While we are still struggling with COVID outbreaks this summer, the 2022 Summer Associate ranks are faring quite differently than their 2021 counterparts according to a recent survey conducted by Law360. Kerry Benn, Director of Series Surveys and Data at Law360 breaks down the results of the survey and explains how the struggles differ significantly this year. One of the biggest shifts from 2021 to 2022 was around mentorship and the need for the summer associate to “connect” with the lawyers of the firm in face to face interactions. While many law firms still stressed the need access to mentorship, the summers had much less of a concern for that this year versus last. One stressor that did rise this year was the ability to handle the workload being placed upon the summer associates this year. 
Not surprisingly, the preferred places to work as a summer associate were Kirkland & Ellis (the new #1), Latham, Cooley, Skadden, and Sidley Austin. One thing that was surprising was the salary ranges for those summers who did not land a BigLaw job. Some firms were paying as little as $15.00 and hour. That made some law students reconsider working at a law firm, or going back to Target or Olive Garden and make more. The flexibility of law firms to allow for associates to work remotely continued and seems to be something that may have a long-term affect going forward for a number of years. However, 92% of summers said they would be willing to work in the office, so there may be some flexibility on both sides of this equation.
We also ask Kerry Benn about future surveys that Law360 is producing including the second part of the Summer Associate Survey that reviews their actual experiences, the Glass Ceiling Survey, and Diversity Reports. Benn looks into her crystal ball and projects that there will be more demand for LGBTQ+ and additional diversity surveys and how law firms are implementing alternative structures in their fee arrangements with clients.  

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Marlene Gebauer 0:30
Welcome to The Geek in Review, the podcast focused on innovative and creative ideas in the legal industry. I’m Marlene Gebauer.

Greg Lambert 0:38
And I’m Greg Lambert. Well, Marlene, we kind of took an impromptu break last week, because somehow or another you and I could not find, you know, 10-20 minutes to do the intro.

Marlene Gebauer 0:48
We could not find time together.

Greg Lambert 0:50
I guess it’s not a bad thing to be true busy. But it just, it’s hard enough as it is. And but I think with the with all the summer associates with the vacations with kids in in camps and whatnot, it shows you were on the ladder, doing the intro is in our lives right now.

Marlene Gebauer 1:15
Yeah, sometimes life gets in the way, right?

Greg Lambert 1:17
Yeah, yeah. And you get like some instruments going on in the background, right?

Marlene Gebauer 1:22
I do. I do. I’m getting some lighting fixtures and still. So So you may hear a little bit and from what I understand for people that that lends a sense of reality to the podcast, so

Greg Lambert 1:36
We have nothing but reality here.

Greg Lambert 1:38
That’s true.

Greg Lambert 1:39
Well, speaking of summer associates, we brought back Law360s Kerry Benn to discuss a new survey that they recently released on summer associates. So it’s, you know, it’s really interesting to see what a year makes in the difference between what was affecting summer associates last year versus what they’re seeing this year. And you know, it’s significantly different.

Marlene Gebauer 2:05
Yeah, there were some big swings.

Greg Lambert 2:06
So let’s go ahead and just jump into that conversation with Kerry and hear what’s on the mind of those associates that are probably roaming the halls of your office right now.

Marlene Gebauer 2:18
We’d like to welcome back to the show Kerry Benn, Director of series surveys and data at Law360. Kerry, it’s really great to have you back on The Geek in Review. Thanks, Marlene.

Kerry Benn 2:26
And, Greg, it’s great to be here.

Greg Lambert 2:29
So Kerry, you have a new survey out on summer associates, and we wanted to reach out to you and have you come onto the show to discuss the findings from that survey.

Marlene Gebauer 2:39
Yeah, give us a brief overview of the summer associate survey.

Kerry Benn 2:42
Yeah, sure. This is our second year doing our summer associate survey, which is awesome. It’s really exciting as a new data team to have year over year data to be able to compare. So that was very fun for us this year. But yeah, we conducted the survey earlier this spring from March 7 to April 4 of this year, and we got just over 1100 responses, about half of those respondents were from their 1L year, and then 375 2Ls, 200 in their 3L year and the remaining handful were on either part time or evening students. So we got a nice mix of of everybody there. And yeah, one of the things, you know, part of the impetus around this was as, as always the topic on everyone’s mind to sort of see how COVID continues to or doesn’t continue to impact summer associates ships. And also just getting an idea of what students are looking for in their ideal summer firm and which firms are topping their lists. You know, that’s something that we think of as a good indicator of a firm’s reputation or prestige. So who wants to work for whom was another angle that we were trying to tackle here?

