News - August 10, 2023

UF Law Students Discuss Their Jones Foster Summer Associate Experience

As the Jones Foster 2023 Summer Associate Program closes another successful year, J.D. candidates Danielle S. Brouillette and Natalie C. Rickards reflect on their experience and discuss newfound insights they will bring with them into their final year of law school at the University of Florida.

Danielle and Natalie, who were selected from a pool of highly qualified applicants, spent over two months at the firm working side-by-side with the experienced attorneys in the West Palm Beach office to gain exposure to multiple areas of law and begin to apply their education to real-life matters and legal proceedings.

The Jones Foster Summer Associate Program is designed to broaden law students’ knowledge of various practice groups and facilitate an authentic law firm experience with shareholders, associates, and professional staff in a supportive environment to pave the way for future career development.

Summer associates are challenged with a range of projects and are given the opportunity to attend client meetings, trials, hearings, depositions, and negotiations. Each receives firsthand experience by participating in departmental meetings, working with clients, and learning from the firm’s preeminent attorneys spanning multiple generations and years of experience. The program also includes an introduction to marketing and business development, an often overlooked yet increasingly important area of study for young attorneys seeking to build a practice.

Here are some program highlights and personal takeaways Danielle and Natalie shared with us from their summer.

Danielle S. Brouillette, J.D. Candidate, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Q: What did you enjoy most about your time as a summer associate?

A: During my time as a summer associate, what I enjoyed most was establishing relationships with associates across the firm. Networking is crucial in the legal field, and I found the firm's commitment to fostering a talented and cohesive team of young professionals to be highly rewarding. Building connections with these exceptional individuals not only enriched my experience but also provided a supportive network as I navigated my summer. The strong sense of community and belonging within the firm made my time as a summer associate truly remarkable.

Danielle Brouillette Final

Q: How has the program helped prepare you for a future in law?

A: This summer, I closely worked with partners across diverse areas of law. As a law student, I firmly believe that learning from experienced attorneys is essential to our growth and development. I actively sought feedback on my assignments and welcomed constructive criticism, using it as a chance to improve and refine my skills. Modeling their writing styles and argument strategies allowed me to gain valuable insights and further develop my legal research and writing abilities. It was an enriching experience that shaped my understanding of the legal profession and equipped me for the journey ahead as a practicing attorney.

Q: What aspects of the firm culture or dynamics did you most appreciate during your time with us?

A: I deeply valued the firm's ability to strike a dynamic balance of maintaining a prominent community presence while fostering a close-knit internal environment. I frequently was invited to various legal community events that not only provided networking opportunities but also allowed me to begin establishing future professional relationships. I was fortunate enough to collaborate closely with partners across various practice areas, which significantly broadened my exposure to different legal practices.

Q: What advice would you share with other J.D. candidates interested in a summer associate experience?

A: For J.D. candidates interested in a summer associate experience, I would highly recommend being open to varied assignments that may fall outside your comfort zone or previous areas of interest. The primary goal is not only to produce high-quality work but also to embrace opportunities to learn and gain practical experience in various legal areas. Embracing unfamiliar assignments will allow you to expand your legal knowledge and skill set, enhancing your versatility as a future attorney.

Natalie C. Rickards, J.D. Candidate, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Q: How has the program helped prepare you for a future in law?

A: The program greatly helped me improve my writing and research skills which are vital in becoming a new lawyer. I engaged in a variety of complex research and writing assignments where I was able to work with almost all the shareholders and associates. I also received helpful feedback which I was able to apply in future assignments. Learning also involves watching skilled lawyers in action which I was able to do by attending a trial and a mediation. Lastly, I gained insight into what it’s like to be a lawyer at Jones Foster as I attended Florida Bar events and judicial luncheons.

Natalie Rickards Final

Q: Did the experience of working with different practice groups provide insight into any new areas of interest?

A: During the summer, I was able to work on matters involving a variety of legal fields including employment, municipal litigation, probate, real estate, and commercial litigation. I definitely came away from this experience with areas of law that piqued my interest that I did not expect. I also attended various practice group meetings this summer where I was able to listen to attorneys describe matters that they are working on and their practice in general.

Q: What aspects of the firm culture or dynamics did you most appreciate during your time with us?

A: I greatly appreciated the positive and welcoming environment at Jones Foster. I met nearly everyone in the firm early on and was invited to lunches and events that made people in the firm feel very approachable. The attorneys in the firm always have their doors open and are eager for you to stop in and ask questions. Many people would even stop in my office daily to say good morning or to ask how my summer is going. The culture and dynamics at Jones Foster make someone new to the firm feel at ease very early on.

Q: What advice would you share with other J.D. candidates interested in a summer associate experience?

A: I would advise other J.D. candidates to keep an open mind during their summer associate experience because you never know what type of legal field will interest you. I learned this summer that the practice of law looks completely different than law school so an area of law might be more appealing in practice than what it seemed in school. This is why I am very grateful for my summer associate experience at Jones Foster because I was exposed to so many areas of the law. It made me realize that some classes that I thought I disliked in school turned out to be far more stimulating and enjoyable in practice.

About Jones Foster

Jones Foster is a commercial and private client law firm headquartered in West Palm Beach, Florida. Established in 1924, the firm has served as an integral part of South Florida’s growth and prosperity for nearly a century. Through a relentless pursuit of excellence, Jones Foster delivers original legal solutions that help clients, colleagues, and the community to move forward. Notably, the majority of the firm’s Shareholders have received the designation of Board-Certified Specialist by The Florida Bar in their specific practice area. The firm’s attorneys focus their practice in Real Estate, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Private Wealth, Trusts & Estates, Corporate & Tax, and Land Use & Governmental. For more information, please visit