Law Student FAQs

Answers to everything you were afraid to ask

Can I split my summer at Cooley with another firm?

We require an eight-week minimum commitment at the beginning of the summer for participation in our summer program. 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 Resort on the California coast. All of our summer associates are required to participate in this long weekend of training, socializing and relaxation, which lays the foundation for the summer. Additionally, summer associates are invited to participate in many local training sessions and social events in the beginning of the summer.  

Can 1Ls apply for the summer program?

1L opportunities are available through our Diversity Fellowship Program. Our 1L diversity fellows receive a paid 1L Summer Associate position and an award of up to $30,000 to assist with law school tuition. Students who demonstrate a commitment to promoting diversity are encouraged to apply after December 1, as dictated by NALP's principles and standards.

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 partner 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. We also partner with organizations such as OneJustice and Safe Horizons to provide pro bono volunteer events specifically for summer associates to participate in during their time with us.

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 attorneys at Cooley. Examples of assignments given in the past include:

  • Drafting and participating in the negotiation of venture capital investment documents
  • Writing pleadings and motions for filing in court
  • Preparing for and attending depositions
  • Preparing incorporation documents for startup company
Are there training or informational programs for summer associates?

A variety of training opportunities are available to summer associates at Cooley. All summer associates participate in two and a half days of training and orientation at the annual kickoff weekend at the Seascape Resort in Aptos, California. In addition, throughout the summer, the business and litigation departments offer many classes, in a shorter version of our renowned Cooley College. On the business side, summer associates learn the basics of mergers & acquisitions, venture fund formation and venture capital financings, to name a few. On the litigation side, they attend classes regarding 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. Additionally, summer associates are special invited guests at all of our practice groups meetings that are held during the summer.

What are the criteria for getting an offer of employment at Cooley?

During our evaluation of your work, we consider a number of factors. Not surprisingly, it is important that you are able to analyze complex legal issues, communicate clearly and persuasively (both verbally and in writing), manage time well and generate high-quality work. However, we equally value initiative, teamwork, maturity and judgment. Because we recognize the importance of feedback, each summer associate receives a midsummer review, although more-frequent feedback is typical. Immediately upon the completion of our summer program, we make and communicate our offer decisions.

What is the current summer associate compensation?

The compensation for US summer associates, for the summer of 2020, is $205,000 annualized, paid semi-monthly (approximately $3,942/week)..

Does Cooley sponsor social activities for summer associates?

Of course! Our program begins with a gala opening dinner at a landmark site in the San Francisco Bay Area for all summer associates and many Cooley attorneys. From there, all summer associates head for a long weekend at the beautiful Seascape Resort on the California coast. The Seascape weekend combines some daytime training and partner presentations with plenty of time for summer associates enjoy the resort and get to know their classmates. For many, the weekend highlight is the Saturday night clambake on the beach with a steel drum band.

Each office sponsors a variety of social events throughout the summer, such as cooking classes, theater events, baseball games, and dinners at partners' homes, to name just a few.

One firm approach, what does that mean?

This philosophy is one of Cooley's fundamental values, and our commitment to teamwork and mutual support is reflected in every aspect of firm management and practice, such as:

  • We staff cases and deals across offices
  • Cooley College, department and practice group training sessions are firm wide
  • Cooley offices do not compete with one another for candidates, our goal being to meet the geographic and practice needs of our candidates and office