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A Day in the Life: Law Firm Summer Associate

Published: Jun 24, 2019

Topics: Law  

Jerry Lee was a summer associate at White & Case in 2017.  She received her J.D. from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, where she was the Assistant Editor for the University of Toronto Faculty of Law Review, Co-President of the Business Law Society, and a Callaghan Competitive Moot participant. She was also a member of the Trial Advocacy Program and a volunteer for the Wills Project through Pro Bono Students Canada. Jerry is now a first-year associate in White & Case's Corporate Pool and interested in the firm's Technology Transactions practice. Below is a "Day in the Life" of Jerry when she was a summer associate at White & Case.

8:30 a.m.: Arrive at 1221 Avenue of the Americas in gym gear. Exercise for 45 minutes at the firm gym on the 50th floor. Shower and change into a suit.

9:30 a.m.: Grab breakfast at the firm cafeteria and head to my office. Check email and catch up with my two officemates, who are also in the summer class.

10:00 a.m.: Take call notes for a partner and an associate in the Sourcing & Technology Transactions Group as they negotiate various terms of a Master Service Agreement between a financial institution client and an IT-service vendor. Revise the Service Schedules of the Master Service Agreement according to the new terms the parties agreed on. Send the new draft to the associate for feedback.

11:00 a.m.: Take the subway to the Kings County Family Court in Brooklyn. Meet the supervising lawyer of my pro bono work with the Courtroom Advocates Project. Get assigned to a client who is a victim of domestic violence seeking an order of protection.

11:45 a.m.: Interview the client for more information about the offense, including the client’s relationship with the alleged abuser, history of abuse, injuries, safety of children, and use of weapons. Draft a Family Offense Petition according to the details gathered, and file the petition before the court clerk’s lunch break in order to ensure that the client is able to see a judge the same day.

12:45 p.m.: Eat lunch with the supervising lawyer and other pro bono lawyers at a park near the court.

1:15 p.m.: Return to the court and ask the court clerk for any updates. Notify the client that she is scheduled to see a judge in the afternoon. Explain to the client the courtroom procedure and the questions the judge will likely ask her.

2:15 p.m.: Appear in front of the judge with the client and the supervising lawyer. The judge orders a summons to serve on the alleged abuser and sets the adjourn date.

2:30 p.m.: Discuss the outcome with the client and help her pick up the temporary order of protection from the court clerk. Explain how the Sheriff will serve the papers to the alleged abuser. Schedule a check-in call with the client prior to the adjourn date. Take the subway back to the firm.

3:30 p.m.: Research various international law principles and form arguments on why children and intellectually disabled people should be ineligible for capital punishment. Draft an internal memo for an associate and a partner in the Disputes Group, which will be incorporated into an amicus brief the firm will file on behalf of Germany. The brief will argue that the death sentence of a German/U.S. dual citizen should be vacated because of his trial counsel’s failure to present evidence of his fetal alcohol syndrome, which affected his cognitive abilities, causing him to function on an emotional level of a nine-year-old child. (Update: on March 9, 2018, the habeas petition was granted, and the death sentence was vacated. You can read more about this case at

5:45 p.m.: Leave the firm and take the subway to Brooklyn Brewery with lawyers and other summer associates. Tour the brewery and separate into groups to play in Trivia Night. Crush the Disney round, but unfortunately lose to another group led by a Disputes partner. Enjoy the rest of the night with colleagues in Brooklyn!

W&C Day in the Life