Greg Lambert 3:44
You were talking about having year over year data on the switch? I know people that conduct surveys love love doing those comparisons? What did you see as some of the significant changes from last year survey?

Kerry Benn 3:58
Yeah, like I said, one of the topics we did touch on quite a bit was COVID. And, you know, we did see a big change this year, a shift by firms back toward the pre COVID model. You know, last year, I would say a big chunk of things were being done remotely. Two years ago, we didn’t do the survey in 2020. But you know, anecdotally through our reporting that your most summer programs got either completely canceled, or they were a couple of weeks long. So we’ve certainly seen most most programs this year back to their normal length of you know, 9, 10, 11 weeks. And you know, we’ve also seen that in addition to bringing back some of that pre COVID work situation. We’ve also seen firms continue to go along with some of the flexibility that we have seen developed over the past few years. So there they seem to be sort of like reading the room on what people want in terms of work life balance or ability to work from home. So just 69% of interviews for this year’s programs took place remotely and that is compared with 82% from last year. So a lot more interviews being conducted in person. But then you know conversely, like I said, if firms seem to be reading the tea leaves on people wanting more flexibility. 37% of respondents said that they encountered firms that would allow them to do their summer associate shifts remotely, including even from a different city than where the internship was based. So they’re definitely sort of offering that flexibility to try to lure people in. And last year in the survey, more than half of respondents had said they were worried they wouldn’t be able to connect with colleagues or receive sufficient mentoring because of the remote nature of many of the programs. And that number dropped by half to only 25% of folks citing that number this year. So that’s a big, big improvement. Yeah. Yeah.

Marlene Gebauer 5:36
That’s interesting.

Greg Lambert 5:37
Do you think this is going to be a long term change? Or do you think it’s still because I know there’s still some firms out there that are not fully back?

Kerry Benn 5:45
Yeah. It seems like it kind of depends on the firm, I guess, which is kind of a cop out answer, maybe. But, you know, that is something that we’ve seen, like, different firms seem to have really different ways of doing this. Interestingly, just to quickly cite a separate little survey that law 360 did, you know, our summer associates survey that my team put together was a survey of summer associates, right? It was of the law students, we also did a really quick little pulse survey of the top 100 firms by size, just to see about what their plans were. So about 22 of the 40 ish respondents said that they were opting for a hybrid schedule and the remainder were doing in person. So it does sort of seem like, it kind of just depends on whatever that firm is doing for their regular employees, you know, their full time employees is just what they’re going along with for summers, but it does seem, you know, with with, just generally, with what we’ve learned in our reporting throughout the last couple of years, is that firms sort of have seen like, okay, the work can get done. So if people want this, then we could offer it at this point, you know,

Greg Lambert 6:47
I think it’s I think we’re gonna have a hard time putting that genie back in the bottle.

Kerry Benn 6:50
Yeah, exactly.

Marlene Gebauer 6:52
But, you know, it’s still interesting, because I mean, just just in, you know, in conversations professionally, I mean, you hear folks talking about the challenges of trying to train particularly Summers, who are new to the firm to train them appropriately to make sure they have, you know, mentorship and opportunity, when they’re not actually in the office. I mean, that’s, that’s been a big discussion point. So it’s interesting that they don’t seem to, it doesn’t seem to trouble them.

Kerry Benn 7:18
This year, I think it was like 92% of the respondents to our survey said they would report in person if they were asked, so I think part of that the difference in how many people were worried about that just stems from the idea that like more people were willing to go in. So they’re not as worried about it, because they know they can actually meet people if they if they want. But yeah, you’re right. I mean, I think it’s also like, you know, from what I know about a lot of summer programs, often you end up sort of doing a rotation where you’re working with many different people in many different practice groups. So it’s not really like you get to have one mentor for the whole thing, or you know, you’re working with the same group of two or three or four people. It’s like, you’ve got to establish a new relationship with a new mentor, a new group of people every week or a couple of weeks. So I could definitely see why that would be difficult. When you’re working remotely.

