View Reports by Subject Area
View Reports by Committees
View Reports by Title
advance search by committee
Report of the Task Force on Lawyers' Quality of Life
The Task Force on Lawyers' Quality of Life of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (the ?Task Force?) was formed in 1996 out of concern that disturbing numbers of lawyers particularly young lawyers were growing dissatisfied with their professional lives. Some of the factors contributing to this unhappiness are not unique to the practice of law; indeed, many American workers are experiencing heightened levels of stress due to economic conditions, increasing demands on time due to technological advances, and shifting expectations regarding family responsibilities.
But even after considering the significant impact of these economic and social forces, other sources of lawyer malaise remain. Individuals graduating from law school with as much as $100,000 of school debt ? often begin their careers with negative expectations regarding the future. Those associates fear ?exploitation by the firm,? and may plan to ?stick it out? for a brief period, perhaps just enough time to pay down the debt to a manageable level.? Once at the firm, the associate faces the prospect of being assigned a huge and lengthy matter for which the lawyer can feel little excitement or responsibility.? These attorneys are often working more than 2,100 hours annually for paying (and demanding) clients, leaving little time for family or friends, outside activities, pro bono cases, public service activities, or even reading a book or going to the theater.? In exchange for these efforts they face a decreasing likelihood of a partnership at the end of eight or nine years.
The implications and costs of this unhappiness are significant, as many bright attorneys grow disillusioned and cynical, with diminishing career opportunities.? While at the firm, unhappy associates fail to achieve their full potential at a cost to them, their firms, their clients and their families. Invariably many lawyers leave the law firm, and even the practice of law, prematurely, resulting in undesirable and costly turnover.
The Task Force was charged with studying these issues and recommending solutions, where possible.? It was understood that we were to address the problems of large firms in New York, including firms headquartered outside New York ? not because small and medium-sized firms lacked problems, but because of the need to limit the scope of the undertaking.? Our efforts began with the formation of a number of Focus Groups, comprised of associates at large firms throughout New York City. Focus Groups discussed sources of associate dissatisfaction, steps taken in response, and the perceived effectiveness of these measures. Through those Focus Groups, the Task Force identified a number of Quality of Life issues confronting associates, and began the identification of potential practices that may alleviate some of the dissatisfaction.
The Task Force expanded upon its efforts to identify potential solutions that had been actually considered or attempted at firms through a questionnaire.? The questionnaire was 11 pages of detailed questions, and in February 1999 was delivered to 27 of the largest law firms in New York City.? Over the course of the following several months, members of the Task Force conducted interviews at the firms that received the questionnaire.? In total, 17 law firms provided information to the Task Force in response to the questionnaire.? That information was analyzed and discussed by the Task Force, which ultimately came to a consensus on a series of Recommendations or Best Practices, all of which are discussed in this report.
This Report presents a discussion, organized in 9 sections, of particular quality of life issues.? Each section addresses a somewhat distinct ?category? of issues identified by the Task Force, including those identified via the Focus Groups; reports the results of the survey of the 17 firms; and presents a discussion of the Recommendations/Best Practices.? For ease of reference, the Report concludes with an Executive Summary of the Recommendations/Best Practices agreed upon by the Task Force.
We offer several caveats.
First, the Task Force set as its goal the identification of policies or procedures actually applied at a law firm.? Thus, although the Task Force spent significant time at its meetings discussing a wide variety of solutions and scenarios relevant to quality of life issues ? including a maximum ?cap? on the number of billable hours an attorney may work in any one year or increasing further associate compensation ? the Task Force chose not to focus on such highly controversial and untested goals, but to leave that broader, important debate to other fora.? The Best Practices recommended herein have all been applied by at least one large firm in New York City with at least some success; with that experience, the Task Force hopes that this Report will lead to other firms considering and adopting these practices.
Second, the Task Force is cognizant of the vast amount of work done by other committees at the City Bar on issues raised in this Report, in particular issues related to flex-time and part-time attorneys.? The Task Force, by reporting its findings here, does not intend to present a comprehensive study of these important issues, but hopes that it can add to the discussion of those issues the experiences of the firms who responded to the questionnaire.
Third, the 17 firms that participated in responding to the questionnaire did so upon the promise of confidentiality.? Those firms are listed in Appendix A, attached hereto, but the Report will not attribute any particular practice or policy to any particular firm.? The Task Force is greatly in debt to these firms for agreeing to share their experiences with the Bar.
Finally, the Task Force hopes that this report will be regarded as a practical tool, and not an exercise in theory.? We trust that those reading this document will learn what has worked ? and what has failed ? elsewhere, and believe that if the successful practices we have identified are emulated, this report will have made a modest contribution to the quality of lawyer?s lives in New York.
OVERWORK/INEQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF WORK
The Task Force identified certain consistent issues relating to the difficulties associates face in balancing professional work demands against personal time and the negative impact this balancing challenge has on associate life.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? Excessive Work Demands
Identified Issue:? While nearly all of the firms surveyed have either a minimum billable hour requirement or a budgeted number for administrative purposes, there is insufficient communication of the importance, or not, of meeting or exceeding this number as a measurement of success.
Survey Results:? The Task Force?s survey revealed inconsistency among New York law firms on Issue 1.? Some surveyed firms explicitly do not have a standard or target number of hours, while others do.? Many firms reported that while they do not have a formal minimum billable hour requirement, there is an informal ?expectation? that a certain level of billable hours will be met.? Of those firms surveyed, no firm had either a formal minimum or an informal expectation that was less than 2,000 hours per year.? Also, a small number of surveyed firms report using a formal minimum billable hour requirement as a yardstick to determine year-end associate performance bonus amounts.
Of the firms that reported either a formal minimum billable hour requirement or an informal expectation, pro bono hours are almost universally stated to be viewed as the equivalent of billable hours.
The Task Force identified a lack of clarity at many firms regarding whether and to what extent meeting or exceeding a formal minimum billable hours requirement or an informal expectation is considered an important component of success at the firm.? Presently, survey feedback indicates that both minimum billable hour requirements and informal expectations are viewed by associates as the bare minimum that must be met in order to get, and then remain, on partnership track. Whether this view is true or not at a given firm may be less important than a clear communication of its accuracy.
The Task Force also notes the recent significant increase in the associate pay scale at New York law firms, in response to competition from ?dot-com? employers and overall strong and sustained business demand.? This increase has triggered commentary within the legal community suggesting that the increased pay scale will likely increase the pressure on associates to generate higher and higher billable hour levels, at a cost to overall quality of life.? Indeed, in response to the pay increases, at least two New York firms have informed their associates that the billable hour target is now mandatory and failure to achieve it will result in lower overall compensation.? While noting this development, the Task Force does not comment on it, as the survey was conducted before the pay scale increase occurred, so that empirical data was neither solicited nor collected.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? The Task Force survey results demonstrate that there is a need for many New York firms to convey the reality of formal minimum billable hour requirements or informal expectations clearly, including pro bono hours, so that associates can understand and appreciate the relative importance, or not, of the issue.? Without clear communication from the firm, the pressure to bill can permeate an associate?s professional experience, lead to overwork and thus negatively impact quality of life.
Issue 2 ? Inequitable Work Distribution:
Identified Issue:? The Task Force identified certain issues involving the equitable distribution of work among associates at a large firm.? The primary issues involve quantity of work, i.e., that ?good work tends to be rewarded with more work,? and quality of work, i.e., that the ?better? assignments go to the ?better? associates.? Stated differently, the issue presented is whether the associates who are (in the partners? view) most‑qualified become overworked and resentful while the associates perceived as underperforming become more difficult to staff on matters and ultimately receive the same compensation for a shrinking workload.
Also noted were discrepancies in the level of demands placed upon associates of different departments of the same firm (e.g., the corporate associates work harder than the litigation associates), that an associate who makes a good first impression invariably fares better than one who gets off to a slow start, and that reliance upon billable hours discourages efficiency and rewards gross hours billed.
Survey Results:? All but a few firms recognized the goal of distributing similar assignments to associates of similar abilities.? However, one firm bluntly indicated that equitable distribution of work among associates was not the aim of that firm?s staffing system ? rather, the staffing philosophy was that each partner would seek to staff his or her cases with the best people, because the client?s needs came first.? That firm recognized that this policy would result in an inequality of assignments among associates, but the firm decided it was prepared to live with that fact.
While only one firm made this explicit statement, the attitude of obtaining the best associate(s) on one?s own cases is no doubt the prevailing view of most partners.? To offset this? somewhat‑natural inclination towards self‑interest, most firms have adopted various procedures, discussed below, designed to foster a more equitable work distribution and to serve the similar purpose of equalizing, to the extent possible, the amount of billable work assigned to associates of similar abilities.? Most of the firms interviewed utilized some combination of the following 5 procedures:
Most firms interviewed indicated that one or two individuals were responsible for distributing assignments to associates.? In most instances, assignments were done on a department or practice group level, e.g., all litigators received their assignments from one (or perhaps two) assigning persons.? As a result of centralizing assignments in this way, the firms have delegated the responsibility (and presumably the authority) of ensuring that associates of similar abilities receive similar work.? Because all work is to be assigned through the assignment person, the firms believe that there is a person responsible for ensuring that work is distributed equally to comparable associates ? in fact, several firms boasted that the assigning person made sure that associates were treated equally.
? One item worth noting is that several firms employed someone other than a practicing attorney as the assignment person.? Several firms had a ?non‑practicing attorney? distribute the assignments and a few firms employed a non‑lawyer administrator in that role.? On the other hand, approximately 40% of the firms rotated the assignment role among several practicing, and usually ?younger,? partners.
