The Morris Nichols summer associate program is an integral part of our recruiting process, and is designed to provide summer associates with meaningful exposure to the Firm, its attorneys, other professionals and staff, and its clients. Our goal is to give potential associates a realistic view of work at the Firm, while also providing a range of activities and social events to introduce them to some of what Wilmington and the surrounding areas have to offer to young professionals.
The summer associate program is 11 weeks long, beginning in mid-May and ending in late July or early August. Read more on our Summer Program Timeline.
Although our program is largely geared toward second-year law students, the Firm often invites highly qualified first-year law students to join the summer program. The size of the summer program correlates to the Firm’s anticipated hiring needs for the following year, so all summer associates have the opportunity to receive offers based on the merit of their work. In past years, we have made offers of permanent employment to a high percentage of our summer associates, and most have returned to Morris Nichols upon graduation.
Because few law students know with certainty the type of law they would like to practice, our program provides an opportunity for summer associates to interact with many attorneys and to work on assignments from several of the Firm’s practice groups. Although we encourage summer associates to experience a variety of legal work, if they express an interest in a particular practice area, we make every effort to assign them work in that area, and to involve them in the day-to-day activities of the attorneys who practice in that area.
To ensure that summer associates have balanced workloads and to address scheduling conflicts if they should arise, two members of the Morris Nichols Recruiting Committee are specifically designated to coordinate work assignments for all summer associates. At the beginning of the summer, each summer associate is assigned an associate mentor to provide the summer associate with guidance on the Firm and its practice and to answer any questions. At the same time, as a result of our flexible assignment process permitting the summer associate to have exposure to many of the Firm’s attorneys, summer associates often establish their own mentoring relationships with other attorneys with whom they have worked.
Summer associates work on the same matters assigned to our full-time associates. These include the opportunity to research and write legal memoranda and briefs, prepare motions, discovery and other pleadings, and to prepare documents relating to corporate transactions. In some cases, summer associates travel to client locations and assist our attorneys in addressing client needs. In addition to short-term assignments, we seek to give each summer associate one or two “long-term” assignments in an area of their preference that will involve significant events over the summer. For example, summer associates interested in litigation might be assigned to a team of attorneys handling a case that will go to trial during the summer. This is intended to allow the summer associate to experience the development of a case or matter over a longer period of time and in a more in depth manner that demonstrates the type of work and responsibilities our associates handle.
Summer associates also frequently attend client meetings, drafting sessions, closings, negotiations, depositions, hearings, oral arguments and trials. Summer associates often are also given the opportunity to work on pro bono assignments as well as other client development projects.
The Firm offers various formal and informal training programs during the summer, which in the past have included seminars and workshops in professionalism, legal writing, written discovery, deposition skills, evidence, expert witnesses, and trial advocacy, as well as informal lunch meetings of our Firm’s practice groups.
As we do with our associates, Morris Nichols strives to provide summer associates with meaningful and timely feedback to help their professional development. The Firm actively encourages all attorneys working with summer associates to provide feedback on every project. In addition, we collect evaluations from attorneys for each summer associate assignment. Members of the Firm’s Recruiting Committee also meet with each summer associate formally at least twice during the summer to discuss his or her work during the summer and to perform a final review. We also seek feedback from our summer associates on their experiences with us and take seriously the comments and suggestions the summer associates provide.
During the summer program, the Firm sponsors a number of social events to provide opportunities for summer associates and their families to get to know Morris Nichols attorneys (and one another), as well as to explore Wilmington and the surrounding areas. In recent summers, those events have included a wine tasting dinner, Phillies games, a 5k run, a crab feast, a Firm golf outing, and small group dinner parties at the homes of some of our senior partners. There are also many more informal social opportunities available to our summer associates, including lunches, dinners, softball games and outings to local Wilmington events and festivals.
The summer class also participates in a local service project. In 2015, the summer class prepared meals at the Ronald McDonald House for families residing there. In addition, the summer associates assisted with Morris Nichols’ ongoing service project of serving lunch to Delaware’s hungry at the Emmanuel Dining Room.
Morris Nichols traditionally has been the leader among Wilmington firms in compensation, and has consistently offered salaries to summer associates that are competitive with those at larger firms and in larger markets. First-year associates currently receive an annual salary of $160,000. The salary for summer associates, which is based on the first-year associate salary, is currently $3,077 per week.
Morris Nichols seeks to hire highly qualified law students preferably in the top 10-15% of their class with law review experience. We conduct on-campus interviews during the fall at more than 24 law schools, and participate in a number of job fairs. Most of our summer associates are hired through these interviews, but we strongly encourage applications from all qualified law students.
Invitations to visit the firm are extended to the most highly qualified applicants, based largely on the recommendations of the on-campus interviewer. Students who are invited to visit the firm are reimbursed for their travel expenses (or a proportionate share of expenses if they visit other firms on the same trip).
During a visit to Morris Nichols, law students will typically meet five attorneys including both partners and associates. Students will also have the opportunity to speak with past members of our summer program. If candidates express an interest in a particular practice area, we will make every effort to have the student meet with attorneys from that practice group.
Students from schools that we do not visit who wish to be considered for our summer associate program should forward a cover letter, resume, transcript and writing sample to Terry Derr at the contact information listed below. If you prefer to apply online, click on LawCruit to go to our online application.
In the past, the Firm has hired highly qualified first-year students from schools such as Penn, Virginia, Georgetown and Harvard. Interested students should apply after December 1 of their first year of law school.
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP is an equal opportunity employer. M/F/VV/D