The key to midsummer evaluations is to not care. Well, that’s not entirely true – the point is to care less. Midterm evaluations are not meant to scare you, or shame you, or make you feel guilty for that typo in the first paragraph during your first week. In fact, I’m going to rename midterm evaluations as midterm check-ins since that seems less ominous.
Midterm check-ins are meant to ensure you’re on the right track, not pissing anyone off, and doing your assignments. Firms generally want to make sure you are the same person who made it through the gauntlet of screeners and callbacks all in the midst of a global pandemic.
You are that person and you have nothing to worry about.
But because I worried about nearly everything as a law student, here are some tips.
How can you prepare: make sure you know all your assignments cold.
- This shouldn’t be too difficult. The assignments either happened a few weeks ago or they are still going. Brush up on the details so nothing catches you off guard.
- The hiring partner or attorneys conducting your midterm check-in are aware you are still a 1L + 5 weeks of awkward zoom social events. They have set the bar low.
- Focus on what you learned from each assignment, how you communicated with the assigning attorney, and how you can incorporate any feedback you received into future assignments.
What not to say: Don’t say anything negative about literally anyone at the firm (unless of course you have firm policy/legal justification, but leaving those situations aside…).
- You want to come across as enthusiastic, eager, and drinking the kool-aid.
- Talking negatively about someone will only raise eyebrows, especially if it’s about another summer associate. Don’t do it.
Have a “well-rounded” summer: A diverse set of projects from different practice groups is a nice to have going into the check-in, but it is not necessary.
- Even if you’ve been slammed on a litigation project for your first few weeks, you still have half the summer to try projects from corporate, government investigations, regulatory, tax, etc.
- As long as you express interest (however imaginary it is) in a well-rounded experience at the firm, you have nothing to fear for only having a couple projects in one or two practice groups on the books.
Read One Thing: How You Look at Things Matters. (Daily Stoic) Perspective is everything. Remember you are at the top of the mountain among law school students (sometimes comparisons can be helpful, other times not so much). Frame all the feedback you get – however minor – in a way that will help you close out the next few weeks strong and “win” in the long-run by securing the full-time offer.