? Having one person responsible for delegating assignments to a group of lawyers would serve the goal of equitable distribution of assignments.? Whether the assignment role should be filled by an administrative person or a practicing lawyer raises an interesting issue:? a practicing partner would be more likely to have the respect of the associates and the partners, which is important to being able to say ?no? to a partner who requests that a new task be assigned to an associate who is overworked relative to other comparable associates, but such an assigning partner likely would have less time available to the assignment responsibilities in light of his or her practice.? On the other hand, a firm might be better served (assuming available financial resources) employing a person whose primary job is the equitable distribution of assignments ? thereby eliminating a demand on a practicing attorney?s time ? particularly if (a) that person is an attorney (and thus has some understanding of the demands on an associate) and (b) that person has the internal authority (and respect) requisite to ensuring that his or her assignments are followed and are not undercut, i.e., that he or she can say ?no? and it sticks.
2. Attorney Forecasts
? A significant number of firms, although fewer than half those surveyed, have sought to enhance the assignment process by requiring associates to prepare forecasts, typically on a weekly basis, of the number of hours that the associate expects to bill that week, as well as any other information that would impact upon the associate?s ability to accept assignments during that week.? These forecasts subsequently are compared with the associate?s actual billed hours, and significant discrepancies are discussed.? These forecasts are perceived by the firms utilizing them to be a tool in identifying those who have time available (at least relevant to other comparable associates).
3. Management Reports
? Most of the firms stated that the assigning person had access to management reports, which indicated the number of hours billed by each associate over the past week, month, year, etc.? Reviewing these reports was considered essential to ensuring equality of billed hours.? Although forecasts could be to the contrary, the firms believed that associates would accurately bill their time, so that those with less billed time over a par__cular period were more readily available for additional work than those associates with higher hours.? Further, these reports can be used to identify those associates who are significantly over-burdened or under-utilized.? One firm employed an Executive Director of Associate Affairs to monitor associate hours on a monthly basis and to notify department chairs of associates who have worked more than 250 hours, or who have less than 5 calendar days off, during the previous month.? When associates bill consistently less than the average of the other associates in their department, the Executive Director also consults with the department chair to understand the reasons and to help develop a strategy to improve the associate?s performance.
4. Assignment Benchmarks
A fair number of firms indicated that the associate?s professional development was monitored via the assignment/review process, as the individual(s) involved in the assignment process typically were either involved in associate evaluations or had access to them.? These firms have a checklist, or a list of benchmarks, of the types of assignments that each associate should have completed by the conclusion of each year, so that the associate can gauge his or her development and request particular assignments to meet the checklist or benchmark.? A few firms reviewed with associates their progress on the checklist as part of the annual review.? (Some examples of these checklists are included in Appendix C to this Report.)
A few firms identified mentoring as a means of ensuring equitable distribution of work to associates.? These firms indicated that an associate?s assigned mentor was involved in assigning work to the associate, which the firms stated would allow the mentor to assist in the direction of the associate?s assignments (and therefore the associate?s development).? In this way the associate would have a mentor who could assist the associate?s efforts in obtaining varied assignments.? (Mentoring is discussed further in Section VII of this Report.)
Recommendations/Best Practices:? Each of the tools identified above appears to serve the purpose of ensuring that similar associates receive similar work, and so it is difficult to argue that any of the above resources should not be utilized by a firm to the extent available.? It appears important for a firm to recognize that its efforts at equitable work distribution will always be subject to the desires and demands of particular partners, and to establish procedures to avoid the ?will? of a particular partner from unilaterally subverting the assignment process by cornering an associate into an assignment.? Partner collegiality and cooperation are key to making an assignment program work.
The Task Force endorses the use of an assignment person with appropriate authority (item 1 above).? This permits the associate an opportunity to decline an assignment for any of several reasons, including overwork, unsuitability to the associate?s level of seniority, or diversification of assignments.? Without an assigning person with authority, that associate is less likely to address concerns of this nature, and is prone to receive assignments from any partner with whom he or she has contact.? Whether the assignment function is filled by an administrator or by a practicing partner, the Task Force believes that the individual must be equipped with the requisite authority; otherwise there will be a significant likelihood that the assignment system will be abused.
The Task Force also believes that the use of Attorney Forecasts (item 2 above) is a worthy tool for seeking equitable work distribution.? These forecasts will increase the communication between associates and the assigning person regarding both the amount of work expected (and actually performed) and provide an additional ? and regular ? avenue for the associate to raise with the assigning person any perceived deficiencies in the type and quality of the assignments undertaken.
Issue 3 ? Ability to Take Vacation:
Identified Issue:? Procedures to ensure that associates schedule and take vacation and that these vacations are uninterrupted are not prevalent among the surveyed firms.
Survey Results:? The Task Force found that while nearly all firms provide sufficient vacation time as a policy matter, in practice, associate vacations are often not respected and can be canceled or interrupted relatively easily.? As a predicate matter, too many associates do not schedule and take the vacation days they are entitled to by policy.? This is partly because many firms do not have formalized procedures to ensure that associates take vacation, and in part because the culture at certain firms does not encourage full utilization of available vacation time.
Although the majority of surveyed firms have no formalized procedures to ensure that associates take vacation, these same firms have generally instituted a ?use it or lose it? policy regarding vacation time.? If an associate does not utilize his or her vacation time in a given year, it cannot be carried over without formal approval of the assigning partner or department head, a process younger associates may be reluctant to pursue.? The survey found that too often associates who have lost vacations because of workload ultimately do not take them, and the time is truly lost:? the associate loses the original vacation and cannot accrue it, and while a firm may track actual associate vacation time taken, it does not track lost time.
A minority of firms are utilizing more formal procedures to ensure associate vacations are respected and taken.? At one firm, vacations are coordinated through a central staffing partner for each department or group.? There is an administrative staff whose responsibilities include monitoring associate vacations and following up with associates to make sure they take vacations.? At another firm, a new vacation policy was implemented in 1998 to encourage associates to take vacations and to take them as scheduled without interruption:? No associate vacation is to be canceled or abbreviated by a request to return to the office earlier than scheduled, unless the partner who requests that cancellation or call back, after consultation with the associate, obtains permission of both the relevant Practice Group Leader or Office Managing Partner and the Personnel Partner.? In any case where partners prove insensitive to associate vacations, including repeated denial of an associate?s request to schedule a vacation, the associate is urged to bring this to the attention of the Practice Group Leader or Office Managing Partner or, alternatively, to the attention of the Personnel Partner.
At yet another firm, the vacation policy requires formal submission of proposed vacation schedules for the entire year.? Each March lawyers are asked to submit their proposed vacation for the remainder of the year.? Associates who have a large amount of accrued time are strongly encouraged at their spring evaluation meeting to take this time.? Vacations are strongly encouraged, and partners do no interrupt vacations in the absence of an emergency.? The survey found that this policy is strongly adhered to and well-respected within the firm, the result being that vacations are more likely to be taken when scheduled and not then be subject to interruption.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? Firms must do more to respect associate vacations, and to foster a culture where vacations are viewed as a necessity and not a luxury.? Likewise, associates themselves must also be pro-active in scheduling vacations well in advance.? The Task Force believes that the formal vacation planning systems at the firms described above can serve as constructive models to achieve both of these goals.
Issue 4 ? Part-Time/Flex-Time Arrangements:
Identified Issue: There is a lack of clearly articulated written guidelines for part-time and flex-time work, with a perception that firms tend to address the issue on an ad hoc basis.? The availability and eligibility for such programs is overly restrictive, either because firms may limit the programs to associates with child care or health-related needs or because firms will not make partners from the ranks of part-time or flex-time associates.? Part-time or flex-time programs also raise the possibility that a firm?s workload will exert pressure on a part-time employee to devote full-time to the firm or that less desirable work assignments will be given to the part-time employees.
Survey Results:? Each firm that responded to the survey offers some variant of a part-time or flex-time program for its associates, and each surveyed firm reported its view that associates are taking advantage of part-time and flex-time opportunities.? Among the large firms providing numbers to the Task Force, an average of between 10 and 20 associates per firm are working on a reduced workload basis.
However, the Task Force found significant differences among the firms surveyed in the degree of formality of their part-time and flex-time policies.? A number of firms appear to deal with requests for part-time and flex-time employment on an ad hoc basis, weighing each request against the needs of the firm or an associate's particular practice group.? These firms allow associates to take on a reduced workload for reduced pay but appear to consider each request on a case-by-case basis without any specific guidelines articulating eligibility for part-time or flex-time status.? Other firms have adopted written guidelines which communicate the availability of and eligibility for part-time or flex-time work, including for some firms brief policy statements reflecting a general commitment to providing flexibility to associates seeking a reduced schedule.? Other firms spell out the policies in greater detail, establishing eligibility criteria and an approval process for part-time or flex-time status, as well as setting forth workload guidelines for part-time and flex-time associates. One firm has recently adopted a detailed flexible career path program specifically designed to provide alternative career tracks for associates and to provide opportunities for promotion to partner for those who have pursued such alternatives.
The Task Force found great variation in the scope and availability of part-time and flex-time programs from firm to firm.? At one end of the spectrum are those firms that limit a reduced workload to those associates who are acting as care givers or have health-related needs.? One firm reported that the program has been made available only to women with child-care responsibilities; others that offer the program more broadly advised that, in practice, only those associates with child-rearing responsibility have sought part-time or flex-time arrangements and that few male associates have sought such arrangements.? At the other end of the spectrum, a number of firms informed the Task Force that part-time and flex-time programs are available to all associates, irrespective of the reason why a reduced workload is sought, subject to some minimum tenure (typically two years) at the firm.? Other firms offer reduced workloads as a matter of course for associates with parenting or other family issues, but re-evaluate other requests on a case-by-case basis.
Many firms reserve the right to refuse part-time or flex-time status, depending upon the needs of the firm, and the probability that an associate can make a meaningful contribution while on a less than full time basis.
