Summer Associate Opportunities and Guidelines |
Summer Associate Training
Dechert Culture and Diversity
Summer Associate Opportunities and Guidelines
Are there pro bono opportunities for summer associates as well as associates?
Yes. The firm has pledged to devote three percent of its total billable hours each year to pro bono work. We have a firmwide pro bono committee with representation from each office. Some of our larger offices, such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and London, have local pro bono committees. Summer associates and associates are encouraged to participate in pro bono matters that suit their interests.
Are there opportunities to work with attorneys in other offices?
Yes. There are opportunities to work with attorneys in another office both as a summer associate and as an associate. One of Dechert’s strengths is our practice-based mode of operation. Cross-office staffing is common and allows you to work with colleagues across geographic lines.
Is there a firmwide trip for summer associates?
Yes. Since 2002, all of our U.S. summer associates, along with a number of U.S. partners and associates, have participated in a four-day trip to London. This has taken place near the beginning of the summer so summer associates can become better acquainted with one another while learning about our international practice. For 2008, our summer associates will again participate in a trip to London.
Are summer associate “splits” allowed?
Summer associate splits between two Dechert offices are allowed. Splits with a different firm are discouraged, but permitted. Should you nevertheless decide to split your summer with a different firm, we require that you spend a minimum of six weeks with us, and want that to be in the first part of the summer so that you can participate in orientation and other key summer events with us. Generally, we do not allow summer associate splits with a Dechert international office.
How does the summer associate assignment system work?
We assign work based on your interests. We do not require formal rotations through practice groups or departments. We encourage our summer associates to explore as many areas as possible.
What is the length of the summer associate program?
The program generally runs from mid-May through early August. The dates for the 2008 summer program are May 12th - August 8th.
Do summer associates receive evaluations and feedback during the summer program? If so, does this continue if I join as an associate?
Yes. In our larger offices, summer associates receive a formal review in the middle and at the end of the summer. They also receive informal feedback throughout the summer from the lawyers with whom they have worked. The summer associates in smaller offices are evaluated on a less formal basis.
Associates receive a detailed formal evaluation annually as well as informal evaluations from the partners with whom they work throughout the year. Additionally, associates are given an annual opportunity to evaluate, anonymously and confidentially, the partners with whom they have worked.
What if I am working on a joint degree?
If you will be graduating with a joint degree, generally you are eligible to apply for a summer position during the summer prior to your last year of school.
Does Dechert hire first-year law students into the summer program?
In December each office decides whether it will hire first-year law students into its summer program. Please contact the office(s) to which you are interested in applying and email your resume and transcript (if available). While first-year hiring may be limited, we encourage you to get to know us by browsing our website and speaking with us when we are on campus next fall.
Summer Associate Training
Do summer associates receive training? If so, does this training continue if I become an associate?
Yes. Summer associates are educated about the firm’s core practice areas through a series of presentations by partners and associates. Summer associates are also invited to attend regular meetings and training sessions led by the practice groups.
Training continues after you become an associate. Each of our core practice groups provides continuous education in the form of skills workshops, lectures, and discussion sessions as you develop your career. You may also have an opportunity to attend outside continuing legal education programs to hone your skills even further.
Dechert is known for giving its associates early responsibility, and effective training and mentoring are essential to this.
Are there opportunities for “hands-on” training?
Yes. We encourage summer associates to attend closings, depositions, hearings, oral arguments, negotiations, board meetings, and other proceedings in which our lawyers are involved.
Will I be paired with a mentor during the summer associate program? Does the mentoring continue as an associate?
Yes. In our larger offices, each summer associate is assigned a partner and at least one associate mentor. The larger offices also assign a summer committee representative who helps to ensure that the summer associate receives the kinds of assignments that best match his or her individual interests. In our smaller offices, each summer associate is paired with at least one attorney.
Mentoring continues when you transition to the role of associate and varies with each practice area.
How are LLM candidates handled?
In the United States, LLM students are treated like 3Ls. Generally, we do not hire students in foreign LLM programs until we have at least one semester of grades from a U.S. law school.
Does the firm hire 3Ls? How should I apply?
3L hiring is driven by practice group need. We interview a limited number of 3Ls on campus and we also consider write-in applications. If you are interested, please send a cover letter identifying your practice area of interest, your resume, and your transcript to the office where you’d like to work.
How are assignments made for junior associates? What type of work can a junior associate expect to receive?
In general, assignments for junior associates are managed at both a practice group and office level. Staffing is done on a case by case and deal by deal basis. There are many cases and deals where a junior associate works directly with a partner. There are also larger matters that may involve more levels of staffing. We strive to provide responsibility and client contact as early as is appropriate.
Can associates transfer between offices?
Yes. Our offices are organized along practice group lines, and we offer associates geographic flexibility within each practice group. If an associate wants to relocate to another office, usually he or she can do so as long as the associate’s practice group is active in that office.
Dechert Culture and Diversity
How would you describe the firm’s culture?
Our culture is firmly rooted in the democratic tradition. We welcome all views and encourage frequent and extensive communications regarding issues of concern and interest.
Our culture is also one of collaboration and mutual respect. We value the opportunity to work with people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, talents, and points of view. Recognizing that we also have a responsibility to help build and invest in our local communities, we participate in and frequently lead pro bono activities, local work and learning programs, and charitable services. We work as part of a team to deliver solutions to our clients’ most challenging and complex issues.
What is it like to work in a branch office?
There are no branch offices at Dechert. Rather, we have many U.S. and European offices that are fully integrated into one firm. Philadelphia is our oldest and largest office, but the offices outside Philadelphia are not branches of the Philadelphia office. The Chair of our firm splits his time between Philadelphia and New York. Our Policy Committee, the firm’s primary governing body, consists of partners from many of our domestic and international offices. Additionally, practice group management is spread across the firm.
Is Dechert committed to the recruitment and retention of diverse attorneys?
Yes. Dechert is an equal opportunity employer committed to hiring and retaining a diverse body of talented lawyers. We interview at minority job fairs and sponsor diverse student organizations at leading law schools. Our firmwide diversity committee is made up of partners and associates from various offices.
Does the firm have a part-time policy?
Yes. The firm supports lawyers who combine their legal work with responsibilities as providers of care to their children, parents, spouses, or life partners. Part-time associates are eligible for bonuses on a pro-rated basis. Additionally, associates working on a part-time basis are eligible for partnership.