Welcoming Fall Associates: First Year Guides

We know that the thought of starting a new job—especially starting a new career—can seem daunting. It is natural to wonder about how you will get to know everyone, how you will figure out the norms of your office and practice group, and who you can ask the questions to—the one’s you might be unsure of how to ask.

That’s why Wilson Sonsini developed our First Year Guide program. The entire purpose of the program is to help our new Fall Associates transition into your new roles. Your First Year Guide is there to help you get settled and give you a friendly face for the inevitable questions or surprises that may come up. (And don’t worry if you’re not coming in as a Fall Associate—new lateral associates have a similar program called Lateral Link.)

Five summer associates and guides holding up their completed paintings after a paint-and-sip event in San Diego.
Associates and guides in the San Diego office went to Pinot’s Palette for a FYG paint-and-sip event.

First Year Guides are junior and mid-level associates who volunteer to advise our Fall Associates on working in your practice groups and serve as a point of contact for technical legal questions. They are an invaluable guide to working with our firm resources and becoming an active part of our firm culture. Pairings can be based on what school you went to, outside interests, or participation in an affinity group. 

Associates and guides at a game night, with ping pong and GIant Jenga visible.
The New York office recently enjoyed an energetic game night for one of their FYG events.

Guides welcome their new associates to the firm before you even arrive, and in the early weeks help you to meet practice group attorneys and staff. Guides have regular check-ins with you, take you out for lunch, and are available to you to answer questions, no matter how small. FYGs and their Fall Associates also attend a variety of fun getting-to-know-you events that usually include all the attorneys in the office.

Four associates holding succulent terrariums they made at a First Year Guide event.
Some FYG events are firm-wide. Associates and Guides made succulent terrariums in each office—the Salt Lake City crew looks particularly proud of theirs!

These formal relationships last for the first six months of a Fall Associate’s time at Wilson Sonsini, but the informal relationships often last a lot longer. By the end of six months, you will be well on your way to knowing the ropes, but FYGs and everyone at the firm remain available to help you succeed.

Group photo of nine associates and guides in dark room with a few wearing flower costumes.
A FYG event for the Seattle office at Café Nordo included a rousing round of karaoke.