ONE Connection | Summer 2021: New Beginnings, New Programs, New Summer Associates
By Sharyl A. Reisman, Firmwide Hiring Partner
We launched our Summer 2021 program on Monday, May 24 amid heightening excitement, optimism, and progress across much of the world—and, certainly, at Jones Day, as we hear increasing footsteps and voices echoing in our hallways.
Making that brightening light at the end of the pandemic tunnel even brighter, our 170 summer associates "arrived," hailing from 52 law schools. All 18 U.S. offices are hosting summer associates. The majority (147) just finished their second year of law school; 23 recently wrapped up their first year. We also are fortunate to welcome 11 Sponsors for Educational Opportunity Fellows who will start law school in the fall; they join us in our Atlanta, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York, San Francisco, and Washington offices. (Many of our offices outside the United States also offer programs for law school students throughout the year; those programs vary by country.)
Our summer associate program is the most important pipeline of the Firm's future lawyers and leaders. The program is a critical time for us to show our summer associates what we are really about, beyond what they read on the website and the handful of folks they meet during the recruiting process. As lawyers and staff at the Firm, we experience every day what makes us different: We know and care about one another, we know and care about the Firm, and we know and care about our communities and profession in a way that you can really understand only when you are among us. Our people and our culture are our differentiating factors, and what attract our summer associates to us. But, you can't really understand—and feel and experience—what it means to be a Jones Day lawyer until you live and work alongside us. That's what the summer program is really about. It's a time for summer associates to get to know us—and for us to get to know them, and to start bringing them into the Jones Day family.
The recruiting process this past year was our first remote interviewing season. But—as with everything we tackled this past year—we coordinated, we planned, we leaned on each other, and we did not miss a beat. The transition to remote interviewing, much like our transition to remote working, was seamless. Most importantly, despite pandemic restrictions, COVID-19 did not impact our ability to recruit 170 of the best, incredibly high-caliber, dynamic, and enthusiastic summer associates. Even though we are eager to meet our summer associates in person, we already feel like we know them.
This year's program looks different than past years, and even different than last year's fully remote program—call it Remote 2.0. Our program is a remote program with various in-person small group activities planned for those who are able and interested in participating in those activities. And, based on helpful comments from our 2020 summer associates and lawyers, our remote programming—the remote social events we are running, the content and structure of our training programs—is much improved. Of course, things are changing day by day across the country—adaptability and flexibility will remain the keys to our success.
When last year's summer program began in the midst of COVID-19, there were many unknowns. What we did know was that we could and would make the program work. As we adjusted, we embraced the belief that adversity breeds opportunity. And it did. We found ways to enhance the program, bringing opportunities and experiences that our live and in-person program couldn't offer, recreating experiences remotely in a way that we never thought possible. One major boost to our remote program was seamless access to and involvement of lawyers across offices, and across the globe. Our lawyers do this every day—a remote environment allows us to offer our summer associates an introduction to, and taste of, ONE FIRM WORLDWIDE in real time. We can connect our summers to lawyers and leaders in training programs and social events across the Firm.
For many years, we have had a national summer associate event, where we bring all of the summers in the United States to Washington for a few days. The purpose is to introduce them to our leaders and lawyers and to give them an opportunity to meet one another. Now we do that more regularly and consistently throughout the summer program.
The program would not be what it is without the commitment, creativity, and hard work of our Hiring Partners, our summer committees, and our Recruiting staff. They work tirelessly, they are second to none, and we are fortunate to have them.
The most important thing about our program is that it is a reflection of our culture—the way we treat each other, the respect we have for one another, how much we care for one another, the integrity we bring to all we do, and just how much we love this place. We've got a warmth and humanity that is unique to us. It's what we are, what we do, and what we expect of anybody who joins us.
In addition to servng as Firmwide Hiring Partner, Sharyl, a partner in the New York Office, is a member of the Firm's Advisory Committee and the Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement Committee.