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Summer Associate Program

  • Smith Debnam Summer Associate Program
  • Smith Debnam Attorneys at Law - Summer Associate Program
  • Smith Debnam Attorneys at Law - Summer Associate Program
  • Smith Debnam Attorneys at Law - Summer Associate Program
  • Smith Debnam Attorneys at Law - Summer Associate Program
  • Smith Debnam Attorneys at Law - Summer Associate Program

Program At-a-Glance

  • 12 weeks paid engagement
  • Project assignments across all firm practice areas
  • Hands-on participation in mediations, court sessions, client meetings, research, and firm meetings
  • Dedicated attorney mentorship
  • Social activities with firm members
  • Performance feedback on all projects; mid-summer and closing evaluations

Program Requirements

  • Qualified candidates must be enrolled in an accredited U.S. law school.

  • Possess a record of academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, proven written and analytical abilities, and strong interpersonal skills.

  • We seek well-rounded, motivated students with the potential to develop into exceptional lawyers who will embrace Smith Debnam’s culture and mission.

  • Applicants for this position should have a genuine interest in practicing law in Raleigh, NC, or Charleston, SC, after graduation.

Program Overview

Are you ready to take your legal education beyond the classroom? At Smith Debnam, we offer a summer associate program that goes beyond the ordinary. Our program provides law students with an immersive experience and firsthand insight into the real practice of law. If you’re a candidate who has completed your second year of law school and seeks a challenging and instructive summer in a dynamic practice environment, this opportunity is for you.

Variety of Assignments

In our program, you’ll engage in meaningful legal work that supports our attorneys across a diverse range of practice areas and clients. Your assignments will include researching and preparing briefs, assisting with discovery requests or responses, drafting complaints, and attending mediations, court sessions, and client meetings – all within the context of active client matters. We aim to expose you to a variety of practice specialties, allowing you to actively participate in the activities and venues that constitute the legal representation of a client.

Structured Support

To guide you through your summer experience, we’ll assign a dedicated mentor attorney to each law student. Your mentor will oversee the quality and quantity of your assignments, provide valuable guidance, and offer feedback on every project. They will also be available for general discussions on broader legal industry and practice management topics.

Networking and Relationship Building

In addition to gaining hands-on experience, our program serves as an opportunity for you and our firm to get to know each other better, with the potential for permanent employment. You’ll become fully immersed in the daily life of our firm, experiencing our work ethic, collegial culture, and commitment to professional development. We also plan various social activities throughout the summer, providing relaxed and informal interactions with our partners, associates, and firm management.

How to Apply

Smith Debnam is accepting 2L applications for the 2024 Summer Associate Program.

  • To be considered, please upload your cover letter, resume, undergraduate transcript, and law school transcript.
  • If your law school transcript is not yet released, please forward it to Brian Gilman, Chief Operating Officer, at, as soon as it becomes available.
  • Documents should be in PDF format.

For more information regarding our fall on­campus interview schedule, please contact Brian Gilman, Chief Operating Officer, at 919-250-2000 or submit your resume.

Summer Associate Program Testimonials

“My experience as a Summer Associate at Smith Debnam far exceeded my expectations. Not only was I able to observe many different aspects of the practice of law, in many different contexts, but I also was able to develop and improve practical skills that will help me throughout the remainder of my legal career”


Summer Associate Program Testimonials

“My summer experience at Smith Debnam taught me more about the practical aspects of practicing law than any other experience I have had since beginning law school. The attorneys really made the summer clerks feel like part of the family, and I know I will be a better lawyer because of my experience at Smith Debnam.”


Summer Associate Program Testimonials

I’ve enjoyed getting to know the attorneys and staff. The level of approachability among the people here is unlike anything I’ve experience in a workplace. One of my favorite parts of the experience was the fact that I wasn’t doing busy work. The projects assigned by the attorneys are key pieces of work product required for discovery, hearings, trials, and public speaking engagements. Every assignment I turned in made me feel like I contributed to the client’s case.


Summer Associate Program Testimonials

I was very pleased to find how well the practitioners at Smith Debnam balanced professionalism with collegiality. They truly value the summer program, and use it not only as a recruiting tool, but are committed to teaching and mentoring the aspiring attorneys that come through the program.


Summer Associate Program Testimonials

The social events and gatherings gave me the ability to experience the strength of this firm’s culture. Overall, the summer associate program has truly exceeded my expectations. One of my favorite aspects of the summer associate program is the mentor/mentee relationship. I am always able to rely on my mentor for guidance and advice.