PDLG is made up of top Philadelphia law firms and in-house legal departments. Each year, through the PDLG Fellows Program, these organizations offer a route to summer employment to first year law students who meet PDLG’s diversity criteria. The program also offers fellows a series of seminars and programs designed to enhance their skills and increase their knowledge of the Philadelphia legal community.
What You Get
(actually, two of them)
Access to the
- PDLG Fellows will receive the same salary other first-year summer associates/clerks/interns (if any) are paid by the organization.
- Each participating employer has committed to fully involve PDLG Fellows in its summer associate/clerkship/internship program and provide appropriate and continuous feedback and training.
- Each Fellow who is not working at a law firm is paired with one of our member law firms to have the opportunity to be involved in some law firm summer training and social events.
- PDLG will provide each Fellow with a writing mentor to work with before the summer job starts and perhaps during the summer.
- The PDLG board representative of the employer or their designee will be an additional mentor to the employer’s Fellows.
- Each participating employer will provide its Fellow with at least one mentor and possibly more if that is the practice for its summer associates/clerks.
- A writing program that will include a seminar in late March combined with one-on-one writing mentoring, to be completed before starting work.
- A Pre-Work Seminar, after exams end, but before summer jobs begin. This seminar is designed to sharpen skills and the professionalism of the Fellows’ work and manner and deepen their understanding of the general expectations of the employers, the nature of the work, the environment in which it gets done, and the best ways to manage their work, deal with any issues that arise and make use of feedback—all the underpinnings of aa successful summer.
- A seminar on the mechanics of successful networking from informative but brief introductions through graceful good-byes, follow-up, and staying in touch.
- Seminars on getting future jobs - 2L summer jobs, jobs after graduation, federal and state clerkships.
Access to the network
- Connections with former PDLG Fellow who currently work or did their PDLG summer where the Fellows will be working.
- Summer reception with Fellows, present and former, PDLG Board representatives, law firm hiring partners, managing partners, diversity officers, Philadelphia and affinity bar association leaders, and others.
- Membership in the PDLG Fellows Program Alumni Association which provides substantive events, networking opportunities, and connections to alumni in Philadelphia, around the country, and around the world.
Programs specially designed to help you become a successful lawyer in any organization.
The PDLG Fellows Program Writing Seminar is designed to make the written material of the PDLG Fellows most useful to lawyers in their law firms and law departments. When the Fellow is given the first assignment, her or she will know what final product is expected.
It is an all day seminar, held on a Saturday to avoid conflicting with law school classes. The morning session has always been taught by Jessica Pollock Simon, Associate Director of Lega Writing at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Professor Simon explains the different expectations for writing in law school and at law jobs and how to transition from one to the other. Her focus is on making legal writing as clear, direct, simple and easy to follow as possible.
The afternoon session is taught by alumni of the PDLG Fellows Program who have been successful practicing lawyers for several years. They focus on the associate point of view in everything from understanding the assignment when the associate first receives it to delivering the final written product. Their presentation includes an overall approach as well as questions to ask and tips on dealing with issues that come up in research and writing.
For PDLG Fellows, the Writing Seminar is actually the first part of a two-part Writing Program that continues with one-on-one writing mentoring before summer jobs start.
Philadelphia Diversity Law Group (PDLG) hosts an annual pre-work seminar for students who are part of the PDLG Fellows Program. The Program is an all-day event and substantive presentations include presentations or panels on the do’s and don’ts for summer associates, life as a young lawyer, how law departments work, professionalism, dealing with difficult situations related to diversity, managing assignments, how law firms work and dealing with difficult situations related to work assignments. The seminar is followed by a reception where students have a chance to talk to each other, to PDLG alums and to some of the presenters.
PDLG believes that the skills needed to comfortably participate in both formal and informal networking opportunities are skills that can be learned and developed. Further, PDLG believes that the ability to take advantage of networking opportunities is important for the growth of a legal career.
For many years, the PDLG Fellows Program has included a lunch seminar on practical tips and skills for handling networking opportunities, be they at a large reception, a chance meeting in the elevator or in the lunch line at the office. These skills include such topics as when to wear a nametag, how to shake hands, and how to gracefully enter and leave a conversation. Much of the seminar is a presentation by Veta Richardson, Esq., former Executive Director of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association and now CEO of the Association of Corporate Counsel. The seminar also includes opportunities to practice the skill and techniques described in the presentation.