The policies should emphasize that, due to the nature of the practice of law, it is imperative that the firm and the part-time associate be flexible in the work arrangement; the practice of some firms in ?adjusting? downward an associate?s hours following a particularly busy period ? so that the associate will then have a period in which he or she is working less than the agreed-upon target of hours ? likely serves the dual goals of alleviating concerns regarding overwork and of ensuring the likelihood that part-time/flex-time associates will receive work commensurate with their class level.
The Task Force also recommends that part-time or flex-time programs should be made broadly available to all associates who are performing at class level, without limiting eligibility to those associates with child care or other family or health reasons for seeking less than full-time status.? Although the Task Force recognizes that the demands of the profession are sometimes inconsistent with protracted part-time status, and that firms cannot effectively function without a sufficient number of full-time lawyers, it believes that firms should see employing part-time lawyers as a matter of self-interest.? At a time when competent lawyers are in short supply, it is simply not sensible to exclude a readily available source of talent.
The Task Force further recommends
that firms adopt policies that will enable part-time associates to be eligible
for partnership consideration while maintaining part-time status.?? We do not
propose to tell any firm what its partnership standards should be, and we understand
that attorneys who have worked part-time for some number of their first 8 years
may not have the breadth of experience required for election to partnership.?
We are confident, however, that there are part-time or flex-time lawyers who
meet those partnership standards (either in their eighth year or thereafter),
and whose advancement should not be blocked because of the cultural demands
of other obligations in their lives.? As recommended more than 5 years ago by
another Committee of this Association, firms should not ?put artificial barriers
to advancement in the way of attorneys taking advantage? of flexible work arrangements.
The Task Force identified certain issues involving training of associates that impact an associate?s experience and his or her professional development.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? Associate Training
Identified Issues:? Neither law school programs nor new associate training programs adequately train incoming associates to do the routine work, particularly transactional work, expected of them; advanced training is not actively pursued or encouraged at senior associate levels; and supervision and training of junior associates are often left to senior or even mid-level associates who are often ill-equipped to perform the role.
Survey Results:? To identify potential solutions to these issues, the Task Force sought to determine the extent and nature of associate training programs conducted by large law firms.
Practically every surveyed firm conducted some type of formal or regular training programs for its associates.? Approximately one-half of the surveyed firms had special orientation sessions directed to all new associates, ranging from one day to a week.? The content of these orientation programs varied, covering from basic orientation to the firm?s support departments and computer training/Westlaw/Lexis training to the introduction of business concepts, firm management and other matters.? A few firms conducted the orientation sessions offsite.
With respect to ongoing training programs, all firms appeared to conduct some form of program, either on a firm-wide basis or on a department-by-department basis.? The formality of these programs varied.? Three firms specifically mentioned that they had multi-day training programs specifically designed for all mid-level (and in one instance senior) associates.? All firms except one conducted training sessions that covered different areas of their practice; one firm stated only that it had a trial advocacy program.? These training sessions were either conducted in multi-hour sessions covering substantive areas of the firm?s practice, or breakfast or lunch sessions conducted by a department or group.? The training sessions of at least five firms were eligible for CLE credits; other firms were reviewing their offerings with the view of enabling associates to fulfill their CLE requirements through internal programs.? Most firms encouraged associates to attend training programs of outside providers, such as PLI and the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
It appeared that most if not all training sessions at large firms were conducted by partners, with some firms also involving associate participation.? Supervision of training programs varied from firm to firm, ranging from firms with a full-time ?director of training? or administrator, to partners specifically identified within practice areas who were responsible for supervising training in those areas.
Associate input on the training programs also appeared to be fairly common, with associates in some instances participating in the picking of topics, teaching sessions and scheduling sessions.? Only one firm stated that associates did not participate in designing the training programs.
Recommendations/Best Practices: The Task Force finds that it is commonly acknowledged that associates need more than their law school preparation and new associate orientations in order to become effective lawyers.? The Task Force recommends the implementation of formal training programs for new associates and supplemental training programs for mid-level associates.? Although most training occurs at the departmental level, the Task Force notes that there appears to be an increasing use of a full-time director of training or firm-wide committee charged with responsibility for overseeing and coordinating training activities.? The Task Force recommends that firms also develop skills or knowledge checklists on a departmental or practice group level and periodically review the extent to which each associate has been afforded the opportunity to develop or acquire the required skills and knowledge.? Because of work demands, whenever possible such training should be conducted off-site.
Perhaps the unstated, but nevertheless most important component, of associate training is to seek to make each associate?s assignment as effective a training ground as possible, in which the associate gains new skills and expertise to continue his or her professional development.? In order to achieve this goal, the Task Force recommends that partners and senior associates be strongly encouraged to supervise the work of junior associates through direct and regular contact.? In addition, the Task Force recommends that feedback be solicited from associates in order to assess whether the partner or senior associate involved in the matter is adequately training and supervising the people who work for him or her.
Attached to this report at Appendix B and C, respectively, are sample training course lists and sample skills checklists.? Appendix B provides an overview of how various firms have structured a training program; Exhibit C includes checklists that firms provide to associates so they may gauge how well their assignments increase various skills.
Issue 2 ? Lack of Guidance
Identified Issue:? Partners are often unavailable to provide guidance when issues arise in particular matters, particularly in smaller or more routine matters, and associates are reluctant to press for that guidance for fear that they will be perceived as incompetent or lacking in confidence.
Survey Results:? The survey did not reveal any policies or procedures designed specifically to address the issue of partner guidance to associates.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? The Task Force recommends that firms endeavor to create an environment that recognizes that junior associates lack knowledge in substantive practical areas and are entitled to seek appropriate guidance while assuming appropriate levels of responsibility.? The Task Force also recommends that firms consider adopting policies to make it clear that senior and mid-level associates are expected to be available to assist junior associates, either as a result of working together on a particular transaction/matter or via a formal mentoring program (see infra Section VII).
Issue 3 ? Supervision of Pro Bono Work
Identified Issue:? Pro bono work, which tends to allow more meaningful involvement by junior associates, while institutionally encouraged, is poorly implemented, inadequately supervised and receives less credit and respect relative to billable work.
Survey Results:? To identify potential solutions to this issue, the Task Force sought to determine the nature and extent of the pro bono policies and practices of the surveyed firms.
All the surveyed firms state that they encourage pro bono work.? At least one firm has a written policy regarding pro bono work, and two firms have programs which allow associates to take fellowships or externships with public interest organizations.
Most firms have either a pro bono committee or a pro bono coordinator.? The pro bono committees typically include partners and often a special counsel or senior associate who serves as a full-time pro bono coordinator.? Some firms distribute pro bono work by circulating notices of available pro bono matters to attorneys, and at least three firms directly assign pro bono work to associates.? Other firms do not assign pro bono work but encourage associates to choose pro bono assignments.? One firm assigns pro bono work through partners who seek out associate assistance on pro bono matters.? At least one firm staffs pro bono matters in such a way to ensure that junior associates have a partner or more-senior associate as a supervisor.
A majority of the surveyed firms stated that they count hours spent on pro bono matters as billable hours in evaluating associate work.? At least three firms formally recognize attorneys who make significant contributions to their pro bono activities through bonuses or an annual awards events.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? The Task Force believes that the use of a pro bono committee or coordinator for pro bono work is a best practice.? The committee or coordinator may be by department or on a firm-wide basis.
The Task Force recommends that firms adopt a policy that designates for each junior associate doing pro bono work a more senior associate with experience in the subject matter of the pro bono project.
The Task Force recommends that firms adopt and announce specific policies regarding the extent to which pro bono hours will be regarded in the same manner as billable hours for all purposes, including promotion to partner and for compensation-related purposes such as satisfying a minimum-hours requirement for receipt of a bonus.? The Task Force believes that it is an important practice to treat the lawyer?s fulfillment of the ethical obligation to render pro bono and public interest service the same as billable hours.
Issue 4 ? Lack of Management Training
Identified Issue:? No ?management training? is provided at any level.? Poor management of both people and matters continues as associates move up the ranks and contributes to a significant number of problems.
Survey Results:? The survey did not reveal any policies or procedures designed specifically to address the issue of management training.
Recommendations/Best Practice:?? The Task Force recommends that firms consider adoption of management training programs for mid-level and senior associates in appropriate areas, including supervision and training of junior associates; case/transaction organization; expectations of clients with respect to cost-effective delivery of legal services; matters relating to billing and collections, including appropriate methods of recording time for all work performed and describing work; and client servicing and development.
The Task Force identified certain issues involving feedback and evaluation of associate work performance.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? Timely Feedback
Identified Issue:? Partners and senior associates do not take time to provide detailed feedback regarding particular work product of junior attorneys.? Moreover, associates who have trouble early in their careers are not given the extra support and advice that will permit them to make improvements necessary to succeed.? Finally, annual reviews tend to be nonsubstantive ? they compound the lack of feedback received throughout the year by taking a ?no news is good news? approach, and fail to provide associates with meaningful information regarding their long‑term prospects with the firm.
Survey Results:? Each firm responded that it had a formal review process in place, typically providing for annual or semi‑annual (particularly for junior associates) reviews.? A significant number of firms also indicated that informal feedback was encouraged as well.? The firms were evenly split as to whether senior associates played a role in evaluating the work of more junior associates.
In most cases, the review process involved the completion of a written evaluation by all supervising attorneys, a review of the evaluations by a committee of partners, and delivery of a formal review by two partners.? In almost all cases, it appears that review forms are not completed at the conclusion of an assignment, rather at the end of the annual or 6‑month review period.? A minority of firms encourage completion of written reviews upon the completion of a project, but compliance is strictly voluntary.? One firm has instituted a policy pursuant to which each associate is required to be reviewed within 10 days of the completion of an assignment to which he or she has devoted more than 35 hours.? Feedback at this review is intended to be detailed and meaningful (including, where appropriate, a review of marked up documents).? Other firms expressed their intent to move in the direction of requiring this form of more contemporaneous feedback.
