Summer Program



“Did Cleary host a summer program in 2020?”

Yes. We successfully hosted a ten-week virtual summer program during which summer associates worked remotely. Our virtual summer program included training, assignments (both billable and pro bono), mentoring opportunities, affinity group activities and small group virtual social and mentoring events.

Our 2021 virtual summer program included all of the hallmarks of a traditional Cleary summer program. Summer associates were assigned multiple levels of mentors to facilitate their integration into the firm, received both formal and informal feedback, and were able to learn about the wide variety of work we do. We continued to host practice area presentations and, despite not being able to physically send summer associates abroad, we implemented a virtual overseas rotation program for a period of 2 weeks where summer associates got to work on assignments in our overseas offices and meet attorneys in those offices.  Additionally the firm hosted Cleary Connection days, which included two days of events for those summer associates who were comfortable traveling to New York and meeting their colleagues in person.

Summer associates were also provided well-being support during their time with us. This included optional weekly workout sessions as well as regular check-ins and other wellness initiatives. In an effort to fully support our summer associates, we provided full pay, salary advances and technology support.


“I’m interested in working internationally. Can I do that as a Cleary summer associate?”

Travel guidance permitting, summer associates can apply to spend four weeks in one of our 14 global offices. This is a unique opportunity to experience the work of our international offices and allows summer associates to assess the possibility of a short- or long-term assignment in the future.


“Can I split my summer with another Cleary office?”

Yes, we offer summer associates the opportunity to split their summer between the New York and Washington, D.C. offices. Candidates interested in this opportunity will be required to interview with and receive offers from both offices.

“Can I split my summer with another firm or organization?”

Yes, we allow summer associates to split their summer with another firm or organization. Summer associates must begin their summer with Cleary and spend at least seven consecutive weeks at the firm.


“How do I get work as a summer associate?”

In your first week at Cleary, our summer staffing team of senior lawyers will provide assignments based on your indicated areas of interest balanced with the needs of our clients. Throughout the summer, summer associates are able to continually update their practice area interests. Our summer staffing team speaks one-on-one with summer associates who have staffing questions and/or related requests as they try out one or more related practice areas.

“Can I try out different practice areas?”

Yes. As a summer associate, you will have the opportunity to work in multiple practice areas as you choose. Our staffing team will work with you to secure assignments that balance the needs of our clients with your unique skills and interests. The summer program is your first opportunity to begin to develop generalist skills that will serve you well as an associate in any practice area, so we encourage our summer associates to explore a number of different practices.

“Will I be able to work on pro bono assignments in addition to billable work?”

Yes. Summer associates are able to work on pro bono matters. Summer associates may indicate their interest in pro bono work, either in specific areas, such as racial or social justice issues, immigration rights, first amendment and constitutional rights, and community development work, to name a few, or in particular organizations that the firm regularly partners with, such as The Legal Aid Society, The Bronx Defenders, Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts and many others. As with billable work, pro bono assignments are staffed based on summer associate interest and availability, as well as the needs of our pro bono clients.

In addition to the valuable experience you will gain working on pro bono matters, summer associates are able to count their pro bono hours towards their bar requirements.


“How can I learn more about the different practice groups at Cleary?”

During the summer program, we aim to expose summer associates to a wide variety of practice areas and career paths. As part of these efforts, we host frequent practice area presentations where each group presents an overview of their practice area and associate life in their group, including notable clients and matters. Summer associates will also experience different practice areas through on-the-job training and by attending practice group meetings and lunches.


“What kind of training will I receive over the summer?”

We believe our associates should have a strong foundation in a variety of legal skills, regardless of practice area interest. All summer associates participate in both Corporate and Litigation training, and we provide additional training opportunities, such as Cleary Core Skills, Who’s Who on Wall Street and writing and communications workshops to support professional growth and career development. These trainings provide key skills that define a successful Cleary lawyer in any practice area. In addition, summer associates are welcome to join other training opportunities offered by individual practice groups throughout their time at the firm.


“Will my work and performance be reviewed over the summer?”

Yes. In addition to the ongoing informal feedback all Cleary summer associates receive while working on assignments, summer associates will receive formal feedback in the middle and end of their summer. These reviews are delivered by one of our Summer Program Co-Chairs and are comprised of feedback from the attorneys working with each summer associate on their assigned matters. Summer associates also have the opportunity to discuss their experience and share information regarding the Summer Program at this time.

“How can I solicit informal feedback?”

While summer associates receive formal feedback twice during the program – once at the midpoint of their time at Cleary and again at the conclusion – we encourage our lawyers to provide, and summer associates to solicit, informal feedback on an ongoing basis.


“What kind of mentorship will I receive as a summer associate?”

Summer associates are provided with multiple levels of mentorship during the Summer Program, including junior associate ‘siblings,’ mid-level associates who are members of the Summer Program Committee and senior lawyer mentors. In addition, each summer associate is mentored by one of our Summer Program Co-Chairs who monitors the summer associate’s experience and progress over the course of the summer.


“What activities and events can I expect during the summer program?”

In addition to your work at the firm, we provide an exciting lineup of events, including partner-hosted dinners, lunches, and firm-wide events that allow you to make connections with lawyers of all seniorities and get a true feel for life at Cleary. Notable past summer events include live concerts by popular artists, boat cruises, cooking classes, baseball games, Shakespeare in the Park and Broadway theater nights to name a few.

During the summer of 2021, our summer program was virtual but for those summer associates who were comfortable, we invited them to travel to New York for Cleary Connection days. Cleary Connection days included 2 days of scheduled events for summer associates to interact with their colleagues in person. We were also able to provide a great roster of virtual events, including small-group partner meet & greets, trivia, a cooking class, wine and cheese tasting events, and book club sessions.