The PDLG Fellows Program Hiring Partner Seminar is a lunch seminar that gives Fellows the opportunity to learn about hiring criteria and approaches from hiring partners and hiring committee chairpersons from PDLG member law firms. The goal is to give the Fellows information to help make the best choices about where to apply for jobs for the 2L summer.
PDLG holds this seminar because in addition to what law students hear from career services advisors, it is important to hear straight from the people who actually make decisions.
Among the things that are discussed at this seminar are that firm hiring, even in one city, is not a monolithic, one size fits all activity and that firms vary in what matters to them in everything from grades, to law review, to connections to Philadelphia, to areas of interest, to which law school, and to how they judge writing.
In recent years, partners involved with hiring from Dechert, Morgan Lewis, White and Williams, Reed Smith, Drinker Biddle, Stradley Ronan, Ballard Spahr, Cozen O’Connor, Manko Gold, Fox Rothschild, Blank Rome and other firms have been on the panel.
The PDLG Fellows Program Judicial Clerkship Seminar is a lunch seminar that gives Fellows the opportunity to learn about hiring criteria and approaches to becoming a judicial clerk, as well as the work clerks do and the expectations judges have for their clerks. The panel consists of Federal and state judges with input from lawyers who have clerked on federal and state courts. The goal is to give the Fellows insight into clerkships and aid in decisions about whether to apply.
PDLG holds this seminar because although clerkship information is available at the law schools, not all law students realize this is something they might want to do and might be able to do. It is also helpful to hear directly from the judges and to be able to ask them questions.
In past years, the Panel has included judges on the Federal 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas and the New Jersey Superior Court.
What You Learn
The PDLG Fellows Program is open to any first-year law student who
meets one or more of the following criteria.
You have overcome a significant and unusual obstacle in pursuit of a legal career
You come from a background or are a part of a group that is underrepresented in the Philadelphia legal community
You come from a disadvantaged background
The PDLG Fellows program is open to any first-year law student who meets one (or more) of the following:
- Has overcome significant and unusual obstacles in pursuit of a legal career
- Comes from a disadvantaged background
- Is part of a group or background that is underrepresented in the Philadelphia legal community
All candidates must have a genuine interest in establishing a legal career in the Philadelphia area. Additional criteria include academic record; oral and written communication, research, and analytical l skills; maturity, judgment, and integrity; commitment to the practice of law; interest in the type of work done by the employers in the program; the ability to instill confidence in others; problem-solving; initiative; and other indicia of the potential for success.
Since the goal of PDLG is to increase the diversity of practicing lawyers, to be eligible to participate in the Fellows Program, a student must have the citizenship or residency status to practice law long term without additional immigration proceedings.
Part-time, evening and joint degree students are eligible to participate in the Fellows Program if they:
- Will have completed the equivalent of one year of law school but less than two years by May of the year they apply, and
- Will have no time obligations that might interfere with a full-time commitment to the summer employer.
If you are interested in applying but you attend a law school where PDLG does not do a presentation to 1L students, please contact Lois Kimbol, Esq., Vice President of Programs to confirm your eligibility before preparing your application.
Meet Our Alumni
I’m John Lee, a Labor and Employment Partner at Morgan, Lewis and Bockius and also the firm’s Hiring Partner in Philadelphia. I got to know Morgan through my PDLG Fellow summer at ACE, spent my 2L summer here and started as a lawyer here when I graduated from Temple law school.
I am Alicia Prince, Chief of Staff at the School District of Philadelphia where I support the District's strategy development and implementation, policy, government and external relations. I went to Villanova University School of Law and I started my career as a PDLG Fellow.
I‘m Justin O. Reliford, Partner at Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check, LLP. My litigation and trial practice focuses on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and securities fraud. I went to University of Pennsylvania Law School, and I started my career as a PDLG Fellow.
I’m Diana Cortes, the City Solicitor for the City of Philadelphia and I’m an alumna of Villanova Law School and the PDLG Fellows Program.
I‘m Deone Powell, the General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer at Philadelphia FIGHT Community Health Centers and Health Equity Advocate. I went to Temple law school and I started my career as a 2005 PDLG Fellow.
