Ah, summer. That magical time when law firms welcome aspiring attorneys to experience the realities of their chosen profession in a protected environment, and law students jump at the chance to demonstrate their understanding of the practice of law. Law firm recruiting departments work tirelessly to ensure that worthy candidates are vetted and chosen, and that a lively schedule of meaningful exposure to legal work, marketing responsibilities and networking opportunities has been created.

But there’s one more benefit to this program that is often overlooked or undervalued: a culture-based, forward-focused, potentially evergreen social media campaign.

Think about it: Your approach to recruiting is (or should be) closely tied to the firm’s core values. The experience your recruiting team has designed for these future attorneys is designed to give them a feel for life at your firm in particular and service to clients in general. Summer associates come to law firms to learn about the business of law, and social media is a great way to teach them about law firm marketing.

What better way to provide evidence of your firm’s claims that it’s a best place to work or an environment that embraces new ideas and diversity of thought than packaging and promoting the plethora of fresh perspectives and moments of mentorship afforded by the summer associate program? And what better way to promote those perspectives than social media?

We at Jaffe are big fans of sharing genuine human stories instead of manufactured marketing jargon for many reasons, not least of which is, especially during the summer, everyone in the firm can have a little fun reminiscent of those pre-adult days of ultimate freedom.

These 20 challenges are designed to create interactions between the summer associates and the attorneys and staff population of the firm, as well as encourage conversations about time management, mental health and client service, bridging generational divides with respect, and so much more.

Choose one or a few. And don’t worry that these 20 campaigns are now accessible to everyone in the legal industry and beyond. Rest assured: When your firm and your summer associates take on one of these challenges, what you create will be uniquely your own.  

We can’t wait to see what you create!

Challenge #1 — The Welcome

One of the simplest ways to show your support of the next generation of lawyers is to welcome them to the next step on their journey to becoming a practicing attorney. In a social media caption, along with well wishes, consider featuring a quote from the managing partner or the head of the recruiting department that connects the purpose of having this summer associate class with the overall mission/focus of the firm.

For imagery, include a single graphic with headshot(s) or a simple animation/flipbook that showcases each summer associate (name, headshot and law school). Be sure to tag law schools; they love to support their students, which increases engagement with your firm’s content!

NOTE: While not technically part of a social media challenge, encourage your summer associates to create and/or update their LinkedIn profiles.

Challenge #2 — Pied Piper

If your firm decides to run any social media campaign featuring the summer associate(s), a blatant “follow us for more summer associate antics” post should be shared at the beginning of the summer. Bonus points for a firm-branded, summer associate-specific hashtag, but the real goal of this exercise is to boost the number of people following the firm’s account.  A little silliness is the best way to convince the general social media audience that your law firm’s content isn’t boring.

Challenge #3 — Days in the Life

Ask your summer associate(s) to create a reel/video that covers the highlights of their law firm time. This could include footage of walking up the steps to the front of the building, the view from the rooftop/balcony, practice team meetings, grabbing lunch while discussing issues (no actual conversation audible), time in the library, setting up for an event, etc. Consider one reel/vid per summer associate or a combo reel/vid that includes perspectives from various offices, points in the day, assignments, etc.

  • NOTE: Obviously, sensitive client information should not be visible in the footage.

Challenge #4 — Red Flag, Green Flag.

If your summer associate(s) had multiple offers, ask them to articulate — without naming names — what made them less interested in other summer associate programs and encouraged them to choose yours. Example: Red Flag — Couldn’t remember my name in the interview. Green Flag (with the firm’s logo) — Greeted me by name, remembered how to pronounce it and didn’t over-use it in conversation.

Challenge #5 — Ask Me Anything – Summer Associate Perspective

Challenge the attorneys/professional staff in your firm to submit short questions for your summer associates to answer. These can involve things like how did you find out about our program, what do you think about our firm, how have you found navigating a multi-generational environment, why did you choose to practice law, what’s your favorite vacation spot, how do you take your coffee, are you an only child and do you think your sibling status really means anything, etc.

Make sure the answers refer to the questioner by full name, title, department or some variation, and then provide their personal responses. This should be a reel/vid, but can also be formatted as a Q&A on a webpage, then shared on social media.

Challenge #6 — Ask Me Anything – Law Firm Perspective

Challenge your summer associate(s) to submit a series of short questions for the lawyers/professional staff of your firm to answer. Refer to the questions above, but also consider real questions the current class may have. This should be a reel/vid, but can also be formatted as a Q&A on a webpage, then shared on social media.

Challenge #7 — Word of the Day

Ask your summer associate(s) to share any new corporate buzzwords or legal jargon they heard in the firm and what those terms mean. Consider creating a reel/video using a Sesame Street approach.

