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Summer Associate Program

The chief purpose of the Summer Associate Program is to present Summer Associates with a true experience of firm life.


McCandlish Lillard has provided legal services in Northern Virginia since 1908, but its history is an active and evolving one.  Wherever possible, it has broadened its practice areas and welcomed outstanding lawyers through lateral hiring.  It has also relied on its Summer Associates Program to identify and hire bright young legal minds from among the best law schools in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and beyond.

The firm’s principals take the Summer Associates Program seriously, because we know that the search for the firm’s future principals begins here. In August and September of each year, the firm works closely with law school career and placement offices to select rising second year law students for on-campus interviews. We also welcome applications from law schools where we are not conducting OCIs. At the conclusion of all interviews, the firm will invite a select few candidates to the firm’s Fairfax office for additional interviews.  Ultimately, the firm typically hires two or three candidates as Summer Associates.

The chief purpose of the Summer Associate Program is to present Summer Associates with a true experience of firm life.  Most importantly, this means that Summer Associates will go to Court with firm attorneys, attend depositions, sit in on complex business transactions, participate in “brainstorming” sessions, and receive real, billable research assignments.  In addition, it includes frequent lunches with the firm’s lawyers and staff, to learn more about who we are and let us learn more about you – and to relax and enjoy a little!

The firm believes that its Summer Associates are not looking to be wooed, wined and dined, but are searching for an accurate picture of the law firm, its lawyers and its practice areas.  Only in this fashion can a Summer Associate truly decide if McCandlish Lillard is the right place to begin, fulfill, and hopefully end, his or her legal career.  And only in this fashion can McCandlish Lillard properly assess whether a Summer Associate is a good fit for the firm. We have found that the mutual learning process takes time and prefer Summer Associates who will commit to at least 8 weeks at the firm.

Summer Associates are not pigeonholed as “transactional” or “litigation” clerks.  They are given a wide breadth of assignments, and encouraged to work and interact with as many of the firm’s attorneys as possible. But the work load is monitored and is not dispensed frivolously.  Each Summer Associate will have a mentor – an existing attorney at the firm — who will take responsibility for monitoring and regulating the Summer Associate’s work, helping with billing, providing practical “how to” advice and “running interference” for the Summer Associate if and when needed, and simply being “on call” to answer whatever questions on firm life might arise.  Hopefully, by the end of the summer, Summer Associates not only will be informed enough to decide whether McCandlish Lillard is right for them, but, will also be on their way to deciding what type of law they prefer to practice.

McCandlish Lillard believes that its Summer Associates program works.  A majority of our associates are typically former participants in the program.   If interested, please see your placement office about applying for an OCI with the firm or, if we are not interviewing at your law school you are welcome to submit a direct application to the firm, c/o Recruiting Coordinator. We look forward to meeting with you, whether on campus or by direct interview at our offices — or both!  Thanks for taking the time to read this summary, and thanks for your interest in McCandlish Lillard.