Law Students

Barnes & Thornburg: Your Summer Destination

Work hard. Learn the ropes. Have fun. Be the best. Those are all the focus of Barnes & Thornburg’s Summer Associate program.

Barnes & Thornburg is full-service national law firm with a summer associate program that offers law students a wide variety of opportunities. Housed mainly in our Chicago, Indianapolis and Minneapolis offices, but offering additional opportunities in other locales, summer associates work closely with the firm's more than 600 attorneys and legal professionals and their clients on a range of matters, from small matters where the summer associate may take on a large role to complex matters in which the summer associate may work as part of a team.

The continued growth and the breadth of Barnes & Thornburg's regional and national representations ensure that if they become associates in our firm, our summer associates know they will be challenged every day working on sophisticated, complex legal problems that have potential ramifications to our clients at the local, state, regional, national and international levels.

Summer associates also are exposed to the firm's pro bono program. At Barnes & Thornburg, pro bono assignments are not reserved for attorneys; summer associates have the opportunity to select the pro bono projects and activities that they want to be involved in and that are important to their own values and beliefs. Barnes & Thornburg has a written pro bono policy confirming that all associates may receive up to 50 hours of billable credit for pro bono work. Find out more about the firm's pro bono efforts.

Like pro bono, Barnes & Thornburg is committed to diversity and inclusion, and building a workplace with people from different backgrounds, ideas and cultures. The firm has made concerted efforts to increase the number of minority attorneys it attracts through participation in various initiatives and through the work of its director of diversity, professional development and inclusion. Barnes & Thornburg understands that its clients appreciate and demand that lawyers who are working on their legal matters come from different races, genders and backgrounds, and that those lawyers benefit from working with and around each other.

Bill Padgett, Indianapolis hiring partner, summed up his goals for the summer program: "Our Barnes & Thornburg summer program is premised on an open-assignment system so that law students are not constrained and can explore various areas of law. It is a busy, truth-in-advertising summer of real work that is as close to being a Barnes & Thornburg junior associate as possible. Our summer associates take part in programming focused on developing their skills for success as future associates and fun events geared towards getting to know the firm and the community.”
William E. Padgett, Indianapolis Hiring Partner, Barnes & Thornburg

Overall, I had an outstanding summer associateship experience at Barnes & Thornburg. My summer experience afforded me the opportunity to see how life as a first-year associate would look. I had the chance to work on substantive client matters in both the litigation and corporate departments. This was helpful because before I began the summer program, I was not positive about the area of law on which I wanted to concentrate. The summer gave me a chance to “test out the waters” in multiple departments and discover which area of law I most enjoyed and those with whom I collaborated best.

Another aspect of the summer at Barnes & Thornburg that I enjoyed most was working through projects with my fellow summer associates and with my associate mentor. I was pleasantly surprised that, because Barnes & Thornburg only hires those summer associates for whom they have a corresponding open associate position, I was able to collaborate with the other associates rather than compete against them. The summer associateship program at Barnes & Thornburg was well-organized and exceeded my admittedly high expectations.
Alex Swider, 2016 Summer Associate, Indianapolis

Barnes & Thornburg’s summer associate program allowed me to explore various areas of the law and begin the process of narrowing my interests. I was challenged daily and gained an incredible amount of practical knowledge that helped to eventually prepare me to begin working as an associate. I was most grateful for partners and associates from each department who were willing to take the time to explain what each practice area entails and ways in which to become a successful practitioner. Those interactions and relationships helped me turn my summer associate experience into a solid basis for practice as a first-year attorney.
Laura Luisi, Associate, Chicago. 2014 Summer Associate.

The summer associate program helped facilitate my transition into the firm as an associate attorney by providing extensive training, mentor guidance and exposure to the practice of law through meaningful assignments. The social events during the summer were helpful in learning about the firm’s culture and allowed me to meet and get to know the attorneys at Barnes & Thornburg. It was nice to see all the friendly faces when I came back to the firm as an associate; it made my return welcoming. The first couple of assignments I received as an associate attorney were from my summer mentor and attorneys I had met or worked with during the summer.

Assisting attorneys on projects for their clients during the summer made me aware and familiar with the high standards that are expected from associates and provided me with early hands-on experience with the type of work I do now.
Ladene I. Mendoza, Associate, Barnes & Thornburg, Indianapolis. 2015 Summer Associate.


Learn more about the firm and our recruiting process at the following links:


Jonathan P. Froemel
Christopher W. Fowlkes
Fort Wayne
Jason T. Clagg
South Bend
Mark J. Adey
William E. Padgett

Sarah Evenson
Director of Law Student Programs