Training & Mentoring
S&W’s career-long professional development initiatives begin with a special focus on first-year associates, offering training, work brokering, mentoring and career development programs designed specifically to support an attorney’s first year of practice.
First-year associates at S&W participate in a rotation program – affording our associates the opportunity to gain experience in all of our areas of practice. First years spend 2 to 3 months in each of our major Departments, receiving specific training and guidance from associates and attorneys from our many disciplines. The first year rotation program is monitored by a partner, selected as the First Year Work Broker, and the Director of our Professional Development team. The Work Broker is also a mentor for first year associates, providing guidance and advice throughout the process and assisting the first years to determine which practice will be the best fit at the conclusion of the program.
First-year associates are also paired with second- or third-year associate peer mentors. These mentors help acclimate first years to the firm and act as a resource on a variety of matters, from getting things done in the office to determining which practice area to join. This relationship officially lasts one year, and we find that many of our first-year mentoring partnerships develop into relationships that last many years.
Tying together and drawing upon all of our first-year associate and general professional development initiatives, our career development program is dedicated to helping all associates, particularly first years, chart a pathway to long-term success. Our Director of Professional Development helps associates assess their own strengths and areas for improvement and analyze current and future growth opportunities; coaches associates in building and managing relationships; looks for and assesses training opportunities tied to an associate's specific substantive development; serves as a liaison between management and associates; works with associates on reduced hour schedules to ensure their progress and development; and generally provides a welcoming resource for all manner of questions and concerns. Ultimately, by helping first-year associates to select appropriately from the full complement of tools and resources available at and through S&W, our career development function will help first years create, implement, monitor, evaluate and update a personally tailored Career Development Plan.