Greg Lambert 8:05
Yeah, I noticed one of the things that you covered in the survey was just the wide range of salaries that and I didn’t realize it was such a such a varied range on that. What did the survey tell you about what were paying the summer associates?

Kerry Benn 8:21
Yeah, I didn’t realize that either. This was actually the first time we had asked about summer associate pay. So the average pay stipend that our respondents reported was a little over $35,000, which, if you extrapolate that out to a full year would be about $141,000 annual salary. You know, as you guys, I’m sure, and your listeners have seen a lot of the big law firms, you know, every year there’s like that race for who’s going to be the one to raise the bar for first year associates and how many others are going to match. So we’ve seen this year that the first level first year associate salaries are often around 215,000, at those big firms. So it does seem like fairly on par. And if you extrapolate it out to a yearly basis, like obviously, this is someone with no experience coming into, they’re not going to make that first year salary. But it’s, you know, not far behind. But it definitely depends on the firm and the type of work people are doing. We had one really great quote from a respondent and in answer to a short answer question that we asked where they said, quote, I’m paying a hefty sum for this education, but some firms only offer $15 an hour, I could get that at Target. Consider requiring at least $20 an hour for the last field. Oh my God, so that was true. Yeah, exactly. Why? All that stress, right? Although honestly, working in retail might be worse. Who knows?

Marlene Gebauer 9:40
That’s true. That’s true. No, I have a high schooler and it’s like, yep, that is absolutely true in terms of what you can get per hour.

Greg Lambert 9:46
Yeah, I always hate it when I accidentally show up to target with the red shirt on.

Kerry Benn 9:50
Oh, yeah. People ask me

Marlene Gebauer 9:52
Excuse me. I have a question.

Kerry Benn 9:54
I know. That’s so funny. But yeah, it’s interesting to see just the disparity there. And you know, Obviously, like the big law firms are the ones that pay the most. And then I think if you’re doing working for a small firm doing more of the public interest type work, I think that’s where you see that lower end of that range.

Marlene Gebauer 10:10
I mean, did you see a significant drop from like, big law to, you know, say mid size to to smaller? I mean, do you see like substantial drops? Or is it more gradual?

Kerry Benn 10:20
So I actually don’t have data on that, because we asked, we don’t we don’t have these matched up with where the people ended up working. So we are only asking them about like the process of where they wanted to go, not where they ended up. So I’m not sure what salaries match up with which firms unfortunately, it’s something we could look at in the future, potentially, though.

Marlene Gebauer 10:39
All right. So then I’ll ask you the juicy question, you know, who topped the list of summers preferred firms? And, why?

Kerry Benn 10:49
Yeah, you know, this is big news, because it’s a different firm from last year. So that’s very exciting. So Kirkland and Ellis took the top spot among this year summers. Basically, what we did here was we asked on the survey, everybody could name three firms that would be their top choices. If If money or relocating to a different city or getting the interview or getting hired was no object, where would you want to work? And we think that kind of gets at the firm’s reputation among students. So Kirkland, like I said, took the top spot, they leapfrogged over Latham and Watkins, which was last year’s winner, those guys fell to number two, so not too big of a drop off. And yeah, I mean, I know one thing that we do know about Kirkland is that they have a huge number of summer associates shift slots. I think in our reporting, we know that they have about 500 spots for summers. So I think part of it could definitely be people just being like, well, I have a better shot of being one in 500 than I do of being one in 20. So that’s that definitely, I think, is a factor. But you know, people also know Kirkland for a lot of their really strong practice areas. Some of the short answer responses we got from students who specifically mentioned Kirkland, including they praise the firm’s transparency about their business and also said they provide extra opportunities for summers to get to know the lawyers and the practice areas that they’re working in. So that those were factors for people, again, like we’re talking about people want to make those connections. And it seems like Kirkland has a reputation for facilitating that for the associates. And then just to round out the top five Cooley, Skadden, and Sidley Austin, we’re in numbers three, four and five.

Greg Lambert 12:27
Yeah, I was looking at I noticed, I think it was at Sidley the jump from 10 to 5?

Kerry Benn 12:32
Yeah, they’ve had a pretty big leap, which is, which is cool for them. Yeah.

