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 “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 prosecuting Wyatt Earp, presided over by a judge.

Building connections is a key objective of our Summer Program. All summer associates attend a weekend retreat 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

2023 Summer Associate | Los Angeles Office
“I had a phenomenal summer at Irell. Right from the start, the firm personalized the program to each summer associate. My work coordinator immediately asked what I wanted to experience, actively accounted for my preferences, and regularly inquired about any changes. Each work assignment was substantive and provided a unique challenge to undertake, and I researched and applied legal concepts that I had not yet learned in school or those that the assigning attorney had genuine questions about. The assigning attorneys provided targeted feedback highlighting my strengths and identifying areas for improvement, and as a result my research and writing abilities significantly improved over the duration of the program. I always felt like a respected part of the team as the assigning attorneys welcomed all types of questions and often explained how they used my research to progress in a matter. The social experience was no less personalized. My mentor guided me throughout the whole program to ensure a fulfilling summer and was always available for a friendly chat. Partners and associates alike invited summer associates to all manners of social activities, and there was no shortage of opportunities to meet with them individually and ask for their insight. My summer at Irell was truly gratifying, and I am looking forward to returning in the fall!”

2023 Summer Associate | Los Angeles Office
“I thoroughly enjoyed my summer experience at Irell and found that the program struck a nice balance between substantive work experience and getting to know our future colleagues. We were provided with associate mentors and work coordinators, who regularly checked up on us to ensure that we were receiving work assignments that suited our interests. If there was any type of matter I wanted to work on, or a partner I wanted to work with, they made it happen. These assignments, while sometimes challenging, were interesting and gave me real insight into what working at Irell would look like in the future. Partners took the time to ask me detailed questions about my work and my thoughts on the issues. I was pleasantly surprised at the extent to which my opinion was valued, even though I had only completed my second year of law school. Aside from work, highlights of the summer program included stays at resorts, activities like Topgolf and karaoke, and many meals at some of LA’s best restaurants. My summer experience confirmed that Irell was the place for me, and I am very excited to return next fall!”

2023 Summer Associate | Newport Beach Office
“My experience as a summer associate at Irell was overwhelmingly positive. The substantive assignments and feedback I received allowed me to lay a foundation for my future career, as well as to gauge what life would be like as a first-year associate. I also really enjoyed connecting with Irell attorneys and bonding with my fellow summer associates!”

2023 Summer Associate | Los Angeles Office
“My summer at Irell was an incredible experience. The work was highly interesting and rewarding, and it felt like everyone at the firm was going out of their way to make sure that we got the most out of our summer. I had the opportunity to work closely with partners and associates on a wide range of assignments, covering topics ranging from in-depth infringement and invalidity analysis to commercial torts. I was also impressed by the congenial and supportive atmosphere that permeated the firm – the attorneys were very approachable and took a genuine interest in our development. In addition, the social calendar was packed with engaging events. Irell organized lunches and dinners with associates and partners and events like live music and team building activities to ensure that our summer was full of opportunities to connect with attorneys and our fellow summers in fun and relaxed settings. I am very excited to be returning to Irell in the fall!”

2023 Summer Associate | Washington, D.C. Office
“My summer experience at Irell & Manella was incredible. I got to work on interesting substantive projects and had the chance to observe depositions and Federal Circuit arguments. I also appreciated the structure of the summer program, as my work coordinator helped facilitate a workflow that was conducive to my interests, and my mentor helped me feel integrated within the firm’s culture. Overall, my favorite part of the summer was getting to know so many Irell attorneys across all three offices; everyone I met was kind and welcoming, very sharp, and passionate about their work. I am so proud and excited to join this team as a full-time associate in the fall.”

2023 Summer Associate | Los Angeles Office
“I greatly enjoyed my summer with Irell. I have many friends who had their own Big Law summer internships, but it seems that mine at Irell & Manella was far and away the best. My workload was perfect. I was not overwhelmed and never had to stay late to meet a deadline, but I also had the opportunity to complete a variety of substantive assignments. I got to research the reliability of various scientific methods of measurement for radiochemical compositions; write part of a sur-reply motion; analyze the history and various contracts involved in the sale of a very famous workout system; and find the answers to questions of Tennessee contract law in cases discussing the rule against perpetuities, among many other assignments. The assignments were always interesting and the assigning attorneys were so helpful whenever I came across something I didn't understand. Of course, my summer internship consisted of more than just work. I was treated to so much delicious food that I gained 15 pounds with no regrets. I loved the trips we went on, staying at lovely hotels in Newport Beach, Santa Barbara and Palos Verdes. My private office had an excellent view of the mall, the ocean and the hills. The best part, however, was the people. Everyone seemed friendly, enthusiastic and just happy to be there. I had a great time and am excited to return to Irell after graduation.”

How to Apply

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

California resident applicants: Please note any personal information you provide is subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act Notice.

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