What is it like to work at Drinker Biddle?

Meredith Slawe - A Lasting First Impression

At Drinker Biddle, we invest in our associates. We have strong training programs that help our associates become excellent and efficient lawyers. We begin training during the summer associate program and build on this with our First Year Associate Development Program, an intensive three-month training program that combines practical skills training and focused practice group training.

Day to day, associates handle challenging and sophisticated work, but in a collegial environment. Office doors are always open for colleagues to collaborate and ask questions. As associates progress, the firm continues its investment with advanced training sessions and mentoring programs.

What will I do as a summer associate with the firm?

A summer with us is a challenging experience that prepares law students to practice law and integrates them into firm culture. Our Summer Associate Program begins with a firm-wide orientation in Philadelphia at which summer associates meet each other and learn about our firm. Once they return to their home offices, summer associates receive assignments on client matters. We also conduct sophisticated assignment modules that are designed to train summer associates to examine issues and propose practical solutions. Our summer associates will gain insight into the types of clients we serve, the varied practice groups in which we specialize and how we develop the skills of our lawyers.

Summer associates receive assignments from partners and can also request to work on projects that pique their interests. Summer associates receive regular feedback on their work through mid-summer and end-of-summer evaluations.

Each summer associate is assigned an associate-host and a partner-mentor. The associate host is there to give summer associates a comfortable outlet to ask questions and gather information. The partner-mentor serves as an adviser, providing the summer associate with guidance on professional goals and input on work product.

Social events are also an important component of our program at which summer associates interact with each other and many other colleagues at the firm.

Our Summer Associate Program is designed to give students a real-world experience with our firm through active assignments with clients and experiential learning modules with our litigation and corporate practice groups. Here are some frequently asked questions.

How will I be compensated?

Our summer associates are paid the weekly equivalent of $160,000-$180,000 (depending on region) per annum.

How long is the summer program?

Our summer associate program is nine weeks.

Where are summer programs available?

We offer opportunities in our Chicago, Florham Park, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. offices.

Will I receive guidance and mentoring?

You will receive two tiers of support: Each summer associate is assigned an associate-host and a partner-mentor. The associate-host serves as your informal guide and a comfortable, peer-level resource for all your questions. The partner-mentor acts as an adviser and teacher, providing you with guidance on your professional goals and giving direct feedback on your work. Your partner-mentor also liaises with the Summer Committee to ensure that you receive the appropriate, high-quality assignments you need to start your career.

How will I be evaluated?

Feedback is ongoing and informal as well as structured and formal. We make sure you are always receiving constructive guidance so you can constantly gauge your performance and make improvements that help shape you into an excellent professional.

Assignments — Client matter assignments are reviewed by the assigning lawyer, who provides feedback on your research, analytical, writing and communication skills. The assignment modules are reviewed by lawyers in the practice group involved in the module. Summer associates receive both practice-group and individual feedback on each module--feedback covers the substantive legal issues raised in the module, your performance on the module and guidance about how to handle similar assignments in the future. All assignments are also reviewed by your partner-mentor, who focuses on developing your writing skills over the summer.

Mid-summer progress and final review — Besides having informal discussions with our summer associates about their work and progress over the course of the summer, the Summer Committee will meet with you individually in the middle of the Summer Program to discuss progress and to provide guidance about how to approach the second half of the summer. During the last week of the program, the Summer Committee also provides a final review and discusses your practice group preferences with you.

The National Association for Law Placement, Inc. (NALP) serves as the premier source of information for legal career planning and recruitment. The NALP Form provides job seekers with basic information about our firm and hiring practices. To view our firm-wide form, please click here. To view our forms by office, please click the city names below.

Philadelphia, PA Form

Washington, DC Form

Chicago, IL Form

Florham Park, NJ Form

Los Angeles, CA Form

San Francisco, CA Form


2017 Confirmed Dates

American University Washington School of Law

Monday, August 14

Bay Area Diversity Career Fair

Saturday, July 29

The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law

Thursday, August 10

CCBA Minority Job Fair

Friday, August 11

Chicago-Kent College of Law

Monday, August 7

DePaul University College of Law

Tuesday, August 8

Duke University School of Law

Wednesday, August 2

George Mason University, Antonin Scalia Law School

Monday, August 14

Georgetown University Law Center

Thursday, August 10

George Washington University Law School

Tuesday, August 1 (Philadelphia)

Thursday, August 10 (DC)

Howard University School of Law

Wednesday, August 9

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Wednesday, August 2

John Marshall Law School

Tuesday, August 15

Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair

Tuesday, August 1 – Friday, August 4

Law Consortium LA Interview Program

Tuesday, July 25

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

Thursday, August 10

MCGC Chicago Walk Around Program

Thursday, August 10

MCGC Washington University in St. Louis Law School

Tuesday, July 25

New Jersey Law Firm Group

Tuesday, August 1

Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

Wednesday, August 9

Notre Dame Law School

Tuesday, August 8

Patent Law Interview Program

Thursday, August 3

Philadelphia Area Diversity Job Fair

Monday, July 31

Rutgers School of Law - Camden

Monday, August 7

Rutgers School of Law - Newark

Wednesday, August 2

Seton Hall Law School

Monday, July 24

Temple University Beasley School of Law

Monday, August 7

University of California, Berkeley

Wednesday, August 2

University of California, Davis

Tuesday, August 8

University of California, Hastings

Friday, August 4

University of California, Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 1

University of Chicago Law School

Monday, August 7

University of Illinois College of Law

Wednesday, August 9

University of Michigan Law School

Tuesday, August 8

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Tuesday, August 8

University of Virginia School of Law

Tuesday, August 8

USC Gould School of Law

Thursday, August 3

Vanderbilt DC Regional Interview Program

Tuesday, August 1

Villanova University's Charles Widger School of Law

Thursday, August 10

Washington DC Off-Campus Recruitment Program with The Law Consortium

Monday, July 24

William & Mary Law School

Tuesday, August 15

What will I learn from the First Year Associate Development Program?