Greg Lambert 12:35
Yeah. I also wonder, I know, sometimes firms can encourage their the people to take the surveys. Did you hear of any firms that were out there, kind of actively encouraging their the candidates to answer the surveys?

Kerry Benn 12:53
Not that I heard of, we actually do the surveys specifically for that reason, we send this directly to the emails of law students that we have as part of our database, we don’t send it to the firms and say, Hey, Please distribute this. Exactly. So that we don’t get a huge landslide of one firm is like really lighting a fire under their associates to give a good review or whatever.

Greg Lambert 13:16
Team is filling it out for them and telling them “just send this in.”

Kerry Benn 13:18
Yeah. But ya know, that’s why that’s exactly why we actually just send it, you know, law 360 is offered to law students, or, you know, you could get a subscription if you’re in law school, for a three year library, I guess. And so, we have some of the contact information. So we send it directly to the students rather than asking the firms to spread it around. Yeah.

Greg Lambert 13:42
So what did you find were some of the reasons that the students were choosing particular firms?

Kerry Benn 13:49
Yeah, for the second year in a row, I the practice areas that the firm has on offer as the top of the list for why students choose a particular firm, which does make sense, especially as a student, you’re kind of it’s like, you know, when, when any of us went to college, like you didn’t know, as a 17, or 18 year old what you want to do with the rest of your life, so you kind of want to try a bunch of different things. So you know, firms that have the practice areas that people either already are zeroed in on or offering a lot of different things that you might rotate through, certainly helps. And interestingly, corporate law continued to top the list of desired practice areas, which kind of makes sense. I mean, that’s like one of the big money areas, right? So not super surprising. And numbers two and three on the list of preferred practice areas actually swapped from last year, intellectual property took the number two spot and general litigation dropped a little bit to number three. And then trial law and employment law are the top numbers four and five of what everybody said they were most looking for. And we you know, we also asked some short answer response questions on the survey about why students were choosing particular firms and you know, sort of on Surprisingly, haven’t mentioned stuff like good work life balance. One thing that came up that was interesting was people were focused on like conscientiousness on some social issues like climate change, emphasis on mental health, diversity, you know, one person said they really wanted a particular firm because they had a diverse cohort of women at leadership levels. So those are all the kinds of things that are leaving people to choose what they’re choosing.

Marlene Gebauer 15:23
I mentioned like I have a high schooler and so we’re looking at colleges, right. And there’s, there’s there’s quite a strategy to sort of where you apply to and things. So I’m wondering if something similar applies to students when they’re applying for jobs or summer jobs at the firm. So you know, how many firms did student apply to? And how many got interviews?

Kerry Benn 15:46
Yeah, well, thank goodness for the Common Application for your high schooler. Right, that saves so much time. Um, but yeah, for to answer your question. respondents reported that they applied to an average of 17 firms to try to land an associate chip. And of the firms that they bid on during their on campus interviews, they got an average of 4.7 interviews during early interview week. So you know, they’re hitting about a third of the time, it sounds like in terms of, you know, yield of interview per application. So, that’s an interesting stat, close to a third of the participants on the survey, though, reported that they did not get a single interview. So that’s interesting.

Greg Lambert 16:25
You had mentioned that the common forum for undergrad, any aspects that you can think of are anyone trying to create some kind of uniform process for students to fill out for law firms?

Kerry Benn 16:40
I haven’t heard of anything like that. But it seems like it’d be a brilliant idea. Right? Let’s save so much time.

Greg Lambert 16:47
New Service.

Kerry Benn 16:51
That’d be great. Patent Pending.

Greg Lambert 16:55
You mentioned that some of the people that even though they they applied, did not get any interviews or summer associates. So associate ships. So what did these students do?

