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Summer Program

It's time to take what you’ve learned in law school and give it context through real-world experience. Learn how to put together a brief or contract. How to collaborate with teams of lawyers and professionals to create innovative solutions. All of this while learning about the firm’s practice areas. In our summer program, you’ll form new relationships, expand your network and find out what it’s like to be an Akin Gump lawyer.

The Work You Want, Right From the Start

Choose to work on assignments that excite you. We don’t put you through a formal practice group rotation. Instead, our assigning partners and work coordinators will guide you as you discover practice areas that spark your curiosity.

Summer associates can work on matters ranging from billion-dollar contracts, to briefs involving discrimination claims, to IP work and more.

Former Akin Gump summer associates have:

  • Drafted a memo on the scope of liability for makers of a popular, carcinogenic chemical compound.
  • Reviewed complex contracts for a $1.7 billion credit facility.
  • Prepared a client for an SEC interview.
  • Drafted a memo for a summary judgment brief involving racial discrimination.
  • Prepared license agreements arising out of sublease arrangements for a hedge fund.

First-Hand Experience

Attend high-stakes depositions, hearings, witness interviews and client meetings in and out of the office.

Past summer associates have:

  • Met with a client in Argentina to review, translate and summarize corporate documents.
  • Attended a deposition and subsequent arbitral hearing.
  • Reported on a Senate Committee meeting.
  • Attended collective bargaining agreement negotiations.
  • Assisted at a critical hearing in a cross-border bankruptcy case.
  • Reported on an international trade organization meeting.
  • Observed a client’s shareholders meeting.

Make an Impact through Pro Bono Work

Working on pro bono matters helps you learn on the job and make a difference. You'll join your peers and senior lawyers working to profoundly empower people, organizations and causes. All summer associates are assigned a pro bono project during the summer, allowing them to work alongside our lawyers and collaborate with legal services organizations on the front lines of issues that matter to you—from death penalty trial defense, to human rights, poverty law, immigration and more.

More than 70 percent of our lawyers devote more than 80 hours a year to pro bono activities. In 2018, the firm donated more than 103,000 hours of pro bono service.  Pro bono hours are counted equally to any other client hours, with no cap on credit. All levels of firm management champion the firm’s policy of strongly encouraging lawyers to participate in our pro bono practice as part of their ongoing caseloads.

Pro Bono Opportunities

Our pro bono practice areas include:

  • Death Penalty Trial Defense
  • Education Reform
  • Environmental Protection and Animal Rights
  • Human Rights and Refugees
  • Immigration Law and Policy
  • Impact Litigation
  • International Development
  • Policy Work in the Public Interest
  • Poverty Law
  • Soldiers and Families.

Past summer associates have:

  • Analyzed critical issues in terrorism cases for a paper on prosecuting terrorism defendants.
  • Represented women applying for legal status under the Violence against Women Act.
  • Briefed the merits of a Supreme Court case addressing prosecutorial immunity.
  • Drafted a political asylum application for a foreign scholar at risk of persecution in his home country.
  • Represented asylum seekers through the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project.
  • Do you want to make pro bono a priority in your career? Check out our Pro Bono Scholars Program for rising second-year law school students.

Grow Your Skills

Our training programs for summer associates expose you to new ideas and innovative ways of solving even the most complex legal and business issues.

We’ll give you the tools and training you need to excel. At Akin Gump, we focus on professional development and skill building starting on day one. In addition to working on matters, you’ll attend legal writing workshops, pro bono training, panel discussions and meet-the-practice presentations.

“The summer associate training programs and departmental lunches were extremely useful. The training programs really gave us a sense of how our discrete projects fit into a bigger picture and gave us a chance to experiment with presentation and negotiation styles and techniques. The departmental meetings gave us a real, honest account of life in the department.” — New York summer associate

Valuable Mentoring

During the summer, you’ll tackle challenging matters for sophisticated clients. We don’t throw you into the program or your projects without support. You’ll be paired with several lawyer mentors to show you the ropes and make sure you’re maximizing every opportunity. Your mentors will make introductions across the firm, spend time one-on-one to answer questions and join you for networking events. Mentors will help you secure assignments in your areas of interest and navigate the program. They can also be a sounding board as you explore your career goals.

