This isn’t simple and some students will not be able to pull this off. But if you do, it will be the best thing ever! An angel is someone at the firm who is invested in your success. You can’t just recruit an angel. You have to build a relationship and show that your future is a worthwhile investment. I’m not talking about a mentor, coach or advisor. An angel may serve in any of those roles, but an angel goes much further. An angel is someone who is not afraid to give it to you straight. The good and the bad. Your angel may even be working on your behalf without you even knowing it.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an exact formula for finding an angel at your firm this summer because every person is different. What creates an angel for me could be something completely different from what creates an angel for you. However, it is a combination of all the previous tips I’ve given in this series of blog posts. I suspect that I’ve had five angels that I know of during my time at a large firm. Two I’m sure of, and three I’m guessing about but would bet on it.
So why did my angels become my angels? I’ll just highlight two very quickly. My guess with one is that I took a genuine interest in her work AND life. She was quirky and I can see how some may have written her off as weird. However, I actually like “quirky” people as much as I like “cool” people. As long as you are a good and caring person, I could care less whether you are just like me or a polar opposite. I’d like to believe that she saw that and in turn also took an interest in me. The connection with another angel probably initiated because we both went to the same law school. I think he may have appreciated how hard I worked on one of his assignments. (The assignment started as a nightmare and I had to get assistance from my beyond awesome mentor. Perseverance does pay off!) He also gave me solid advice and support when I decided to hang my own shingle.
Get an angel in your corner and you’ll have a leg up on many of the other summer associates and associates. Focus on having a good summer, honestly being interested in the lives of your co-workers and on building a solid reputation and the angels will develop over time.