Frequently Asked Questions - Law Students and New Hires
Does your firm allow for "split summers"?
A: Yes, we accommodate second year students who wish to spend part of the summer with us and part with another firm. Students are required to spend a minimum of six weeks with our firm; we prefer they spend the first half of their summer at Dinsmore.
How are projects assigned?
A: The process of assigning projects is a unique feature of the summer program at Dinsmore. This process varies from office to office based on the size of their summer program. We do not assign summer associates to particular departments or partners, nor do we rotate summer associates through departments. Rather, we believe that our summer associates should explore the practice of law according to their individual interests. When permissible, we employ a system that allows summer associates to choose their own assignments. In some situations, our summer associates are directly assigned projects based on client need. Those who want to experiment with different areas of the practice may do so. Those who have decided on a particular area of practice may focus on that area to the extent they desire. Many summer associates cite our assignment process as a unique aspect of our program and one of its greatest benefits.
Do summer associates have a mentor?
A: To aid in the professional development of our summer associates, we assign a Recruiting Committee Mentor and Associate Mentor to guide each student through the program. From the first day at the office to the last day, summer associates are encouraged to go to their mentor with any questions they might have about projects, their legal careers, firm culture, etc.
Is there an evaluation procedure for summer associates?
A: Since feedback is key to growth and progress, Dinsmore attorneys are expected to provide oral and written feedback for each project that a summer associate undertakes. The assigning attorney openly and frankly discusses with the summer associate the result of the project, the quality of his/her work and ideas for improvement. Additionally, all summer associates undergo a formal evaluation in which their work product is reviewed by Summer Program Directors and they are counseled on areas they can improve to become a more successful summer associate and, eventually, practicing attorney.
Do summer associates have opportunities to assist or observe attorneys outside the office?
A: Work performed by summer associates is not confined to legal research and drafting of memoranda. As much as possible, summer associates are encouraged to visit the courts; assist in the preparation of briefs, pleadings and other legal documents; attend depositions; participate in closings; and go to conferences with clients and other attorneys. We believe this enables the summer associates to better understand the practice of law at the firm and gives them a realistic view of legal practice in general.
What educational activities are offered during the summer?
A: Each week we organize professional activities to encourage the growth of summer associates in their legal careers. Some recent activities include:
- Panel discussions with local In-House Counsel and corporate clients
- Weekly organizational meetings
- Summer Associate/Partner lunches
- Educational lunches led by partners on various topics
- Lunch and tour with Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals Judge
- Meetings with local judges
Why are social events important to the summer program?
A: We believe that a successful summer program depends not only on a diverse and fulfilling project load, but also on the building of personal and professional relationships. Accordingly, we organize activities that encourage the development of bonds among our summer associates and allow them to get to know associates and partners in the Dinsmore family.
Examples of the social activities we've organized in recent years include the following:
Churchill Downs "Day at the Races"
Major-League Baseball Games
Legal League Softball Games
Parties hosted by our three Department Chairs
Some of our most enjoyable get-togethers are those that aren't planned. Often, our summer associates and junior associates will organize impromptu happy hours and after-work activities. This allows opportunities for summer associates to gain insights into our firm from attorneys who have recently graduated from law school, many of whom are also graduates of the Summer Associate Program.
What steps have you taken to promote diversity within your firm?
A: Dinsmore values diversity and recognizes the fundamental principle that diversity will produce a competitive advantage and an enhanced work environment. We strive to achieve diversity in all areas, including race, sex, age, nationality, and cultural heritage. Dinsmore participates in minority job fairs, local clerkship programs, bar association committees, and recruiting at minority-sponsored consortia and law schools. The Black Lawyers Association of Cincinnati-Cincinnati Bar Association Round Table honored the firm with a Forward Altogether Award, recognizing Dinsmore’s efforts to promote diversity within the legal profession. Dinsmore has a scholarship program that is designed to bring minority students to the region – candidates who might never have considered the area otherwise.
Do summer associates get involved in pro bono work and community service?
A: Dinsmore engages in a substantial amount of legal, charitable and civic pro bono work. The firm accepts referrals from the Legal Aid Society, Local Bar Associations (such as Volunteer Lawyers for the Poor Project), and other sources.
In years past, summer associates have assisted attorneys with various pro bono projects. Such projects include assisting with employment and discrimination complaints, consumer and environmental problems, and criminal and death penalty work. Summer associates have had the unique opportunity to assist with the firm's representation of an inmate on death row before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In addition to our pro bono legal work, the firm also participates in non-profit and charitable activities. These activities include serving meals at the Healing Place, a drug and alcohol treatment center in Louisville, and building homes for low-income families in cooperation with Habitat for Humanity. Attorneys from Dinsmore sit on the boards of many charitable organizations and associations. We encourage our summer associates to become actively involved in community service.
What is your firm's dress policy?
A: Dinsmore has adopted a "business appropriate" dress code five days a week. You are not required to wear a suit every day, but it would be wise to have a suit available when professional dress is required, such as going to court, meeting clients, attending a meeting or an occasional social event. Often such opportunities arise with little advance notice, so we encourage our summer associates to keep a suit available in the event that they are invited by an attorney to participate in such events.
How many first year students do you hire?
A: The number of first-year students in our summer class varies from year to year. First-year students are encouraged to apply in accordance with the NALP guideline, any time after December 1.