The summer provides an excellent opportunity for the law student to get to know the firm and for the firm to assess the ability of the law student to handle the kinds of problems presented in the firm’s practice. To these ends, the summer program is designed to treat a summer associate to the greatest extent possible in the same manner as a permanent associate. Summer associates work on real problems, not “make-work,” and those problems often involve far more than library research. In recent years, for example, summer associates have assisted at depositions, court proceedings and closings. Summer associates participate in a wide variety of client meetings, witness interviews, negotiation sessions and fact-gathering projects and, on some occasions, they have traveled to other offices. A Trial Advocacy Workshop and a Corporate Negotiations Workshop are included in our summer program to provide summer associates the opportunity to test and develop their litigation techniques and negotiation skills.
An important part of every summer program has been the opportunity for summer associates to work on pro bono matters. In New York, our summer associates assist indigent clients through the Legal Aid Society’s Community Law Offices (“CLO”) program in East Harlem. The summer associates represent their CLO clients in agency proceedings, including motions and evidentiary hearings, with permanent associates providing advice and assistance as needed. In other offices, summer associates work with national and local organizations on pro bono matters being handled by lawyers in those offices.
One of our goals is to assign each summer associate a diversity of projects to ensure that he or she is exposed to as many people in as many areas of the practice as possible. Special efforts are made to see that summer associates are given assignments in areas in which they have expressed particular interest. There is no prescribed duration for the summer program, although experience has shown that the full benefits of the program are unlikely to be realized without at least an eight-week stay at the firm. The firm discourages split summers, which in the past have often resulted in an unrepresentative experience for both the summer associate and the firm.
Lawyer mentors are assigned to each summer associate to act as advisors, to provide additional feedback on work projects, and to work out any problems that may develop over the summer. Each summer associate receives two formal evaluations during the summer. Through informal lunches with lawyers, large parties, dinners at partners’ homes and outings to sports and cultural events, the firm seeks to acquaint summer associates with Hughes Hubbard and its lawyers as well as what it is like to live in the city in which the office is located.