Our First Year Associate Development Program is an intensive three-month program that is designed to prepare new lawyers for practice and to help build relationships with each other and within the firm. During the program, our associates do not have billable hour expectations.

The program is organized firm wide and combines practical skills training with practice group-specific training. These two types of training are integrated throughout the course of the program. As a result, our new associates will have continuous exposure to those in their practice groups and other colleagues throughout the firm.

The firm emphasizes experiential training through lectures, presentations and modules. Our associates work on modules throughout the program that are based on real-world assignments. These modules may include preparing for a client interview, drafting a motion or negotiating a purchase agreement. During the program, associates are challenged to ask questions, take initiative, work collaboratively, think like a client-focused lawyer and produce individual or group work product, as appropriate. The training is interactive and reinforced with feedback. By the end of the program, associates have developed skills to begin their practices.

Practical Skills Training

These sessions focus on practical skills, such as problem solving, communication and presentation skills, contract interpretation, writing and editing, and ethics and professionalism.

Practice Group Training

These sessions prepare our associates to be productive lawyers in their practice groups by focusing on the substantive areas of the law. The associates are immersed in individual and group exercises based on actual and simulated client matters. In these modules, an associate may be asked to draft a client memorandum or an agreement, conduct a mock deposition, make a presentation to a mock client, or engage in heated negotiations for a mock financing or acquisition.


As the associates begin to practice, they have the opportunity to continue their training through our Apprenticeship program. The program allows our associates to observe experienced lawyers in their practice groups in action and work with them on ongoing matters. The phase effectively facilitates the transition from training to the full-time practice of law.

Our Opt-In Mentoring Program is available to all associates at the firm. The mentoring program gives each associate an opportunity to meet with a partner or counsel one-on-one for feedback and guidance. An associate can apply to have a mentor in his or her practice group or another practice group. The mentoring program pairs each interested associate with a partner or counsel for a year of informal monthly mentoring meetings. Each year, associates have the opportunity to change mentoring pairs, which gives them a chance to meet and have meaningful contact with more partners and counsel.

Associates say that meeting regularly with a mentor gives them a more relaxed forum to ask questions and receive feedback that they may not feel comfortable getting from another source. The program also offers a way for associates to develop new connections with other attorneys and learn about how different practice groups at the firm operate. Mentors also take an interest in the personal lives of their mentees, which makes associates feel more valued as colleagues and invested in the firm.

Associates are reviewed on a quarterly and annual basis to ensure that they are getting the regular feedback necessary for them to excel in their jobs and advance in their careers.

Our firm is devoted to assisting associates with their careers from day one. The firm’s Professional Development Department administers our firm-wide CLE programs, firm-wide training programs, and mentoring and peer adviser programs.

Who are the firm’s clients and what types of matters will I work on?

Our client base encompasses a broad range from entrepreneurs, startups and nonprofits, to large universities, private equity firms, hospital systems, biopharmaceutical companies and Fortune 500 companies. See a representative list of our clients.

Our summer associate and first-year associate development programs are demanding and hands-on, so our associates handle high-level work in cases and deals relatively early in their careers. The types of matters vary across practice groups and include counseling, transactional and regulatory compliance work, as well as litigation, arbitration and corporate matters such as due diligence and mergers and acquisitions. Read our 2016 Annual Report to learn about some of our recent cases and successes.

How will I collaborate with other offices?

At Drinker Biddle & Reath, our lawyers regularly collaborate across practice groups and offices. We have a client-focused approach, which means that we make a concerted effort to assemble the best team of lawyers across practice areas and offices for each client engagement.

Our Industry Team initiative, which combines talent from across firm practice groups to serve the needs of individual industries, is one of the ways our lawyers work together every day.

Does the firm have career resources?

We have a dedicated Career Counselor who is responsible for supporting our non-partner lawyers on career development. The Career Counselor serves as a confidential resource and is available to:

  • Act as a sounding board and adviser regarding career planning and development.
  • Identify resources for career planning and development within the firm or for consideration of alternative paths outside of the firm.
  • Help lawyers transition to or from leave and provide advice on work/ life integration.
  • Assist with developing personal business plans.

What else do I need to know?

We have a vibrant firm culture that values civility and diversity; this is reflected in our core values and in the way we conduct business every day. Our Diversity and Inclusion Committee and Women’s Leadership Committee support our efforts to continuously develop and retain the top talent in our industry.

We all share a civic commitment to our communities and each other. Lawyers and professionals in each of our offices take part in community service initiatives including tutoring school children, Friday jeans day fundraisers, winter clothing drives, and charity races and tournaments for various causes. Some of our offices host monthly staff lunches, sponsor employee softball teams and participate in events such as Take Your Child to Work Day.

Our alumni network is a place for former colleagues to network, stay in contact with us and access resources that will help them continue to be successful in their careers. We offer our alumni exclusive access to free CLE programs and a job postings board. We regularly invite alumni to participate in networking and community events. Learn more about our alumni network.