Five Tips for Summer Associates
April 27, 2022
By: Stephanie Weber
((Stephanie will be a summer associate in 2022 and is not a practicing attorney))
Being a Summer Associate is a fantastic job experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first summer at Jackson Kelly. For myself and for many law students, being a Summer Associate is the first opportunity to put the legal skills learned during the year to the test outside the classroom. Over the summer, I was surrounded by interesting projects, engaging colleagues, and welcoming attorneys. As the summer progressed, I got my first taste of what it means to be a lawyer. I learned so much during my ten weeks at the Firm and picked up some helpful tips that I will continue to utilize as a Summer Associate.
Ask questions. One of the best ways to learn is to ask questions. Of course, asking questions is important when taking on a new project, but it is equally important to ask questions about non-work-related aspects of being a Summer Associate. Find an attorney to connect with and pick their brain about their practice area, their involvement in the community, or their journey through law. At Jackson Kelly, Summer Associates are assigned mentors and asking your mentor these questions is an excellent way to get to know the Firm on a deeper level.
Get to know attorneys outside the office. Getting a feel for the Firm involves more than just working in the office. Take any opportunity you can to get to know the attorneys in a non-legal setting. Jackson Kelly provides many opportunities to make connections outside of the office, which allows Summer Associates to feel more comfortable and creates a positive working environment.
Take projects in varying practice areas. Even if you think you know what area of law you want to practice, take projects in different practice areas. Being a Summer Associate is about getting exposed to new and different aspects of the law. Working on a project in an unfamiliar area is a valuable learning experience. The projects I worked on last summer were exciting, challenging, and relevant to current legal issues.
Collaborate with other Summer Associates where possible. Get to know your fellow Summer Associates and communicate with them as much as you can. If a coworker has a really interesting project that you would like to work on, reach out to them and the assigning attorney to see if you can work together. Not only does collaborating afford you exposure to other projects, it also allows you to learn from your colleagues.
Ask for feedback. Do not be afraid to ask for feedback. Being a Summer Associate is a learning experience and any feedback received will help build legal skills.
Working at the 6th oldest firm in the country makes me feel as though I am part of something bigger than myself. Currently celebrating its 200th anniversary, Jackson Kelly has a rich history with a feeling of connectedness between each office location that I experienced this past summer. It is easy to see why Jackson Kelly has been effectively serving its clients for so long. I look forward to my second summer with the Firm and the continued fostering of relationships with my colleagues.