Promoting the professional growth of our attorneys is a priority at Willkie. With support from our Director of Attorney Training and Pro Bono, Stacey E. Paradise, Willkie’s Professional Development Committee has overall responsibility for the training of Willkie attorneys.
In staffing assignments, we are concerned less with formal hierarchies than with efficiently and effectively providing legal services to our clients. New associates are quickly integrated into their departments and work closely with partners. You can expect to assume individual responsibility for matters and have direct client contact soon after joining the firm.
New Associate Orientation & Training
All new associates in the New York and Washington, D.C. offices attend a full-day orientation program to meet firm management and each other. The program includes discussion groups covering topics such as firm policies, professional ethics, firm economics, and pro bono opportunities. New associates also have the opportunity to meet with and ask questions of the Firm’s Executive Committee. The day concludes with a cocktail reception with Willkie partners and associates.
In conjunction with Orientation, Willkie associates participate in a comprehensive two-day training "boot camp." The program is designed to assist attorneys in transitioning to the full-time practice of law. Typical presentations include Litigation and Corporate ‘Nuts and Bolts’ and ‘The Basics of Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine,’ among others.
At the end of each year, the firm provides associates with a detailed evaluation of their work and development. Partners and senior associates also provide meaningful reviews and advice to associates on an ongoing basis. We encourage associates to seek out such informal feedback regularly. Willkie also has in place a formal review process, which includes the following components:
First year associates receive detailed evaluations upon the completion of their first six months with Willkie.
All associates receive detailed annual reviews.
Associates are given the opportunity to complete anonymous upstream reviews of the partners and senior associates with whom they have worked.
Associates complete self-evaluations at the end of the year that are reviewed by their Assigning Partners.
To support the development of new associates, Willkie emphasizes both formal and informal mentoring relationships.
Incoming associates are assigned a partner to serve as a Career Advisor during the associate’s first year. The Career Advisor helps smooth the associate's transition into firm life, provides general guidance, and assists with navigating the work assignment system.
Each new associate is also assigned an Associate Liaison, who provides general guidance from the perspective of someone who arrived at the Firm more recently. Associate Liaisons offer insights and practical tips about Willkie’s work environment and are available to answer any questions that new associates may have.
Another excellent resource for incoming associates is Willkie’s newly created Advisory Network, which is a team of senior associates who are "on-call" to answer questions and address issues. The Advisory Network also hosts periodic group lunches for first and second-year associates.
Women's Mentoring Circles
As part of the Willkie's continuing efforts to provide a framework for increased interaction among women in the firm, the Mentoring Subcommittee of the Women's Professional Development Committee ("WPDC") initiated a program of cross-departmental associate mentoring circles in 2009. The mentoring circles are designed to introduce junior associates to a broader "network" of women at Willkie, with the goal of enabling all circle members to develop relationships with women at all levels and in all practice groups.
Continuing Legal Education ("CLE")
Each department holds seminars and luncheons throughout the year. The firm typically holds one to two training seminars per week for which attendees and instructors may earn CLE credit.
These programs are designed:
- To develop associates’ legal skills.
- To familiarize lawyers with significant developments in their respective areas of practice.
- To instruct attorneys in areas such as legal writing, ethics, and accounting. Such instruction periodically comes from outside experts.
Willkie is an accredited provider of CLE courses for both live and videotaped training seminars:
- All attorneys are able to satisfy their CLE requirements by attending in-house seminars.
- Willkie also provides attorneys with the opportunity to attend external training programs, such as those sponsored by bar associations, to supplement the firm’s training.
- The videotape library contains more than 45 training seminars and is continually updated.
Below is a representative list of some of our in-house seminars:
Introduction to the 1933 and 1934 Acts
Tax for Corporate Lawyers
Practical Ethics Issues for Commercial Lawyers
Trial Prep and Practice
Evidence from Discovery through Trial
Purchase and Sale Agreements
Treatment of Intellectual Property Licenses in Bankruptcy
Ethical Issues in Pro Bono Representation
For further information on attorney training, please contact , the firm's Director of Professional Training and Pro Bono.