Law Student FAQ

Can I split my summer at Cooley with another firm?

Unless you’re required to do a brief “touch back” with the firm where you spent your 1L summer, we do not allow a split summer with another law firm. Our summer program is 10 weeks, and we require an eight-week minimum commitment. One of the reasons for the consistent success of our summer program is its emphasis on training and team building among the summer associates. The summer begins with a weekend at the Seascape Beach Resort on the California coast. All summer associates are required to participate in this long weekend of training, team building and networking, which lays the foundation for the summer.

Can 1Ls apply for the summer program?

Opportunities for first-year law students are available through our 1L Diversity Fellowship and our 1L patent summer program.

Can I do pro bono work over the summer?

We provide many pro bono assignment opportunities during the summer program, and we strongly encourage summer associates to take advantage of these opportunities. All summer associates meet with the pro bono partners and pro bono leaders in their offices to learn more about the different types of pro bono work we do and what it is like to do pro bono work as an associate.

What types of work assignments are given to summer associates?

We believe that your summer experience at Cooley should provide you with a realistic view of what it would be like to practice law here. Work assignments relate to ongoing client matters, offer practical exposure to the firm’s client base and practice, and are representative of work given to lawyers at Cooley.

Are there training programs for summer associates?

We have a robust training program throughout the summer. The business and litigation departments offer many programs that are an abbreviated version of our renowned Cooley College associate training program. On the business side, summer associates learn the basics of mergers and acquisitions, venture fund formation and venture capital financings, capital markets, and public companies work. On the litigation side, they attend programs on discovery, brief writing and witness interviewing.

We also offer workshops on writing and negotiation skills, client counseling, and depositions to give our summer associates the opportunity for hands-on skills training as well as interaction with and feedback from Cooley partners and senior associates. Finally, summer associates are invited to all practice group meetings held during the summer.

Does the firm provide mentors for summer associates?

You will be matched with a partner (or special counsel) and associate mentor. They will answer questions, introduce you to others at the firm and facilitate your overall integration.

In addition to the mentor program, each office has summer associate assignment coordinators who are responsible for ensuring you have a good variety and volume of work. They check in with the summer associates regularly and are another excellent resource throughout the program.

How are summer associates evaluated at Cooley?

Summer associates receive a midsummer evaluation and a final review at the end of the program. Additionally, we ask lawyers to provide real-time feedback at the conclusion of any substantive assignment. When evaluating assignments and performance, we’re looking at how associates analyze legal issues, and if they communicate clearly and persuasively, manage their time well, and generate high-quality work. Equally important, we evaluate summer associates on their initiative, teamwork, maturity and judgment.

Does Cooley host social activities for summer associates?

Of course! In addition to our event for summer associates at Seascape Beach Resort, each office hosts social events throughout the summer, such as cooking classes, theater events, baseball games and dinners at partners’ homes, to name just a few.

What is the current summer associate compensation?

The compensation for the 2024 US summer associate program is $225,000 annualized, prorated for the number of weeks worked.

If I decide to clerk, does the firm offer a clerkship bonus and/or advanced class year standing?

Associates joining the litigation department are eligible for class year credit if they complete an eligible clerkship. If a clerkship is longer than one year, the practice group will determine whether additional class year credit will be given. Upon arrival at the firm, eligible clerks receive a bonus of $50,000 for a one-year clerkship and $75,000 for a two-year clerkship or two one-year clerkships.

Does the firm offer a bonus and/or advanced class year standing for JD/MBA graduates?

Associates who complete a combined Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degree and join the firm immediately after that program are eligible for a $25,000 bonus. We do not give class year credit for a JD/MBA.