Last night we had a open meeting for law students interested in our intern program. This one was focused on the Bay Area, but we hold similar gatherings in other locations. Last year, we were a bit surprised when over 150 people attended. And this year it looked like about the same size turnout.
Interns are an important part of our organization. In the past, like most companies, we hired primarily attorneys with 5-7 years of experience – usually with a law firm. But with recent announcements like this, it’s clear that this model can’t continue. Our approach has been to increase our investment in training so that we can bring employees on board much sooner after they graduate. As part of this, we have ramped up our intern program. Some of our interns work just during the summer; others continue through the school year. They do valuable work and provide a great pipeline of talent for future hiring.
And, the talent coming out of law schools today is truly impressive. While graduating from top schools with strong a GPA is important; to me, a better indicator of success is “real life” experience. We can train people on the technical side of our practice, but, it’s much more difficult to teach them the “soft” skills, things like – communication, collaboration, intellectual curiosity, initiative and leadership. Last year, the interns we hired included:
a former HR manager who speaks 4 languages;
a couple of experienced Java programmers, including one who had previously started his own company;
a student who had already passed the patent bar and had several issued patents; and
an accomplished musician who had spent several years working for the Nepalese government (and who, in his spare time, had summited Everest).
I recall leaving my first meeting with these individuals feeling very, very inadequate, but also energized by the passion and enthusiasm in the room. I had the same feeling after last night’s event. Many of the students had previous experience in business, investment banking and teaching. A significant number had spent years in hardware and software engineering and had decided to go to law school – reflective of the interesting dynamic that occurs at the intersection of these disciplines. Most not only had business cards, but some handed out USB flash drives complete with resumes and writing samples. It’s definitely a different world than when I graduated.
To all of you who attended last night, “Thank You” for joining us and for your interest in working at Sun. I can’t help but feel optimistic about your futures.