Challenge #8 – On The Case

Create an ‘investigative’ series, where the firm’s social media audience is asked what they would like to know about the inner workings of a law firm. Then have your summer associate(s) get on the case to track down the answer. Even if there are rude questions about fees, the answers can address just how much specialized knowledge one is paying for, just the same as any other technician. This could increase engagement rates for the firm’s social media feed, as well as be summer associate feature.

Challenge #9 — The Polls

Ask your summer associate(s) to come up with an idea to poll the firm’s social media audience. Something along the lines of “Did you know X about the firm,” with four lighthearted options for answers (look to charitable efforts, mentoring program, historical influence, etc.). Once the poll has been posted, ask the summer associate to monitor the engagement and, perhaps, write a fun “our polls show …” wrap-up caption that celebrates the firm’s efforts in that area.

Challenge #10 — Hot Seat 

Ask your summer associate(s) to interview members of the C-suite, including the managing partner. Include more personal questions about leadership and motivation: How do you prepare for a deposition? How do you process a terrible day? Do you make mistakes? What do you want me to learn while I’m here? Create a Q&A article to be featured on the firm’s website and promoted on social media platforms.

Challenge #11 — Party Time

It’s likely that your summer associate program will have a healthy social component, and the summer associates will have the chance to rub shoulders with everyone in the firm. Consider friendly competitions to see who can get the best selfies, most artistic shot, most partners in one frame, etc. These candid images can be showcased in a simple animation/flipbook per event or in an end-of-summer compilation, depending on the firm’s preferred posting cadence.

  • NOTE: Try to have a good mix of attorneys and summers, as well as partners and associates, at the events, and don’t forget to tag all attendees, whether pictured or not, as well as community organizations and event coordinators.

Challenge #12 — Lawyer Joke of the Day

Coordinate with appropriate members of the firm to identify a joke of the day about lawyers and/or the law. Ask the summer associate(s) to film themself(themselves) and the lawyer/staff asking/answering the joke. Post on Monday (motivational start to the week), Wednesdays (“hump” day laugh) or Fridays (looking forward to the weekend). Once a week, max; cycle/cadence totally optional.

  • NOTE: Keep it clean and wholesome. Think groan-worthy dad jokes.

Challenge #13 — Trending Ties

Challenge your summer associate(s) to write a blog post or other article that ties the core goals of a practice area to a trending mainstream movie, book, topic, etc. (Think: What “Barbie” Teaches Us About Trademark Law.) Could be a solo or group project.

Challenge #14 — Infographic Generator

Using a blog or article already on your firm’s website, ask your summer associate(s) to distill the information into a helpful, concise infographic. Consider adding to your practice’s marketing efforts with a shoutout to the summer associate(s) responsible for the creation.

Challenge #15 — Hobby Hunt

At the beginning of the summer, challenge the summer associate(s) to identify the hobbies/interests outside of the law that firm attorneys indulge in. Info can be discovered through casual conversation, observing what is displayed in offices or reading online. Compile and confirm this list with the attorneys, then consider creating a short-form vid that includes the attorney headshot with a background illustrating the hobby/interest, and a discovered by line naming the summer associate(s) who found the info out.

Challenge #16 — One Word

Ask your summer associate(s) to describe their experience and/or your firm in one word, and then to explain why they chose that word. The word can appear on a graphic with their headshot; the why should be featured in the caption.

Challenge #17 — Tips for the Next Gen

What would your summer associate(s) tell the next generation of law students preparing for their first summer program? If they had to do it all over again, would your summer associate(s) do anything differently in choosing and applying for a summer program? Did they do anything this year that made all the difference in their experience? Create a carousel of blurbs or soundbites to share on the firm’s social platforms.

Challenge #18 — My Hero

Ask summer associate(s) if they have been impressed with anyone in particular during their time with the firm, and then encourage them to give specific examples about why. For good measure, exempt summer associate program leader(s).

Challenge #19 — How I Spent My Summer with [Insert Law Firm Name]

Ask your summer associate(s) to write a blog post about what they learned during their time with your firm and its attorneys. Encourage them to include commentary about the firm’s mentorship, culture and inclusion, as well as the opportunities to observe the legal process, client work and the realities/admin aspects of being a lawyer.

Challenge #20 — Wild Card

It is the age of the influencer, after all, and you may have some social media mavens in your summer associate class. It never hurts to ask them for a campaign idea they’d like to see the firm produce — and then evaluate whether the suggestion fits the culture of the firm and/or the local community.

Special note for program planners: If you are considering specific challenges from this list, consider creating an onboarding questionnaire to help you collect information from the summer associates on day one. Be sure to explain how information will be used and respect any limitations that individuals may express when it comes to use of their details.

Need help with generating social media campaign ideas for everyone else at your firm in addition to summer associates? Reach out to me, Steph Maher, at slmaher@jaffepr.com.