Law students focus on firm culture, experience as Summer Associates

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Stacie Damazo found what she was hoping for when she accepted an offer from Dunn Carney for her 2018 Summer Associate experience. Then a 3L from Lewis and Clark Law School, Stacie wanted experience with a strong litigation firm, exposure to business transactional work and a friendly environment where she felt comfortable asking questions.  That’s what she got.

During her 10-week internship, she attended depositions, a mediation, closing arguments and oral arguments with different litigators, and volunteered with a firm business partner at the pro bono Small Business Clinic. A client there asked for help transferring a franchise agreement, a project that lasted much of the summer and brought to life what Stacie had learned in business law classes. It also confirmed her interest in litigation.

“Never say no,” she advises future summer associates. “Be open to every project.”

Stacie has since been hired as an associate at the firm. She will be starting in fall of 2019.

Variety of work experience is the key

Providing a variety of experience is one of the most important aspects of Dunn Carney’s Summer Associate Program. Attorneys offer Summer Associates opportunities to work on specific matters, but also encourage them to reach out to others about specific practice interests.

“The highlight of the summer was having the opportunity to go into different areas and get a taste for what they’re like,” said Conner Bottomly, a 2017 Summer Associate joined the firm in fall of 2018 as an associate. “We had the opportunity and resources to pursue other areas, and attorneys were open and helpful in guiding us, providing work, and giving worthwhile feedback.”

Caulin Price, also a 2018 Summer Associate who has been hired as an associate starting in the fall of 2019, noted that attorneys made a special effort to give him the type of work he wanted and keep him challenged.  A partner in the firm’s 20-attorney Real Estate Group asked Caulin to research and present to the group an overview of Opportunity Zones, then a new economic development concept involving tax incentives for investors and tax, business and real estate law.  Dunn Carney has since developed considerable expertise in the area and represents key investors and developers in Opportunity Zones.

Attorneys’ open door policy builds relationships

Stacie and Caulin were office neighbors during their internship and both identified the firm culture as the reason they homed in on Dunn Carney during the interview process.

“People here like interacting with each other and developing relationships with each other,” Caulin noted. Stacie identified what she calls Dunn Carney’s nurturing culture. “A lot of firms say they have an open door policy. Here you really do.”

Natalie Stack, who started at Dunn Carney in 2017 after interning as a 2016 Summer Associate,  finds that the firm’s open-door policy and collaborative culture lead to better solutions and more efficiency for clients. “I could spend hours in a vacuum, or I could walk across the hall and solve the problem with another attorney,” she said.

For more information about the Summer Associate Program, contact Hiring Partner Kate Moore at