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by Rachel Marx Boufford | August 14, 2012


The junior associates have spoken, and Williams & Connolly is where it’s at for the best overall experience during a summer associate program.

During its annual law firm associate survey, Vault asked first through third year associates who had worked as summer associates at their current firms to rate the program both in terms of how well it prepared them for full-time practice and how much fun they’d had. The average of these two scores determined which firms ranked on our Best Overall Summer Associate Programs list.

Besides its Best Overall title, Williams & Connolly was also voted the firm that best prepares summer associates for full-time legal practice. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman took the No. 1 spot for most fun summer associate program.

The firms with the best overall summer associate programs (and some comments from former summer associates there) are:

1. Williams & Connolly: “You get real work from day one and are made to feel part of the team.”

2. Hughes Hubbard & Reed: “I can't imagine there is a better summer program in NYC. We worked hard, which prepared us for our first year of real work, but still had a blast and built meaningful relationships with each other and the full-time lawyers and staff.”

3. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld: “I loved the summer associate program at Akin—I received substantive work, worked directly with partners and met clients, and attended in-court appearances.”

4. Venable: “We received real work and went through the same process that I do now as an associate. Also, we had lots of fun social events and met lawyers from around the firm.”

5. Dickstein Shapiro: “The summer program was a perfect balance of fun and ‘real’ attorney work. Most importantly, the summer program provided many opportunities to network and really learn which practice group would be the best fit for me.”

6. Linklaters (tie): “Our summer program is pretty awesome. Most summers get to spend half the summer in either Hong Kong or London and halfway throughout the summer all summer associates have a retreat in London.”

6. Kasowitz (tie): “There is a summer outing held in New York where attorneys and spouses or significant others are invited to attend.”

7. Shook, Hardy & Bacon: “I really enjoyed the summer program. Met great people and worked with a variety of individuals in different practice areas. Substantive, complex assignments (no ‘fluff’ work) helped me hone my legal skills.”

8. Ropes & Gray: “Amazing summer! I got to work in many different practice areas and with many different partners and associates. I got a good feel for life here at Ropes. Obviously the wining and dining part of the summer was fantastic as well.”

9. Baker & Hostetler: “The program was the perfect mix of business and pleasure. The work was substantive and the expectation for quality work was there. The firm did a great job of giving feedback at the halfway point of the summer and the end. It was fun because the recruitment team and the events coordinator went out of their way to come up with innovative and fun events that connected the summer associates with the firm's attorneys.”

10. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner: “It was a lot of fun, of course (dinners, golf trips, etc.). But what was especially great is that it really gave me a sense of what types of assignments I would be handling as a junior associate. I think the program prepared me really well for being an attorney at the firm after graduation.”

See the full list of Vault's Best Overall Summer Associate Programs here.

Williams & Connolly also took the No. 1 spot in the “Best Prepares for Practice” rankings, moving up from its No. 2 spot last year. The Top 10 Summer Associate Programs that Best Prepare for Practice are offered by:

1. Williams & Connolly

2. Venable

3. Cravath, Swaine & Moore

4. Hughes Hubbard & Reed

5. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

6. Baker & Hostetler (tie)

6. Dickstein Shapiro (tie)

7. Carlton Fields

8. Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

9. Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner

10. Holland & Knight

Kasowitz’s summer program, meanwhile, was voted as offering the best time, with at least one associate calling their program “tons of fun.”

See the full list of the summer associate programs that best prepare for practice here.

The Top 10 Most Fun Summer Associate Programs are offered by:

1. Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman

2. Ropes & Gray

3. Shook, Hardy & Bacon

4. Alston & Bird

5. Irell & Manella

6. Linklaters

7. Hughes Hubbard & Reed

8. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom

9. Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

10. Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

See the full list of the most fun summer associate programs here.

--Rachel Marx, Law Editor



Filed Under: Job Search|Law