Summer Program

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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 our Los Angeles and Newport Beach 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

Ericka DiMeglio | UC Berkeley School of Law 2022
“I had a fantastic summer at Irell! Although it was mostly remote, I still got to meet many associates, partners, and staff via virtual lunches, dinners, and fun activities like flower arranging and cooking classes. I also met many of my colleagues in person for tours and happy hours at both the Century City and Newport Beach offices. I worked on real substantive assignments and even wrote part of a brief in opposition to a motion to dismiss for a complicated insurance case. I felt like my preferences were always considered and each of my assignments was tailored to my particular interests and background. I also really appreciated the weekly breakfasts with the other summer associates because it was a unique opportunity to get to know a really amazing group of people! I'm excited to return as an associate and continue working with everyone at Irell.”

Isabella Chestney | UCLA School of Law 2022
“I couldn’t have asked for more out of my summer at Irell. Though the program had to be almost entirely remote due to COVID, Irell worked hard to ensure we still had an extremely fun, engaging, and memorable summer experience. Irell hosted a number of virtual events that allowed the summer associates to get to know members of the firm and each other, including activities like charcuterie board making, a customized skincare session, and weekly ‘summer associate only’ breakfasts. We also had almost daily lunches scheduled with partners and associates from both the Century City and Newport Beach offices and were even able to do a couple of COVID-safe in-person events at the offices. Altogether, the social aspect of the summer was a blast and as expected, everyone at Irell was incredibly genuine, intelligent, and friendly. Equally impressive was the quality and range of work assignments I received during my summer. Every case I worked on was truly interesting and substantive, and I received many of my assignments directly from partners at the firm. I really appreciated the variety of assignments I received, which ranged from a research memo on a tricky patent issue to drafting a section of an appellate brief concerning civil procedure. My summer at Irell went by far too fast and I can’t wait to return to the firm in the fall!’

Drew Henderson | USC Gould School of Law 2022
My experience as a summer associate at Irell far exceeded my expectations. From the beginning, I joined active cases doing substantive work on matters involving patent claim indefiniteness, IPR estoppel, divided infringement, patent damages, and assignor estoppel. Each assignment presented a legal issue that I had not yet been exposed to in law school. The assigning partners and associates gave me the tools to complete these assignments, and they were easily accessible and responsive to my questions. In my first assignment, I performed a research project for a partner, who immediately made me feel like a valued member of the team, not just an outside observer. My time as a summer associate revealed the amount of trust that partners have in more junior associates. This trust is built on the thoughtful approach that Irell takes to mentoring young lawyers and it begins in the summer associate program. Even as a summer, I was given great latitude to draft creative arguments, conduct targeted research, and dive deep into the facts of the cases I was assigned. The guidance and feedback I received on these assignments have been most valuable to my development as an attorney and will serve as my foundation as an associate. I can’t wait to return to Irell this fall!

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their cover letter, resume and law school transcript to

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