What Makes Our Summer Clerkship Program Distinctive?
Law students want meaningful work experiences and practical training during their clerkships with law firms. The summer program at Warner Norcross & Judd provides law students the opportunity to try out a wide variety of practice areas, gives them real work experience and client contact, and provides them with practical training programs that law schools don't offer.
Our summer clerkship program is unique among large law firms. Perhaps the most distinctive feature of our program is that we hire our summer clerks with the goal of making them partners. Unlike large law firms which need to have big summer and associate classes because of planned attrition, we hire students only if we believe they will develop into successful associates and partners with us. As a result, the work assignments, training, mentoring, social calendar and the entire summer program are all run with that long-term goal as our focus.
The study of law is very different from the practice of law. Students may not know which practice areas will suit them best. Because it is our goal to hire and retain excellent people, we do not slot our summer clerks into practice areas or even limit them to one or two practice groups. Instead, our summer program gives students experience in most, if not all, of the Firm's practice areas. Allowing students to work in a variety of areas before having to choose a career focus helps them more knowledgeably select a practice that fits with their interests, work habits and temperaments.
Also unique is our electronic work assignment system, affectionately dubbed "The Job Jar" and run by a partner. This system collects all available work assignments throughout the Firm. The assignment partner assigns work to the summer clerks, making certain that each clerk is exposed to a broad variety of people and projects as well as given projects in the areas in which they have a special interest. Once a project is completed, the Job Jar generates a feedback form to the assigning attorney, ensuring that we have 100% feedback on summer clerk assignments. The attorney's evaluation is then electronically sent to the clerk who worked on the project, as well as to the clerk's three mentors. The Job Jar system makes for a more balanced workload, and gives students a chance to explore multiple practice areas and meet a wide variety of people.
Summer work assignments are supplemented by "spectator events" that allow summer clerks to observe our attorneys being attorneys. These opportunities are submitted by all practice groups throughout the Firm. Summer clerks attend a variety of activities, including depositions, trials, client meetings, negotiations, will signings, federal and state court hearings, community activities, networking luncheons, and the like. Finally, the summer clerkship program is supplemented by training sessions designed to teach some of the practical skills not taught in law school, such as how to work with a legal secretary, how to keep and bill time or how to run a formal meeting by Robert's Rules of Order.
Each summer clerk is given three mentors, drawn from different practice areas and different age levels. Mentors are available to read and comment on the clerk's work product before it is turned in, offer advice or counsel on projects, and assist in the summer clerk's assimilation into the Firm.
Social events are an important part of our summer program. Both formal and impromptu activities are designed to highlight a particular aspect of the city or firm and provide summer clerks the opportunity to get to know our people and our communities. From theater outings to sports outings, from canoeing to spa day, all the events offer us the opportunity to get to know one another better in a relaxed setting in the beautiful state of Michigan.
Many of our summer associates are not from Michigan, or have not been in the state for several years, so assistance in finding summer housing becomes very important. At Warner Norcross, you won't be provided with a newspaper and wished good luck. Our Recruitment Coordinator works individually with each clerk to find affordable, safe and comfortable housing for the summer, using landlords with whom we have established long-term relationships. Other "perks" of the summer program include free parking, a health club membership, private banking services, and a lunch program.
In most large firms, the number of people you meet is limited by the practice group, office, or floor you are on. At Warner Norcross, you will leave knowing the vast majority of our attorneys through work, spectator events, training programs, lunches, and social activities. You will not need to guess whether this firm, its work, its people and its policies are a fit for you – you will know.