Kerry Benn 17:07
Yeah, the answers here really ran the gamut. We asked a short answer response on this again, because like the number of choices, you’d have to include to just do a check this box type question on a survey for that would be crazy. But so we got some some fairly straightforward answers that seem very, within the same realm, like a lot of people mentioned, getting judicial internships, applying to companies in house legal departments as an intern. One person I think, said that they had an internship with the Supreme Court of Ghana, which is very interesting and cool, like seems way cooler than having a summer association of federal law firm. And then, you know, others cited things like, you know, I’m gonna go back and reapply for my old job at the Olive Garden or the grocery store or whatever. But you know, since we did ask for short answer responses, we got a couple of really, sort of almost heartbreaking ones, like one person said, they would, quote, cry and continue being depressed, I bet on myself and lost big, which was very sad. And another person sort of cited the opacity of the whole process and said, they were going to just keep their nose to the grindstone, keep networking and trying to make connections, but they said, quote, It has been difficult to ascertain exactly why I’ve been selected for so few interviews, but I’ll keep working until I succeed regardless. And cool. Yeah. So that’s interesting. Yeah, I think that students don’t often get a lot of feedback. I mean, I feel like it’s just like any college application job application, you know, whatever, where it’s like, you’re lucky if you even get a note saying, hey, thanks. but no thanks. And so to try to figure out if you think your transcript looks good, your recommendations look good. Why you’re not getting the call back is can be difficult. Certainly.

Marlene Gebauer 18:49
Well, I mean, no to career counseling at the law schools. I mean, this seems like there’s a real opportunity here to counsel people in terms of and, you know, we talked about strategy earlier of, you know, the strategy of applying and sort of where your likelihood is, and you know, what these different places are looking for, based on their knowledge and based on prior placement.

Kerry Benn 19:10
Yeah, exactly. I know. And it’s, you know, students need to make sure they take advantage of those career services, offices and so on. You know, I’m not to say that they weren’t certainly, but that that’s certainly something that could help I’m sure.

Greg Lambert 19:25
And I imagine that probably the majority of the folks that fall into this category are probably first generation law students. Because there’s so much you just don’t know.

Kerry Benn 19:36
Yeah, the process is so opaque, like I said, Yeah, I was just looking. We had a question actually on who the students relied on to guide them through the law firm selection process. And one of the choices on with question was the their school’s career services office, and so 26% of respondents that they had significant reliance on their career services office, but then it was pretty evenly spread. 21% said They had no reliance on their schools Career Service Office. So it’s interesting to see like, you know, I don’t think we have data to match up like whether those people who didn’t rely on that are also the ones who didn’t get interviews. But it’s definitely a sign that maybe the services offices should be encouraging people to make use of them a little bit more, you know.

Marlene Gebauer 20:20
So for those who did get positions, you know, what worries are on those students minds about their summer programs?

Kerry Benn 20:28
Yeah. So like I said, last year, the overwhelming response to this question was like, I’m worried that I won’t get enough face time that I won’t get enough mentorship that I won’t be able to make those connections. That would like it was over half of the people on last year’s survey said that, that dropped off, like I said, this year, less worry about having that access to mentorship that still did bring as ring in as a stressor with about 25% of people saying they were worried about it, but certainly less than last year. Other things that came up as common stressors were people that worried that they wouldn’t be up to the workload. Last year, only 8% of respondents had said that that was a fear on their minds. And this year, that was up to 25%. So like more than tripled the number from last year of people who thought they might not be up to the workload, which is very interesting. Kind of makes you wonder what they hear through the grapevine in terms of like from one of the other options that we had asked about, like for in terms of that question about who you were asking to help guide you through this process was other school alumni or friends who have worked at that firm. So that kind of makes me put two and two together and wonder like what kinds of stories some folks are hearing to make them all of a sudden jump to that conclusion of like, oh, no, I’m not sure if I’m ready for this,

Marlene Gebauer 21:42
that or am I in a position mentally physically to be able to handle it?

Kerry Benn 21:48
I mean, yeah, well, I know. And I mean, I think just everybody like, for all of us, it’s like the last two years have really taken a toll in terms of, I know, for myself, like things that didn’t use to stress me out now or like enough to send off send me into a mini meltdown, just because it’s been such a trying couple of years. So I’m sure that that’s on people’s minds, or just affecting their mental health in ways that maybe they don’t even understand.

Greg Lambert 22:09
Yeah, when thought on the mentorship drop in types of responses this year, it makes me wonder one, whether one of two things happened, either the law firms figured it out. And were able to find ways of creating mentorship in this new work environment, or two, and I think maybe twos more likely, from my experience, the students figured out that they weren’t going to get the mentorship anyway. So it didn’t really matter.

Kerry Benn 22:41
Yeah, that’s interesting. I know, it’s it’s tough. It’s like, you know what? I don’t know that anybody has a good answer to that one. Honestly.