Firms appear to have adopted a variety of approaches, ranging from informal (primarily nagging delinquent reviewers) to formal (including withholding partnership draws) to ensure that reviews are not unduly delayed.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? Careful evaluation and the provision of useful feedback is critically important to young lawyers for at least two reasons.? First, it is essential to their professional growth ? inadequate evaluation and feedback deprives them of the benefits to be gained from working with more experienced lawyers who can help the younger lawyers learn from their own mistakes as well as, perhaps, avoid the mistakes their seniors made growing up in the practice.? Second, it is essential to their ability to make informed judgments about their futures; knowing where one stands in an institution is an essential factor in determining whether to stay or move on to another career path.? It is therefore no surprise that concerns over evaluation and feedback rank very high in the list of damaging morale issues.? The survey results summarized above demonstrate that those concerns are justified at most of the City?s large firms.
The two major difficulties appear to be (i) the quality of the information collected and provided to the associates and (ii) timing.
To address the first concern ? the quality of information ? firms should commit to have associates? written work reviewed by partners, and to have the partner who reviews any particular work product speak about it directly with the associate who produced it.? The information conveyed in the review should be specific, rather than conclusory.? This, of course, will take time, and the partners must be prepared to spend such additional time to provide feedback.? Similarly, partners should make an effort, as associates become more senior, to observe them ?on their feet? ? whether that is in court, taking or defending depositions, negotiating a corporate transaction, dealing with adversaries, or delivering advice to clients.? This, too, requires a commitment of some non‑billable partner time.? It will, however, improve the quality of the information about the associates available to the reviewing partners.
The timing of feedback is also important, and closely related to its quality.? It is intuitively obvious that it should be easier to provide a detailed explanation of the strengths and weaknesses of a particular performance or written product while the memory is fresh.? The experience of the few firms that have tried to provide ?project-based? feedback bears this out.? In this regard, firms may wish to make review forms available on their computer networks as a means of facilitating timely compliance.? Thus, the Task Force recommends that firms make an effort to provide immediate feedback to associates, from partners, with respect to at least some of the projects or performances of the associates throughout the year.? Focusing on projects of a particular size or intensity appears to be an effective way of striking a balance between the desire to improve the quality of feedback and the already imposing demands placed on partners? time.
The Task Force believes that firms should also continue to provide fixed periodic general reviews, as those are the best forum for addressing standing issues or repeated concerns.? For example, an associate?s failure to meet a deadline would be a concern in the context of one project; failing consistently to meet deadlines over a six month or one year period would be cause for a slightly different discussion.? Similarly, a penchant for being ?tough? on support staff might not be noted in reviews of individual projects but may show up in a more general evaluation of an associate?s conduct in the office.
The Task Force recommends that each firm adopt an approach of its choosing to ensure that reviews are not unduly delayed.? Of course, the value of any of the above programs, if adopted, will depend almost entirely on the level of compliance by partners and senior lawyers.? Although firms appear to meet with some success in correcting troublesome conduct by senior associates, many have difficulty encouraging recalcitrant partners to devote the time and energy required to improve feedback and evaluation.? The Task Force recognizes that there is no ?one size fits all? recommendation for this issue.? Each firm must adopt an approach consistent with its culture and its method for encouraging partners to comply with other firm policies.? Thus, if a firm relies on withholding partnership draws or distributions to force partners to record their time or send bills, it should consider using the same approach to encourage partners to provide timely feedback and evaluations.? Doing so sends the clear message that the firm views such things as important.? If the firm relies on the more subjective approach of factoring in timely performance of administrative responsibilities and treatment of staff in the periodic peer review or calculation of partner compensation, then it should make it known that partners? performance as evaluators and trainers of younger lawyers will be considered in the mix of data used to determine their compensation.? While the Task Force cannot make a specific recommendation for all firms, it does recommend that each firm choose a method that will demonstrate, within the context of its particular culture, that the training, evaluation and treatment of its junior legal staff are important elements of the firm?s, and its members?, performance.
Issue 2 ? Monitoring the Treatment of Associates
Identified Issue:? Junior and mid‑level associates are often subjected to poor supervision and management by senior associates and partners.
Survey Results:? Approximately one‑half of the surveyed firms have instituted some form of upward review process, whereby associates review the senior associates, counsel, and partners with whom they have worked.? The upward review procedures at each firm vary significantly.? Some firms have an outside consulting firm conduct the reviews to ensure confidentiality, while others conduct the survey anonymously internally.? At one firm, its associates? committee compiles lists of partners and associates who are ?best supervisors,? ?worst supervisors,? and a ?watch list? of those whose skills border on the worst list.? Firms utilizing an upward review process found that the feedback provided tended to be honest and relatively consistent.
The use of the information obtained from the upward review process also varies greatly.? In some instances the information is shared only with the partner or associate reviewed.? Other firms distribute the results to practice group leaders, the executive committee, the policy committee, and/or the compensation committee.? Indeed, at some firms the evaluations are a factor in deciding a partner?s compensation and/or an associate?s evaluation for partnership.
Other than upward reviews, few firms have a formal mechanism to monitor and address inappropriate treatment of associates.? Only two firms reported that the treatment of associates, i.e., the management and supervision of associates, is part of a senior associate?s review, and few firms have an identified person to whom such issues should be reported.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? An important element in the quality of an associate?s life is how he or she is treated by senior associates and partners.? The ways in which an associate can be ?mistreated? ? in addition to simply failing to acknowledge or provide feedback about work completed ? are fairly obvious and need not be catalogued here in detail, but include failing to acknowledge or give credit for good ideas or successes (and, worse, taking credit for them), letting projects gather dust and then dropping them on junior lawyers at the last minute, leaving them to suffer the personal consequences of the senior lawyer?s poor planning, and failing to provide opportunities to the associates to move to the ?next level? of practice.? Identifying such conduct on the part of senior lawyers is critical to putting a stop to it; failure to do so will drive the mistreated younger lawyer out of the firm and, in the worst cases, out of the profession.? Where the ?perpetrator? is a senior associate (as opposed to a partner, which presents different political issues), identifying the conduct and addressing it is, or should be, an essential element of that associate?s professional and personal growth, as well as the evaluation of his or her prospects for continued success at the firm.
For these reasons, the Task Force recommends that firms adopt some formal method of identifying such conduct and acting on such information to (i) fix the problem for the junior lawyer and (ii) provide useful feedback to the senior lawyer responsible for the problem.? Upward evaluation programs are one effective way to identify such problems.? A more ad hoc method, which can be effective if it is structured to be credible within the culture of the particular firm, is an ?ombudsman? approach under which the firm has a person ? partner or human resources staff member ? to whom an associate concerned about his or her treatment can speak, confidentially in the first instance.? The credibility of any such program will depend in large measure on whether the associates see results over time.? If the associates see chronic abusers modifying their conduct or, in the case of abusive senior associates, failing to become partners even where they might otherwise qualify, the approach will be credible.? If a system is adopted but information about mistreatment disappears into a black hole, it will not.? Thus, the Task Force recommends that firms consider carefully which type of program is likely to work best within its particular culture and adopt it only if the firm is committed to making it work.? Once adopted, a program should stay in place for a period of years before the firm attempts to make a judgment as to whether it has been successful, as results are not likely to be immediate.
The Task Force identified certain issues involving the partnership selection process.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Identified Issue:? An up‑and‑out system creates resentment as mid‑level and senior associates see respected friends required to leave the firm.? The secrecy of the partnership selection process compounds this problem because rationales for partnership decisions are not always well understood by associates.? Similarly, policies and procedures for making partner from ?counsel? or ?senior attorney? positions are not well understood.
Survey Results:? While a minority of the firms surveyed responded that they have a written policy describing the standards for partnership, approximately half of the firms surveyed responded that they do not advise associates of the standards for making partner.? The remaining firms responding noted that while they do not have a written standard, associates are made aware of the standards for partnership through the formal review process conducted at each firm.
For the most part, each firm surveyed enunciated a clearly‑defined process whereby associates are elected to partnership after having been recommended by a series of committees, followed by a vote of the entire partnership.? Of the firms reporting, partnership track appears to be seven to ten years.? While a few firms have undertaken to make the process known to associates via their internal websites or new attorney orientation, most firms reported that the process is made known to associates on a more informal basis.
A majority of the firms surveyed provide associates with an informal, non‑binding assessment of their chances of making partner through the annual review process, usually beginning in their fourth, fifth or sixth year.? One firm pays a $50,000 bonus to eligible associates who are on track for partnership or counsel after their seventh year.
All of the firms surveyed have counsel positions in one form or another.? A majority of such counsel programs permit counsel and special counsel to be promoted to partner.? Most of the firms reported that the counsel programs are reserved for either part‑time or flex‑time attorneys, or consist of attorneys who, at the time, had not met the standards for partnership, but were not on an ?up or out? track because they were viewed as high‑quality, well‑trained attorneys who would be difficult to replace.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? Firms should implement a formal process through which associates learn about their partnership potential starting as early as possible in their careers.? In particular, firms should, through their formal review programs, give each mid‑level and senior associate an evaluation of partnership potential in addition to evaluating past performance.
The Task Force recommends that, at the end of an associate?s sixth year (at the latest), each associate should receive, through a formal review process, clear and useful information about his or her prospects for being advanced to a specified more senior position.? During that assessment, the associate should also be told the areas in which he or she needs improvement.
