For many of our attorneys, our Summer Associate Program offered an introduction to the practice of law. They recall the excitement of that first meaningful work assignment, meeting and assisting their first client, and making friendships with people throughout the firm, which endure throughout their careers. Our summer program is more than a good way to spend a summer – it’s a great way to begin a rewarding career with Calfee.
Overseen by our Hiring Committee but actually run by associates constituting the “Summer Associates Committee,” the summer program is approximately 10 weeks long and provides those completing their second year of law school a realistic sense of life as an Associate. The Chair of the Hiring Committee and the Professional Recruiting Coordinator handle all assignments, reviews, and summer events.
The Summer Experience
At the outset of the summer, we ask our Summer Associates to identify the practice areas in which they are interested. We make sure that work in these identified areas is assigned, and we also encourage work assignments outside of designated interests. Often this is done to expose Summer Associates to a related field that they may find interesting but have previously had little or no exposure to (i.e., securities, commercial, or bankruptcy work for those expressing an interest in general corporate). Often a “best fit” is found through this type of engineered exploration.
All projects entail meaningful work that is directly or indirectly needed to serve our clients – there are no “busy work” assignments. Students are matched with an Associate advisor and typically, over the course of the summer, develop relationships with several attorneys who provide valuable guidance as well.
Summer Associates receive projects principally through our Chair of the Hiring Committee, who ensures that each Summer Associate maintains “balance” with assignments. A Summer Associate first assigned an intensive writing project typically would next receive a project requiring less writing, such as attending a deposition, preparing for a closing, or interacting with the patent office. We actively monitor all assignments to ensure that everyone has a meaningful experience with a balanced workload.
The assigning attorneys will complete written evaluations after Summer Associates finish their individual projects. Each attorney is encouraged to provide immediate feedback to Summer Associates to enhance learning opportunities. A formal review of each Summer Associate’s work is conducted approximately midway through the summer program.
Feedback occurs on a regular basis, both formally and informally, through one’s advisor, the Professional Recruiting Coordinator and other relationships developed throughout the program. Our Summer Associates return to school with a solid understanding of how their work was perceived during the course of the summer.
The summer social calendar is designed for Summer Associates to get to know Calfee’s greatest asset – our people. Summer Associates regularly interact with the firm’s partners in the course of discussing assigned work and during planned social activities. Events include the annual welcome reception, Indians games, weekly softball games, Broadway productions at Playhouse Square, and concerts at various venues in the area, including Blossom Music Center.
Besides functions at some of Cleveland’s most interesting venues, such as the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Great Lakes Science Center, and the Terrace Club at Progressive Field, the firm provides informal dinner gatherings where Calfee attorneys, Summer Associates and their guests can socialize in casual, relaxed environments. Each Summer Associate typically is invited to attend small dinner parties with 10-14 guests at the homes of partners and associates during the summer. These events enable our Summer Associates to become more closely acquainted with our attorneys in a more social setting and provide the opportunity to better understand how our attorneys have successfully integrated their work lives with their personal and family lives.
While providing interesting, meaningful work experiences and enjoyable social interactions are Calfee's goals for our Summer Associate Program, inevitably, our attorneys benefit from the summer experience as well. We have truly enjoyed meeting so many exceptional students from across the country whose talents, personalities, and contributions have made a positive and memorable impact on the firm. Our attorneys, including the many who first experienced Calfee through the Summer Associate Program, are committed to maintaining this mutually rewarding tradition.
Selecting our Summer Associates
Every year, we visit numerous law schools and seek additional resumés to select candidates for our Summer Associate Program. In reviewing candidates, we evaluate undergraduate performance, law school achievement, previous employment experience, extracurricular involvement in schools, interpersonal skills and genuine interest in practicing law within our community and at Calfee in particular. We staff our summer program with the goal of fulfilling identified needs for new attorneys each fall. A full summer commitment typically is recommended for those who have not previously worked with us.
We consistently hire our new associates from the Summer Associates Program; however, we sometimes interview exceptional third-year law students for associate positions based on practice area needs.
Summer Associate projects entail meaningful work that is directly or indirectly needed to serve our clients – there are no “busy work” assignments.
The Summer Associate experience at Calfee is second to none. In addition to working on sophisticated matters and learning from great attorneys, Calfee is unique in that the Summer Associate’s office moves between the practice groups throughout the summer. The opportunity to visit every group offers a chance to fully understand Calfee’s special culture. The culture and the personality of Calfee’s attorneys drew me, and I knew this is where I wanted to start my career.