To become a successful attorney, we believe that education can't end when attorneys leave law school. We also believe that Fenwick is responsible for providing meaningful training opportunities to its employees, and we commit substantial resources to our multifaceted professional development program to do so.
Through our innovative Fenwick University program, associates learn how to build a career with programs focused on developing soft skills like networking (internally and externally), making presentations and client pitches and drafting personal business plans. Associates learn to build on and reinforce these skills as they progress through the junior, mid and senior levels of the Fenwick University curriculum.
We also have an amazing array of opportunities to develop substantive legal skills and knowledge. We provide our junior attorneys with intensive skill building "boot camp" courses within individual practice groups to cover foundational knowledge and skills. We have additional stand-alone formal training programs for associates and many practice group-specific presentations that touch on practical teachings, as well as on breaking developments and hot issues in the technology and life sciences legal practices. It is not at all unusual for there to be three different lunch-time CLE programs in a single week. As such, our attorneys can easily meet their CLE requirements through our internal programs and save on lunch expenses!
Confidential Advisor Program
At Fenwick, we believe that partners and senior associates can contribute significantly to the development of junior associates (those in their first or second year of practice). Our Confidential Advisor Program ensures that junior associates benefit from the experience of their more senior colleagues by providing them an advisor to help enhance their career development and experience with the firm.
By taking time to listen and understand the experiences, aspirations and concerns of associates, advisors can provide guidance and support to enhance a first- and second-year associate's professional development. Specific goals of the Confidential Advisor Program include:
- Providing consistent support and mentoring for the professional development of associates in their first and second years of practice.
- Accelerating acculturation to the firm.
- Creating opportunities for participants to have greater interaction with each other across levels.
- Encouraging discussion about our unique culture, including its values, processes, expectations and vision.
- Enhancing associates' knowledge and skills in all relevant areas.
As junior associates begin their third year of practice, they will transition out of the Confidential Advisor Program and into the Professional Development Mentoring Program. In the new program, each associate is paired with a partner within the associate's own practice group. Pairings are made by asking the associates which partners they would most like to be paired with, and every effort is made to pair every associate with his or her first choice.
This program provides a second formal mentoring relationship for each associate as he or she progresses at the firm. Whereas the Confidential Advisor Program seeks to foster integration and acculturation, for mid-level associates, the Professional Development Mentoring Program focuses on increasing and broadening work assignments and opportunities, gaining access to a variety of partners and expanding one's internal networks. For more senior associates, the program offers opportunities to explore career options and to discuss professional development opportunities, including business development, with partners.
Once in place, these relationships may remain unchanged for several years. However, either party may request a change at any time and requests will be handled promptly, with sensitivity and without judgment.
Fenwick University for First-year Associates
This interactive one and one-half day program for first-year associates will begin with an evening of cocktails and dinner with practice group leaders, advisors and members of firm management. A panel of second-year associates will share with their more junior colleagues an entertaining rendition of "What They Wish They'd Known" when they were first-year associates. The following day will feature a series of activities designed to facilitate learning about their colleagues through sharing, collaborating and working as members of a team.
Fenwick University for Mid-level Associates
As associates begin the transition from junior- to mid-level associate, it is expected that they are well on their way to developing strong, practical legal skills. At this point they need to start to consider which direction to take, both substantively in the law, as well as in their practice development.
To assist them in this transition, the Fenwick University Mid-level Program examines the realities of large law firm practice, including law firm economics, management and the firm’s expectations of associates. Participants will learn the importance of developing both internal and external networks, as well as various approaches to building and strengthening them. They will develop personal business plans, receive presentation skills coaching and present their plans to the group.
Women's Leadership Initiative
In 2006 we established our Women's Leadership Initiative, recognizing that women lawyers face unique challenges that can prevent them from realizing their full professional potential. It is important to us that our women attorneys enjoy the benefits that flow from a supportive network of colleagues with whom they can confide, share their experiences, tell their stories and listen to one another.
Our programs are designed to provide regular opportunities to discuss issues that are relevant to women in the firm and legal community, to foster learning and career development, and to provide a supportive network for talented attorneys as they find their paths to leadership.
Some programs are purely social, designed to bring colleagues together from different offices and practice areas and to give summer associates a feel for the esprit de corps that permeates our culture. We've hosted events ranging from tea at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco, to indoor rock-climbing and yoga events.
We also offer programs that focus on professional development and mentoring, including one-on-one communications skills coaching, and networking and business development training.
Finally, we host events that include our women clients, which have been very well received and have helped to strengthen these professional relationships.