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 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

Kelsey Tuohy | University of Chicago 2021
“Amid the pandemic, I know that my fellow law students and I were apprehensive about summer employment. I feel so fortunate that Irell found ways to give me an incredible and full summer experience despite the circumstances. I got to know people at the firm and my fellow summer associates at the fun virtual events, such as chocolate tasting and making charcuterie boards. Even sitting at home, I rarely ate lunch alone as a continual rotation of attorneys reached out to set up remote meals. I received substantive assignments for real cases dealing with a variety of issues at various stages of litigation. During and after each assignment, partners would go out of their way to stay in touch with me about the work and to provide practical feedback at its conclusion.”

Jared Looper | University of Michigan 2021
“My summer at Irell gave me everything I could ask for in a firm. Due to COVID-19, my summer was a remote program. This could have been an opportunity to slack and provide a subpar summer program, but Irell approached this new challenge the way it approaches everything—with enthusiasm and a dedication to excellence. The firm ensured every summer associate had interesting and complex assignments. I worked on a thorny statutory interpretation problem and helped write multiple case dispositive motions, including a motion to dismiss for a case discussed in the news. The associates and partners all cared deeply about my personal and professional development as a lawyer over the summer, and everyone worked hard to create personal connections that are meaningful and lasting. I have ongoing relationships with several Irell attorneys even from the remote summer, which I think is a testament to how hard everyone at Irell works to make the summer associates feel valuable. And even though the summer was remote, Irell worked hard to host excellent virtual events, including flower arranging, chocolate tasting with a chocolatier, a charcuterie board class, and a huge amount of lunches and dinners. Everything about my summer made me excited to return to the firm.”

Abigail Sellers | USC 2021
“My summer at Irell was unique, immersive, and fun from start to finish. I was given the opportunity to work on a wide range of projects within my field of interest as well as explore projects outside of it. I enjoyed my projects because I was given complex issues to work on that were very important to the case I was assigned. Additionally, despite working remotely for the summer, Irell did not miss a beat in ensuring we had a chance to get to know our fellow summer associates and everyone at the firm. We had weekly virtual programming including lunches, flower arranging, chocolate tasting, and many other fun events. The best part about the summer was getting to know and work with the associates, counsel, partners, staff, and other summer associates. What drew me to Irell initially and why I am so excited to return as an associate is the people. They are the most intelligent, kindest, and funniest group of people I know.”

Nicolette Shamsian | UCLA 2021
“My summer experience at Irell was amazing! From the very first day, everyone at the firm made me feel truly welcomed. The partners and associates at Irell cared about my specific interests and gave me plenty of opportunities to explore them by providing me with substantive assignments on cases that truly excited me. Whether it was writing a motion for default judgment in a patent matter, contributing to a trademark opposition against a sneaker company, or analyzing a groundbreaking Supreme Court decision involving copyright, my assignments were stimulating and interesting. Furthermore, even though we worked remotely this summer, the staff at Irell went above and beyond to plan fun social events on Zoom. Through our Zoom dinners, happy hours, cooking nights, and chocolate tasting event, I was able to bond with the brilliant and kind partners, associates, staff, and fellow summer associates at Irell. I can’t wait to reunite with everyone at the firm in the fall!”

Connor He-Schaefer | UCLA 2021
“My summer at Irell was a fantastic experience, even though it needed to be entirely remote due to COVID-19. Everyone at the firm went above and beyond to create a summer program that still offered plenty of opportunities to meet and get to know attorneys, staff, and my fellow summer associates. I was able to have (virtual) lunches and dinners with many different partners and associates, and Irell's amazing staff arranged all kinds of great events for us to join, from a cooking class to flower arranging to an escape room. I was also given real, substantive assignments throughout the summer, including legal research and memos, motion drafting, and even creating slide decks for use in court. I thoroughly enjoyed working with everyone at Irell, and I'm very excited to return this fall.”

How to Apply

Interested candidates should send their cover letter, resume and law school transcript to recruiting@irell.com.


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