Top 10 Things to Know About Becoming a WilmerHale Summer Associate

Top 10 Things to Know About Becoming a WilmerHale Summer Associate

Blog Summer Associate Blogs

Now near the end of our summer, a couple other summer associates in the Denver office and I have composed this list to help prospective summer associate candidates understand what spending ten weeks at WilmerHale Denver is like. 

  1. Quality of Work. It’s been a thrill to have been involved in issues and projects that are exciting, fast-paced, and complex. My projects have required me to dig into the substance of the issue, rather than the rote work of clerical or procedural matters. The variety of projects has also solidified my desire to work where I can be continually challenged intellectually and always learning. 
  2. Open-Door Policy. My posts have already mentioned this at least twice, but it bears repeating: I’m convinced that nothing can replace the wonderful office culture fostered by leaving doors open. It is a consistent reminder that the attorneys here welcome dialogue and actively promote collegiality. From Denver Summer Associate Madeeha Dean: “Everyone in the office is welcoming, willing to talk at any time, and passionate about getting to know you. They answer questions with enthusiasm, address concerns you may have about an assignment, and encourage creative thinking.”
  3. Mentorship. It’s been a privilege to feel like each person in the office is invested in helping us succeed, enjoy the work that we do, and improve ourselves as junior professionals. And it is apparent that the firm supports and encourages these relationships. Recently, most of the women attorneys in the office attended a dinner and hike (pictured below) for a meeting of the Women’s Leadership Initiative. It was an excellent reminder of the extraordinary level of commitment everyone has to building team excellence and community. 
  4. Training. WilmerHale prides itself on its thorough professional development and training, and for good reason. The amount, depth, and breadth of training that we received—and the great extent to which we were included in regular practice group meetings—was impressive. From the start, I felt that WilmerHale was investing time to prepare me not only for these ten weeks but for the rest of my career.
  5. Encouraging Public Service. WilmerHale fully supports associates stepping into government or clerkship roles to gain valuable experience, serve the community, and hopefully bringing that experience back to the firm. Knowing that the firm is flexible enough to allow a career path like that is comforting when you aren’t 100 percent sure what direction you want your career to take. – Denver Summer Associate Sydney Donovan
  6. Resources. As a summer associate, you are constantly researching case law, statutes, and legal scholarship. While WilmerHale trains and empowers you to use effective methods when researching online, there’s also an abundance of resources to use when you get stuck, including: the firm’s library, document bank, the inestimable assistants and paralegals, and (of course) the attorneys. – Madeeha Dean
  7. Summer Events. It is clear that the team responsible for coordinating the Denver summer associate program has been thoughtful about organizing an excellent experience for the four of us in Denver this summer. Events have given us an opportunity to get to know most attorneys and support staff in casual settings. From goat yoga to family-style boardgame night, to a fancy dinner and escape room, we’ve gotten to know people in fun and unique ways. 
  8. Substantive Contributions. “I’ve had the opportunity to solve problems, argue points (respectfully), and offer ideas that have actually changed the minds or thought process of senior associates and counsel. It hasn’t all been finding case law to support an already-developed argument; it has also been the opportunity to poke holes in old arguments and flesh out new arguments.” – Sydney Donovan
  9. Timekeeping. It’s real, and it’s perhaps the worst part. (There. I’ve said it.) Keeping a minute-by-minute accounting of every task I work on throughout the day is a habit I’m still developing. It’s possible I may never like it. But WilmerHale has great tools available, including user-friendly software and comprehensive training—so what could otherwise be a burdensome task is only quotidian and marginally tedious. 
  10.  Food. The food! Nobody warned me! From amazing lunches with mentors at the firm to office-wide gatherings, there has been an abundance of excellent cuisine this summer. More than that, it underscores the real camaraderie that permeates the office. People want to celebrate each other’s successes, gather to maintain strong connections across the office, and create an enduring community.

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Authors

  • Leah Fugere

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