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2016 Summer Associates Shine in Work for Clients and Community

August 02, 2016

As temperatures rose and law schools across the United States took a seasonal break, Morgan Lewis welcomed first- and second-year law students to its Summer Associate Program. Beginning each year at the end of May and running through July, the firm’s competitive program admits highly accomplished students to participate in one of three options: Firm Experience, Client Experience, and Community Experience.

Students who participated in the Firm Experience spent the summer immersed in one of our 17 US offices working on actual assignments and engaging with partners, associates, and clients. During the 10-week program, the summer associates tackled a range of projects from various practices, including writing briefs and memoranda, participating in public interest assignments, and performing research. The program offered flexibility by allowing students to choose the assignments they were most interested in.

In the Client Experience, after six weeks at the firm, students worked in-house for four weeks with some of the firm’s most important clients to create ongoing, value-oriented relationships. The summer associates strengthened their professional development by gaining a deeper understanding of the issues that in-house legal departments handle and by cultivating essential client service skills necessary for a successful future in law. Recent clients that have partnered with the program include Uber, Campbell Soup Company, and Bank of America.

The Community Experience paired students with a public interest or community service organization for up to four weeks (after an initial six weeks spent at the firm) to carry out crucial pro bono work. Our Pro Bono Clinic, held during orientation, served as the program’s foundation by connecting summer associates directly with mission-oriented clients in need of counsel. Public Counsel and the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Southern most recently collaborated with our Pro Bono Clinic to provide 26 nonprofit clients with corporate governance advice.

This year’s summer associates began the program with orientation in Santa Monica for training and social activities that introduced them to the firm’s environment, structure, and culture. Once back at their office home bases, they worked within different practices to become familiar with the core industries we serve—energy, financial services, life sciences, retail, and technology—and help them become acquainted with as many lawyers as possible during their time with the firm. Each summer associate benefitted from both a partner and associate mentor for feedback on work and advice.

Our program provides an innovative, real-world opportunity for budding lawyers to gain hands-on experience in the legal field and to refine their career goals and interests, and we are proud to have the chance to help support and shape their future.

Meet the Summer Associates

This year Morgan Lewis hosted more than 60 summer associates in nine of our offices. We caught up with a few of them to ask about their experiences.

Name: Charis Redmond
School:
University of Virginia School of Law
Morgan Lewis Office:
San Francisco
ML Experience:
Client Experience

How has the program prepared you for a future in law?

Overall, I think this program helped with my confidence as a legal professional. Part of this was because I was doing real work and learning the nuances of doing it well. But part of this was also because my colleagues were very approachable. Because the junior associates were so willing to help, I could often go to one of them if I got stuck without feeling as though I had done something wrong. I even saw them going to one another for help, which made me realize that asking for help is very normal. I also got to work on exactly the type of projects I wanted. I received some client exposure and got to lead presentations.

I remember when I interviewed with Morgan Lewis, I thought I made a mistake on something and apologized to one of the partners. He looked at me and said, “Charis, we’re all people here. You’re OK.” I think those words demonstrate the supportive and collaborative nature of my summer experience. Everyone knows you’re not going to be perfect, and they have all been in your shoes. However, if you want to get better, if you want more exposure, the tools are there and the people are more than willing to help you develop professionally.


Name: Vineeta Kamath
School:
University of Virginia School of Law
Morgan Lewis Office:
Washington, DC
ML Experience:
Firm Experience

What did a typical day as a summer associate in your track look like?

At the risk of sounding cliché, my days as a summer associate at Morgan Lewis were far from typical. A weeklong employment discrimination trial gave me the opportunity to watch the unflappable adaptability of Morgan Lewis trial lawyers in action. My projects ranged from the crucial work of completing 50 state surveys to drafting portions of briefs and writing persuasive memoranda. Every lawyer I worked with was approachable and willing to give detailed feedback.


Name: Shannon Delaney
School:
Villanova University School of Law
Morgan Lewis Office:
Philadelphia
ML Experience:
Client Experience

What did you enjoy most about your time as a summer associate?

I enjoyed feeling part of a team and family at Morgan Lewis. Being in the office for six weeks, I was surprised by how much I was able to interact with the associates, and even partners, on a daily basis. I had been told as a law student that summer associates would most likely not work directly with partners and not have a lot of client interaction. This could not be further from the truth at Morgan Lewis! I was able to work with partners who mentored me and asked me to join client meetings and conference calls. It was a wonderful experience being able to choose my own assignments and work with many different lawyers.


Name: Brandon Nesfield
School:
Columbia Law School
Morgan Lewis Office:
New York
ML Experience:
Firm Experience

How has this experience prepared you for a future in law?

This experience has prepared me for a future in law because I’ve learned to take ownership of my work. In the corporate and business transactions team (where most of my assignments came from), the work product that summer associates created was integral to the bigger deal at hand. When you begin to take ownership of your work, you take pride in making sure that everything is the best it can be—you really give 110%. It feels great to hand in an assignment, no matter how big or small, that you can proudly claim as your contribution.