In earlier years, beginning in an associate?s fourth year, each associate should be told what skills need improvement, whether he or she has potential for a long-term career with the firm and whether he or she is realizing that potential.? This should be done in a manner that does not discourage the associate, but instead informs the associate of what he or she needs to do to improve the chances of making partner or counsel.? This process should take into account the fact that people mature at different speeds, and thus a more junior associate may well develop into a viable candidate for promotion.? Similarly, those associates who have no substantial prospect for a long-term future with the firm should be told so unequivocally.
In addition, firms should provide information to associates about the standards and procedures for being promoted to the senior positions the firm offers.? It is difficult for an associate to determine how best to strive for partnership if the standards are not articulated.? An associate may have been receiving glowing reviews, but if, for example, the firm requires an associate to fill his or her own calendar in order to become a partner, and that is not articulated, the associate may not work to develop the ability to generate business.? If the expectation is that partners should have the potential to be leaders in their field, associates will see a need to begin to build their reputations, for example, through bar association involvement.
COMPENSATION AND PROMOTION ISSUES
The Task Force identified certain issues involving compensation and promotion that impact an associate?s experience at a large law firm.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? Lock‑step Compensation and Promotion
Identified Issue:? Some associates argue that lock‑step salary increases are counter‑motivational, because they fail to reward talented associates for their good work.? Further, the absence of merit‑based promotion ? where each class of associates is essentially ?graduated? each January to a new seniority ? poses a similar problem.? The ?carrot? of attaining partnership is not a sufficient motivator because the goal is too distant for junior associates, and is either unattainable, uncertain, or undesirable for senior associates.
Survey Results:? All firms surveyed, except two, pay the same salaries to members of the same class, although some firms noted a pay differential for less than satisfactory performance.? Similarly, only one firm promotes associates based on performance and ability.? All other firms surveyed automatically promote associates to the next class, though at least one firm will hold back associates who are performing below expectations.? One firm surveyed that currently promotes lock step is considering bands of classes from which advancement would be earned.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? The long‑entrenched, essentially lock‑step, systems that most large firms use to compensate and promote their associates have drawn sufficient well‑reasoned criticism from associates that the Task Force believes those firms should at least consider whether an alternative system might be appropriate. ?This is particularly so in view of recent changes in two related paradigms:? first, the apparent decrease in the desirability of partnership as a long‑term goal and, second, the increase in other opportunities available to lawyers with equivalent (or better) compensation and equivalent or fewer hours.? Those opportunities include not just the ?dot-coms? and technology companies generally, but the consulting firms and investment banks as well ? all of which pay and/or promote based on a merit‑based system. ?Associates at the minority of firms that pay merit‑based bonuses were generally in favor of that approach, and the few firms that have adopted merit‑based salary increases or promotions reported encouraging reactions from their associates.
As discussed elsewhere in this Report, while all large firms engage in an annual associate evaluation process, it appears that, except for evaluations given to associates performing appreciably below their peers, the evaluations communicated to the associates are not generally perceived by them as meaningful.? The Task Force believes that associate morale may be improved if the evaluation systems resulted in the tangible recognition of qualitatively different contributions by associates.? Such recognition could come by distinguishing the better performers with larger pay increases, bonuses (or larger bonuses) then their classmates, or by ?promotions,? should a firm move to a system where associates are grouped by bands (and thus receive higher compensation and recognition) based on merit as opposed to years at the firm.
While it is unlikely that any single compensation/promotion system will comfortably accommodate the various cultures found among the large firms, the Task Force is of the view that experimentation with compensation and promotion distinctions among associates based on merit may lead to approaches that address associate discontent in these areas without destroying other important firm values.
Issue 2 ? Timing and Bases of Merit Bonuses
Identified Issue: ?The practice of many firms to announce salary increases and merit bonuses at the last minute and only based on actions of peer firms increases resentment of compensation decisions by associates.? Bonuses based on billable hours fail to reward efficiency or quality work.
Survey Results:? When asked whether they pay bonuses and, if so, the standards for such bonuses, the firms? responses varied.? All firms paid some form of bonus.? One firm paid bonuses based on firm performance, but distributed the bonus equally among class members.? Because the bonuses are based on the firm?s performance for the year, the bonus amount is not announced much in advance of payment.? Fifty‑nine percent (59%) of the responding firms pay a set bonus to each associate based on class year.? Most of these firms announce the bonus amount at the beginning of the year in which the bonus is to be paid.? Those firms also occasionally pay an additional bonus (also fixed by class year) in prosperous years.? Many of the firms that pay lock‑step bonuses will not pay bonuses to associates performing materially below the norm.? The remaining thirty‑five percent (35%) of the responding firms pay a merit‑based bonus, based on a combination of quality of work and hours.? In at least one firm where associates had been asked their views of the merit‑based bonus, the associates did not believe that it created a more competitive environment, and though not all associates were happy with the results, associates thought the merit‑based bonus provided an accurate assessment of partnership chances.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? Whether a firm will choose to provide merit-based bonuses, either based upon the relatively objective factors of the firm?s profitability or billable hours or upon the more subjective standard of the reviews of a particular associate, the Task Force believes that the standards for achieving the bonus should be communicated to the associates in a timely fashion.? To announce after year-end that bonuses will be awarded to those who have billed ?X? hours can be particularly harsh, and potentially have the unintended negative impact upon an associate who billed slightly less than ?X? but took an extended vacation just prior to year-end.? As noted in several sections of this Report, communication is empowerment: if the standard is hours-based and announced in advance, the associate can choose to work towards the bonus or to work less and forego the bonus.
CLIENT/SERVICE RELATIONSHIP ISSUES
The Task Force identified potential ways in which a firm?s efforts to foster strong client relationships may negatively impact an associate?s work experience.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? Associate-Client Relationships
Identified Issue:? Partners do not encourage clients to rely on associates, making associates? jobs more difficult and less satisfying and encouraging a lack of respect by clients.
Survey Results:? To identify potential solutions to this issue, the Task Force sought to determine the practices and policies of the surveyed firms with respect to associate-client contact.? With the exception of one firm, which stated that billing sensitivities sometimes caused partners to leave the junior associate behind, the surveyed firms uniformly indicated that associate contact with clients is encouraged and expected.
Regarding the means of encouraging such contact, approximately thirty percent of the surveyed firms indicated that they have set up non-billable accounts for the purpose of permitting associates to attend meetings, court appearances, etc., at no charge to the client, while the remaining surveyed firms require associates to bill all time to the client matter but note that the billing partner has discretion to write-off time if necessary.
With the exception of the non-billable accounts referred to above, none of the firms interviewed had formal procedures designed to encourage associate contact with clients.? Rather, the surveyed firms uniformly stated that such contact naturally occurs by virtue of the demands of the transaction or other matter.? Two of the firms interviewed did indicate that business development activities are encouraged by the firm, in one case through the provision of associate expense accounts and in the other case through fee sharing arrangements for associates that bring in new business.
Recommendations/Best Practice:? The Task Force believes that the issue of associate/client relationships involves both quantity and quality.? Accordingly, while the Task Force recognizes that there may be no single procedure or mechanism that firms should adopt in response to the problems perceived in this area, the Task Force encourages firms to be more sensitive to the amount and type of interactions that its partners foster between clients and associates, particularly junior associates.? The Task Force endorses the non-billable accounts as a means of increasing the quantity of client contact within the billing constraints imposed by clients and, for those firms without such a mechanism, the Task Force encourages firms to take a more flexible view of write-offs to the extent extra time was invested in developing the younger members of the matter team.
Issue 2 ? Client Demands
Identified Issue:? Partners are unwilling to challenge unreasonable client demands on associates, resulting in increased associate stress.
Survey Results:? The survey did not reveal any policies or procedures designed specifically to address the issue of partner response to unreasonable client demands.
Recommendations/Best Practice:? The Task Force believes that one aspect of firm life that may tend to make associates feel more like commodities than valued professionals is the frequency with which their time is promised to clients without any consideration of what is necessary or possible in light of the associate?s other responsibilities.? While the Task Force understands the competitive nature of firm practice, the fast pace at which many matters move today, and the appropriateness of an expectation of associate commitment, the Task Force recommends that partners more carefully weigh each particular situation to determine whether it makes sense to meet an accelerated deadline or whether the partner should intervene to negotiate a revised schedule or obtain additional staffing.
RELATIONSHIPS AMONG FIRM COLLEAGUES
The Task Force identified several issues concerning relationships among firm colleagues that impact an associate?s experience at a large law firm.? As a general matter, the ever-increasing demands of a law practice have inhibited the professional relationships that a lawyer formerly could have expected with other attorneys, both more senior and junior, at the firm.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? The Absence of Mentoring
Identified Issue:? As firms have grown, collegiality has declined, especially among attorneys of different levels of seniority and in different departments.? In the pressure to meet tight time deadlines or keep billable hours within budget, partners and senior associates tend to exclude junior associates from key discussions, making them feel as though they are not part of the team.? These and other demands have also led to an absence of mentors available to associates.
Survey Results:? Though firms repeatedly note the importance of a mentoring relationship to the quality and enjoyment of a law practice, most firms appear to be failing at this important responsibility.? Most mentoring ?programs? at the firms ? whether deemed formal or informal by the firm ? are similar:? the assignment of an incoming associate to a more senior lawyer (associate, counsel or partner) for purposes of advising the junior lawyer, monitoring the junior lawyer?s adjustment to the firm, and fostering long-term relationships among lawyers.? Six firms assign partner mentors upon the associate?s arrival or shortly thereafter (within six months to a year); one firm assigns only an associate advisor; and four firms assign both associate and partner mentors.? Several firms have no mentoring program, instead relying on ad hoc mentoring and the natural development of mentoring relationships arising out of work assignments.? A few firms stated that the development (or improvement) of a formal mentoring program is in progress.? Many firms expressed the view that their programs are hardly considered successful and that benefits, if any, are gained on a case-by-case basis with the best mentoring occurring informally.
