Our offices are as varied in character and personality as the cities they call home; however, they are unmistakably Alston & Bird. Clients, candidates, summer associates, visiting attorneys and other guests consistently remark that regardless of the size, location or age of an Alston & Bird office, our culture is alive and kicking. The same holds true for our summer associate program. While we believe in consistency in our summer program experience, we are by no means “cookie cutter” when it comes to creating a world-class program across our offices.
There is no role more important to our hiring process than that of the Hiring Partner. That’s why at Alston & Bird, our Hiring Partners serve not only as the official gatekeepers of our process, but also as the primary stewards of our unique culture. We invite you to get to know our Hiring Partners and encourage you to contact them with any questions you may have about our firm.
To serve as liaisons to the professional and social aspects of our program, each summer associate is assigned a Mentor and an Associate Contact prior to their first day. Our lawyers take on these roles willingly in order to begin the integration process as early as possible. There is also the added benefit of lessening first day jitters and making the start of the program of a little less intimidating.
Each mentor is a partner who provides professional guidance, assigns and evaluates work assignments, helps to ensure that his or her summer associate is meeting practice group leaders and other partners, and serves as a general advocate throughout the summer. Mentors are carefully paired with their summer associates based on a variety of factors, and the process works so well that our new associates often request to be matched to the same mentor when they start as a first-year associate.
Associate contacts are junior or mid-level associates who serve as the social liaison for their assigned summer associate. They will make introductions to lawyers from throughout the firm and will help to make the cities where their offices are located feel like home. Many of our associate contacts go above and beyond by hosting backyard barbeques, providing neighborhood tours, and taking our summer associates to hidden treasures that make our various cities unique.
Training, Development and Pro Bono
There is nothing more valuable than “learning by doing,” which is why our summer associates engage in as many hands-on opportunities to learn as possible. We offer formal training programs, out-of-office events such as depositions, client meetings, and hearings, as well as other direct learning experiences.
Alston & Bird’s commitment to pro bono is uncompromising. Each summer associate is given plenty of pro bono opportunities and is strongly encouraged to take a pro bono project during the program. Such assignments carry the same weight with the Hiring Committee as the real client work they do throughout the summer.
A significant part of the summer experience at Alston & Bird is the ability to work on substantive work for real clients. We don’t believe in creating busy work or setting arbitrary deadlines for evaluative purposes. Summer associates work closely with their mentors to identify projects from our firm-wide database that will not only allow for an authentic experience based on their legal interests, but will cover the skills needed by the assigning attorney and the Hiring Committee to fairly assess the work file at the end of the summer.