Every Associate is hired with the prospect and hope that the Associate will become a Shareholder of the Firm. Most of our attorneys are hired directly out of law school or after completion of a judicial clerkship. Many have participated in the Firm’s Summer Associate Program prior to receiving an offer. From time to time, Koley Jessen will hire Associates and Shareholders who have worked at other firms in order to fill a particular need or if the Shareholders believe the individual will be a good fit and help the Firm better serve our clients.
Choice of Practice Areas
Because the practice of law has become much more complicated, we believe that some degree of specialization is now a necessity. You may already have an idea of the type of law you would like to practice and at which you would excel. Knowing how important it is to enjoy what you are doing in order to be successful, we work to involve new Associates in those Practice Areas in which they have expressed an interest. If you are unsure of the type of law or the areas in which you would like to practice, we will attempt to expose you to as many areas of practice as possible. It is not uncommon for a new graduate to express a desire to be a litigator and then find that corporate law is a better fit or vice versa. Therefore, if after exposure to a certain practice area you find that the area is not a good fit for your skill set, we will do our best to find an area for which you have a passion and in which you can achieve your potential.
Supervision and Responsibility
You will receive projects from and work directly with either a Shareholder or an experienced Associate who will be available when needed to provide guidance and answer questions. They will review your work to ensure that it meets our standards. We were all new law school graduates at one time and understand that accessibility to attorneys with experience is critical to the learning process and an instrumental part of our team approach to the practice of law. Our job is to help you meet your potential and become a great attorney as soon as you are able. You will be given direct responsibility for files as soon as you are ready. We encourage direct contact with our clients as soon as possible. You will be included in conference calls and client meetings and be introduced to clients at the first possible opportunity. You will find that no matter how long you practice, you will always be learning and will benefit from the shared experiences of your peers. This is part of our team approach to the practice of law.
Billable Hour Requirement
The Firm currently has a minimum billable hour requirement of 1800 hours for all Associates. We believe that this level of billable hours provides our Associates with sufficient time to participate in Firm and practice group initiatives, become involved in the community if they so desire, and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
The Firm sponsors a mentoring program for all Associates. Every Associate is assigned a Mentor. The Mentor and Associate work together to complete a Practice Development Plan for the Associate that sets forth various short and long term goals to help the Associate continue his/her development as an attorney. In addition, the Mentor and Associate generally meet on a monthly basis to visit about how things are going. The Mentor attends the Associate’s semi-annual reviews and is encouraged to provide the Associate with additional feedback in connection with the review process.
Attorney Training and Development
One of the Firm’s standing committees is the Associate Committee. This Committee generally oversees the training and development of each individual Associate. From time to time the Associate Committee sponsors firm-wide training on broad topics, such as Ethics, Audit Letters, and practice development. The Committee also supports a monthly Associate Breakfast at which Shareholders are asked to discuss firm dynamics and share their own professional development stories in a roundtable discussion with Associates. Specific practice area training is provided by experienced attorneys within the Associate?s practice group(s) in the form of one-on-one mentoring and coaching or small group sessions. Although we find that on the job training is invaluable, attendance at seminars is also an important training tool. Part of your training will be to attend continuing legal education seminars.
We encourage all of our attorneys to provide feedback to the Associates on every project. However, with the pace at which we are expected to practice, we may not always have the luxury of time to provide feedback in every situation. Therefore, we have established a formal review procedure to ensure that every Associate has an opportunity to provide input to and receive feedback from those with whom they have worked. The Associate Review Team conducts bi-annual reviews of all Associates. Each Shareholder is required to complete an evaluation form and provide substantive feedback regarding the Associates. Each Associate is encouraged to complete the same evaluation form prior to the review. One or more Shareholders conduct the bi-annual reviews and where possible, the Shareholders with whom the Associate practices and the Associate’s Mentor are included in the review process as well.
The Firm first considers an Associate for Shareholder admission after the Associate has practiced law with the Firm as a licensed attorney a minimum of 6 years, 4 of which are with the Firm, and complied with the Associate Billable Policy for the prior 4 years. The average number of years from hire to becoming a Shareholder for those Associates who began their career with the Firm is 6 to 7 years. All decisions regarding Shareholder admission are made by the Shareholders of the Firm as a whole.
Compensation and Benefits
When deciding which law firm to join, compensation and benefits will always be one of the determinative factors – and rightfully so. Our Firm continually strives to stay ahead of the market when it comes to both compensation and benefits because we expect the quality of service we provide to our clients to exceed the market. In order to keep our clients satisfied we realize we must keep our professionals satisfied. An important part of the benefits package is the intangibles that our Firm has to offer. These would include a positive atmosphere, a comfortable place in which to work, the absolute best clients, good working relationships with your peers, flexible scheduling and our team approach to the practice of law. Koley Jessen also offers a very competitive tangible benefits package which currently includes the following:
For more information, contact Robin Weis at email@example.com or (402) 343-3852.