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Students - Summer Program

Summer Program Overview

The summer program is about bringing to life what you’ve learned in school—turning theory into experience. You’ll understand how a brief comes together or why certain contract provisions matter. It’s also a time to grow personally and form new relationships with colleagues who are going through the same new experiences.

Customized 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

Unlike some other summer programs, we don’t put summer associates through a formal practice group rotation process. We believe that having the opportunity to select the work you want is critical to helping you find the right fit long-term. As a summer associate, you can choose to work on assignments that correspond with your own interests and discover types of work that may not have been on your radar. Our assigning partners and work coordinators will help ensure that you receive the right amount and variety of work.

In past years, summer associates have: 

  • reviewed and synthesized complex contracts for a $1.7 billion credit facility, and prepared client memoranda analyzing the results
  • worked on diligence, documentation and submission of a bid by a private equity investor to purchase a new portfolio company
  • prepared a client for an SEC interview and assisted with document production and research and preparation of follow-up memo
  • drafted a memo on the scope of liability of a popular chemical compound that has been determined to be carcinogenic
  • researched the extent of damages that a jury could reasonably award a well-known public figure for reputational damages
  • analyzed a motion filed in a major bankruptcy proceeding
  • researched and drafted a memo for a summary judgment brief involving claims of racial discrimination, malicious prosecution and conspiracy by a large public company
  • prepared license agreements arising out of sublease arrangements for a hedge fund
  • prepared special exceptions regarding plaintiffs’ claim in a toxic tort case
  • interviewed 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

In addition to work assignments, you’ll have a chance to attend depositions, hearings, witness interviews and client meetings in and outside the office. These special opportunities help you get a full picture of life as an Akin Gump lawyer—and they’re often among the highlights of a summer associate’s experience.

Recent special opportunities have included:

  • 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
  • reporting on a Senate Committee meeting
  • attending a critical hearing in a cross-border bankruptcy case
  • reporting on an international trade organization meeting.

Pro Bono Opportunities

Our pro bono commitment is so ingrained in our firm culture that we’ve created a special Summer Pro Bono Program for summer associates. We have close ties with numerous legal services organizations, and they help us match their needs with your interests and talents. These assignments give you front-line responsibility. But don't worry, you’ll have plenty of supervision and support along the way.

Recent summer associates have:

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

For students who show a strong interest in making pro bono a central part of their careers, we offer a two-year Pro Bono Scholars Program. Pro Bono Scholars begin as rising second year law school students who work with public interest organizations for several weeks after joining the firm at the beginning of the first summer. During their second summer, Pro Bono Scholars join the firm’s regular summer associate program.

Developing Skills

“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

In addition to work assignments, the summer program trains you in the legal skills and core competencies you need for a successful career. You’ll attend legal writing workshops, pro bono training, panel discussions and meet-the-practice presentations so you understand how various practices work together to help clients. These programs will expose you to many new ideas and expand your ability to do your job well.

Learn more about our attorney development program.

Valuable Mentoring

There’s no shortage of mentors at Akin Gump. You’ll be paired with several lawyer mentors to make sure your summer is a success, and you will form relationships with informal mentors as well. Mentors play many roles. One is making sure you get the right kind of work. Another is serving as a sounding board. Often, mentors help with practical questions about the best place for a quick lunch or how to meet up with a specific lawyer.

Feedback and Evaluations

Akin Gump takes a proactive approach to summer associate success—our program is designed so you know where you stand and what you need to do to be successful throughout the summer. You’ll meet regularly with mentors, advisors and supervising lawyers to get immediate feedback on your work. You’ll also have two formal evaluations: one at the midpoint of the summer program and a final review. These sessions give you a chance to hear from us and for us to hear from you. We’ll discuss your work assignments, skills, progress and experience to ensure you are getting the most out of the summer program.

Genuine Connections

“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

We want to get to know you—and we want you to get to know us too. Summer events are a great way to connect with the people behind the practices. There’s something for everyone, from weekly events to impromptu gatherings and participation on sports teams. We encourage you to attend departmental breakfasts and lunches to meet more lawyers and learn about their experiences.

Past Summer Associate events have included:

  • major League Baseball games
  • sip and paint events
  • bowling
  • escape the room
  • competitive cooking classes
  • concerts
  • broadway shows
  • summer associate only events
  • community service projects
  • dinners at lawyers’ homes
  • diversity events.

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