The method of assigning mentors, in those firms that do, varies from firm to firm.? One firm assigns an associate advisor to first-year and lateral associates upon their arrival.? After six months, that firm?s associates are allowed to select a more senior lawyer as an additional advisor and, at the beginning of their second year, associates may elect to have a partner mentor assigned to them.? Another firm allows each associate to select any lawyer to be his or her mentor.? Lawyers who do not voluntarily select a mentor are assigned a partner mentor and new associates may select their own mentor at the associate?s first annual review.? Some firms require that the assigned mentor practice in the same area as the associate; others do not.? At most firms, associates play an important ? and often informal ? mentoring role.
Regarding mentoring activities, most firms encourage lunches and other informal meetings between the mentor and junior associate.? At one firm, second through fourth year associates participate in a formal advising program with their partner advisor.? That program includes periodic group advising meetings and regular, and confidential, individual meetings with the partner advisor.? The agenda of the meetings is largely set by the associate.? That firm expects a time commitment of one hour a month from associates and partners involved in the formal advising relationship.
Of the firms surveyed, only one described in detail a comprehensive formal mentoring program.? Through its mentoring program, that firm seeks to enhance the professional development of its associates by tracking each associate?s career to ensure breadth and diversity of work, of partners with whom they work, and of clients with whom they develop relationships.? To that end, the firm assigns to each associate a ?counseling partner? who provides supervision and career development counseling.? Each counseling partner ? responsible for (at most) five associates ? aids the associates in assessing professional goals, developing a plan to meet those goals and implementing the plan.? This plan, set forth in a formal ?career development form,? is shared with department leaders to aid its progress, which is assessed every four months.? In addition to assisting with the career development form, the counseling partner ensures that the associate is receiving feedback, attends the associate?s review, and assists the associate in dealing with problems or concerns he or she encounters at the firm.? After his or her first year of practice, each associate designates three choices for department counseling partners.? The assigned counseling partner typically is not a partner with whom the associate works closely.? Counseling partners are selected from a pool of partners who have agreed to devote the necessary time and energy to fulfill properly their roles.? The intent of the program is to have no one counseling relationship exceed three years.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? The Task Force recommends that firms adopt a formal structured mentoring program, including some of the features of the formal program described above.? Specifically, the Task Force recommends that such a mentoring program involve the mentor in the evaluation process, whether as the person delivering the evaluation to the mentee or simply as an observer.? The Task Force further emphasizes the importance of the ?counseling? role of the mentor, particularly with respect to the professional development of the associate.
The Task Force identified certain issues involving technology and support that impact an associate?s experience at a large law firm.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? Support Priorities
Identified Issue:? Where three lawyers are assigned to a secretary, junior associates are disproportionately burdened because their work is given last priority.
Survey Results:? To identify potential solutions, the Task Force attempted to discern the number of attorneys assigned to a secretary and whether any procedures were implemented to ensure that the secretary completed work for junior associates, if applicable.
Firms generally assigned two to three lawyers to a secretary.? Many firms assign one partner and two associates per secretary.? At least one firm assigns three associates to a secretary.? At some firms, secretaries with partner assignments are assigned one professional in addition to the partner, usually a legal assistant.? If an assigned secretary is unable to satisfy workload, 29 percent of firms responded that excess work is delegated to less utilized secretaries on the floor, word processing departments or specified back‑up secretaries.
Initiatives employed by firms to address the issue include analyzing the ratio of lawyers to secretaries and adjusting as necessary to ensure that a secretary could handle expected workflow; other less formal measures of secretarial workflow and intervention as appropriate; and increased use by secretaries of software programs such as boiler plates, macros, etc. to increase efficiency.
Recommendations/Best Practices: The implementation of a review process that focuses on the workload of a secretary together with such secretary?s technical skills should allow firms to distribute work more equitably to the secretarial staff.? Also, to alleviate the seniority issue in part, it may be beneficial for secretaries to be assigned three associates and for secretaries assigned to a partner to be assigned only one other professional.? Another helpful solution is to provide software training to associates to increase their efficiency.
Issue 2 ? Increased Demands Resulting from Technological Advances
Identified Issue: Technological advances have resulted in a greater number of revisions to work product and less down time between revisions.? Also, increasing use of e‑mail and faxes at home, and the accessability of voicemail, increases stress by making it more difficult for associates to leave work concerns at the office.
Survey Results: The survey results did not reveal any policies or procedures designed specifically to address the issue of how to relieve the additional demands placed on associates by technology, although some firms noted that they are providing associates with laptops.
Recommendations/Best Practices:? The Task Force noted that attorneys often benefit from increased availability of laptop computers, cellular phones and home facsimile machines.? While the temptation exists for partners and clients to expect greater productivity as a result of such availability, the Task Force noted that the efficiency of laptop computers, cellular phones and home facsimile machines as well as the ability to work from home outweighed the increased expectations from clients and partners.? Partners and clients should, however, be aware of those increased demands and should address them whenever possible.
The Task Force identified certain issues involving internal firm communications that impact an associate?s experience at a large law firm.? Those issues and the practices currently in place to address those issues at the surveyed firms are as follows:
Issue 1 ? Associate Input
Identified Issue:? Efforts to seek associate input on various issues tend not to be comprehensive or systematic, resulting in only certain associate views being heard or considered.
Survey Results:? To identify potential solutions to the issues relating to the insufficient solicitation of associate input, the Task Force sought to determine the practices employed by large firms to solicit such input.? The firms were asked whether any committees that consider/decide/recommend firm policies have associate members, and what procedures were in place by which the firms solicit and obtain associate views on proposed policy changes.
With respect to associate involvement on committees that develop firm policy, 18 percent of the surveyed firms had no associate representation on such committees.? Of the firms with associate representation, 64 percent have some form of associates? committee by which associates communicate issues and concerns to the partnership.? Two‑thirds of those firms that have associates? committees also involve associates on other committees.
Committees with associate involvement (excluding associates? committees) and the number of firms with associates on those committees include:
Associates? committees vary from firm to firm.? In some firms the committee consists only of associates, while others include partners and associates.? Associates (and partner members) may be appointed or elected.? In all instances the associates? committee is the forum in which issues, concerns, and recommendations are formally communicated to the partnership.? These committees address a broad range of issues, including compensation, technology, secretarial support, and sensitivity training.? At one firm, the associates? committee initiates salary increases, recommends partnership candidates, and conducts all reviews.? That committee is appointed by the Executive Committee, and has 23 partner/associate members.? Another firm has divided its associates? committee into the following subcommittees:? Annual Reviews and Feedback; Collegiality; Management Training; Policies and Compensation; and Substantive Training, Orientation and Mentoring.? The Policies and Compensation subcommittee serves as advisors on proposed policy changes.
Other methods of soliciting associate input again vary from firm to firm.? Most of the firms with associates? committees rely on those committees to solicit associate input.? The firms that have no associate involvement in committees tend not to solicit actively associate input.? Those firms that do not have associates? committees but that permit associate involvement in certain committees employ informal methods, such as open‑door policies, whereby an associate can speak with any partner with whom the associate is comfortable, or lunches/ happy hours designed to permit associates to express grievances.
One firm has solicited associate feedback on new ideas and proposals via e‑mail; another has ?town meetings? conducted from time to time by the Management Committee to discuss areas of concern.? Two firms have recently formed associate focus groups to obtain feedback on issues ranging from recruiting to retention issues, and to evaluate proposed recommendations.? One of those firms used a consultant to lead the focus groups.? A third firm is considering implementing focus groups.
Recommendations/Best Practice:? The Task Force recommends that there be a formal mechanism by which associate views can be communicated to the partnership, and vice versa.? Associates? committees composed of partners and associates have been found to be effective for addressing the broader issues that arise on a regular basis.? Such committees should be firm-wide with associate representation from all departments and all seniority levels.? The associate members should be chosen by their peers (preferably by election) and not appointed by partners.? Associate members must solicit associate input prior to meetings.
When specific proposals are being considered by the partnership, associate focus groups formed solely to review and comment upon such proposals have been very successful.? At least one firm to date has had a very positive experience with policy changes that resulted from associate focus groups.? That firm did not hire a consultant to conduct the focus groups.
The Task Force also recommends as many informal mechanisms as possible; we believe that the more means of communication available, the more likely it is that issues will be aired and resolved.? Such mechanisms include town meetings, pizza & beer parties, and happy hours.
Issue 2 ? Partner Candor
Identified Issue:? Partners are not always realistic and candid in addressing associate concerns, sometimes creating unrealistic expectations rather than clearly stating that a particular policy or problem identified cannot or will not be changed.
Survey Results:? The survey did not reveal any policies or procedures designed specifically to address the issue of partner candor, although the solution to that issue may be inherent in certain of the methods for associate input discussed above.
Recommendations/Best Practice:? Essential to the associates? committee recommendation is the requirement that committee members be candid with each other regarding the issues raised and the likelihood that those issues can be resolved.? Although partners do not like to deliver bad news, it is better to tell associates the truth than to breed mistrust and thereby thwart open and productive communications.? The success of an associates? committee requires the commitment of the partnership to remedy the issues presented whenever possible, or to provide an explanation for why such change cannot be accomplished.
Issue 3 ? Official Communications
Identified Issue:? Associates often hear of new policies or important firm events through the rumor mill.? Official communication is provided late, if at all.
Survey Results: Firms were asked how new policies were communicated to associates.? The responses were fairly uniform.? Most firms notify their associates of policy changes by memorandum or e‑mail, with increasing reliance on e‑mail.?? Significant policies may be communicated in a meeting, if feasible.? At least one firm has an annual meeting of all associates where new policies and firm strategies are announced.? Following associate notification, new policies are generally incorporated into each firm?s policy and procedure manual.
