Project SELF - Overview

With the goal of investing in tomorrow’s leaders, Project SELF (Summer Employment in Law Firms) provides high school juniors with paid, hands-on summer internships at local law firms and businesses. Project SELF works to reduce the risk of juvenile delinquency by providing youth with positive alternatives for spending their summers, access to professional and career environments they would not otherwise be exposed to, and the support of positive adult mentors.

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Project SELF targets youth, often low-income and/or minorities, who are entering their senior year of high school in the city of Santa Ana

–Must currently attend high school in Santa Ana and have finished junior year by June of 2015

–Must have a 2.0 grade point average or higher


Project SELF Summer Learning

In July, this year’s Project SELF interns were invited to UC Irvine School of Law to learn what it takes to be admitted into college and law school. The group toured the campus and heard remarks from Dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a panel of young lawyers, and a panel of current UCI law students. The next (read more)

Why We Offer This Program

Project SELF (Summer Employment in Law Firms) is a paid, eight-week summer internship that was initiated in 1995 to give youth the opportunity to explore professional careers within the legal community. The program places qualified high school juniors in law firms and law-related businesses in Orange County, CA. These deserving students are consequently introduced to a professional working experience while enhancing their knowledge, experience, and self-esteem.

Project SELF targets students who are entering their senior year of high school in the city of Santa Ana. We have found that the program helps our target population by reducing their risk of juvenile delinquency and providing positive life and career options. The Project SELF opportunity is so important because it exposes youth to professional career fields that they would not otherwise be exposed to. Because of their socioeconomic conditions and cultural limitations, most of these students cannot achieve this exposure without some assistance. They desperately need adult role models and mentors, and they need to know that it is possible for them to go on to college and establish successful careers. Project SELF addresses these needs by providing youth with positive alternatives for spending their summers, access to a professional career environment, and positive mentors to help them with goal setting and preparation for the future.

Upon completing the program, many Project SELF interns have been hired to work at the law firms they once interned for. Most go off to college, and at least three participants have continued on to law school. Through Project SELF, the legal community continues to make a significant impact on the lives of Santa Ana youth every year.

2015 Participating Law Firms

Advanced Depositions Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP
Archer Norris, PLC Brown Rudnick LLP
Callahan & Blaine Carothers DiSante & Freudenberger LLP
Cresa Orange County Crowell & Moring LLP
Dorsey & Whitney LLP First Legal Support Services
Fisher & Phillips LLP Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP
Green & Hall Greenberg Gross LLP
Haynes and Boone LLP Irell & Manella LLP
Jones Day Kading Briggs LLP
Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP Latham & Watkins LLP
Law Office of F. Elliot Goldman Legal Aid Society of Orange County
Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP Malcolm Cisneros, A Law Corporation
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP Michael Maguire & Associates
Minyard Morris LLP Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Newmeyer & Dillion LLP O’Melveny & Myers LLP
Orange County Bar Association Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Palmieri, Tyler, Wiener, Wilhelm & Waldron LLP Paul Hastings LLP
Payne & Fears LLP Plager Schack LLP
Rizio & Nelson Robinson Calcagnie Robinson Shapiro Davis, Inc.
Rutan & Tucker LLP Samuels, Green & Steel LLP
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP Snell & Wilmer LLP
Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, PC Traut Firm
Troutman Sanders LLP Wesierski & Zurek LLP
Woodruff, Spradlin & Smart, APC Wright, Finlay & Zak LLP

Getting Started!

If you would like to apply for the Project SELF program, you must be a high school student entering the 12th grade in the fall at a local Santa Ana high school. For an application, you can contact the Higher Education Counselor at your high school or Nancy Garcia at OCBF at (714) 480-1925 x108.

Testimonials and Success Stories

“For me, Project SELF meant a chance to live my fantasy in working in a law firm with people that have accomplished what I want to accomplish. Project SELF also gave me the chance to mature a little bit more as a person.  It also meant that I didn’t waste my summer doing anything like the previous years, but instead I invested my time into something that was worthwhile.” – Project SELF intern, Paul Hastings LLP Read more

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“We have been participating for several years. Each year, we benefit from the extra help we get from the interns, the good will we earn from our employees for participation, and the support we give to the Orange County Bar Foundation and the OC-ALA.” – Andrea Bryant, Snell & Wilmer LLP

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“I looked forward to each day knowing that it would be just as good or better than the previous. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and lessons that will no doubt guide me and propel my dreams to be more than just dreams.” – Project SELF intern, Newmeyer & Dillion LLP

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“Project SELF was an amazing opportunity that allowed me to get experience that I would not be able to obtain in any other job. I recommend this program to every high school student.” – Project SELF intern, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

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Let's Get Started!

Call or email us today. Bilingual, Spanish-speaking staff available.
Nancy Garcia Associate Director 714.480.1925 x108