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A Day in the Life of a Silicon Valley Associate

For Hallie Kiernan, working in our Silicon Valley office means a stimulating mix of work, including pro bono matters. She takes us through her busy day.

7:50 a.m. – I arrive at the office and log in to my computer. I look through emails from team members based in the New York office and make a list of the tasks I need to accomplish during my day.  

8:30 a.m. – I read through subpoenas and third-party responses to the subpoenas to prepare for two meet-and-confer calls later in the day. I read the responses with an eye toward determining whether the third party will be amenable to providing documents in response to the subpoena, particularly if our team is able to narrow the request.  

9:30 a.m. – I dial into the conference line for the first meet-and-confer call with a third party.  I communicate directly with their in-house counsel, who informs me that the third party is amenable to providing responsive documents; however, the retailer would like our client to cover all costs associated with producing the documents. We agree that I will provide the name of a person who we believe may have relevant information to lessen the burden on the third party. Rather than agree to pay costs, we agree that the third party will run a search using the names provided and estimate any costs if responsive information is identified. I confirm verbally that our client is not agreeing to pay costs at that time. After the conclusion of the call, I make a note to draft a proposed email to the third party for the lead partners’ review.

10:00 a.m. – I review emails that I received during the meet-and-confer call. In the emails, I identify that I need to follow up on a pro bono matter, in which we represent a Humane Society that is seeking to enforce a ban on pet stores selling animals that are not obtained from a shelter or without compensation. 

10:10 a.m. – I edit the motion to compel against the remiss defendant and verify that we have procedurally covered all necessary requirements for filing with the state court. I email the team an updated draft. 

10:45 a.m. – I turn to my to-do list and begin working on an outline for an expert report in a pharmaceutical patent case based out of the New York office. 

12:00 p.m. – I attend a new associate training held by the New York office. Being three hours behind has its benefits when we attend trainings at lunch. Where the other offices get cookies and drinks, our office provides us with lunch. The training pertains to maintaining confidences of our clients, recognizing when privilege applies to communications, and protecting those communications. The timing of the training is perfect considering I am in the middle of discovery in a given case, and I must identify documents to withhold during production that contain privileged material.  

1:04 p.m. – I realize I am late for the office’s monthly birthday celebration. Another perk to working out of a smaller office is the amazing Firm culture and the ability to know every person in your office by name and hold informal gatherings such as this one.  

1:30 p.m. – Full of cake, I turn to drafting the proposed emails to the in-house counsel from the morning’s meet-and-confer call. Once the draft is finalized, I send the draft to the lead partner for review and comments.

1:45 p.m. – I read the responses of a second third party whom we subpoenaed for communications and sales figures. I verify that this third party has offered to conduct a review for documents, despite objecting to the subpoena, and strategize my approach to the call in light of their decision.

2:01 p.m. – In-house counsel from the third party joins a conference call.  The third party is more cooperative and offers to conduct a reasonable search. As a courtesy, we agree to extend the deadline for their response in light of their cooperation. 

2:17 p.m. – Using the first email I drafted earlier in the day as a template, I quickly draft an email to the second third party I spoke with and send to the lead partner for review.

2:31 p.m. – I read through the outline I prepared for the expert report and tailor the legal standards used in the draft to the facts of our case and our legal arguments. 

3:46 p.m. – I take a short walk with a coworker to a nearby Starbucks to get some afternoon sun and caffeine.

4:02 p.m. – I turn to a draft for a Notice of 30(b)(6) deposition. I read the previous sections I drafted a few days earlier and confirm the topics are still in line with the partner’s requests in the case and the strategy decided on by the team since my first draft.  I then compose additional topics for depositions based on the new information learned during a discovery call.  Having added the new topics, I prepare an email summarizing the new topics for the two lead partners.  I include a proposed draft email to counsel for another defendant, who, with us, makes up a joint defense group in the case. I send the summary email, draft email and draft notice to the partners. I remind the partners in the email of the extended discovery deadline. 

5:04 p.m. – I join my co-workers for our summer Casino Night! Using monopoly money and casino chips, we play poker, craps, blackjack and roulette, and try to each amass a small fake fortune. We enjoy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. At the end of the night, two of our summer associates are rich with casino chips and each takes home a small prize.  

7:10 p.m. – I head to home to my friendly, four-legged roommate named Marlo. 

 

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