Students - Summer Program

Summer Program Overview

The summer program is about you and how your goals fit into the Akin Gump story. Each day brings new opportunities to learn about the law, to grow professionally and to form lasting relationships with colleagues.

What You Need To Know

Legal Assignments

“The most rewarding experience was getting to see work product start to finish, when I knew that it was actually helpful and being used in some way. It showed that I was getting the opportunity to do ‘real work’ and motivated me to make sure that my work product was the best it could be.” –Dallas summer associate

We afford our summer associates the unique opportunity of customizing their assignments based on their particular interests and the availability of work in those areas. Unlike other large firms, we do not put our summer associates through a formal rotation process. We want our summer associates to get as much out of this experience as possible, and we believe that allowing them considerable discretion in choosing the type of work they receive helps to facilitate their individual and professional growth. Their development is furthered by regular meetings throughout the summer with their mentors, advisors and attorneys with whom they have worked for the purpose of receiving feedback on their work. During the summer program, assigning partners or work coordinators oversee the work assignment process. This ensures that summer associates receive the proper amount and variety of work.

There is a wide variety of assignments available to summer associates. Some of the projects on which our summer associates worked in the past included: 

  • reviewing and synthesizing complex contracts in connection with the negotiation of a $1.7 billion credit facility and preparation of a memorandum for presentation to the client analyzing the results of such review
  • working on diligence, documentation and submission of a bid by a private equity investor for the purchase of a new portfolio company, including attendance at client meetings and presentations, review of agreements and management of certain aspects of bid submission process
  • preparing a client for an interview by the SEC and assisting with document production and drafting of a follow up memo and research 
  • drafting a memo on the scope of liability of a popular chemical compound that has been determined to be carcinogenic
  • researching the extent of damages that a jury could reasonably award a well-known public figure for reputational damages
  • analyzing and reviewing a motion filed in a major bankruptcy proceeding and providing a memo to be distributed to the client
  • researching and drafting a memo for a summary judgment brief for a large public company, involving claims of racial discrimination, malicious prosecution and conspiracy
  • preparing license agreements arising out of sublease arrangements for a hedge fund client
  • preparing special exceptions regarding plaintiffs’ claim in a toxic tort case
  • interviewing witnesses for a death penalty case.

“Through a balanced mix of work assignments and social events, I was acquainted with the diverse personalities at the firm. Through real work assignments from day one of the summer program, I developed professional relationships with attorneys at all levels, and those relationships grew organically during social activities.” —Houston summer associate

Special Opportunities

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a lawyer can be the excitement of appearing in court or meeting with clients and finding solutions to their problems. We want our summer associates to share those same exciting experiences. To that end, outside of their normal assignments, we offer special opportunities to attend depositions, hearings, witness interviews and client meetings. Special opportunities become available as a result of our lawyers’ willingness to share their workdays with summer associates. Their active participation is evidence of our firmwide commitment to making the summer experience as valuable as possible.

Recent summer associate assignments and out-of-office opportunities include:

  • traveling to Argentina to meet with clients to review, translate and summarize corporate documents
  • attending a bargaining session for a collective bargaining agreement
  • observing a client’s shareholders meeting
  • attending a deposition and subsequent arbitral hearing
  • attending and reporting on a Senate Committee meeting
  • attending a critical hearing in the confirmation of a cross-border bankruptcy case
  • attending and reporting on an international trade organization meeting.

Doing Good - Pro Bono

Pro bono is fundamental to Akin Gump. As an integral part of our summer program, the firm has a Summer Pro Bono Program that is specifically tailored to summer associates. Taking advantage of our relationships with numerous legal services organizations, Akin Gump identifies and accepts pro bono projects that are well suited to the interests and talents of our summer associates. The assignments are geared to maximize front-line responsibility on the part of the summer associates while ensuring that they receive appropriate supervision from experienced attorneys. Through this unique program, recent summer associates gained invaluable experience and some notable victories for pro bono clients, including:

  • assisting with analysis of critical issues in terrorism cases for a white paper on prosecuting terrorism defendants in U.S. courts 
  • drafting a political asylum application for a foreign scholar at risk of persecution in his home country
  • assisting in drafting a brief on the merits of a Supreme Court case addressing prosecutorial immunity
  • representing women in applying for legal status under the Violence Against Women Act
  • representing asylum seekers through the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project.

In addition, Akin Gump has a Pro Bono Scholars Program that is intended to be a two-year program for top law school students who show a strong interest in making pro bono an integral part of their Akin Gump careers. The Pro Bono Scholars (rising second year law school students) work with public interest organizations before joining the firm for several weeks at the end of the first summer. During the second summer, the Pro Bono Scholars are part of the firm’s regular summer associate program.

Click here for more information about the Pro Bono Scholars Program.

Training and Development

In addition to work assignments, we provide our summer associates with development and training opportunities throughout the summer. Summer associates attend legal writing workshops, pro bono training, panel discussions and meet-the-section presentations. All sessions are designed to enhance summer associates’ legal career and experience at the firm.

“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/negotiation styles and techniques. The departmental meetings gave us a real, honest account of life in the department and the status of its work and goals.” —New York summer associate

Click here for additional details on the firm’s attorney development program.


There is no shortage of mentors at Akin Gump. Each summer associate is assigned several attorney mentors to oversee his/her workload and development throughout the summer and to help facilitate the summer associate’s social interaction and integration into the firm. We try to match the attorneys and summer associates based on practice areas, law schools, similar backgrounds and/or experiences. 

Feedback and Evaluations

Akin Gump takes a proactive approach to ensure that summer associates succeed. Each project a summer associate works on is evaluated by the attorneys who supervised the assignment. In addition, summer associates have two formal evaluations during the summer: a midpoint and final review. In these evaluations, each summer associate has the opportunity to discuss his/her work assignments, progress and experience.

Getting to Know Us

“The summer events were a great opportunity to get to know what firm lawyers’ lives are like outside of their work. While I found that many Akin lawyers have an intensity and passion for their work in the office, 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 a person over drinks or at a cooking class than in the office. I saw that Akin lawyers lead rich lives outside of work during these events.” —DC summer associate

Not only do we want to see what kind of legal work you can do, we also want to get to know you. We know that you want to get to know us too, and, with that in mind, we make it a priority to offer many opportunities to meet attorneys at the firm. We plan our summer associate events to include something for everyone. In addition to weekly events, attorneys and summer associates get together for a variety of impromptu gatherings, and our summer associates are valuable additions to our many attorney sports teams. We encourage our summer associates to attend our departmental breakfasts and lunches so that they can meet attorneys in all of our departments, as well as learn more about particular practice groups.

Past events include:

  • sailing trips
  • interactive cooking classes
  • concerts
  • Broadway shows
  • movie nights
  • community service projects
  • sporting events
  • dinners at lawyers’ homes
  • diversity events.

Click here for FAQs from each of Akin’s offices hosting summer programs in 2016.