Summer Associate Program

Summer Associate Program

The summer associate program at Taft is the lifeblood of our firm. After all, almost all of the firm’s first-year associates have joined us as a result of participation in the program. We look for students who have outstanding academic credentials as well as maturity, a friendly demeanor, demonstrated leadership, strong communication skills, and common sense.

Taft's goal is to provide every summer associate with a realistic experience of what it is like to practice law. Summer associates work on a variety of actual client matters. You will attend depositions, hearings, closings, conferences, and trials as well as perform the careful research expected of all of our lawyers. You will learn about as many of our practice groups as possible through client work and sessions highlighting our areas of practice. Summer associates are evaluated throughout the summer on an informal basis, and will also have formal mid-summer and end-of-summer updates.

You will be assigned at least one summer associate mentor, who is available to offer assistance as you become integrated into the firm. To help ensure you have the best experience possible, we have a strong team in place. We are here to help you be successful!

Our summer associates often share with us the impact the program has on their professional development, and many join us as attorneys after law school. Taft Litigation attorney and former summer associate Donnell J. Bell shares his most memorable experience from the program:

“One of my first projects as a summer associate was providing research to a Litigation partner on a motion to dismiss. After the motion was fully briefed, the partner invited me to attend the hearing. On the morning of the hearing, the partner and senior associates working on the case, and I, left Taft’s office together and started our walk to the courthouse. On the way, the partner asked my opinion on the arguments and merits of the case. It was both terrifying and thrilling to feel that my opinions were important to the partner and associates and that what I had learned in law school would soon have a real-world effect on the outcome of this case.

As we walked, the partner kept his head down, and I assumed he was deep in thought, considering the points that the associates and I had made. About a block from the courthouse, the partner stopped and yelled “A-ha!” Then he bent down and picked up a penny from the sidewalk. He told us that on every stroll to the courthouse, he kept an eye out for a stray penny. He always found one, and was convinced that his success as a litigator depended, in part, on this ritual, which momentarily took him out of his head and provided whatever good luck the universe was willing to provide. After seven years at Taft, I still keep an eye out for a penny on each walk to the courthouse.”

We believe that one of the firm’s biggest assets is our people, and we want you to meet as many of them as possible. You are probably wondering how you can meet so many people in a few short months, but we will provide you with many opportunities to do so. We arrange several social activities intended to help you become knowledgeable about our firm, our people, and our communities.

When asked what the work environment was like at Taft as a summer associate, Taft Employment and Labor Relations attorney Shawna Sorrell shared,

“There were many events that I attended as a summer associate, but the most memorable were the events spent with all Taft summer associates firm wide. I truly felt like part of a team from the beginning of the summer associate program.

On the first day of orientation, I met my fellow summer associates and was very inspired by the diverse array of backgrounds and experience levels present. There was an emphasis on collaboration from our first meeting on, when summer associates were told that we were not competitors and that there was a position for each one of us if we earned it. When we received assignments, I often collaborated with other summer associates for different perspectives or to simply be reassured that we were all in the same boat when it came to new content. The Team Taft approach was present from the very beginning, and has carried into my current practice as well.”   

We staff our summer program based on our need for incoming lawyers the following year. On a firm-wide basis, we typically hire 15-25 summer associates per year.

The summer associate program is engaging, fast-paced, and rewarding. And of course, it can lead to a career of tremendous opportunities with one of the most respected firms in the Midwest. It is our desire that you fully experience the firm during your time with us and that you reach the same conclusion that we have – Taft is a great place to work!

Taft accepts resumes from second-year law students during the fall recruiting season and from first-year law students beginning Dec. 1 of every year.

If you attend a law school at which we do not interview on campus and wish to apply with us, please do so by contacting the appropriate person:

Lisa Watson

Indianapolis, Chicago, & Minneapolis

Lisa Watson
Chief Recruiting Officer

Lisa Watson


Nick Cobb
Director of Operations and Recruiting - Cincinnati

Lisa Watson

Cleveland, Columbus, & Dayton

Jori Cox
Director of Operations and Recruiting - Indianapolis