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Associate at a Top 10 Corporate Law Firm

Q1: Where are you located?

A1: Manhattan, New York USA

Q2: What is your role title?

A2: My role title is Associate in the Corporate department at a Top 10 law firm.

Q3: In your words, describe what you actually do?

A3: As an Associate, I provide legal support on corporate transactions like mergers & acquisitions, corporate restructurings, and capital markets deals. I conduct legal research, draft and review contracts and other documents, manage deal timelines, liaise with clients, and support partners on transactions.

Q4: How long have you been doing this role for?

A4: I've been working as a Corporate Associate for almost 3 years now.

Q5: How did you get to this point in your career?

A5: I went to law school at NYU and interned at the same firm during my 2L summer. I must have made a good impression because they offered me a full-time Associate position upon graduating law school.

Q6: When it comes to remuneration, what are your three B’s? (Base, Bonus, Benefits?)

A6: My base salary is $190,000. My bonus last year was $100,000. Benefits include 4 weeks vacation, full medical/dental insurance, 401k matching, and more.

Q7: I’m not going to ask you who you work for, but, what industry is your company in?

A7: The firm I work for is an international law firm known for its corporate, finance, and litigation practices. We have over 4,500 lawyers across more than 40 offices worldwide.

Q8: When it comes to work flexibility, is your work primarily office-based, fully remote, or a mix of both? Which do you prefer? Does your company allow you to be flexible?

A8: My work is primarily office-based, though I can work from home occasionally. The firm allows some flexibility but face time in the office is valued. I prefer being in the office for collaborating with teammates and learning from partners.

Q9: What does an average week or a typical day look like for you? Can you walk me through your day? What time do you arrive and start at work, what are your main tasks/responsibilities, who do you interact with, what meetings do you attend, etc.?

A9: I arrive by 8:30am, check emails, and get started on drafting documents, research, etc. My days are filled back-to-back with calls, meetings, reviewing deals, and working with partners. I interact heavily with bankers, clients, and deal team members. I attend meetings on transactions I'm staffed on and pitches for new work. I'm typically there until 8 or 9pm.

Q10: What does a typical day look like when things are going well vs a more challenging/stressful day?

A10: Busy days fly by as I jump between multiple deals. Slower days allow me to dig deeper into meaty research and drafting projects. Stressful times happen nearing a deal deadline, but we rally as a team.

Q11: What skills or knowledge are most important for your day-to-day work?

A11: Strong legal research, writing, and analytical skills are crucial. Deep knowledge of corporate law and financial concepts is a must. Ability to synthesize complex issues quickly and work under pressure. Interpersonal skills to interact with clients and team members.

Q12: What are some examples of recent accomplishments or contributions you've made in this role?

A12: I recently took the lead drafting the share purchase agreement on a complex cross-border M&A deal. The client commended my work and my partner was thrilled.

Q13: Do you have a supportive manager and do you feel valued?

A13: Yes, my partners take interest in my development. I feel challenged but supported.

Q14: How much time do you spend collaborating with colleagues vs working independently?

A14: My work is very collaborative - we brainstorm issues together and partners provide feedback to improve my work. But I also spend focused time researching and analyzing issues independently

Q15: Is there anything you wish you would have known before starting this role?

A15: The steep learning curve early on was intense. But it's incredibly rewarding as your skills and confidence grow.

Q16: What do you hate most about your role?

A16: The long hours can be grueling, especially at crunch times. But it comes with the territory at a top firm.

Q17: What do you love most about your role?

A17: I love the thrill of complex deals, high stakes negotiations, and working with incredibly smart people. It's fast-paced and always exciting.

Q18: What’s the next role for you and when do you hope to achieve this?

A18: In 2-3 years I hope to be promoted to Counsel. Longer term, make Partner in 6-8 years.

Q19: Is your next role going to be with the same company or a different one?

A19: I plan to stay at the firm for the foreseeable future as I continue advancing here.

Q20: What’s one piece of advice you could give to someone who aspires to reach your position?

A20: Be willing to outwork everyone early in your career to gain knowledge and experience quickly. Develop expertise in your practice area. Build strong relationships inside and outside the firm. Find good mentors. Stay resilient. Success doesn't happen overnight.

Q21: It’s Day 1 for someone in your role. What one piece of advice would you give them to succeed?

A21: If it's your first day as a corporate associate at a top law firm, my advice would be:

Come in with an open mind and be a sponge. The learning curve is steep, so soak up as much knowledge as you can from the partners and senior associates around you. Ask lots of questions - don't be afraid to speak up if you're unsure about something.

Manage your time wisely and don't get overwhelmed. Things move quickly and the hours are long, so pace yourself. Prioritize the most pressing tasks but don't let smaller assignments slip through the cracks.

Network internally and externally. Get to know your peers and build relationships across the firm. Also nurture connections with clients and colleagues at other firms - those relationships will pay dividends down the road.

Work hard and take initiative. Look for opportunities to take on more responsibility and showcase your skills. Partners notice associates who go above and beyond.

Stay resilient. You'll inevitably make mistakes or have setbacks - don't get discouraged. Learn from the experience and keep pushing forward.

Most importantly, maintain your passion. Remember why you pursued law in the first place. If you stay focused on your long-term goals, success will follow

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