“When searching for my 2L summer job, I knew I was looking for something above and beyond a summer paycheck. I was looking for a place to lay the foundation for my future career. When strategizing the best place to lay that foundation, a few key goals remained rooted in the back of my mind.
I knew I wanted to return to Milwaukee, which, apart from being my hometown, is a vibrant city, evolving with new sights, tastes and sounds at a progressive rate. However, in addition to living in Milwaukee, I wanted to work in an environment that felt like Milwaukee—relatively large with a community that feels much smaller, where people work hard, but at the same time, remain personable with one another. At Godfrey & Kahn, that is precisely the environment I encountered.
Although everyone was busy, attorneys still took the time to greet me in the hallway and to leave their doors open for advice or conversation. With every project I received, I was able to ask questions, obtain feedback and learn a great deal about the intricacies of completing projects for clients. This summer experience helped me not only lay a foundation in a great place, but also in an open and supportive working environment that truly encourages the growth of those working within it.”
Madeline Schlederer, Indiana University Law School, Juris Doctor Candidate, 2017
"From my admittedly biased perspective, it would be hard to create a summer associate experience that could top the program at Godfrey & Kahn. From day one, everyone in the firm—shareholders, associates, and the administrative and support staff—treats you as a valued member of the Godfrey & Kahn team. The firm’s “open door” policy is exactly what it claims to be, allowing summer associates access to all G&K attorneys, whether they are first-year associates or thirty-year veterans of the firm. Unlike some firms, where summer associates are sometimes treated as annoyances, Godfrey & Kahn values summer associates as integral to ensuring the firm’s future success and maintaining the firm’s unique friendly and collaborative culture. In other words, Godfrey & Kahn attorneys don’t interact with summer associates because they have to—rather, every attorney I spoke with during my summer had a genuine and earnest desire to learn more about me, to answer any questions I had about the firm, and to assist in my professional development in whatever way possible.
The summer associate program at Godfrey & Kahn is designed with two goals in mind. The first is to leave summer associates with a strong understanding of the work the will be doing as new associates in the firm. For students like me, who came into the program without a particular practice area in mind, the program first exposes you to a variety of practice areas. Later, once you develop areas of interest, the program works to create opportunities in those areas so that you can make informed choices at the end of the summer.
After finishing my summer at Godfrey & Kahn, I am a better writer, researcher, and analyst than ever before. The projects I worked on throughout the summer were all, without exception, extremely challenging, interesting, and intellectually stimulating. Not once did I feel that I had been given a “canned” project or busy work—rather, each project allowed me to improve my skills and increase my exposure to an unfamiliar and interesting area of the law. The shareholders and associates I worked with on each project were excellent at explaining assignments and offering guidance, while at the same time maintaining a level of separation and trust that allowed me to develop and test my own arguments in a “real life” setting. On one project, I was asked to attend a meeting to discuss contracts I drafted for a client. After the meeting, the shareholder supervising the project trusted me to interact directly with the client from that point on, and I ended up working with the client directly to draft the contract to their specifications.
The second goal of the Godfrey & Kahn program is to allow summer associates to create and develop relationships with the firm’s attorneys. The summer associate calendar is packed with events—Brewers games, fishing trips, golf outings, to name a few—designed to bring summer associates and attorneys together in a casual, fun setting. As a non-Milwaukee native, the events also helped me to learn more about the city and appreciate all the activities that the area has to offer. While the program’s social calendar keeps things busy during the week, weekends are usually free for spending time with family and friends.
Overall, the Godfrey & Kahn summer associate program was an incredibly rewarding experience, one that I would recommend to any law student looking for a firm that recognizes the importance of both hard work and teamwork."
Scott LeBlanc, current Labor, Employment & Immigration attorney at Godfrey & Kahn and Duke University graduate.
From my interview in D.C. to my last lunch in Milwaukee one year later, I saw that Godfrey & Kahn is committed to recruiting not just a talented summer class, but the firm's next generation of attorneys. The summer program gave me a chance to transfer my legal skills from the classroom to the office with support from the full range of the firm's staff, people invested in associates' development at the firm and in the community. That dual investment is unique among top law firms I look forward to keeping client service and community development—rather than reputational, zero-sum competition—the focus of my career. Being back at Georgetown for my final year has confirmed how fortunate I was to spend my summer with Godfrey & Kahn, where collegiality is the rule, not the exception.
Ed Wallace, Georgetown University Law School, Juris Doctor Candidate, 2017