Associate Life

Lindsay Kosan

First-Rate Training Opportunities

June 29, 2012 10:04 AM | Permalink | Print

One of the best things about WilmerHale is the firm’s investment in its attorneys from day one, which is readily discernible even as a summer associate. In just four short weeks, we have had the good fortune of attending a number of exceptional training sessions designed specifically to introduce us to a wide range of topics that attorneys grapple with on a daily basis. Some examples have included: how to conduct the most efficient research (which apparently means occasionally branching out beyond Westlaw and Lexis) and how to continuously build and maintain professional relationships. A number of us summers also had an opportunity to serve as jurors in a mock trial conducted by second-year associates in which Senior Counsel Jerry Facher served as the presiding judge.

Two other trainings in particular stood out to me. The first was a session on legal writing in a law firm environment. While legal research and writing is all too familiar for anyone who has survived 1L year, this session highlighted and emphasized the ways in which the actual real-world/daily work of attorneys relates to the mock memoranda and briefs with which law students are so accustomed. While having a large lecture component, this session was also refreshingly interactive. The presenters, Mike LaCascia (a partner in the Corporate Department) and Felicia Ellsworth (a counsel in the Litigation/Controversy Department), provided us with pieces of legal writing that were not obviously problematic at first glance, but upon closer examination could be decidedly improved. After discussing ways to eliminate excessive rhetoric, the summers were divided into teams to rewrite a number of these examples. Finally, we each left with a concise and helpful packet covering the key topics from the training (which I utilized just this week while drafting a memo for an associate).

Another training opportunity that I particularly appreciated was one that introduced us to depositions—a significant aspect of litigation practice that I had never been exposed to before. It was fascinating to hear about the process from two practitioners in the Litigation/Controversy Department: Partner Daniel Halston and Senior Associate Carrie Seares. This week, we will be putting our training and developing skills to good use as we conduct mock depositions in front of an observing attorney who will then provide feedback. I am truly impressed that the firm recognizes the importance of training summer associates to prepare, take, and defend depositions, but believe this commitment to practical experience is representative of WilmerHale’s overall approach to its summer program. The firm places great emphasis on introducing its summers to the important areas of legal practice that, though often absent from law school academic instruction, will end up being essential components of our careers.