The Substantive Work

The Substantive Work

Blog Summer Associate Blogs

Welcome to the second post of my blog! We are four weeks into the summer program and, as expected, it has been an exciting whirlwind of new experiences. If someone asked me about my day-to-day as a summer associate, I would struggle to give a short answer. Each day brings something new.

In addition to attending all the fun summer events (e.g. cooking class in the North End, Red Sox game, Boston Pops Broadway night), I have enjoyed working on some very substantive projects. The WilmerHale recruitment team asked us about our preferences for the type of work we want to try this summer before the program began. I decided to join WilmerHale, partly, because summer associates can test different practice areas. This provides flexibility for those of us who want to explore our interests. To that end, the co-chairs and recruitment team work tirelessly to ensure we work on assorted projects and with various teams at the firm.

During the first few weeks, I have conducted legal research in preparation for drafting motions, researched international tort law, drafted memos analyzing potential litigation strategies, and conducted factual investigation for pending regulatory actions. The breadth of legal issues at WilmerHale is one of the many benefits of working at a larger firm, and I am grateful for the opportunity to try a bit of everything.

One of the biggest substantive assignments I’ve worked on so far has been the appellate group’s Supreme Court preview project. Every year, a few summer associates in each office choose upcoming Supreme Court cases to summarize in a memo and present to the appellate group. The project is both a wonderful opportunity to learn more about WilmerHale’s appellate practice and to receive substantive feedback on your writing and presentation skills. Partners involved with the project provide thorough feedback on each memo and presentation. I look forward to presenting one of my cases to the entire appellate group in a few weeks.

The SCOTUS preview project is one example of the numerous ways WilmerHale nurtures junior associates’ legal skills. During the summer, we will also complete a variety of professional development trainings, such as a writing workshop, communication skills training and a negotiation skills workshop. Between the substantive assignments and legal training, one of my favorite parts of this summer has been getting a real sense of what it’s like to be a lawyer at WilmerHale.


  • Sharon Kelleher