Feedback and Evaluations

In addition to two formal review meetings during the summer, you’ll meet regularly with mentors and supervising lawyers to get frequent feedback on your work. We go over your assignments, skills, progress and questions to ensure that you are getting the most out of your summer program (and so that you always know where you stand).

Events That Matter 

The best way to get to know our lawyers is to get out of the office, connect and be yourself.

Participate in weekly events, play on our sports teams or take part in impromptu gatherings. Come to departmental breakfasts and lunches to meet more lawyers and learn about their experiences. The firm also hosts a Wellness Week over the summer and sponsors activities in each office. Our annual Community Service Day gives you the opportunity to spend time outside of the office working on projects within our community and alongside lawyers and business services staff from your office.

“The summer events were a great opportunity to get to know what firm lawyers’ lives are like outside of work. While I found that many Akin lawyers have an intensity and passion for their work, many are equally intense and passionate about their hobbies, communities and families. Some are foodies, some follow baseball religiously, others spend many out-of-office hours serving others. These things are easier to learn about outside the office than in it. I saw that Akin lawyers lead rich lives outside of work.” — Washington, D.C. summer associate

Our program includes plenty of opportunities to bond with your fellow summers and our lawyers while enjoying experiences such as:

  • Major League Baseball games
  • Sip and paint events
  • Bowling
  • Escape rooms
  • Competitive cooking classes
  • Spin classes
  • Concerts
  • Broadway shows
  • Summer associate-only events
  • Community service projects
  • Dinners at lawyers’ homes
  • Diversity and inclusion events.

Learn about summer events in our offices.

Heeding the Call: Our Commitment to Racial Justice

A message from Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Martin Luther King Jr.

"An America that looks away is ignoring not just the sins of the past but the sins of the present and the certain sins of the future." Ta-Nehisi Coates

From the voices of two generations of moral leadership, Akin Gump heeds the call. We cannot remain silent, and we cannot look away. And we cannot accept the sad reality that too little has changed for too long.

We start by acknowledging and recognizing the most basic reality that systemic racism is a blight on our country and around the world. It has caused too much death, indignity and injustice to be allowed to fester as it has without sufficient challenge. We must commit to addressing racism and the deep wounds it has inflicted on our nation. And in making that commitment, we must combine immediate steps with a sustained, intense relentlessness of purpose.

Our commitment to justice, antiracism, humanity and diversity has been a core principle since the founding of our firm 75 years ago. It continues to guide us to this day. But it is also time to reimagine what we can do to effect change in our communities and what we can do with the special responsibilities and privileges we hold as part of the legal profession.

As a part of this commitment, we are making a $200,000 financial contribution, split between the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and Equal Justice Initiative. LDF has been at the forefront of some of the most important legal battles for justice and equality in our nation's history, and we are proud of our long-standing partnership. EJI has also been transformative in challenging racial and economic injustice in our country and in effecting meaningful, beneficial change for the citizens of our country. These financial contributions are a continuation, not the conclusion, of our efforts.

We will engage in dialogue, seek to educate and raise a call to action in our own firm. Leadership requires that we look inward as well as outward. We will listen, we will become smarter and we will act. We will take our long history of pro bono representation and ensure that we are using the talent and passion of our firm to directly address racial injustice. And we will seek to join forces with those who share our commitment—other members of the legal community; advocacy, professional and other allied organizations; and our clients—to maximize our impact.

In everything we do, we are inspired and guided by the life and deeds of our partner Vernon Jordan, a fighter against injustice for his entire life. Many of us have had the honor of discussing firsthand with Vernon his experiences battling to integrate public colleges and universities in the 1960s and his later tenure as the Georgia field director of the NAACP. In these times of profound reflection, we recognize that progress is not enough, and there is much work to be done. As Vernon has said, "We exist temporarily through what we take, but we live forever through what we give." It is time for everyone to find a way to give.

This moment is one for profound sadness and necessary action. It is worth reflecting on the words of Dr. King: "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." But that doesn't happen by itself, and we cannot rely on destiny alone to determine which way the arc bends. We recognize Dr. King's "fierce urgency of now," and, as a firm, we will be doing everything we can to be part of bending that arc toward justice.


Kim Koopersmith

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