Greg Lambert 22:49
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’ll just do a quick survey of my, my own summer associates and see what they say. Yeah,

Kerry Benn 22:54
absolutely. I’d love to know.

Marlene Gebauer 22:57
The mentorship thing is definitely a work in progress.

Greg Lambert 22:59
It always it always is. Well, Kerry, I know you. Thank you for coming on and talking about this survey. But I know that you have some other interesting projects on the horizon. Can you give us a little bit of insight on what you got going on?

Kerry Benn 23:14
Yeah, absolutely. So we’re launching, sometime in the next couple of weeks, we’ll be launching the second part of this summer associates survey. So this first part obviously was done before they started their programs asking about what they were expecting what they were nervous about. So the second half will be done as they are closing out the experience to kind of get a sense of like, okay, what firm were you at? And how did they do? You know, what were the big takeaways for you in terms of how things went? What could have gone better? What could have gone worse? So that’ll be a nice kind of bookend to this one. You know, and I think that’ll be very interesting. And then we also over the summer, we’ll be putting out our annual glass ceiling and diversity reports, which look at diversity of people of color women, LGBTQ folks, people with disabilities throughout the law. So keep an eye out for those because those numbers are always super interesting. And then yeah, this year, we’re actually working on a partner compensation survey alongside the consulting firm, major Lindsey in Africa. So that survey is actually out in the field right now. So if anybody’s a partner, you can find it on our website at law three sixty.com. It’s on a banner at the top if people want to click in to take that survey. And yeah, we’re hoping to publish that sometime in the late September. So it’s really fun. We we did our own version of that survey last year. But we have done a couple of other really interesting partnerships with MLA on return to office and some other COVID related stuff. So we decided to pair up with them this year for that and should be really cool.

Greg Lambert 24:43
Oh, normally we ask people what we call our crystal ball question, which is to let you peered into the future. I want to I want to kind of twist this on you and say oh, you know, over the next two to five years, what types of surveys do you project that law 360 is going to Start asking about that may or may not be asking now.

Kerry Benn 25:04
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think we’re always looking to try to expand some of the data that we collect, I think partly some of it, I think would just be an expansion of what we’re already doing, I think we’d like to be able to collect the data on some of the diversity stuff a little bit more intersectionally than what we have. Now. I mean, we already do that some where we, like, you know, we want to know how many, like Asian American male partners and black female associates you have, but it’d be nice to get all the stats together, how many, you know, white associates who have a disability who are also in the LGBTQ, you know, just trying to compile all that in a more robust way? I think that’s something that’s on our radar. And I think, you know, I think there’s going to be some focus probably on two specific topics that I can think of off the top of my head, one would be sort of like the ESG arena, in terms of like, what firms are doing on that front. That’s something that we asked a little bit about that on our law firm survey this year. And I think some firms had an answer, and some firms maybe didn’t, but I’ve heard sort of behind the scenes from folks saying, like, Hey, I took this even though we didn’t really have a good answer, I took it to my managing partner to say like, Hey, they’re asking about this, it’s something that we need to be focusing on, even they knew they should be focusing on it. But the fact that we’re asking kind of helps drive that point home, I think, and then the other topic I think we’ll probably try to do some more on is just like technology, you know, alternative type, you know, alternative fees, type of stuff of alternative structures, and just what kinds of automation and how is AI being integrated into the law firm role? I think that it’s not really a secret to anybody that the legal industry tends to be a little bit behind the rest of everybody else in incorporating new technology. So it’s interesting to try to keep an eye on that to see like, when they will start to adopt certain things that either maybe have already been floating around for a few years or that are on the cusp right now.

Greg Lambert 26:58
All right, one last question. You just briefly mentioned AI in law firms. I’m curious about the technology. And and if you’re able to leverage, you know, natural language processing or AI tools, when it comes to surveys, is there any any kind of cool things going on with analyzing surveys?