One firm rolls out new policies to associates in stages.? Once the need for a new policy is recognized, the director of associate affairs or the chair of the policy and compensation subcommittee, a subcommittee of the firm?s associates? committee, formulates a proposal and discusses it with various partners.? The issue and proposed policy is then introduced to the? policy and compensation subcommittee, at which point associate input is sought.? When necessary, the policy is reviewed by the firm?s steering committee.? New policies are then discussed at an associates? committee meeting, including, when appropriate, associate forums called specifically to address the issue, and meeting minutes are distributed to all attorneys.? The new policy is then announced by memo to all attorneys.
Recommendations/Best Practice:? Conveying firm policy changes and other events of significance should be done in a timely and open manner.? E‑mail presents the best means when such information cannot be shared with associates simultaneously in person.
Executive Summary of Recommendations/Best Practices
Set forth below is a brief summary of the recommendations and best practices discussed in this Report.? The summary follows the outline of the Report; please refer to the specific sections of the Report for a fuller discussion of each of these recommendations and best practices.
I.Overwork/Inequitable Distribution of Work
?Firms should clearly convey the formal minimum billable hour requirements or informal expectations, including whether pro bono hours are included, so that associates can understand and appreciate the relative importance, or not, of the issue.
?Firms should use one or more of the tools available for insuring that similar associates receive similar work, both in terms of quality and amount.? In particular, the Task Force endorses the distribution of all assignments in a particular practice group or department by an assignment person with appropriate authority, and recommends the use of Attorney Forecasts in connection with the distribution of assignments.
?Firms should do more to respect and encourage associate vacations, and to foster a culture where vacations are viewed as a necessity and not mere luxury.? The Task Force believes that formal vacation planning systems can advance those goals.
?Firms should adopt written guidelines for part-time and flex-time employment, and those guidelines should clearly articulate the eligibility and availability of such programs.? The Task Force recommends that these programs be made broadly available to all associates who are performing at class level, and that firms adopt written policies that enable part-time associates to be eligible for partnership consideration while maintaining part-time status.
?Firms should implement formal training programs for new associates and supplementary training programs for mid-level associates, and should consider, to the extent economically feasible, the retention of a full-time director of training.? In addition, firms should consider the use of a ?skills checklist,? such as those attached to this Report.
?Firms should endeavor to create an environment that reflects the recognition that junior associates are entitled ? and indeed are expected ? to seek appropriate guidance from more senior lawyers, and to communicate to mid-level and senior associates, as well as partners, that their responsibilities include being available to younger lawyers for their questions.
?To encourage associates to perform pro bono work, firms should use a pro bono committee or coordinator, and should make a more-senior associate or partner available to assist junior associates on pro bono projects.
?Firms should consider adopting management training programs in appropriate areas.
?Firms should commit to have associates? work reviewed by partners, and to have the partner who reviews any particular work product speak about it directly with the associate who produced it.? This feedback should contain specific recommendations, suggestions, or approvals, and should be delivered as soon after completion of the particular task as possible.
?Firms should continue to provide fixed, periodic general reviews.
?Firms should consider methods for encouraging partners to comply with the procedures for providing feedback and reviews, including withholding partnership draws or distributions should partners fail to provide timely feedback and evaluations.
?Firms should adopt some formal method of identifying how particular lawyers treat younger lawyers working with them and, where necessary, procedures to resolve problem areas and to provide feedback to senior lawyers responsible for such problems.? Such procedures include, inter alia, upward reviews or use of a third-party ombudsman.
?Firms should implement a formal process through which associates can learn of their partnership potential starting as early as possible in their careers.? The Task Force recommends that, by the end of an associate?s sixth year, that associate should be informed through the formal review process whether he or she has a ?reasonable likelihood? of making partner or counsel, and should be provided with clear and useful information about his or her prospects for being advanced to a specified more senior position.
?Firms should consider alternatives to the lock-step systems long used to compensate and promote associates, including consideration of the use of systems that distinguish the better-performing associates with either larger pay increases or bonuses, or perhaps a more-rapid promotion in class.
?If a firm chooses to pay merit-based bonuses, that firm should communicate to the associates in a timely fashion the standards for achieving the bonus.
VI.Client-Service Relationship Issues
?Firms should be sensitive to the amount and type of interactions that its partners foster between clients and associates, particularly more-junior associates.? The identification and use of non-billable accounts for associates to bill their time while observing a client meeting, negotiation, or court appearance, increases the quantity of associate-client contact within the client?s billing constraints.
?Although recognizing that the practice of law has become increasingly competitive, firms should monitor the increased demands made by clients on an associate?s time, so that, where warranted, the partner can intervene on the associate?s behalf and seek a more reasonable schedule.
VII.Relationships Among Firm Colleagues
?Firms should adopt a formal mentoring program that articulates the purposes and goals of the mentoring relationship.? Further, firms should consider involving the partner mentor in the evaluation process as a means of furthering the associate?s professional development.
?To foster better relations among its lawyers, firms should sponsor or endorse a variety of social activities to ensure that the activities are inclusive, i.e., that all attorneys at the firm have an outlet for socializing with others at the firm.
?Firms should implement a review process that focuses on a secretary?s ability to handle the workload assigned to him or her, in addition to assessing the secretary?s technical skills, so that firms may be able to assess accurately the effect of secretarial pairings.
?Firms should recognize that the advances in technology, including increased availability of laptop computers, cellular phones, and home facsimile machines, increases the ability to work from home, but also increases expectations of client and more-senior lawyers.
?Firms should adopt a formal mechanism by which associate views can be communicated to the partnership, and vice versa.? Associates? committees composed of partners and associates have been found to be effective.
?When a firm is considering acting upon a specific proposal that affects associates, the firm should consider the use of an associate focus group formed solely to review and comment upon such proposal.
?Firms should sponsor and encourage informal social gatherings, including town meetings or pizza meetings, as a means towards increasing communication.?
?The success of an associates? committee requires the commitment of the partnership to remedy the issues presented whenever possible, or to provide an explanation for why such change cannot be accomplished.
?Firms should convey policy changes and other events of significance in a timely and open manner; e-mail presents the best means to share the information where an in-person meeting is not feasible.
The Task Force on
Lawyers? Quality of Life
Jeremy G. Epstein, Chair
James D. Herschlein, Vice Chair
Tammy P. Bieber, Secretary
Lynn Beth Bayard
Thomas M. Cerabino
Anne Elizabeth Cohen
Robert A. Cohen
James Cole, Jr.
Dana Hartman Freyer
David Robert Gelfand
Adam M. Klinger
Jennifer C. Kurtis
Marni J. Lerner
Arnold Jay Levine
J. Kevin McCarthy
Saul P. Morgenstern
John Frederick Pritchard
Robert W. Reeder, III
Hon. Sidney H. Stein
Steven J. Steinman
Steven L. Wilner
Attachment A ? Firms that Supplied Information for Questionnaire
Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld
Davis Polk & Wardwell
Debevoise & Plimpton
Dechert Price & Rhoads
Dewey Ballantine, LLP
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson
Hunton & Williams
Kaye, Scholer, Fierman, Hays & Handler, LLP
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Proskauer Rose LLP
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP
Shearman & Sterling
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
Sullivan & Cromwell
Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz
Attachment B ? Sample Course Lists
TRAINING INSTITUTE FOR NEW ASSOCIATES
THE FUNDAMENTALS FOR BECOMING
A SUCCESSFUL [LAW FIRM] ASSOCIATE
8:30 -9:00 a.m. BREAKFAST - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600
9:00-9:15 a.m. 15 minutes
Introductory Remarks - Overview to Day 1
9:15-10:45 a.m.??? 30 minutes
Hello and Welcome to [Law Firm]?
Taking An Assignment:? What Every Associate Should Know
10:45-11:00 a.m. BREAK
[Law Firm] Standards and Expectations:? An Overview?? 45 minutes
12:00 p.m LUNCH - CAFETERIA - 27th Floor
1:15-2:45 p.m. CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 90 minutes
Legal Research:? The Core Concepts
2:45-3:30 p.m 45 minutes
Effective Verbal Communication Skills, Managing Your Assignment
and Continuing Obligations
3:30-3:45 p.m. BREAK
3:45-4:45 p.m. 60 minutes
Effective Legal Writing for the [Law Firm] Associate
4:45-5:00 p.m. 15 minutes
Concluding Remarks - Firm Structure, Firm Economics
Corporate, Tax, Real Estate, Healthcare
9:00 - 9:30 - BREAKFAST - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 C&D
9:30-10:20 a.m.???? 50 Minutes
Introduction to M&A DEAL
Overview of DEAL and review assignment.
[Note:? Fact Summary, Purchase Agreement of DEAL and assignment shall have been distributed to associates on Monday, September 27, 1999.]
10:20-10:30 a.m. BREAK
10:30-12:30 a.m. [include 15 min. break] 1 Hour 45 Minutes
Distinction between types of legal entities (partnership, LLC, corporation).
Discussion of tax and business implications of stock deal v. asset deal.
Discussion of taxable public deal v. non-taxable public deal.
12:30-2:15 p.m.?? LUNCH (AT LOCAL RESTAURANTS)
2:30-3:20 p.m.? CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 C&D 50 Minutes
Representations & Warranties in Transactional Documents
3:20-3:30 p.m.? BREAK
3:30- 4:20 p.m.??? 50 Minutes
Goals of due diligence, war stories and relationship to DEAL.
4:20-4:30 p.m.? BREAK
4:30-6:15 p.m. [incl. 15 min. break] 1 hour and 45 minutes
Introduce basic aspects of a real estate lawyer?s role in a transaction involving the purchase and sale of commercial real estate in Manhattan, including a discussion on the due diligence process (both physical and legal) and the negotiation of a Contract of Purchase and Sale.
