Summer Associate Program

Choosing a law firm to clerk at can be a daunting process. To assist you, we’ve provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding Fay Sharpe’s summer associate program. With our sole focus on IP law, Fay Sharpe can offer a more in-depth view of this highly specialized law concentration than general practice firms, providing valuable exposure and experience that you won’t find elsewhere.

How many students do you hire?

Each summer, we aim to employ four or five first-year and/or second-year law students for approximately three months.

What type of student are you looking for?

We look for students with a technical background in engineering or science (e.g. degrees in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, biochemistry, biology, physics, etc.) and strong academic credentials.

What projects will I work on?

We strive to provide summer associates with a realistic picture of what it’s like to work in an IP firm after graduation. You’ll be exposed to a diverse workload within your specific areas of interest, working with a variety of attorneys and partners. Summer associates should expect research projects and amendment writing. Current law clerks have been assigned to draft licensing agreements, clearance opinions and even patent applications. The project mix will directly reflect the type of work a new attorney would perform as a first- or second-year associate.

Will I interact with clients?

Yes. Summer associates accompany attorneys to client meetings and inventor interviews. A clerkship at Fay Sharpe allows you to rapidly develop skills and prepare for your future career as an IP attorney. We offer real-world opportunities for you to expand upon your existing knowledge.

How are projects assigned?

Projects are assigned based on your academic background and expressed area(s) of interest. We don’t create projects for our summer associates — you’ll work on real projects for real clients, assigned by Fay Sharpe attorneys. You’ll learn from the inside out how our IP practice works and will forge rewarding and long-lasting relationships with established attorneys.

How will my work be evaluated?

Summer associates work closely with partners and other senior lawyers who provide immediate feedback on your work, progress and growth. Attorneys who work with summer associates also complete evaluations at the end of each summer session. All evaluations are given to our Hiring Partner, Jim Scarbrough, who then provides timely, constructive feedback to each summer associate.

Will there be anything to do other than work?

Absolutely! We encourage summer associates to take part in events sponsored by local organizations including the Cleveland Intellectual Property Law Association, the 20/30 Club and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association. You may have opportunities to co-author articles for trade publications and to participate in outings with other associates. Summer associates are encouraged to interact with peers and staff during their time with Fay Sharpe as much as possible.

Who will answer my questions once I arrive at the firm?

The day you start, the first person you’ll meet will be our Human Resource Manager, Andrea Hill, who will answer most of your general questions. Hiring Partner Sandra Koenig will answer any questions pertaining to the practice. And all of our attorneys are accessible and will be pleased to spend time sharing their knowledge with you.

Do you make offers to summer associates?

We do. Because our summer associate program is an essential part of our hiring process, at the end of each summer, we review and hire clerks based on their performance. We hire those who best understand the needs of the practice and who can carve their own niche into the culture of Fay Sharpe.

What kind of hours will I work as a summer associate?

Summer associates, like all our associates and partners, are not required to work specific hours. In the summer, you are expected to work full time, which is 37.5 hours/week. We strive to extend flexibility regarding test preparation, vacations, etc., as much as possible.

How long is the summer program?

The summer associate program typically lasts three months. Start and end dates are flexible.

Will I have an opportunity to work during the school year?

Yes. At the end of summer employment, a summer associate may be offered the potential to work throughout the school year. This is determined on a case-by-case basis and involves current firm needs, as well as the feedback shared by attorneys who have worked with you.

Where does the firm conduct on-campus interviews?

We typically interview at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland-Marshall School of Law and the University of Akron School of Law. Interviews generally take place in September and October, but we may visit again after Dec. 1 and in the spring, depending on our needs. Contact your school’s career center for upcoming on-campus dates.

For additional questions, please contact our Hiring Partner, Sandra Koenig, at 216.363.9000 or

If you are interested in working at Fay Sharpe as a summer associate, please send your resume, along with a cover letter, to We accept Word documents, as well as text and PDF files.