Training & Mentoring
The firm is committed to integrating associates quickly into the Steptoe team. A new associate’s first steps are guided by a more senior associate who serves as a mentor, monitors work assignments, provides information about the firm’s practice, and offers insight into the way the firm operates. The mentor is responsible for making introductions that begin building an informal network throughout the firm. New associates are also assigned a senior partner mentor to provide additional guidance during the associate's first year. Following the first year, associates are encouraged to select a new partner or counsel mentor. These more senior mentors are reassigned every two to three years to allow associates to foster several relationships and gain broader exposure throughout the firm.
Our system allows associates to develop the skills necessary to assume new responsibilities at a steady pace. Assignments further career development by offering opportunities to deal directly with clients, conduct depositions and document discovery, draft pleadings, and appear before courts and agencies.
To foster professional growth, Steptoe conducts a comprehensive in-house training program covering a full range of lawyering skills. This program includes seminars and workshops designed specifically for new attorneys, as well as training activities open to all of our lawyers. In-depth workshops coordinated by outside experts include topics such as negotiating techniques, deposition skills, and trial advocacy, as well as seminars on client relations, legal ethics, legal writing, business development, and similar topics.
In addition to this firm-wide training program, each practice department sponsors training programs relevant to its areas of focus. Associates are encouraged to supplement these in-house department programs by attending outside Continuing Legal Education (CLE) seminars. Each associate meets annually with the deputy manager of his or her department and the chair or vice chair of the Associates Committee to focus on relevant career development issues.
Steptoe associates annually receive formal written evaluations of his or her professional progress. These evaluations are based on the assessments of the lawyers for whom the associate has performed significant work during the prior year; the results are communicated directly to the associate both orally and in writing. Through the evaluation process, we identify and fill gaps in professional experience and respond to associates’ changes in interest and developing skills. Evaluations in the sixth and seventh years include a careful and candid assessment of each associate’s prospects for advancement. Decisions regarding election to partnership and counsel ordinarily are made in the eighth year after law school graduation.