Kerry Benn 27:20
Yeah, so right now, we’re not doing that too much on our surveys themselves. But we do have. So I’m sure you many of your readers, or listeners, excuse me, many of your listeners will have seen earlier this year, we published the first iteration of our law 360 Pulse leaderboard, which is a holistic look at law firms, just sort of taking the idea that law firms are more than just their financials. So we want to look at a bunch of different categories. And one of the things we looked at in there actually was sort of a reputational angle on firms where we did some news sentiment analysis. So we use natural language processing to say we gathered a whole bunch of news stories through one of our LexisNexis compatriots, one of our other sister sites that Lexis and ran natural language processing on it to determine whether firms were being positively negatively or neutrally mentioned in the news and use that as one of the components of that ranking. So that was very cool. And we’re actually working on developing our own more nuanced version of that in house at law 360. Because, specifically for legal media, there’s a lot of words that would get you thrown in the negative bucket that are not necessarily negative, like lawsuit, for example. So we had a lot of work to do last year to sort of work around that. And we, you know, got it working great. But we’re developing our own version of of that engine this year, so that we can tailor it to that specific need. So yeah, I mean, it’d be interesting to see if we can incorporate some of that into our surveys in the future. But right now, that’s kind of the area where we’re using it.

Greg Lambert 28:47
Great. Thanks. Yeah.

Marlene Gebauer 28:48
Well, the you know, thank you, Kerry, for joining us on the show. It’s been a great discussion.

Kerry Benn 28:54
Yeah, thank you guys so much for having me again.

Greg Lambert 28:58
It was good to have Kerry back on on the show that there was a couple of things on on this, it really kind of caught me off guard. And that was the, you know, just the range of salaries out there. Because I was gonna say that we’re used to essentially, the making first year associate money while while they’re here, which surprised me,

Marlene Gebauer 29:19
we’re used to griping about how much they make as opposed to how little they make.

Greg Lambert 29:23
But I was thinking and, you know, there’s an opportunity there. It seems like they’re, you know, you could find the people that are getting under hired and finding some kind of interesting role for them. So I, to me, that didn’t mean that ring of opportunity. I was thinking the same thing. Yeah. And the other thing was the was the big drop and worrying about being mentored. And again, I think I think I covered that well while we were in the regular interview, but that I did find very interesting that drop.

Marlene Gebauer 29:57
Yeah, I think they should I think they should be concerned about getting the mentoring and you know, and being remote. And, you know, because I do think that’s a factor. And I also in terms of opportunity, I think this is a real opportunity for the career counseling services at law schools to hear this. You know, I mean, again, some of the some of the quotations, I mean, it’s just you just, your heart goes out, because I mean, look, you and I went to school, we know how much it costs, and, you know, to not get anything and be going back to the Olive Garden, it’s got to be terribly disheartening. And we know, we know that there’s opportunity out there. I mean, we’ve had a bunch of guests on that talk about a DJ initiatives that talk about, you know, other opportunities, and they’re all out there. And so I do feel, you know, and I also feel that there’s a strategy involved in, in selecting your firms and and if, you know, if your career counseling service isn’t doing that they should be doing it, if they are doing that, you should be taking advantage of that. Yeah,

Greg Lambert 31:07
I would say, in my experience, that the the career counseling offices do fantastic jobs, but they do, you know, they can get a little super focused on people that are going to be successful anyway. And so you know, I just And also, if you’re a law student listening to this, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification, especially for your first gen law students, you don’t know what you don’t know. And so, in, like, I always say, if you don’t ask, the answer is almost always no. So don’t be afraid to ask.

Marlene Gebauer 31:43
And also, do not be afraid to color outside the lines. I mean, this traditional path is not necessarily the only it’s not the only one. And even if you ultimately, that’s what you want, having some of these other experiences are incredibly valuable. I mean, again, all of all of the people that come on this, this podcast, talk about that, that, you know, sort of having a different experience is something that that is that they’re looking for now.

Greg Lambert 32:13
Well, once again, thanks to Kerry Benn from law 360, for coming on the show and talking about the latest summer associate survey.

Marlene Gebauer 32:22
Thank you, Kerry. And of course, thanks to all of you for taking the time to listen to The Geek in Review podcast. If you enjoy the show, share it with a colleague. We’d love to hear from you. So reach out to us on social media. I can be found at @gebauerm on Twitter,

Greg Lambert 32:35
And I can be reached @glambert on Twitter. Or you can

Marlene Gebauer 32:39
leave us a voicemail on The Geek in Review Hotline at 713-487-7270. And as always, the music you hear is from Mr. Jerry David DeCicca, Thank you.

Greg Lambert 32:49
Thanks JDD. All right, Marlene, I will talk to you later.

Marlene Gebauer 32:55
All right, bye.