Summer Law Intern Program Celebrates 20 Years
by Kirby Drake
This summer marks the 20th Anniversary of the Dallas Bar Association (DBA) Summer Law Intern Program (SLIP). The program was launched in the Summer of 1994 as a joint effort between the DBA and the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) to provide a select group of incoming high school seniors with the opportunity to work in law firms and corporate legal departments through the Dallas area. SLIP is recognized among DBA members as one of the most successful partnership projects ever undertaken by the DBA and the DISD. It is considered to be a cornerstone program for the DBA, having received a Dallas Bar Foundation grant each year from 1998-2012.
The selection process through which the interns undergo is highly competitive—they must have a grade average of 85 or above, less than 10 absences, complete an application which includes all their activities and accomplishments, provide transcripts, references from teachers and principals, and finally, they are narrowed down to the top four students from each of the 30-plus DISD High Schools. They will then go through personal interviews with attorneys and DISD representatives. Each year more than 25 Dallas-area attorney volunteers donate two to three hours of their time to interview the student applicants.
From this fantastic group of highly qualified applicants, typically 20-30 students are selected to participate in the program each year; however, many more interns could be selected if more spaces were available in law firms and corporate legal departments. These participants are high-achieving, ambitious students who wish to learn about the law, possibly pursue a law degree, but definitely wish to gain experience working in a professional environment. For many of the participants, a work opportunity of this caliber would otherwise be unavailable. By participating in SLIP, the interns gain self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as a sense of pride and professionalism. The interns are also introduced to the professional opportunities available to them if they continue to apply themselves in their school and other activities. The DBA suggests its members consider taking on an intern for the summer to provide as many opportunities as possible for Dallas-area students.
“Our interns have been—uniformly—inquisitive, eager and hard-working, and most of them have gone on to college and interesting careers of their own,” said Diane Sumoski, of Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P., a firm that has participated in the program since its inception. “It is very satisfying to have the opportunity to be one of the stepping stones to these interns’ successes.
DBA members can benefit from this program by hiring an intern to take care of the limitless tasks that arise in their busy offices, such as general office support duties, messenger services, document organization, filing, copying, and the like. The level of financial commitment also is low ($8/hour), and the interns can provide a tremendous benefit for that cost. Both part-time and full-time opportunities are available to employers, as well as 4-week and 8-week options (between June 17-August 9).
As the firms and corporate legal departments who have participated in the past can attest, these interns will be trained and ready to get concrete, professional experience wherever they can. Both the interns and their employers benefit from their involvement in SLIP, and many maintain contact with each other even after the program ends. In fact, in a number of circumstances, interns are hired on to continue working with their respective employers during the school year and beyond.
Sally Crawford, President of the DBA, says, “My firm, Jones Day, has participated in the Summer Law Intern Program since its inception. We have placed students in virtually every department in the firm. The students are smart, mature and hardworking—it is a pleasure to work with them.”
Shannon Bates, Executive Partner of Klemchuk Kubasta LLP, added, “Our firm hired an intern for the first time last summer. Our intern was highly qualified and of such tremendous assistance and benefit to our firm over the summer that we have continued to employ him during the school year. Our firm is so pleased to be part of this great program.”
If you have not previously considered hiring an intern through the Summer Law Intern Program but would like to do so, please contact Amy Smith at (214) 220-7484 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about SLIP is available at www.dallasbar.org/summerlawinternprogram.
SLIP Committee Celebrates 20th Summer Program or simplyThank You!
Thank you to these firms for their long-standing commitment and support of the
Summer Law Intern Program since the beginning!
Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, L.L.P.
Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP
Ramirez & Associates, P.C.
Strasburger & Price., L.L.P.
Thompson & Knight L.L.P.*
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
And to the many more have participated throughout the years!
If you would like to participate in this year’s program, please contact: email@example.com.
*has sponsored an intern to work with DVAP each year since 2009.
Kirby Drake is a Partner at Klemchuk Kubasta LLP and Co-Chair of the Summer Law Intern Program Committee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.