Mentoring & Training
Every day is a new opportunity to learn
Commitment to Associate Mentoring and Training
Each of our senior attorneys has made a commitment to successful mentorship of associates, recognizing that such a commitment is one of the essential cornerstones for maintaining a high level of service for the clients of our firm and for the career satisfaction of our associates.
The professional growth and development of associates is necessarily a shared responsibility, as it requires both (a) an unhesitating commitment by each senior attorney to manage his or her practice and client relationships in a manner designed to ensure maximum acquisition by each associate of the substantive skill set necessary to transition our client relationships to the next generation of Tucker Ellis lawyers, and (b) an unhesitating commitment by each Associate to actively seek to acquire and maintain that substantive skill set.
Mentoring and Training Programs—Associate Career Satisfaction
Tucker Ellis focuses on mentoring and training our junior and mid-level attorneys to develop and retain the highest quality professionals. The full-time responsibility of our Director of Professional Development is to ensure that our mentoring and training programs address and promote the growth and development of our junior lawyers – providing a sense of certainty that:
- they are on the road to a rewarding career;
- they are part of a team with more-experienced lawyers always available for consultation and advice;
- their work is important;
- they receive constructive feedback; and
- their professional development and individual career goals are important and supported by Tucker Ellis.
Associate Career Development Program—Individualized Goals and Expectations
The objective of our Associate Career Development Program is to ensure that all associates are provided the opportunity to acquire the substantive legal and non-legal skills which are fundamental to lawyer excellence. We recognize that associates bring to the firm a wide range of experience, skills and styles, not only in the practice of law and in law-related fields but in other professional areas as well, and that such characteristics should factor in to how this objective is achieved. For that reason, we accept—and have adopted by and through our partners as a Guiding Principle—that the substantive development of associates shall be individually tailored and assessed through a process that will be overseen by the department chairs and implemented by our practice groups and partners.
At the beginning of each year, after consultation with our Director of Professional Development, each associate meets with a partner in his or her department or practice group and sets mutually agreed-upon individualized expectations and goals. While these goals and expectations are individualized, their objective is to promote the development of substantive skills and knowledge in the associate’s practice area; the development of positive and mutually beneficial relationships within the firm; the demonstration of an unquestioned ethic of hard work and commitment to client service; and the demonstration of a commitment to professional and civic activities.
Our department and practice group chairs meet with associates during the year regarding modifications to the listed goals and any difficulties in accomplishing them. Our Director of Professional Development is likewise available to discuss the status of the goals with associates and to provide assistance in their accomplishment. Finally, at year end, discussion of the status and accomplishment of the associate’s individualized goals and expectations is an agenda item at the time of the associate’s annual performance review.
Professional Education and Training Programs
Individual mentoring and training is provided to associates by our senior attorneys in connection with work assignments and shadowing opportunities. We also provide formal professional education and training programs designed to teach associates “on their feet” litigation strategies in a mock setting.
One of our more distinctive firm-wide programs for associates in our Trial Department is the annual Tucker Ellis Litigation Institute, an interactive training program conducted over several days, focusing on a particular litigation skill, with instruction and demonstration by a faculty of our senior lawyers and culminating in associates’ actual performance of courtroom exercises under the guidance of experienced trial attorneys and before actual judges of our local courts.
For the firm’s mid-level trial lawyers, the Tucker Ellis Trial Academy – a one-of-a-kind courtroom trial skills program – provides intensive, first-hand experience in handling a case from start to finish, from being hired by a client and agreeing upon a fee arrangement and plan, to working up the matter for trial, to finally trying the case to a jury – just as if it were a real case.
Our Junior Attorney Corps (JAC) is designed to give our first- and second-year associates a more broad-based initial 24 months of law firm experience. The program develops, promotes, and aligns individual interests and skills through a comprehensive approach to professional development. The JAC aspires to build better lawyers faster and help make careers for all of our people by facilitating the smoothest possible transition into the practice of law for our most junior lawyers.
Examples of other firm-wide programs, which are presented simultaneously to all offices by video-conference or telephone conference, include quarterly programs by our Trial Department on various aspects of the litigation process, periodic education programs on specific areas of medicine presented by our nurse paralegals, and presentations by both associates and senior attorneys at firm-wide practice group meetings on practice-specific issues.
Our programs conducted at the local office level include presentations on subjects of interest to litigators at weekly or bi-weekly litigation group meetings, regular sessions in a series of programs covering the fundamentals of Civil Procedure, Evidence, and Legal Writing, and one-on-one writing assistance conducted by our Legal Writing Committee.