Summer Program FAQ’s

Q. How and when should I apply for a Summer Associate position?
A. The firm participates in fall On-Campus Interviews (OCI) at a number of law schools and in a select few job fairs each year. Students attending schools we visit or which are participating in the job fairs we are attending should apply through their schools or through the job fairs. Students attending other schools may apply directly via the firm’s web application. Applications may be submitted starting in June and should be submitted no later than July 31st.

Q. How long is Downey Brand’s summer associate program?
A. Typically 10 weeks, from late May through the end of July.

Q. How many summer associates does the firm hire into the program?
A. The number of students varies depending upon anticipated hiring needs. The firm usually hires 3-4 summer associates.

Q. What is the salary for summer associates?
A. $2,700 per week in Sacramento; $3,175 per week in San Francisco.

Q. What is the dress code?
A. The firm maintains a “casual yet professional” dress code policy. Summer associates are advised to dress for their day (e.g., if you know you will be accompanying an attorney on an appearance, more formal attire may be appropriate).

Q. Are summer associates assigned to specific practice groups?
A. No. Summer associates should expect to receive work from any of the firm’s areas of practice. Summer associates are also free to seek work from practice areas of interest.

Q. What kind of work do summer associates do?
A. The firm tries to provide summer associates an experience similar to that of a first year associate, and their work assignments reflect that. Summer associates work on active, billable matters and have opportunities to draft research memos, contracts, pleadings and correspondence, depending upon the area of practice. Summer associates also have opportunities to attend attorney appearances such as court hearings, depositions, mediations, site inspections and client meetings.

Q. How do summer associates receive feedback regarding their performance?
A. Attorneys who assign work to summer associates are asked to provide written evaluations for all summer associate work product, and to discuss their impressions of the work product directly with the summer associate. The written evaluations are provided to the summer associates’ mentors to share with the summer associates. Additionally, individual in-person reviews with the summer associates are conducted with the Hiring Partner and mentors midway through the summer program and at the end of the summer program to discuss the summer associates’ performance.

Q. Is there mentoring for summer associates?
A. Yes. Summer associates are each assigned two mentors – a partner or counsel and an associate – who introduce themselves to the summer associates prior to the start of the program and serve as a resource throughout the summer. Mentors can assist summer associates with obtaining work assignments, facilitating introductions, fielding questions and generally serve as a sounding board for the summer associates. Summer associates should expect to get to know their mentors well over the course of the summer.

Q. Does Downey Brand allow Summer Associates to split the summer with other firms?
A. Not at this time. The firm believes allowing students to split their summers with other firms would put those students at a disadvantage with respect to consideration for permanent offers as compared with those who spend the entire summer with Downey Brand.

Q. I am in my law school’s 4-year evening program. Am I eligible to participate in Downey Brand’s Summer Associate program?
A. Yes, between your third and fourth years of law school.

Q. Are 1L or 3L students eligible to participate in Downey Brand’s Summer Associate program?
A. The firm participates in the Sacramento County Bar Diversity Fellowship Program in cooperation with U.C. Davis and McGeorge law schools and usually hosts one 1L student through that program each year. Outside of that program, the firm does not hire 1L or 3L students into its summer program. 1L students may find a list of employers who do hire first-year students using the search feature at

Q. Does Downey Brand allow Fall Associates (previous Summer Associates who’ve received permanent offers) to defer their start dates for clerkships?
A. Yes. These requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.

Q. Does Downey Brand participate in Winter/Spring On-Campus Interviews?
A. Not at this time.

Q. Does Downey Brand have unpaid internships or job-shadowing opportunities available?
A. No.

Q. Does Downey Brand accept applications from 3L students for first year/fall associate positions?
A. Yes. The firm hires most of its first year associates through its Summer Associate program. 3L students interested in a first year associate position following graduation should inquire with the firm no earlier than December as the firm follows NALP guidelines with respect to offers extended to summer associates for first year associate positions.