Summer Associate Training Program

Each year, Parsons Behle & Latimer recruits outstanding law students to participate in its summer training program. These students receive an opportunity to expand their legal knowledge through actual experience within a large law firm. Close monitoring of the program assures summer associates exposure to a variety of legal experiences, skills development and important feedback and guidance.

The objectives of this summer associate training program are twofold:

  1. To introduce summer associates to the practical aspects of legal practice through a variety of well-planned and monitored assignments; and
  2. To create a program that provides the firm with new associates and ensures the long-term future of the firm.

Parsons Behle & Latimer Recruiting Committee

Summer Associate Selection Criteria

First-year and second-year law students (and sometimes third-year law students with judicial clerkships) who meet the firm's screening-selection qualifications.
Qualifications Regional, national or international* students completing the first, second or third year of law school and having class standing in the top of their class. Candidates are selected through a screening process that includes interviews conducted by the firm.

Training Period
The average training period is 10 to 12 weeks during summer break, usually beginning in May or June and ending in mid to late August. The firm encourages a minimum of ten weeks employment and discourages "split" summers for new summer associates. Offers are based on actual summer performance rather than academic standing or law school performance.

Training Specifics

Group orientations provide summer associates an opportunity to meet fellow summer associates, members of the recruiting committee, administrative staff and lawyers of the firm. In addition, the summer associates receive training reference materials, performance expectations and essential logistics and administrative support information.

Attorney Advisors
Attorney advisors are assigned to the summer associates to work as mentor-consultants and to provide guidance, support and feedback throughout the summer.

Skills Workshops
The firm conducts legal writing and research development seminars to address the specific needs of law students. This instruction, which may include review and critique of former summer associate projects, becomes the basis for progress evaluations conducted throughout the summer. Research reference manuals are distributed to each summer associate at the beginning of the summer program.

Skills Development
Summer associates develop skills and enhance legal knowledge through the experience of project completion and regular interaction with firm lawyers. Summer associates receive assignments that expose them to all areas of practice within the firm. The firm places emphasis on substantive, legal analysis and advocacy writing. Summer associates will perform a wide variety of tasks throughout the training period that may include the following:

  • conduct legal research and obtain documents
  • analyze and summarize factual information and draft research memoranda and briefs
  • digest, summarize and abstract depositions and hearing transcripts
  • assist in deposition, hearing and trial preparation
  • assist in preparing for closing of business or real property transactions
  • assist in review and documentation of business transactions
  • assist in review and preparation of environmental compliance audits
  • assist in review of records and documentation of real property title opinions
  • attend public meetings, business negotiations and closings
  • organize trial exhibits
  • examine public records - title opinions
  • assist in preparation of trial exhibits and books
  • cite check and shepardize
  • draft pleadings
  • draft pre-trial orders and settlement conference memoranda
  • attend depositions, administrative proceedings, hearings, trials and arbitrations
  • draft contracts and related business transaction documents

Practice Area Seminars
The firm arranges weekly presentations on topics ranging from professional responsibility to attorneys personal insights into specific areas of law practice. The speakers are senior-level members of the firm who welcome questions from the summer associates.

Members of the recruiting committee and the Human Resources Director will monitor each summer associates training progress to assure quality control, ongoing critique and regular opportunities for feedback.

Work Assignments
Each summer associate is assigned projects that attorneys have requested and submitted to the Human Resources Director for distribution. Each summer associate completes at least one substantive writing project that is carefully selected and reviewed by a legal writing mentor, after which there is flexibility to accommodate specific areas of interest and requests. Summer associates prepare motions, pleadings, research memoranda, leases, conveyances and transactional documents as well as conducting legal research, document control and discovery efforts.

Progress Evaluations and Feedback
In addition to individual attorney project critiques, the recruiting committee and the summer associates advisors conduct at least three progress evaluations during the course of the summer. The purpose is to review overall performances and to provide immediate oral feedback and guidance relative to the summer associates writing, organizational and analytical skills. The recruiting committee also evaluates other lawyering skills such as judgment, communication, interpersonal abilities, productivity, initiative and dependability.

Meetings and CLE
The firm invites summer associates to attend department meetings and firm-wide continuing education seminars.

Other Legal Experiences
The firm encourages summer associates to attend trials, administrative proceedings, hearings, depositions, closings and arbitrations. When appropriate, summer associates may attend internal client meetings, department and strategy meetings and business negotiations.

