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by Carter Isham | January 24, 2024

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Summer associate programs are many things—a very well-paid internship, an opportunity to learn from practicing attorneys and understand the difference between practice areas, a chance to network with attorneys from junior associates to partners in both work and social settings, and if all goes well, they are the key to walking into 3L year with a job offer lined up for after graduation. These programs are most common—and have the largest class sizes—in BigLaw, though midsize and boutique firms often have a few spots available for the right candidates.

Landing a summer associate position happens through the law firm recruiting process. Top grades can open the door to interviews with top firms, either at pre-recruitment or during on-campus interviews (OCI). To land callback interviews and then offers, you’ll want to strike the right balance of interested and interesting—someone they’ll want to work beside for long hours or under imminent deadlines. However, it’s important to remember that you also want to find a firm that is a good fit for you and your interests.  Fortunately, the Vault Law Resource Center: Summer Associate Interviewing and Top-Ranked Programs (“Summer Resource Center”) can help!

Vault Law Resource Center for Summer Programs

The Summer Resource Center brings key information to one place for your summer associate recruitment preparation and decision making, providing easy access to:

  • the Vault Law Summer Program Rankings,
  • law firms’ summer program data and quotes from current associates about their experiences summering at their firms,
  • an opportunity to hear from the firm itself about its summer program or other firm highlights, and
  • advice from the Vault Law team on topics including interview tips and key considerations when choosing a firm.

Vault Law Rankings

As part of our annual Law Firm Associate Survey, we ask first- through third-year associates who summered at their current firm to reflect back on and rate their summer program experiences. We use those ratings to rank the best summer associate programs in four categories:

  • Overall Best Summer Associate Programs
  • Best Summer Programs for Attorney Interactions
  • Best Summer Programs for Career Development
  • Best Summer Programs for Social Experiences

The most recent rankings are included on the top left of the Summer Resource Center. Check out the Vault Law 2023 Summer Program Rankings to see which firms’ summer programs are top in the categories that matter to you!

Law Firm Tiles

Our law firm tiles on the Summer Resource Center make it easy to find key information to help with your recruiting research.

Firm Logos

Each firm’s logo links to the firm’s website for a quick connection to the firm’s careers page, practice area listings, news and updates, and attorney profiles. Use the firm’s website to learn about an interviewer or read up on recent notable matters before an interview.

Summer Program Link

The “Summer Program” link takes you to the firm’s Vault Law Summer Program page, where you can find data points—like the number of offers extended to summers and whether a firm allows summers to split with another firm or another office—as well as the insider information Vault is known for, the associate quotes. Vault’s associate quotes come from the same survey that generates our rankings, and provide insight into what it’s really like to work—or in this case, summer—at a firm. The Summer Program pages include quotes on training and assignments, social experiences, and how the associate experience compares to expectations formed during the summer experience. You can also jump to the firm’s full profile for more data and quotes on a broad range of topics relating to the associate experience, allowing you to get a full picture of life at the firm in just a few clicks!

See What the Firm Says Link

Each tile also includes a “See What the Firm Says” button, where firms can share more details on their summer program, including more associate quotes, videos about their summer experience, articles highlighting unique summer training opportunities, and more.

Advice from Vault Law

As the title suggests, this section is where you can find helpful articles from the Vault Law team, including posts on interview prep, considerations in choosing a firm, resume advice, and more.

Best of luck with recruitment! If you have any remaining questions, reach out to the Vault Law team or our Senior Law Editor, Carter Isham, at cisham@vault.com.

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