RALEIGH, N.C. — The first half of Poyner Spruill’s 2019 Summer Associate Program included a pair of familiar faces and three very satisfied law students who spent the past six weeks working out of the firm’s Charlotte office.
Nia Doaks and Sarah Fritsch, both rising 3Ls, returned to Poyner Spruill for a second consecutive summer to supplement their law education at Wake Forest University School of Law. Camila Rohena is a rising 2L at the University of North Carolina School of Law in her first stint as a summer associate.
“I really enjoyed this class of summer associates,” Doaks said. “Additionally, I’ve learned that the flexibility the firm offers and how much they invest in the individual really makes Poyner Spruill a wonderful place to learn and grow.”
Rohena added, “I think the main takeaway from my experience will be that Poyner Spruill is an extremely supportive firm. Any time I took on a project, I didn’t hesitate to reach out to the assigning attorney because I knew they would be ready to help.”
All three first-half participants highlighted the high value and variety of the work assigned to them. For Fritsch, she enjoyed the opportunity to reconnect with clients she helped serve during her first summer at Poyner Spruill — a lesson in maintaining relationships and observing the generation of new work from the same source.
“I’m continually impressed by Poyner Spruill’s unique combination of supportive and genuine people who produce such a high-quality work product,” Fritsch said. “It’s a culture where people want to invest in you personally and professionally. This dynamic effort clearly translates to the work they do for their clients.”
“The assignments are real assignments,” Rohena added. “That’s a big difference from what I’ve heard from other law students and their summer experiences.”
Poyner Spruill again focused on exposing the students to a wide variety of work. This approach benefited Doaks, who identified employment law and litigation as a potential focus area for her future career during the 2018 summer. With that in mind, Doaks relied heavily on working with Poyner Spruill attorneys Kate Dewberry, Kelsey Mayo, J.M. Durnovich, Nick Ellis, Eric Stevens and Brett Carpenter to enhance the value of her second experience with the firm.
“I think that between last year and this year, I was able to feel a lot more comfortable in the space of a law firm,” Doaks said. “I’ve learned a lot about Poyner Spruill, and on the education side, I had more experience to target projects toward what I’m interested in.”
Rohena unexpectedly took an interest in Poyner Spruill’s local government law through her work this summer.
“That’s something I never would’ve known without coming to Poyner Spruill,” she said. “The attorneys have a strength in that area, and they are passionate about it too, which definitely helps.”
All three participants mentioned the willingness of the attorneys to take the time to walk them through the work being done and introduce them to the different areas of law.
“We receive a wide variety of work and exposure,” Fritsch said. “This is definitely a place where attorneys are open to answering questions, and I’ve learned so much from their willingness to provide feedback and advice.”
In addition to legal work, summer associates were given a look into marketing and business development. This included lessons on how to start building a practice now through the cultivation of relationships within the legal community, and all three were able to attend a Mecklenburg County Bar event to see networking in action.
“Poyner Spruill gave us the opportunity to see what real-world practice looks like, and to help with work that matters for clients,” Fritsch said. “Not only is Poyner Spruill helping us hone our legal skills, but they also give us insight into how to approach client development, which we have learned is an invaluable part of practice.”
Outside of the office, Poyner Spruill again hosted various popular social activities, including a return trip to an escape room. The associates also were grateful to attorneys who were willing to take them to lunch and further their discussions on the law and life as an attorney.
“I really appreciate that they give you balance,” Rohena said. “It’s been a good balance and the attorneys really value the personal time.”
The second half of the Summer Associate Program begins this week with Justin Hill (rising 3L, Campbell University School of Law), Micole Little (Rising 2L, North Carolina Central University School of Law), and Samuel Morris (Rising 2L, Campbell University School of Law) joining the firm for the next six weeks.