Law Students/Summer Law Clerks

Willkie summer associates 2019

We understand that choosing the right firm involves factors beyond the breadth and quality of practice.

The level of responsibility given to associates, the opportunities for professional development, the commitment to diversity and public service, and the ability to form lasting relationships are all equally important.

We pride ourselves on focusing on each of these factors. Our culture emphasizes giving associates real responsibility from the outset – which we think provides the best professional development opportunities. We bolster that with real-time feedback and an extensive program of in-house training presentations. We have a demonstrated commitment to diversity, and we maintain an award-winning pro bono program. And we foster relationships through mentoring programs with active and engaged mentors, on- and off-site social gatherings, and an overall atmosphere that places a premium on collaboration.

This broad focus begins with our summer program. The summer includes a comprehensive orientation program that brings together summer law clerks from our New York, Chicago, Houston, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Washington D.C., offices. Interactive and hands-on training encourages summer law clerks to become fully functioning members on the matters assigned to them. Summer law clerks can also participate in week-long externships with public service organizations and are otherwise involved in our pro bono program. And we encourage summer law clerks to begin building relationships through cultural and social events throughout the summer.”

+ Continue Reading

Training Programs

Patrick Austin

Our commitment to professional development begins with the summer program.  The training available to summer law clerks includes:

+ Continue Reading

Summer Law Clerk Orientation

We begin the summer with a comprehensive orientation program on topics ranging from firm economics to the nuts and bolts of the assigning system and practical tips on how to succeed as a summer law clerk.

As part of orientation, all U.S. summers associates have the opportunity to hear directly from the Firm’s Chairs about the current state and future of the firm.

Mock Arbitration Seminar

Over the course of several weeks, summer law clerks participate in a mock arbitration seminar. They work in teams on developing legal theories, drafting opening and closing arguments, and crafting direct and cross-examinations of witnesses. The summer law clerks then try the case in a mock arbitration with partners presiding as the arbitrators. The workshop culminates with the partners declaring a “winner” and providing insight into how they reached their decisions.

Corporate Negotiation Seminar

Summer law clerks participate in a unique transactional training program in which they negotiate a corporate merger. With the guidance of partner and associate advisors, summer law clerks learn to analyze the legal and commercial issues in the deal, conduct due diligence, and then negotiate the transaction. The seminar concludes real-time negotiations mediated by senior transactional attorneys followed by an “outcome” presentation where each team recaps the day’s activities and the results of the negotiation are presented.

Josh Wexler

Practice Area Previews

Partners and associates in each of the Firm’s practice groups host departmental overviews to give summer law clerks a comprehensive overview of each of our practices.

In-house Training Programs

Weekly in-house training seminars are held as part of Willkie’s CLE and professional training program.  During the summer program, summer law clerks can participate in all of the ongoing programs.

Work Assignments and Overseas Rotations

Our summer law clerks are exposed to a range of projects and receive valuable hands-on experience working directly with our clients. In New York, the summer law clerks are encouraged to try different practice areas through our rotation system. In the DC, Texas, California, and Chicago offices, summer law clerks work in particular practice areas. Our program is designed to offer all summer law clerks the same work assignments as a typical first-year associate would receive.

Khara John

Samuel Hurst MacDonald

Johana Borjas

Ambris Saravanan

+ Continue Reading


Summer law clerk mentoring is central to our efforts to integrate new lawyers into the Firm.

Each summer law clerk is assigned to a team of partner and associate mentors who make introductions, help ease the transition from law school to practice, and otherwise provide guidance and support. Summer law clerks receive additional mentoring from the senior lawyers working with them, who make it a point to provide real-time feedback. To ensure that they receive comprehensive feedback, summer law clerks are formally reviewed twice during the summer in a process that mirrors the review process followed for full-time associates.

To learn more, click here.

Barnett Harris

+ Continue Reading

Commitment to Pro Bono and Public Service

We encourage everyone from senior partners to paralegals and support staff to participate in public service and pro bono initiatives. The firm has dedicated hundreds of thousands of pro bono hours to organizations such as The Legal Aid Society, the Innocence Project, and the Washington Lawyers’ Committee. We also maintain full-time associate externships which you can learn more about here.

Our commitment to public service and pro bono extends to the summer program. We actively encourage all summer law clerks to participate in the Firm’s public service and pro bono efforts. Summer law clerks also have the opportunity to participate in one-week externships at some of our pro bono partner organizations.

Genevieve DiSprito

Willkie ranked among the top 10 law firms on The American Lawyer’s 2021 “A-List,” an annual ranking of the top 20 “most well-rounded members of the Am Law 200” based on a combination of factors, including revenue per lawyer, associate satisfaction, pro bono commitment, and gender and racial diversity.

Willkie was honored with the “Pro Bono Program of the Year” award at the Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards: North America 2020, recognizing the firm’s outstanding pro bono efforts over the past year.

+ Continue Reading

Diversity and Inclusion

Willkie believes that everyone benefits from a diverse and inclusive workplace. To that end, we strive to hire lawyers with different backgrounds in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and culture.


Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee is central to these efforts and summer law clerks learn about the Committee immediately upon arrival. The Diversity and Inclusion Committee is involved in summer law clerk orientation, takes an active role in mentoring, hosts at least one summer event, and seeks to involve summer law clerks in our broader diversity and inclusiveness program.


Each year, the Firm continues to work with law school affinity groups and support their endeavors on campuses across the U.S.

As of 2018, the firm has formed active internal affinity groups that participate in events throughout New York City, host speaker series, social, and alumni affinity group events.

  • Black Affinity Group
  • Asian/Pacific Islander Affinity Group
  • Hispanic/Latino Affinity Group
  • LGBTQ Affinity Group
  • South Asian/Middle Eastern Affinity Group

JoAnna Suriani

+ Continue Reading