35+ hours of direct interaction between the summers and the associates and partners who attend. Lots of alcohol, good food, sponsored activities and, of course, they put us up in very swank rooms at a very swank resort. Overall, the firm retreat was lovely. I had a blast and feel like I know many of the people who attended much better than I did before we left.
The only major negative observation is about my future colleagues and the attitudes that the industry of law is willing to accept from its members. Apparently, it is acceptable for summers and associates to have such a sense of entitlement that they get angry when the free food, activity plans, or alcohol isn't to their liking. And, if they don't like the policy set by the firm, they think it is entirely acceptable to speak ill of servers as they bring the food, or to be rude to bartenders. In all honesty, I find this shocking.
Somehow this subset of the group chose not to see the retreat as a gift. They didn't consider that if they wanted something to accompany or replace any portion of the gift, they could purchase an alternative option. Instead of being appreciative, many of them complained about the free stuff and asked, nay demanded, for alternatives of their choosing (all on the firm, of course).
Realization: I find it hard to enjoy a wonderful environment when I am sharing it with even a few vocal winers/whiners.
I know it's not the firm. It's something about the type of people that want to end up in the practice of BIGLAW. Not all of them, certainly, but definitely some of them feel that the world owes them quite a bit according to their tastes and desires. Sure, it's annoying to be around. But more importantly, I can't imagine how miserable it must be to have your default response to gifts be anger, disappointment, and frustration.
What causes people to look at the world like this?