I interviewed for a summer 2014 position at the Del Mar, CA, office at the Patent Law Interview Program at Loyola in August of 2013.
Both the screening and call back interviews were very relaxed and low-key. In each instance, the focus was on getting to know me as a person and allowing me the opportunity to get to know the attorneys who worked at the firm, why they liked the firm, and what to expect from the firm and the summer program. I was never made uncomfortable or stressed out during their interview process.
The culture of the firm for the office I was at (Del Mar) was definitely relaxed yet productive. Everyone has something to do/work on, and serious work happens every day, but the firm attempts, and succeeds, in making the workday as enjoyable as possible.
For example, when the World Cup was happening, the multipurpose room was set up to project the games, party food and drinks (beer included) were provided, and attorneys could come and watch the games during breaks or bring work with them to multi-task if they wanted to.
The dress code is typically pants and a button-down for men and of a similar level for women. Fridays were jeans and a button-down or maybe a polo.
The work felt meaningful. There were some assignments related to the Summer Associate training program that were obviously not advancing any project but were necessary to doing well in the training. Even there, though, because you were working towards the mock trial at the end of the summer, it still had meaning.
Over the course of the summer, I drafted pleadings and wrote memoranda of points and authorities for attorneys to review. I also did the initial research and drafts of an appellate brief to the Board of Immigration Appeals for one of the pro bono cases that the firm was working on. That was probably the best work I had over the summer, but everything else I was assigned to was enjoyable as well.