At a time when other law firms are eliminating their summer associate programs, Warner Norcross + Judd LLP today welcomes 12 law school students for an eight-week summer program that will combine virtual and in-person opportunities.
Warner recruits from law schools all over the country and has summer associate positions for both first- year and second-year law students. Six summer associates will be based in the firm’s Grand Rapids office, five in the Southfield office and one associate in the Midland office. Warner is a proud member of the Wolverine Bar Association, which coordinates the energies and talents of the increasing number of African-Americans admitted to practice throughout Michigan, and connected the firm with one of this year’s summer associates.
For the next two months, the summer associates will receive assignments from the firm’s “job jar,” which is an electronic system that provides an array of different types of projects. At Warner, associates get to choose their practice area, and the “job jar” gives the summer associates an opportunity to figure out what areas of the law interest them. Project work will begin remotely and transition to in-person at the offices.
“We are excited to welcome our 2020 class of summer associates to Warner,” said Laura E. Morris, a partner and chair of the Summer Associate Committee. “While this is definitely a unique year given COVID-19, Warner was committed to finding a way to move forward with our summer associate program since we had made a commitment to these law students.
“While this summer may look a bit different, we have always assigned projects electronically, so we are confident our summer associates will still get a true taste of practicing at the firm.”
Warner is one of only a few firms nationally that uses a lockstep compensation model, which is designed to encourage teamwork. Associate salaries are set based upon seniority, not total hours worked, which means client projects are routed to the most knowledgeable person in the firm. This compensation approach lays the foundation for better legal representation for its clients and a fun culture without internal financial competition.
“Warner’s motto is ‘Fun, pride & profit,’ in that order,” Morris explained. “We are a very social firm. Since outings, lunches and evening get-togethers are now more complicated, we had to get creative to come up with safe alternatives to engage with our summer associates.
“We have infused some virtual social events into the mix. We want to get to know our summer associates as people, not just assess their legal skills, and for them to get to know us. We want to be sure we can offer an engaging and rewarding summer experience even if we can’t physically be together as often as a typical summer.”
Weekly social activities will start on Tuesday with a virtual icebreaker game. As the program transitions to more in-person events, a golf outing, a hike and a bonfire are planned, which will enable the group to be together, yet practice social distancing.
By providing discerning and proactive legal advice, Warner Norcross + Judd builds a better partnership with its clients. Warner is a corporate law firm with 230 attorneys practicing in eight offices throughout Michigan: Grand Rapids, Southfield, Midland, Macomb County, Kalamazoo, Muskegon, Lansing and Holland. To learn more, visit www.wnj.com
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