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RUNNING A DIFFERENT KIND OF SUMMER PROGRAM

To maintain what Gordon Arata considers special about our firm, we make a concerted effort to recruit law school students who share the values we believe are important.  After all, many of our new associates are hired from our summer program.  We give each summer associate a true picture of how Gordon Arata lawyers work together to serve our clients. We encourage our summer associates to "split" their summers and compare us with other firms, after they have spent at least six weeks with us in the first half of the summer.  We're that confident that the way we practice law will appeal to the right kind of law student.

Hiring Criteria

We select associates who demonstrate superior client service capabilities, who have the highest character and academic credentials, and who exhibit the ability to succeed professionally and personally.  Most of our attorneys graduated in the top of their law school classes, served on law review or moot court boards or clerked for federal or supreme court judges. We look for similar characteristics in our summer associates.

Work Assignments

Since most of our new hires come from our summer associate program, we work hard to expose our summer associates to all of our practice areas. Of course, we try to accommodate individual interests in particular practice areas. While our summer associates perform legal research and write legal memoranda and briefs, we also make sure they have opportunities to observe trials, hearings, conferences, depositions, closings and other real-life activities.

Social Activities

Lawyers at Gordon Arata enjoy socializing together as much as we enjoy working together.  We share that aspect of our firm's culture with summer associates by hosting a variety of in-firm and outside social events. Each summer, we have regular in-firm Wednesday lunches, at which one of our attorneys provides some insight into the firm history, culture, practice areas or lifestyle. Every Friday, a rotating small group of lawyers take the summer associates for casual lunch outings. We also have parties at attorneys' homes and dinners at some of the finest New Orleans restaurants. You can also expect "after-work" drinks in the French Quarter.  It's never planned—but it always happens.

Mentors

Each summer associate is paired with both a member and an associate mentor to make the summer experience personally and professionally complete.  The mentors answer questions about the firm or particular projects, introduce everyone in the firm, ensure feedback on assignments, and generally help the summer associate become part of the team.

Frequently Asked Questions on Other Issues

Q. How big is the firm?
A. We have four offices (New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Houston) and approximately 60 lawyers.

Q. What is the membership track for a new associate?
A. It is typically six to eight years, and there are no multiple membership tiers.

Q. How does the interview process work?
A. We participate in the on-campus interviews at Tulane, Loyola–New Orleans and LSU. We also regularly interview students from other law schools at the office. After our offers are made, we invite the selected students to come to the office for a casual in-firm party to meet us.

Q. What is the summer program schedule?
A. Our program typically lasts from mid-May to the end of July. We ask that our summer associates work six weeks with the firm. We recognize that most summer associates split their summers, but we ask that the first portion of the summer be spent with us.

Q. How are work projects distributed?
A. One of our members collects work requests from other lawyers in the firm and serves as a central source for distributing projects. We try to accommodate each summer associate's preference for particular types of work while ensuring exposure to a variety of practice areas and lawyers.

Q. How is work evaluated?
A. We encourage the assigning attorney to provide oral feedback about the project. In addition, we ask the assigning attorney to complete a written evaluation, which, along with each summer associate's written work product, is forwarded to the Chairperson of the Recruiting Committee.

Q. How are offers made to summer associates?
A. Each member of the Recruiting Committee is given a copy of all summer associate memoranda, other work product and completed evaluation forms. The Recruiting Committee reviews these materials and recommends associate offers to the members.

Q. What are the accommodations for summer associates?
A. We have found that locating all summer associates in the library contributes to a better group camaraderie and makes the entire group more accessible to the attorneys, who often come by just to chat. For that reason, each summer associate is assigned a desk or carrel in the library. Each summer associate has his or her own e-mail address and a computer. As lagniappe, these library desks have expansive views of the City of New Orleans and the Mississippi River.  In addition, we have an office available for use as needed by summer associates.

Q. What is the compensation package?
A. Our summer associate compensation package is reviewed annually and is competitive with other New Orleans firms.

Q. Who are the hiring contacts?
A.  The members on our Recruiting Committee are Nina Wessel English (Chairperson), Demarcus Gordon, Julie Deshotels Jardell, Rick Shelby, and Kelly Perrier. Please contact Nina Wessel English with any questions regarding our summer program.
 

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