it’s like, but when do you stop working, then because you’re just home all the time. So it’ll be really interesting to hear what people say about that. And then we’re also right now we have out to firms, a pro bono survey where we’re just asking about, like, how many hours firms typically work in a year? And, yeah, so we’ll have some reporting on that. And that’s it for the near future like I said to we’ll also have our typical, you know, enhanced versions of our glass ceiling report and diversity snapshot in the coming months as well to check out all that data of you know, women in the law and diverse partners, both racially, LGBTQ folks, people with disabilities, you know, usually on those the numbers don’t increase a ton year over year. But we’re hopeful that you know, especially in light of the sort of reckoning that we saw last year that we’ll see.

Greg Lambert  32:32

See if we can get up to pass the 5%, which seems to be the ceiling.

Marlene Gebauer  32:37

Yeah. Yeah.

Kerry Benn  32:38

That’s really, that’s rough. But yeah, that’s, that’s what you can look forward to from Law360 Pulse in the next few months, your carry

Greg Lambert  32:44

been with la 360. Thank you very much for taking the time to talk with us. Yeah, thank you guys so much for having me.

Greg Lambert  33:06

Marlene is really interested, there were a lot of things that they cover. And I know on the surveys that you really kind of have to limit the questions and be very careful on it. But there’s a lot of things I would love to have thrown in or at least read the read more of the comments.

Marlene Gebauer  33:22

Yeah, I mean, you’re absolutely right. I mean, the surveys can only cover so much in order to be meaningful. So you know, you do have to limit I mean, a couple of things I thought were interesting was, and I understand it was that, you know, okay, a lot of them wanted to go into the office because they, you know, they want face time, they want face time with people, if they really I think understood, like, how much face time, you know, you truly get particularly after a summer Associate Program, they might change their answer. And the other thing again, like the comments, you mentioned, it’s really important, I think, for firms to take a look at this, because again, like what they’re saying is okay, what we want might be different than you know, what was wanted, you know, 10, 20, 30 years ago, and the things that they want, you know, you could argue are kind of in direct contradiction to what was desired at another time. And so firms have to figure out, how do they make that work for everybody?

Greg Lambert  34:21

Yeah, and the whole summer program has really shifted, I mean, I remember when we used to literally take the summers like down to Mexico for the weekend, we would go four-wheeling out in the out on the sand dunes and you know, until somebody broke their wrist and which I think that canceled that, but it’s become a lot more serious. It’s become, I think, a lot more measured on what they’re doing. And so, you know, as we say, a lot around here, don’t let a crisis go to waste. I think that there’s an opportunity here to really kind of look at this Summer Program and be much more measured on how it is that we look for talent. We attract diverse talent, we change our behaviors with how we keep diverse talent. So again, I think we’ve got an opportunity here. And I think the survey may give us a little peek into that.

Marlene Gebauer  35:21

And I mean, you’re right, the fact that it’s getting more serious, I think is important. And it is an opportunity because this is an opportunity to think about, you know, what kind of experience do we want to give them? Do we want to assess them by? And also looking at the type of experience that they have? I mean, you pointed out that, what about the practical experience? That I think is a huge indicator in terms of whether someone’s going to be you know, successful with this or not. So these are the types of things that they can now start saying like, Hey, this is the type of stuff we want to assess you on.

Greg Lambert  35:55

Yeah, so a lot to think of. So thanks again to Kerry Benn for from Law360 for talking with us.

Marlene Gebauer  36:03

Thank you, Kerry. Before we go, we want to remind listeners to take the time to subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts, rate, and review as well. If you have comments about today’s show or suggestions for a future show, you can reach us on Twitter at @gebauerm or @glambert or you can call The Geek in Review hotline at 713-487-7270 or email us at and as always the music here is from Jerry David DeCicca. Thank you, Jerry.

Greg Lambert  36:36

Thanks, Jerry. Happy Pride Month Marlene.

Marlene Gebauer  36:37

Yes, you too.