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Summer Associates

Each year the Davis Brown Law Firm hires a small number of law students as summer associates. While we typically hire second year students, extraordinarily qualified first year students may also be included in the program.

The summer associate program is designed to provide students with first-hand legal experience, informal and formal training, and professional networking. A considerable amount of resources is devoted to the program. The program also serves as the firm's primary source of hiring for new associate attorneys; a significant number of current shareholders and associates worked as summer associates during law school.


Summer associates assist shareholders and associates on challenging, sophisticated, and complex cases and transactions. Shareholders and associates typically involve summer associates in client meetings, depositions, and court appearances, as well as arbitration and mediation sessions. Summer associates also gain experience in legal research and contribute to the community through their work on pro bono projects.


Mentorship and Training

To assist with the transition from the classroom to the firm, each summer associate is assigned an associate mentor who helps monitor workflow, acts as a sounding board, and offers advice.  This informal training is supplemented with formal training sessions on matters relevant to the summer associates' duties. 

Feedback for summer associates is regular and constructive. Shareholders and associates submit written evaluations for each project assigned to summer associates. Twice during the summer, evaluations are compiled, reviewed, and discussed with each summer associate.

Beyond orientation and training, summer associates are invited to participate in community events and to explore Des Moines and the surrounding communities. Informal activities for the summer associates typically include:

  • Tour of local court houses
  • Attending appellate arguments
  • Interaction and lunches with members of the Iowa Supreme Court and Court of Appeals
  • Lunches with firm leaders - including division and committee chairs and the board of directors
  • Polk County Bar Association clerk's luncheon
  • An Iowa Cubs picnic and baseball game
  • Participation in the annual firm summer social
  • Informal socials with other summer associates and attorneys
  • Presentations on legal ethics and practical applications of the law
  • Attending and participating in mediations
  • Participating in ongoing wellness initiatives
  • Firm-wide charity potlucks

Finally, summer associates have the opportunity to meet and interact with all members of the firm, as well as the local legal community, through firm events, relevant state and local bar association functions, and community events.

Hiring Process

The summer associate hiring process generally begins in late summer. If you are interested in applying, please contact the firm's professional services administrator Barb Hardy.


From a Former Summer Associate

"Davis Brown offered me a great summer experience. Not only did they introduce me to a wide variety of legal issues and projects, the firm also made it a point to show me opportunities in the community, and the experiences Des Moines has to offer. The entire firm was welcoming and helpful, and showed a genuine interest in getting to know me."