Our Summer Associate Program offers 2L students an opportunity to engage in intellectually stimulating work that is indicative of real associate life. It is designed to meet two goals: (i) to introduce you to life in Sarasota as a Williams Parker attorney, and (ii) to provide you with the experience and tools to ensure your long-term success at our firm or another law firm.
We provide work assignments, client experiences, mentoring, and training that approximate those provided to younger associates. In addition, we provide ample opportunities for you to get to know and be known by firm attorneys in social and professional settings. We believe it is important to know the people with whom you will spend your career and to be comfortable with the decision to practice law with them. We’ve designed our Summer Associate Program to be an enjoyable, challenging experience which will allow both you and us to determine if you are the right fit for our firm. When we mutually come to that determination, then it is likely that we will have a long and successful working relationship.
As a summer associate at Williams Parker, you’ll join a team of experienced lawyers who care about your growth as a successful attorney. We strive to ensure your experience is rich with substantive work that both interests and challenges you and to provide you with invaluable guidance, feedback, and opportunities for networking and development. Our summer program is designed to give students a real sense of what it means to practice at Williams Parker—from legal research to brief writing to the “Big Project,” you’ll contribute to real work for real clients and experience all aspects of life at the firm.
Our program attracts qualified candidates from a range of law schools, such as Boston, Cornell, Emory, Florida State, Georgetown, John Marshall, Stetson University, Texas A&M, University of Alabama, University of California—Berkeley, University of Florida, University of Michigan, University of Texas, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, and Washington and Lee.
The “Big Project”
At the cornerstone of our summer program is the “Big Project”—an opportunity for our summer associates to gain a realistic sense of law firm life and work. Each of the firm’s practice areas prepares several in-depth research assignments, from which students select to focus a significant portion of their clerkship. Each summer associate will work closely with a designated attorney to develop their project, conducting significant research and writing, and receiving valuable feedback and guidance throughout the process. At the culmination of the project, students will make oral presentations of their projects to attorneys from across the firm.
In addition to the “Big Project,” summer associates will have opportunities to handle a number of smaller assignments from attorneys throughout the firm. Our goal is to help you develop and succeed as attorneys. In addition to serving as mentors, our attorneys provide comprehensive feedback regarding each assignment with which students are tasked.
Hard Work Rewarded
We believe in hard work and rewarding ourselves for our efforts. We also pride ourselves in our family-like atmosphere, and when you spend the summer with us, we want you to feel at home. We ensure opportunities for you to get to know your colleagues—in and out of the office—as it is our hope that you’ll be working together in the future.
Quality of Life
Located in the heart of downtown Sarasota, our office is centrally located to the area’s thriving cultural amenities, global cuisine, and gorgeous white-sand beaches. The quality of life in our region is second to none. Known as Florida’s “cultural coast,” Sarasota is renowned for its wealth of arts and culture. Home to dozens of performing arts groups, as well as art galleries, museums, and festivals, Sarasota’s rich arts scene rivals that of the country’s larger urban settings. The area boasts great schools (including the country’s seventh-ranked public high school) and tremendous food (Conde Nast rated Sarasota among the country’s top 15 “Best Food Cities” in 2014). Learn more about the Sarasota community.
Frequently Asked Questions
We understand that choosing the right firm and navigating the early stages of your developing legal career can seem daunting. We’ve been there, and we want to help you. Below are some of the more common inquiries we receive regarding our summer program. If we can clarify or answer anything else, please contact us.
Do you allow split summers?
Yes. However, we believe that to gain the most from the experience, all summer associates should participate in the full 10-week program.
What does the firm look for in potential candidates?
All candidates should have excellent undergraduate academic records and have performed successfully in law school. Strong ties to the Sarasota area are also desired.
What percentage of summer associates receive offers to join the firm following graduation?
We actively recruit nationally to create a diverse summer class filled with outstanding law students who have demonstrated both academic excellence and leadership capability. Our Summer Associate Program is our primary recruiting mechanism for new lawyers, and we are proud that over 70 percent of our Summer Associate Program graduates who have accepted employment with Williams Parker have gone on to become shareholders or the equivalent with our firm. We know that not everyone we hire for the program will receive an offer of employment, but our commitment is to help each summer associate become successful in their careers, whether at our firm or as our friend working in another excellent law firm.
How are work assignments distributed?
Summer associates may indicate areas of interest, which we strive to accommodate through the direction of assignments. We also believe that exposure to different areas of the practice help young lawyers gain an understanding of the scope of the practice and may inspire them to determine their preferred practice areas. Unlike many summer clerkships, our assignments are not simply litigation research projects but are generated by all of the parts of the firm.
What type of work do summer associates handle?
We believe that our success comes from providing the highest quality legal work to our clients. It is our desire that we employ people capable of meeting that standard. In order to evaluate your abilities, and to place all summer associates on an equal footing, we’ve developed a program we call the “Big Project.” In addition to the smaller, regular assignments you will receive during your summer, we will provide you a list of topics developed by the sections of our firm from which you can choose a “Big Project.” You will select a topic of interest to you. You will then develop a written work-product analyzing the topic. This work-product has the dual benefit of potentially providing you with a basis for your third-year law school note. In addition to the written work-product, you will develop an oral presentation about the topic for delivery to a group of firm attorneys. The oral presentation will close with an active question-and-answer session. We believe that the “Big Project” provides you with an opportunity to showcase your writing, presentation, and “on your feet” skills, all of which are essential to success as an attorney.
What type of training do summer associates receive?
We provide work assignments, client experiences, mentoring, and training that approximate those provided to younger associates.
Do summer associates have designated mentors?
Yes; each summer a group of attorneys leads the Summer Associate Program. You will be assigned a mentor and a project coordinator, and you will have ongoing communications with our Recruiting Partner and Director of Human Resources throughout the summer.
How do summer associates receive feedback?
Summer associates are evaluated on every assignment they complete. The assigning attorney for the project will provide direct feedback during and at the completion of the project. The Recruiting Partner will track evaluations throughout the summer and address issues if they arise. We also conduct extensive exit interviews, designed to provide constructive feedback to help our summer associates develop into successful lawyers.
How are summer associates compensated?
The firm offers a competitive compensation and benefits package, and summer associates are paid biweekly.
Do summer associates have the opportunity to get to know their colleagues outside of the office?
We plan numerous informal and formal events to encourage socializing among summer associates and firm lawyers. Typical events and activities include:
- Dinner at attorneys’ homes
- Arts and cultural events
- Boating trips
- Happy hours, lunches, and dinners
- Sarasota County Bar Association activities
- Community events