Summer Program


Our summer program is an exceptional opportunity to elevate your legal skills by doing challenging work for real clients alongside experienced attorneys who are passionate about their practice. Because the vast majority of our summer associates return to the firm as practice-ready first year associates, we are dedicated to helping you reach as far as your talent and initiative will take you. We also value the experience of clerkships and allow for summer associates to defer starting at Downey Brand as first year associates pending completion of a clerkship. Upon joining the firm, bonus compensation for eligible clerkships and appropriate progression credit are provided.


Great people and great relationships drive our success. You will be paired with an associate mentor and a partner or counsel mentor who will guide you in handling assignments and workload, introduce you to other attorneys at the firm, advise you about firm practices and expectations, and answer your questions about specific assignments. Your mentors will oversee your assignments to ensure that you interact with as many different attorneys in as many practices as possible.


Your substantive assignments will provide a realistic view of actual practice because they are the same type of work that our associates perform. You will learn by directly experiencing what it is like to be a Downey Brand attorney. The assignments come from attorneys in all of the firm’s diverse practice areas so that you experience the depth and complexity of our practice. If you are interested in particular practice areas, we encourage you to seek work from partners and associates in those practice areas. Our attorneys are encouraged to involve you in trials, hearings, arbitrations, depositions, closings, negotiations, site visits and client meetings whenever possible. Past assignments include:

  • Write a persuasive memo that individual shareholder does not have standing to challenge default of corporation; attend default hearing.
  • Draft an indemnification agreement between water agency and consultants in connection with sharing confidential data.
  • Draft document requests seeking place of use maps for three water permits.


We want you to hit the ground running after law school as a first year associate. To that end, assigning attorneys provide constructive feedback regarding each assignment as it is completed. We identify specific strengths and weaknesses with the goal of significantly improving your writing and analytical skills while teaching you how to provide excellent legal service to clients. Your mentors will monitor your assignments to ensure variety and discuss your progress. You will also meet formally at mid-summer and at the end of the program with the firm’s Recruiting and Mentoring Partners to discuss your professional development and goals.


Our attorneys are passionate about what they do. At the beginning of the summer, a variety of partners and associates lead workshops introducing the summer class to their practice areas and explaining why they chose that practice. You are also invited to attend our regular attorney training and development sessions and any guest speaker events that occur over the course of the summer.

Build Relationships

Balancing hard work with good play and people you like is essential. Our social activities during the summer enhance the teamwork and collegiality that is critical to our firm culture. In addition to our summer associate social events, you will also be invited to participate in our associates’ summer bonding event, lunches with partners, as well as firm parties, dinners, and Sacramento County Bar events.

Summer Program FAQ’s

Have questions? Click here for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions from law students.