Each year the Davis Brown Law Firm hires a small number of law students as summer associates. While the program is typically filled with second year students, first year students may also be included in the program. The summer associate program serves as the firm's primary source of hiring for new associate attorneys. Therefore, a considerable amount of resources are devoted to the program.
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.
To assist summer associates with the transition from the classroom to the law office, each summer associate is assigned a 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.
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 the court house
- Lunches with firm leaders-including division and committee chairs and the board of directors
- An Iowa Cubs picnic and baseball game
- Participation in the annual firm summer social
- Informal socials with the associates
- Presentation on legal ethics
Feedback for summer associates is regular and constructive. Shareholders and associates are strongly encouraged to submit written evaluations for each project assigned to summer associates. Twice during the summer, evaluations are compiled, reviewed and discussed with each summer associate.
Finally, summer associates interact with everyone at the firm, as well as with members of the local legal community. To that end, summer associates are regularly invited to firm events and relevant state and local bar association functions.