How to apply
We will begin accepting applications for our 2023 Summer Associate Program on June 1, 2022. Please email your resume, transcript and your practice area preferences to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applicants may also be interested in our new Davis Polk 2L Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Fellowship.
What to expect
Real work: As a summer associate, you’ll work closely with partners and associates on significant cases and transactions that involve complex legal issues and well-known companies and financial institutions. As a new team member, you will be fully integrated and receive the same level of responsibility as any first- or second-year associate. You will draft documents, participate in conference calls, go to client meetings and court, possibly travel on client business, and conduct meaningful research – work that is of value to our clients and to the firm.
A program tailored to your needs: Unique to Davis Polk, two junior associates, one corporate and one litigation, work full-time as the summer program coordinators and are tasked with ensuring that each summer associate receives a range of work assignments and has a fulfilling summer experience overall. The summer coordinators will meet with you to discuss your practice areas of interest and any other personal or professional goals you have for the summer, and will continue to meet with you regularly throughout the program.
Professional development: We offer over 20 formal training sessions throughout the summer program, including department and practice area overviews, corporate and tax immersion programs, and partner, associate and alumni profiles. These overviews and training sessions are designed to introduce you to the work and career paths available to you at the firm, and you are encouraged to take on assignments from any of our practice areas.
Mentoring: You will be matched with both a partner mentor and an associate liaison who will introduce you to the firm and provide ongoing professional guidance.
Cultural and social events: Baseball games, cooking classes, neighborhood food tours, fitness classes, Broadway shows – we plan a range of events designed to introduce you to New York, Washington DC or Northern California and give you the chance to get to know your Davis Polk colleagues.
Pro bono opportunities: We work on a wide variety of pro bono matters, and we welcome you to get involved in these rewarding projects. In the New York summer program, we offer two-week externships at several public interest organizations in New York City.
Travel: Some of our summer associates spend four weeks working in one of our overseas offices while others split their time between New York and Washington DC or Northern California. And some associates have the opportunity to travel on a client matter.
Our New York office is the firm’s largest, with a comprehensive range of corporate, litigation and tax practice areas. Our strong presence in this global financial center has been cultivated over decades, and the firm and its lawyers are ingrained in the city’s major business sectors and financial markets.
Our Washington DC office’s key practices – white collar government investigations, financial institutions (focusing on trading and markets and bank regulatory advice), antitrust and competition, and national security – are active in areas as diverse as government investigations, the regulatory and enforcement aspects of mergers and acquisitions, and the impact and implementation of financial regulations and reforms.
Our Northern California office is the base for service to our West Coast clients. Our practices reflect the firm’s traditional strengths in advisory, transactional and litigation work (including IP litigation), combined with a focus on the distinct needs of technology and life sciences companies.
How are assignments distributed during the summer program?
Work assignments are made through two full-time summer associate coordinators (one litigation and one corporate associate) who take leave from their regular practice to plan and run the summer program. There is no rigid assignment or rotation system for summer associates. The summer coordinators work to provide summer associates with assignments in their principal areas of interest.
How much partner contact is there? Are partners accessible?
All summer associates will work with partners, and the firm’s “open-door” policy encourages frequent interaction among all lawyers. In addition, each summer associate is assigned a partner mentor. The mentor gives the summer associate his or her mid-summer and end-of-summer reviews, often works with the summer associate, and checks in with the summer associate on a regular basis. There are also many social opportunities to meet partners, including a formal welcome dinner for partners, U.S.-based summer associates and their guests.
Do you have a mentor program for summer associates?
In addition to partner mentors, each summer associate is assigned an associate liaison who helps the summer associate get acquainted with the firm. They get to know the summer associate by attending lunches, dinners and other informal social events.
What type of work is given to summer associates?
We give summer associates work that would be appropriate for first- and second-year associates, including legal research, drafting legal memoranda, court papers and corporate documents, performing due diligence and participating in many other aspects of corporate transactions and litigation matters.
Is pro bono work available and encouraged?
This summer, as in past summers, we involved nearly the entire summer associate class in our pro bono program. Summer associates work with partners, counsel and associates on a variety of existing matters, including amicus briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court, court reform projects, asylum cases, and corporate and real estate transactions for public service organizations, among other projects. In addition, they have the opportunity to work on new matters we accept specifically for the summer program, as well as to participate in two-week externships at public service organizations.
How does the review/evaluation process work?
Summer associates receive regular feedback from lawyers with whom they work. In addition, two formal evaluations are given by a partner during the summer – a mid-summer review and a final review.
Can I do a rotation at one of Davis Polk's overseas offices during the summer?
Once a summer associate accepts an offer at Davis Polk, they may, so long as their stay in the summer program will be at least 10 weeks, request a rotation to London, São Paulo, Madrid, Hong Kong, Beijing or Tokyo. Selection is based on the needs of these offices, a summer associate's long-term interest in working in the selected office as a full-time associate, and necessary or helpful language skills. Summer associates are assigned to an overseas office for four weeks; many others work or travel domestically.
What type of in-house seminars/training do you provide to summer associates?
Throughout the year, we have regular breakfast and lunch presentations for all lawyers on various legal topics to which summers are invited while they are here. During the summer, we also offer over 20+ special presentations and training sessions for the summer associates, including:
- Corporate and tax immersion programs
- Corporate and litigation practice overviews
- Due diligence training
- Partner profiles
- Associate profiles
- Alumni profiles
- Pro Bono overview
What kinds of social events are there during the summer program?
The firm sponsors many social events for summer associates, ranging from informal lunches and dinners with lawyers, to sporting events and cultural activities. Recent summer events included cooking classes, walking tours, a theater night, laser tag, private movie screening and a welcome dinner at The Plaza Hotel.
What happens if you receive a clerkship?
Summer associates who decide to clerk following graduation and who receive an offer from the firm may defer their offer until they complete their clerkship. Class credit is given for up to two years for clerkships at the U.S. federal or state court or Canadian court level. Upon arrival at the firm, eligible clerks receive a bonus of $50,000 for a one-year clerkship and $70,000 for a two-year clerkship or two one-year clerkships.
What is the policy on splitting the summer?
New York summer associates interested in splitting their summer are required to start at Davis Polk and work at the firm for the first 8 weeks of the program. They may then split their summer with another law firm outside of New York City or work within New York City at a government, nonprofit or financial institution. These same policies apply to our Washington DC and Northern California summer programs, and those summer associates may only split with another firm outside of those respective markets after first working 8 weeks at Davis Polk.