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Summer Associate Training with The New York Law Institute: Understanding the Assignment

Research guide and tips for summer associates. Built thanks to the help of community guides: Seton Hall's Transactional Law Research LibGuide and Summer Legal Research Tips - Illinois College of Law Library.

Help Understanding the Assignment

Steps you can take to make sure you understand an assignment.


1) Dictionaries & Thesauri are your friends 

  • Search the Catalog (link)
    • For topical dictionaries or thesauri to help you understand the terminology being used.
    • Books of Jargon published by Latham & Watkins

Five Tips for Getting Started

1.  Take Notes!

  • Always take notes when receiving an assignment
  • If you receive an assignment in written form parse out the components into notes for yourself

2.  Repeat

  • Whether in email or in-person, always repeat back what you are being asked to do in your own words
  • Repeating back both forces you to formulate your understanding of the problem and clarify any potential misunderstandings upfront

3.  Clarify Parameters

  • How much time do you have?
  • How much money can you spend?
  • What is the expected deliverable?

4.  Assess Your Knowledge

  • What, if anything, do I know about this area of law?
  • What, if anything, do I know about this type of task?
  • What steps do I need to prepare to navigate this question?

5.  Question/Review/Check-In

  • Ask questions when needed!
  • Reviewing, asking questions, and checking-in can help make sure you are on track (but be careful to balance this aspect with the need to be a self-directed and autonomous) 

Bloomberg Law - Overviews

Transactional Resources 

Overviews provide easy to read summaries of major drafting concepts, agreements, and clauses.  Checklists provide good summaries of what needs to be done to complete your assignment.  

Book of Jargon

All of the Books of Jargon published by Latham & Watkins can be found here (link).  These books can be viewed online, downloaded as an eBook (printable PDF), or downloaded as an App.

Available topical Books of Jargon include:

Westlaw - Tool Kits, Practice Notes & Checklists

Practical Law - Resource Types 

Westlaw's Practice Notes, Checklists and Toolkits provide a good introductory discussion on your assignment.  They also provide links to applicable model documents and other useful materials to complete the assignment.

Lexis - Practice Notes

Lexis Practice Notes 

Practice Advisor provides a good introductory discussion on your assignment, so you understand the big picture when completing your assignment.

To access:

  1. Select the type of transaction you are interested in.
  2. Click on Practice Notes.
  3. Review results for applicable practice note OR
  4. Search using the red search box  
    • Under Search: Select applicable topic
    • Under Content Type:  select Practice Notes​​