I'm Melanie Carter, business litigation Partner and the Hiring Partner at Blank Rome LLP. I attended Temple Law School and got to know Blank Rome as a PDLG Fellow at State Farm. I joined Blank Rome after clerking for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
I‘m Dan Liang, General Counsel of HHM, a hotel management and investment company. I attended NYU School of Law and started my legal career as a PDLG Fellow. After working in New York for a few years, I returned to Philadelphia as an associate at a PDLG law firm and subsequently moved in-house.
I‘m Amy Fernandez and I am the General Counsel of Lavazza Group Americas. I went to Dickinson law school and I started my legal career as a PDLG Fellow.
I‘m Nipun Patel, partner and trial lawyer at Holland & Knight, and its Philadelphia office Hiring Partner. I graduated from Temple Law School and started my legal career as a PDLG Fellow.
I’m Adam Accay, a proud Philly native. I started my legal career as a PDLG Fellow in 2011. Upon graduating from Temple law school I was an associate at White and Williams LLP specializing in Corporate M&A work. In 2016, I transitioned into the business world where I am President & CEO of RiteChoice Pharmacy, a Philadelphia-based Independent pharmacy chain.
Written Application • PDLG Interview • Employer Interview
The PDLG Fellows Program Committee (the “PDLG Committee”) will review the applications and select those to interviewed be interviewed by PDLG representatives based on the criteria listed in the section on eligibility. Students will be notified of their selection and of the time of the interview by email.
PDLG Committee Reviews and Decisions
Representatives of participating PDLG law firms and legal departments (the "PDLG Committee") will conduct interviews of the selected candidates on Saturday February 5, 2022. Each candidate will have one 30-40 minute interview with two PDLG representatives.
At the conclusion of the day of interviews, the participating representatives will select those candidates who, in their judgment, are realistically likely to succeed as summer associates. Each selected candidate will then be randomly assigned to an employer for an interview for a specific job. Of course, no candidate will be assigned to an employer where there would be a conflict of interest. The interviewing employer will be provided with a full copy of its candidates' application packages and any other information developed as part of the PDLG process.
By the Monday after the interview day, all candidates will be notified by PDLG whether they have been selected for an employer interview and given a preliminary employer assignment. However, until the student is contacted by the employer, the assignment is only tentative. If and where changes must be made, they are made as soon as possible.
Within a week after being notified of the candidates assigned to them, employers will contact their candidates to schedule interviews and will hold interviews and make decisions as soon as they can. Employers understand that students have classes and other academic obligations and need to schedule around them, and ask candidates to understand that interviews can involve as many as five practicing attorneys who also have complicated schedules, making flexibility in scheduling vital on both sides. It is also very important that interviews and decisions be made promptly by employers and decisions on offers be made promptly by students so as not to disadvantage other candidates who are also waiting for decisions.
A candidate who will not be available for an interview during the interview period specified in the application must say so in the application so we can try to make special arrangements. Otherwise, if a candidate is not reasonably available for interviews during that period for reasons other than emergencies, the candidate may lose the opportunity to be considered.
We strongly encourage all those candidates to whom offers are made to respond as soon as possible, preferably within a week of receiving the offer.
Participating PDLG employers have agreed that if they make an offer to a PDLG Program candidate who is matched with another participating PDLG employer, the offer will stay open until the PDLG process is complete for that student.
The usual practice is that students selected for summer employment receive a call or email from the employer with the offer and then a letter employer confirming the selection and the details of employment in accordance with the employer's usual practice. The final decisions will not be made by the PDLG, and the PDLG will not have advanced information about employment decisions.
From time to time, there are positions that open up after the primary round of employer interviews and decisions. If that happens, some applicants may be offered another interview opportunity. Most years several positions are filled through this process, but it is not guaranteed nor is it required that students participate.
Candidates not selected by a PDLG employer can choose to have their application materials provided to the Montgomery Bar Association Diversity Committee for consideration under their Summer 1L Programs for diverse law students. Many participants in those programs are chosen from PDLG applicants. On the PDLG application form, there is an opportunity to choose whether to take advantage of this opportunity.
A completed application form will include the following items:
✓ Your current resume
✓ Your transcripts from your undergraduate alma mater and first semester of law school
✓ An academic reference from your law school
✓ A writing sample during your time in law school
✓ A brief statement explaining how you meet the criteria for this program
*Additional information may be requested