I've now been working for almost one month, so I'm ready to set down some observations. (And I finally found the time!)
The first week was a bit overwhelming. I've never worked at a large firm, much less at this firm, so everything was new to me, from the document management system to the coffee machine. My fellow fall associates, who I'd worked earnestly to get to know, I rarely saw. The partners have written a book called the Corporate Partnering Manual, which comes in an enormous binder. It took me over an hour to figure out how to assemble and put the tabs into the book, which was a bit discouraging. ("I can't even put the manual together - how will I ever practice this!")
I was the only first year (of our group of 9) to start in the IP group - they all went into Corporate. The IP group is comprised of three partners and 6 associates, myself included. It's a small group, and they took me in. I work regularly with the partners, one-on-one. They go over agreements with me for diligence, patiently explaining why, for example, the copyright and trade secret clauses usually have a knowledge qualifier and trademarks and patents don't (it has to do with whether intent is relevant to an action).
I have experienced none of the horrors promised me. Yes, I've only just started, but the truth is I love it. Despite what they told me, I am actually using substantive knowledge I learned in law school. I work a lot (I've been slammed, despite the economy), but I don't mind it because everything is new and exciting, even the endless stacks of diligence on my desk.
One thing the sources did get right: everyone is very forgiving, because they don't expect me to know anything. On my second day, the name IP partner pulled me aside and told me not to be afraid to ask questions.
"If you don't feel like you're annoying people, you're not asking enough questions," he said.