Law students focus on firm culture, experience as Summer Associates

Photo of Summer Associates

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

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 and the project lasted much of the summer. The experience brought to life what Stacie had learned in her business law class and confirmed her interest in litigation.

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

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 certain matters, but associates are also encouraged to reach out to attorneys about specific 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 who is joining the firm this fall 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, a 2018 Summer Associate and 3L from University of Oregon School of Law, noted that attorneys made a special effort to give him the type of work he wanted. They also kept him challenged: he was asked to research and present to the 20-attorney Real Estate Group an overview of economic Opportunity Zones.

Attorneys’ open door policy builds relationships

Stacie and Caulin, who spent the 2018 summer with the firm as office neighbors, discovered they’d both homed in on Dunn Carney during the interview process because of the firm’s culture.

“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.”

Associate Natalie Stack, who started at Dunn Carney as a 2016 Summer Associate and is now in her first year of practice with the firm, learned that the firm’s open doors and collaboration lead to better solutions for the client. “I could spend hours in a vacuum, or I could walk across the hall and solve the problem,” she said.

For more information about the Summer Associate Program, contact Hiring Partner Elizabeth Knight at