Exploring Different Practice Groups and Mentorship Opportunities at Foley Hoag
August 1, 2017
By Jean Lee
This summer, I took a conscious effort to get an exposure to a variety of practice groups and to learn how attorneys chose their practice area. Summer associates can choose which assignments to work on from the "assignment bank," where supervising attorneys post assignments with different departments, including the Business Department, Litigation Department and International Litigation and Arbitration Department (ILAD).
Given my background and interest in international affairs, I was immediately drawn to ILAD and got involved with a variety of matters involving investor-state arbitration, domestic enforcement of arbitral awards and public international law. For some of these projects, I worked not only with attorneys in Boston, but also with those based in Washington, D.C. and New York via video conferencing. Working across offices was really seamless. One of the great aspects about Foley Hoag is that teams are leanly staffed, so junior associates get substantive responsibilities early on. Even as a summer associate, I became a go-to person for facts of a matter and had opportunities to interact with our co-counsel and client during conference calls. The quality of substantive work I got was truly exceptional.
I also had a wonderful experience with my business internship, working on an M&A deal for a private equity client. Attorneys that I worked with made me feel like a valuable member of the team. As we approached signing, I assisted with conducting due diligence and reviewing disclosure schedules, and I got looped into conference calls with our client and email exchanges with the other side of the deal. It was fascinating to see the fast pace, the back-and-forth negotiations with the other side, and how many different moving parts including IP, real estate and employment all came together in a M&A deal. I especially appreciated the attorneys taking the time to fill me in on the background of the deal and to educate me on how the deal is structured and what the tax implications are. These extra contexts made the work even more interesting.
As I reflect on this summer, I need to note that mentorship opportunities at Foley Hoag were truly exceptional. Each summer associate is matched with a mentor who is either a partner or a senior associate. I had a great relationship with my mentor and met once every week to check in on how my summer was going. He has been extremely supportive and has provided me with valuable guidance and advice on work as well as a career in big law more broadly. In addition to the formal mentorship, I frequently went out to lunch and coffee meetings with my supervising attorneys and learned about the unique draw and challenges of representing certain kinds of clients and how they got to where they are. I benefited immensely from hearing about their career paths, day-to-day work and thinking processes.
I had a fantastic experience with Foley Hoag all around. It was particularly special to see that senior attorneys are so interested and invested in junior associates' professional development and are happy to provide mentorship.