Summer Associate Mentoring & Training

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Our firm’s philosophy regarding attorney development emphasizes real-life experience over “classroom” training. Accordingly, summer associates quickly receive assignments and begin work after completing orientation on their first day. Guidance comes in the form of the summer program committee, summer associate mentors and other attorneys, all of whom make themselves available to answer questions and to provide assistance when needed. To help further their development as attorneys, summer associates receive project-by-project feedback on their work and participate in two formal evaluations during the course of the summer.

Attendance at client meetings, depositions, hearings and other functions, as well as the planning and/or strategy sessions leading up to those events, greatly enhances the summer experience and fosters summer associate development. By the end of the program, summer associates are truly prepared to hit the ground running as they begin their legal careers.

Guidance comes in the form of the summer program committee, summer associate mentors and other attorneys, all of whom make themselves available to answer questions and to provide assistance when needed.

Nathaniel S. Hatcher
Hired following Summer Associate Program
“After my second year of law school at Stetson, I participated in our firm’s Summer Associate Program in 2007. In many ways, it was like having an extended interview process. I had the chance to explore if the firm was a good ‘fit’ for me, while at the same time, the firm could get to know me and my skills, to determine if I was a match for their needs. I was given actual work, relied upon by attorneys for clients, to give me a ‘real life’ opportunity to see what I would be doing as a first-year associate.

Perhaps the most important skill I learned was time management -- how to juggle and prioritize a variety of assignments with different deadlines. What convinced me to join our firm was twofold. First, Hill Ward Henderson had a high-level, complex products liability practice. I knew I could learn a lot from the senior attorneys and would be involved in challenging legal work. Second, my Dad always told me that enjoying the work you do is important, but enjoying the people you work with is just as important, if not more so. By the end of my summer program, I knew that it would be very hard to find more enjoyable people to work with than I found here.

My first year as an associate was the very definition of ‘hitting the ground running.’ Our products liability group was involved in an unprecedented number of smoking and health cases filed across the state of Florida in the wake of a seminal Florida Supreme Court decision. In the first four months, I experienced becoming a member of a trial team for an in-depth jury trial that lasted three weeks. In four years’ time, I have now been an active part of seven trial teams and expect to be a part of several more this year alone. I would not trade my position at our firm for anything.”