Summer associate programs are usually just two-way beauty contests, giving firms and their recruits the opportunity to check each other out with a view to a long-term relationship. But they’re expensive and — especially in these lean times — firms may not be able to extend many permanent offers.

Faced with that reality, some firms have scaled back or even eliminated summer programs, but Day Pitney has a better idea. Starting next year, the New Jersey-Connecticut firm will replace its typical languorous summer retreat with a short and intensive “apprenticeship.”

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