The firm offers a variety of opportunities to summer associates to meet and interact with each other and firm members during casual, non-business social events throughout the summer. These events include department-hosted parties, a golf tournament, lawyer league softball, after-business socials, firm picnics and professional sports outings.

International Law Students

International law students joining the firm's summer training program receive individual and specific consideration relative to training. These students work with the senior member of the firm's International Law Department for orientation, guidance and feedback. This attorney provides direction for project assignments and evaluations.
The standard summer associate training program includes preliminary training to familiarize the international summer associate with U.S. and Utah practice laws, rules of court and jurisdiction. The training vs. work ratio is approximately 50% for international summer associates. This varies according to the individual and specific areas of introduction to meet adequately the learning needs of the student.

Broad Opportunity to Succeed

Parsons Behle & Latimer has long embraced the philosophy that all summer associates will have the opportunity to succeed together. We never hire more summer associates than we expect we will be able to extend offers. As a result, if all summer associates perform in accordance with our expectations during the summer, we will invite all of them to return. We have never declined to extend return offers to summer associates simply because of a lack of available positions. As a result of this hiring philosophy, summer associates at Parsons Behle & Latimer cooperate with each other and enjoy a strong sense of collegiality and camaraderie. Rather than competing to beat each other out, our summer associates can focus on working together and producing the best work they are capable of producing.


The firm's long-term objective is to provide a professional, well-structured learning environment for summer associates and to transform these students into outstanding associate candidates with quality lawyering skills who may ultimately receive invitations to join the firm.

Comments from Former Summer Associates about the Program

On Feedback . . .

  • "This is the real strong point of the summer program. It really sets Parsons apart from the other firms.
  • "The quality of feedback was extremely helpful, especially the attorneys' project evaluations and the placement committee's frankness in general evaluations."
  • "This was the main reason I came to Parsons. It was stressed in the interviews and lived up to my expectations. My advisor gave good feedback and the comments on my writing were both in-depth and greatly appreciated."

On Overall Training . . .

  • "All workshops were very helpful. I especially benefited from the writing seminar tips and the personal interest demonstrated to help me improve my writings skills."
  • "Can't think of any other programs needed - the ones you have in place are great and comprehensive."

On Assignments . . .

  • "I found my work extremely interesting with a nice mix of subjects with which I was and was not familiar."
  • "After expressing my interest in international law, I was approached by two attorneys with some very interesting projects. I also enjoyed learning about jurisdiction and evidence."
  • "I feel I had a reasonably broad range of assignments. I had some choices in deciding the kind of work I did and liked having a range of possible assignments rather than just getting something to do."
  • "All projects were interesting and engaging and provided a variety of legal issues."

On Advisors . . .

  • "I got along well with my advisor and spoke to her often. I felt I could speak to her candidly."
  • "My advisor was great. He provided highly specific feedback and read all my work. No complaints."
  • "My advisors were extremely helpful, always ready to chat and quite responsive to my concerns."
  • "My advisor was excellent. Adequate and quick feedback. More than helpful and willing to answer questions
    and concerns."

On Representative Experience . . .

  • "The programs enhanced my insight and understanding of PB&L. Overall, I feel I had a good summer. I received the training you told me I would and I have a good sense of what it takes to work in a large firm. I was well received by attorneys and staff and appreciate that very much."

General Comments . . .

  • "I enjoyed the work and people, and felt like I learned a lot and contributed in some way. Overall, my summer at PB&L was very rewarding."
  • "It was very helpful to have a source for new project assignments. I know everyone appreciates the efforts to keep
    us on track."
  • "The training program was great. My friends at other firms said they had very little feedback. The best part about the program was the feedback from my advisor and from attorneys who had reviewed my work."
  • "The placement committee set the right tone from the beginning. Attorneys have treated me with respect, the work has been interesting and overall the program has run very smoothly."
  • "My experience has been wonderful. I found the advisor program, the seminars on research and writing and the meetings on my writing to be particularly helpful."
  • "My compliments to a well-run organization. The committee kept us informed and managed an excellent program."
  • "In comparison to previous clerkships and in talking with classmates and friends, the quality demanded at Parsons is higher than other firms. I felt challenged."

Firm Leadership

Hal J. Pos
President and Chief Executive Officer
Salt Lake City
Kristine E. Johnson
Vice President and Secretary
Salt Lake City
Bruce H. White
Vice President and Treasurer
Salt Lake City
Richard J. Angell
Vice President
Salt Lake City
Shawn C. Ferrin
Vice President
Salt Lake City