The American Lawyer
profiled McGuireWoods’ summer associate program in
an Aug. 27, 2020, story about the firm’s focus on finding ways to engage with law school students
during the coronavirus pandemic. While many Big Law firms canceled or made
their summer programs online-only, McGuireWoods offered students the chance
to participate in a shortened five-week program onsite or remotely.
Chicago partner and national recruiting committee chair
Angelo Russo, chief legal talent officer J.D. Neary and lateral partner recruiting director Tamara Fairhurst called each of the
41 summer associates to ask whether they were comfortable working at the
firm’s offices or if they preferred to participate remotely. With strict
safety measures confirmed, 36 of the 41 summer associates opted to
participate in the office.
Offering the option for face-to-face interaction was important for the
summer experience, the article noted, especially since many law students
already were dealing with isolation after their semesters abruptly went
remote. According to Russo, McGuireWoods endeavored to craft a program that
ensured there would be as little a difference as possible between the
in-person and virtual summer associate experience.
Summer associate Noriya Shahadat, who chose to work from the Richmond
office, told The American Lawyer that for her, the personal
interaction made the program especially rewarding. Masked and socially
distanced, “conversations were deeper and more intentional than they had
been in the past,” said Shahadat, who was a summer associate with
McGuireWoods last year as well.
Another change in this year’s program was the absence of an annual
Washington, D.C., conference for all summer associates. The fix?
McGuireWoods managing partner J. Tracy Walker IV traveled to the 12 offices that hosted summer associates to connect with
each of the students.
Ensuring the success of the hybrid summer program involved a huge
recruiting team effort. “Nothing was easy in this period,” Russo said of
overcoming COVID-19 challenges. “But summer associates are the lifeblood of
the firm and the next generation, and we want to show them how we rally as