We look upon our summer associate program as the major source of our future associates and partners. Shumaker recruits summer associates after their first and second years in leading law schools nationwide, and we accept you for inclusion because we see you as a “Shumaker lawyer.” Your learning experience shows you exactly what to expect at Shumaker if you practice law with us, as you will have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of projects involving multiple practice areas. You’ll attend court appearances, discovery proceedings, client meetings and transaction closings. You’ll draft legal documents that are filed with the court system or delivered directly to clients. In other words, you’ll find out very quickly what it’s like to practice law!
What Makes Us Different
Each of our offices determines annually what its summer salaries will be and how many summer associates that office will need, bringing in the number of people based on the open positions we expect to have. That works to your advantage, because unlike other firms, we won’t hire six or eight people for our summer program knowing that we only have two spots to fill. We don’t want to pit summer associates against each other – we simply want you to learn what it will be like to work with us.
You’ll also benefit from the different way we handle work assignments. We funnel work through summer program coordinators to make sure there is a balance and good variety of work. At all times the coordinator is in the know. We don’t have a rigid assignment rotation from group to group. Instead, you’ll work with several groups at one time, being treated as a full fledged lawyer and not a student. Oftentimes you’ll find that our lawyers will expand a project for you or assign additional projects because they trust your abilities and progress.
Why You Benefit
Wherever possible you’ll have the opportunity to attend client meetings, closings, negotiations, depositions, trials and courtroom hearings. The lawyers you work with will also ask you to draft research memoranda, litigation pleadings, motions and briefs, and a variety of transactional documents. It’s a well-rounded approach that lets you demonstrate your analytical, advocacy and writing skills, and that is as close to a first-year associate’s experience as can be made.
It’s a realistic approach that you don’t get at school – or at other firms, where summer associates are rotated through to multiple practice groups. Doing multiple projects for multiple people is not only more realistic, it gives you the opportunity to learn more about your own optimal skill set. That’s to your advantage, and ours.
You’ll definitely have an enjoyable time, but with a purpose: getting to know your peers and the other lawyers we hope to have you work with in a year or two. We encourage you to participate in events like dinners, sporting events and practice group get-togethers. Much of what we have planned will allow you to experience the city where you chose to spend the summer.
What You Can Expect from Shumaker
Your summer experience begins with our recruiting process, which we’re proud to say we never suspended during the recession. We focus on schools that are leaders in our geographical areas: for example, The University of Michigan, Notre Dame and The Ohio State University in the Midwest, and The University of Florida, Florida State University and Stetson University for our Tampa and Sarasota offices.
But we also cover major national schools like Emory University and Georgetown University. You’ll meet with one or two Shumaker lawyers for on-campus interviews, then receive a callback for further interviews with partners and associates at each office based on what we’ve learned from you as well as our assignment needs by office.
Once you begin in the program your summer coordinator will oversee your workload and make sure you have the projects that match your interests. You’ll not only be invited to attend regular practice group meetings where legal training is provided, you’ll also attend formal in-house seminars on topics like bankruptcy, trusts and estates, employee benefits and mergers and acquisitions. It’s all part of an experience specially designed to help summer associates develop the key professional skills and legal insight unique to their practice area.
As you continue to work on projects, you will be evaluated throughout the summer on each project you do. Lawyers who assign projects to you are required to provide substantive feedback in connection with each project, and if we feel you need improvement we bring it up at once in a way designed to help you. Additional mid-summer and final evaluations let you know where you stand, and we review all of these evaluations in making our offer decisions.