LABOR AND LITIGATION
9:00 - 9:30 a.m. BREAKFAST - CONFERENCE ROOM - 2600 A&B
9:30-10:45 a.m.??? 75 minutes
Module 1: Starting a Lawsuit/Initial Response to a Lawsuit
10:45-11:00 a.m. BREAK
11:00 -12:30 p.m.??? 90 Minutes
Module 2: Discovery
12:30-2:00 p.m. LUNCH (AT LOCAL RESTAURANTS)
2:00-3:30 p.m. CONFERENCE ROOM A&B
Module 3: Motions
3:30 p.m. BREAK
Leave for Court
4:15-6:15 p.m. 2 Hours
Module 4: Dealing with the Court
5:00 p.m. United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York
Corporate, Tax, Real Estate, Healthcare
8:30-9:00 a.m.? BREAKFAST - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 C&D
9:00-12:00 p.m. [incl. 15 min. break] 2 Hours 45 Minutes
Review of Purchase Agreement -
9:00 - 10:00: Facilitators to meet with small groups of Buyers and Sellers.
Breakout Conference Rooms:? 2605, 2610, 2612, 2460
10:00 - 12:00: Buyers and Sellers to negotiate in 2 groups with Facilitators.
Negotiating Rooms 2500, 2587
12:00-1:30 p.m. LUNCH and Review of Negotiation Results
Conference Room 2600 C&D
1:30- 2:30 p.m.???? 60 Minutes
Closing The DEAL
2:30- 2:45 p.m.? BREAK
2:45- 3:45 p.m.??? 60 Minutes
Litigation Minefields in Transactional Documents
3:45- 4:00 p.m.? BREAK
4:00- 5:00 p.m.? CAFETERIA - 27th Floor 60 minutes
Wrap up and Q&A
5:00 p.m. ? Concluding Remarks CONFERENCE ROOM 2600
8:30- 9:15 a.m. BREAKFAST - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 B
9:15-9:30 a.m. 15 minutes
9:30-10:30 a.m.??? 60 minutes
Overview of Federal and State Employment Statutes
10:15-10:30 a.m. - BREAK
10:30-11:30 a.m.??? 60 minutes
11:30-1:00 p.m.??? 90 minutes
National Labor Relations Act
1:00-2:15 p.m. LUNCH - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 B
2:15-4:00 p.m. CONFERENCE ROOM 2500 1 hour and 45 minutes
4:00-4:15 p.m. BREAK 45 minutes
Ten Most Common Errors in Litigation
5:00 p.m. Concluding Remarks - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600?? 15 minutes
9:00 a.m. BREAKFAST - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 A
9:30-10:45 a.m.??? 75 minutes
Module 1: What litigators need to know about corporate law/securities
10:45 a.m. ???? BREAK
11:00-12:30 p.m.??? 90 minutes
Module 2: In-depth application of topics from Day 2, focused on particular case.
Fact development - Preparation for Client Interview
12:30 -2:00 p.m. LUNCH - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600 A
2:00 p.m.? CONFERENCE ROOM 25-87 75 minutes
Client Interview (Demo)
3:15 p.m. BREAK
3:30 p.m. 75 minutes
Consideration of Defenses/Motions
Counterclaims/Third Party Claims
4:45 p.m.? BREAK
5:00 p.m. Concluding Remarks - CONFERENCE ROOM 2600
Attachment C ? Sample Skills List
Practice Area:? Corporate
Develop legal research and writing skills (preparation of legal research memoranda for internal use and distribution to clients).
Draft corporate organizational documents, board of directors resolutions, and other corporate records.
Learn basics of corporate records ?due diligence? and participate in legal reviews of other business records (e.g., contracts, governmental approvals).
Prepare first drafts of simple transactional documents together with supervising attorney (e.g., employment agreements, commercial contracts, regulatory filings).
Prepare closing documents and participate in the closing of a corporate transaction.
Deal with government agencies and other third parties on discrete or routine matters.
Continue to develop and improve skills listed above.
Prepare first drafts of increasingly complex transactional documents (e.g., acquisition agreement, shareholder agreements, partnership agreement, joint venture agreement).
Attend contract/document negotiating sessions, with responsibility to keep master and revise or review next draft.
Interface with firm attorneys in other practice areas (e.g., tax, environment, employee benefits, intellectual property, antitrust) and begin to develop an awareness of how these noncorporate legal issues influence the structuring and mechanics of business transactions.
Begin to interface directly with clients and opposing counsel on discrete or routine matters.
Assume responsibility (subject to supervising attorney review) for document review and organization in due diligence phases and closing of at least one complex business transaction (e.g., business acquisition or sale, securities offering, or other corporate financing).
Obtain solid knowledge of the basics of corporate organization, corporate governance, and partnership laws.
Prepare first drafts of regulatory filings (e.g., HSR Notification Forms, simple ?34 Act filings).
Learn basics of public company practice.
Continue to develop and improve skills listed above, and develop increasing ability (a) to draft and analyze complex transactional documents and (b) to provide meaningful input, in the form of legal and fact analysis, in the structuring, negotiation, and closing phases of transactions.
Begin to work independently on smaller matters, involving direct client counseling (e.g., small business counseling and internal corporate organization and reorganization matters) and assume primary responsibility (subject to supervising attorney review) for documentation of corporate transactions not involving opposing counsel.
By the end of the third year, work on at least one significant transaction requiring familiarity with disclosure requirements under the securities laws (e.g., private or public securities offering, proxy statement, ?34 Act reports).
Obtain sufficient generalized knowledge of the following substantive areas of the law to spot legal issues and independently research and analyze:? (a) contracts, (b) UCC, (c) securities, (d) antitrust, (e) employee benefits and (f) tax.
Continue to develop and improve skills listed above.
Assume primary responsibility (subject to supervising attorney review) for structuring, negotiating, and closing of a small transaction (e.g., business acquisition or sale, loan transaction, major commercial contract) involving opposing counsel.
Participate, together with supervising attorney, in drafting and negotiating legal opinions delivered in corporate transactions.
Begin to supervise work of more junior attorneys.
On matters handled independently, develop ability to identify areas where senior attorney guidance is appropriate and to obtain such guidance.
Refine all skills listed above.
Work independently on significant nontransactional matters, serve as ?first chair? on small-to-medium transactions, and assume primary responsibility for significant aspects of complex transactions.
Supervise work of junior attorneys.
Work with clients and develop ability to inspire their confidence.
By the end of the fifth year, work on at least one complex acquisition, credit facility, public offering, private placement, joint venture and partnership deal.
Sixth - Eighth Year
Refine all skills listed above.
Assume substantial responsibility (subject to supervising attorney review) for structuring, negotiating and closing of a complex transaction.
NAME and CLASS: ??
LITIGATION DEPARTMENT CHECKLIST
* * * * * * * *
Feel free to elaborate on any of the above, or add additional information below:
Please indicate which, if any, of the following practice areas interest you.? You may indicate your interest in priority order which ?1? indicating your first choice, etc.
White Collar Crime??
Feel free to elaborate on any of the above, or add additional information below:
LITIGATION ASSOCIATE TRAINING GOALS PROFILE
By the End of Year One
X.Draft complaint, including fact gathering with client contact (with or without a colleague)
XI.Draft answer, including fact gathering with client contact (with or without colleague)
XII.Draft document request
XIII.Respond to document request (i.e., prepare written response, including objections) and supervise document production with client contact
XIV.Draft preliminary interrogatories (i.e., identification of witnesses and organization)
XV.Prepare objections and answers to interrogatories with client contact
XVI.Attend a deposition (as an observer)
By the End of Year Two
XVII.Prepare papers, including lawyer?s affidavit and brief (including research) on a simple motion (e.g., a motion for expedited discovery)
XVIII.Attend court for argument of a simple motion
XIX.Draft interrogatories dealing with the substance of the action and/or contention interrogatories
XX.Prepare deposition script and attend the deposition taken by a colleague
XXI.Attend deposition witness preparation sessions conducted by a colleague
XXII.Attend deposition defended by a colleague
XXIII.Prepare papers in support of or in opposition to a discovery motion, including attorney?s affidavit
XXIV.Attend argument of discovery motion
?? Trial Tasks
XXV.Prepare papers for evidentiary motion, including research
XXVI.Attend argument of evidentiary motion
By the End of Year Three
XXVII.Argue non-substantive (e.g., discovery or evidentiary) motion
XXVIII.Prepare witness for deposition
XXXI.Prepare substantive motion or response thereto, including research.? This includes preparation of briefs, affidavits, documentary support, etc.
XXXII.Attend argument of substantive motion
XXXIII.Draft notice of appeal and prepare all or part of an appellate brief, including research and supporting appendix or record
?? Trial Tasks
XXXIV.Prepare pretrial order
XXXV.Identify trial exhibits and witnesses
XXXVI.Prepare direct examination of witness for trial
XXXVII.Prepare cross-examination of witness for trial
XXXVIII.Prepare witness for trial testimony
XXXIX.Prepare requests to charge
XL.Attend charge conference with court
XLI.Prepare proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law
XLII.Prepare voir dire
XLIII.Attend voir dire
By the End of Year Four
XLIV.Argue substantive motion
?? Trial Tasks
XLV.Direct examination of witness at trial
1.Cross-examination of witness at trial
The Task Force recommends to all those interested in considering further the issues related to flexible and part-time work arrangements the March 1995 report of the Association?s Committee on Women in the Profession, entitled ?A Report on the Need for, Availability and Viability of Flexible Work Arrangements in the New York Legal Community?.
One firm represented that all firm committees have associate representation, except the executive and associates? committees.? That firm is not included in the summary set forth in the text.
Personnel Committees include secretarial, paralegal, and new associate committees.