How do I apply for a position as a summer associate?
Are you currently attending a law school where we recruit on campus (see our on-campus schedule)? If so, please apply through your career development office. If not, simply mail, e-mail, or fax a cover letter, resume, and your law school transcript to the recruiting department of the office in which you are interested. (See “How to Apply.”)

Do I need a technical degree?
Not necessarily, but it helps. We recruit summer associates from top law schools across the country. Successful candidates will have superior academic credentials—you must be in the top 25 percent of your law school class and have an outstanding technical background in a hard science, engineering, or computer science, or significant experience in trademark/copyright matters.

What is the interviewing process?
During your call-back interview, you’ll meet with a member of the recruiting department and then with pairs of lawyers from a variety of practice areas for half-hour meetings and lunch. Our recruiting committee meets on a regular basis during the recruiting season. We will inform you of our decision within two to three weeks of interviewing with us.

Can you describe your ideal summer associates?
For starters, they are smart, willing to work hard, and committed to excelling in intellectual property law. They are expected to demonstrate the ability to analyze complex legal issues, write clearly and persuasively, show initiative, manage time effectively, and assume responsibility for projects. Above all, they’re expected to be team players who work—and play—well with the rest of the team.

What are my chances of receiving an offer to join the firm after graduation?
In a word: excellent. The number of summer associates we hire is determined by growth projections. If you’re in the program, you can feel confident that we have a spot for you when you graduate.

What percentage of students accepts an offer with Finnegan?
Our acceptance rate has been over 90 percent for nearly 15 years running.

How long is the Summer Associate Program?
Ten weeks.

Do you allow split summers?
Summer associates spend the full 10 weeks with us. Based on experience, we have found that this approach works best both for our firm and the summer associate.

Do you hire 1Ls?
Yes, we consider 1L applications on a very limited basis beginning December 1.

What is the overall structure of the Summer Associate Program?
The summer program stresses professionalism, training, and development. During our Summer Associate Program, you are exposed to the full range and diversity of an intellectual property law practice. You receive real work assignments that complement the training programs you attend. You’ll also have ample opportunity to socialize with partners and associates who can help you get acquainted with the local area.

Am I assigned to a particular department or practice group?
Yes and no. You’ll be “adopted” by the practice group you are likely to join after graduation. However, because we believe strongly in not pigeonholing anyone, you’ll get to work on a variety of projects across practice groups.

What type of work will I receive?
You’ll work on matters involving litigation, licensing, prosecution, opinion writing, interferences, IP management, and other legal areas as diverse as antitrust, government contracts, and export control (always as they relate to patent, trademark, and/or copyright matters). Most assignments are relatively discrete, so you’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with many different attorneys.

How is work assigned?
Unlike some firms, where assignments are chosen via a notebook or firm intranet posting, work in all of our offices is assigned through a central coordinator—typically a lawyer or experienced member of the recruiting department. You will be actively engaged in cutting-edge, real-time matters that are representative of the work of the firm.

How is my work evaluated?
You’ll receive regular feedback on your performance. Every attorney who works with a summer associate provides feedback as part of the firm’s “second attorney review” policy, and is required to fill out a written evaluation for each assignment completed. During your midsummer and final reviews, you’ll receive formal feedback and an assessment of your performance. You’ll also be invited to ask questions about the firm or the program, as well as provide suggestions to us for improving the program for future summer associates.

What type of training will I receive?
Our training program includes
  • Persuasive legal writing
  • Introduction to patent law
  • Preparing a patent application
  • Patent application filing strategies
  • Overview of licensing
  • Presentation skills
  • NITA basic deposition training