Summer Program

Print PDF

Our Summer Program offers second-year law students an exceptional opportunity to gain practical legal experience. You’ll work directly with lawyers across a wide range of practice areas, on “real world” assignments that will challenge and inspire you. You’ll also connect with Irell lawyers at all levels, developing bonds that often last a lifetime.

We are looking for a diverse group of candidates who demonstrate superior academic abilities, intellectual curiosity and the potential to become outstanding lawyers. We encourage students who may have had other jobs and careers in addition to their law school education to apply, as well as law students with technical degrees.

When you arrive, you’ll be assigned an associate mentor. You will receive assignments typical for first-year associates from the Summer Committee. You’ll also be invited to attend team meetings, client meetings, negotiations, court appearances, depositions and trials. And you can participate in pro bono work and community service projects, including adoption proceedings for needy children and their adoptive families.

Training and education is a critical component of our Summer Program. We host a series of informational programs, including “Lunch with the Managing Partner,” “Legends of the Firm,” “Trademark Year in Review,” “Pro Bono at Irell,” “IP at I&M” and “Art Law at Irell,” among others. Summer associates are also invited to the regular continuing legal education (CLE) programs, outside speaker events and training sessions. In addition, you’ll have the opportunity to participate with lawyers and staff in our annual mock trial—a wrongful death trial of Wyatt Earp, tried by a jury and presided over by a judge.

Building connections is a key objective of our Summer Program. All summer associates attend a weekend retreat on Catalina Island and a firmwide party at a hotel location central to both our offices. Other events have included a kick-off bash at the start of the summer, beach parties and karaoke parties. We encourage our lawyers to socialize with summer associates through informal dinners, lunches and other activities. In the past, lawyers and summer associates have organized rock climbing excursions, surfing classes, cooking classes, rounds of golf and grilled cheese and beer tastings, among other outings.

Testimonials from Past Summer Associates

Jordan Nafekh | UCLA 2019
“My summer at Irell was the perfect balance of work experience and fun activities. The summer committee did a great job of giving me exposure to all the different areas I was interested in, and the feedback I received from the partners and associates I worked with was incredibly valuable. It meant a lot to me that the attorneys I worked with always took the time to help me improve my legal skills. The work I got as a summer was meaningful, and one of the highlights for me was reading a completed brief and being able to see exactly where the work I had done fit in and was incorporated. Outside of work, I loved getting to know everyone at the firm. Through lunches, dinners and events like Dodgers games or the summer party at Terranea, I really felt I got to know everyone personally. I am excited to go back!”

Brad Zurcher | Washington University, St. Louis 2019
“My summer experience was an impressive induction into the work, culture, and community of Irell & Manella. I wasn’t just told the work I was performing was “substantive;” I was able to witness the effect of my research on litigation as it was incorporated into a motion, argued during a hearing, and then ruled upon in a judicial order. And through it all, both partners and associates made themselves available to answer any questions I might have, whether workaday (What in the world is a “rog?”) or profound. These work experiences were expertly balanced with stress-free activities like a weekend on Catalina Island and tickets to Pageant of the Masters. And yet, the real strength of Irell is its community. After 10 weeks connecting with the curious and kindhearted staff and attorneys over coffee, dinners and drinks, it would be impossible not to be excited to return next year!”

April Hua | Harvard 2019
“My summer at Irell was an incredible first plunge into the practice of law. As someone who is primarily interested in intellectual property law, I found myself working with some of the best and brightest in the field. I always felt encouraged to maintain an open dialogue with whomever I was working with, and that allowed me to not only take deeper dives into my assignments, but to also get to know attorneys across all groups and levels. I found everyone – from partners, to staff, to my fellow summer associates – to be a genuinely kind and fiercely hardworking group of individuals. I also had a lot of fun outside of work, where we tried the best restaurants across Los Angeles, had a casino night at a beautiful oceanside resort and went on a weekend trip to Catalina. I can't wait to return next year!”

Kelsey Schuetz | Berkeley 2019
“My summer experience at Irell was fantastic! From day one, I was involved in exciting and complex cases, and really felt like a valued member of the team. The opportunities available to me as a summer associate exceeded my expectations – I observed an arbitration, participated in an adoption proceeding, co-authored a magazine article with a partner at the firm, and even led a client meeting on a pro bono matter. Under the mentorship of Irell’s incredible attorneys, I learned a lot about effective litigation and how to approach complex legal issues. My favorite moment was presenting the opening statement at our summer associate mock trial, based on the legendary shootout at the O.K. Corral. Outside of the office, I enjoyed kayaking around Catalina Island, seeing the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, attending baseball games, tennis matches and more. I had a great time getting to know everyone at the Newport Beach office, and can't wait to return in the fall!” 

Grace Tuyiringire | Chicago 2019
“As someone primarily interested in intellectual property law, the summer experience was beyond anything I could have imagined. I was immediately given the opportunity to work with partners and associates on interesting litigation matters. In addition to working on active cases, the firm included a number of enriching show-and-tell opportunities. For example, I was able to attend a number of hearings at the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Additionally, the summer balanced meaningful work with fun activities around Los Angeles. I had the opportunity to attend a private John Legend concert at Dodger Stadium. I also bonded easily with partners and associates through a number of social events, including lunches, dinners, cooking classes, and gelato snack breaks. I'm very excited to return!”

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their resume and cover letter to

Jump to Page