August 12, 2021

Summer Associate Program: The Highlight of My Law School Career

By: Danay Hernandez (St. Thomas University)


The 2021 Virtual Summer Associate program at Kelley Kronenberg is an extraordinary opportunity. The program is a 10-week program where 10 law students from various schools are permitted to rotate through three different business units. In addition to gaining firsthand experience in the various practice areas that the firm has to offer, the students are provided with professional development and training. Students are also afforded the opportunity to attend all the social events the firm has scheduled throughout the summer. The program exposes students to what they may expect as first-year associates while developing their professional skills. Most notably, this summer internship for law students prepares you for a successful career by educating, training, and mentoring students with the best practices, professionally and personally, as they embark on their legal careers.

Rotation 1: First Party Property
During my first rotation, I was afforded the opportunity to experience First Party Property. I worked with John Riordan and Alison Trejo. While working with John Riordan, I was able to observe depositions conducted and defended by the various associates on his team. It was captivating to see how each associate handled the depositions, each with their own technique. Simultaneously, the firm conducted a seminar, Lawyer Learning­-Taking, and Defending Depositions, where many attorneys were able to discuss objections. At the meeting led by Lydia Harley and Josh Higgins, a conversation ensued about stylistic preferences pertaining to objections. ­This conversation, along with the observations, was informational and educative. I learned that there are many ways to defend and take a deposition, specifically how objections can be arbitrary depending on the attorneys involved and the handling judge. Also, prior to sitting in on the depositions, I believed that the corporate representative was a specific person within the insurance company that was designated as the corporate representative. However, at a handful of these corporate representative depositions, the individual was designated as a third-party company who was hired by the insurance company to handle these matters.

While working with Alison Trejo, I was permitted to draft the initial pleadings on three First Party Property cases. In each of the three cases, I was given the chance to draft an Initial Report, Answer and Affirmative Defenses, Answers to Interrogatories, Response to Request for Admissions, and Response to Request for Production. Once again, I perceived that although claims and attorneys varied, the process was indistinguishable with only differentiating details. Alison Trejo was incredibly helpful and provided very specific instructions with various samples to guide my drafting making it easy to follow and put together. I am eternally grateful for the feedback she provided.

Rotation 2: Family Law
During my second rotation, I was afforded the opportunity to work with Tracy Newmark and Natalie Kay in the Family Law unit. During this rotation, I was able to physically attend the office providing for a personable experience. Unbeknown to me, Family Law encompasses many areas of the law resulting in a mixture of layers and complexities. One moment we may be discussing real property and then the next we’re discussing tax law. Further, I was provided the opportunity to witness Natalie Kay’s advocating skills in action during hearings and I must say, she was remarkable and very articulate with her arguments. I learned the importance of preparation and maintaining composure in a courtroom. Natalie Kay’s preparation outshined her opposing counsel, who appeared disorganized and unprepared with incohesive arguments. Aside from observation, I was also provided with the opportunity to draft a Memorandum of Law in Support of a Motion to Determine Status of an Expert and an Answer Brief pertaining to Attorney Fees. Tracy Newmark is impressive in her current role as the teams’ paralegal; her experience and knowledge are inspiring. In her supporting role, she not only provided guidance, but also background and big picture views, which helped the team determine a course of action. In my short amount of time with their unit, I have gained tremendous knowledge and have learned more about Family Law than I will likely ever learn in my law school career. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from each of them.

Altogether, this opportunity has been and continues to be, the highlight of my law school career. It has also afforded me the ability to meet many successful attorneys plus hear their perspectives and advice which is utterly invaluable. Most importantly, this opportunity has helped me decide that I undoubtedly want to pursue a career in civil litigation.

Additionally, Kelley Kronenberg, as an organization, is completely distinct and exceptional. Indisputably, the finest firm for any law student or entry-level attorney to commence their career. The organization as a whole truly cares about every employee and has a genuine desire for every single person’s success, both individually and professionally. This is evident with all the tools, programs, and resources Kelley Kronenberg provides, unlike any other firm. As a Summer Associate, you are provided access to all the firm has to offer. Access to their resources in combination with the rotations is an all-around enriching experience. I have unquestionably grown significantly as an individual and as a legal professional. Kelley Kronenberg has defied every stereotypical expectation of Big Law. I am eternally grateful for the learning experience and I am sure it is one that I will carry with me throughout my legal career.

If you have the opportunity to experience their Summer Associate Internship program, then I strongly urge you to do so. Law students who are afforded this opportunity will be better equipped to enter the legal profession. A law school summer internship truly immerses you in the practicalities of being a first-year associate.

Stay tuned for my next blog post covering my third and final rotation in Business Litigation/Corporate Transactions with Harsh Arora! Still not persuaded, then please feel free to contact me with any questions or inquiries. It would be my honor to give back and assist you in your law school career.


DISCLAIMER: This article is provided as a courtesy and is intended for the general information of the matters discussed above and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Neither Kelley Kronenberg, nor its individual attorneys, staff or educational program associates, are responsible for errors, omissions and/or typographical errors – always seek competent legal counsel.