That’s the promise we make to our associates. It means early responsibility. Being part of small, diverse teams. World-class training. Having the flexibility to choose the way you work. And the chance to make a social impact. Explore with us at orrick.com/careers.
Our associates tell us they have earlier at-bats than their peers at other firms – opportunities to take on meaningful responsibility, work directly with our clients and make a real impact early in their careers. Because our ratio of partners to associates is 22% lower than the AmLaw 50 average, you’ll have more opportunities to work directly not only with partners but also with clients.
How You Spend Your Day Outside of Paid Client Work
We recently took a look at how our associates spend time beyond their contributions to paid client work. About two-fifths of it is spent on pro bono. A quarter is on either mentoring, serving on a committee such as the Associates’ Committee, or participating in diversity and other affinity groups. The rest is split between helping with business development and training and shadowing.
We’re serious about building diverse, inclusive teams. More than a third of the members of our Board and Management Committee are diverse and/or female. Forty-two percent of our 2018 partner class is diverse or female, and three-quarters of our summer associate class this year was diverse or female. We are one of the top 5 best law firms for diversity, according to Vault. Even with these stats, we recognize that we have a way to go. One way we’re working toward our goal is through our Women’s Leadership Board, which includes senior leaders from Oracle, PayPal and NVidia who get together quarterly to advise us on our efforts.
We offered over 350 courses last year and seven intensive learning academies and bootcamps, where we take associates off the playing field for days-long, intensive case study-style learning. Our curriculum includes a focus on legal skills, business skills, career planning and working in teams. Each time you advance to a more senior role, you’ll attend an academy focused on the business and client service skills you will need. Our Senior Associate Academy is a unique, weeklong case study-style mini MBA program. Our bootcamps are focused on depositions and motions practice, aimed to make our lawyers “trial ready.” We also have practice bootcamps for lawyers working in the Technology Companies Group or in IP. We believe it’s important to keep growing both professionally and personally, so we also offer workshops in leadership, teamwork and even mindfulness.
Mentoring is something we are all really committed to on a personal level. We have programs to help you develop mentors and sponsors at every stage of your career. We’ve recently changed our mentoring program in response to associate feedback. A partner in each business unit makes sure mentoring relationships are working, and we solicit our associates annually for feedback. In-house career coaches are available to help you map out your career. We also think shadowing more senior lawyers is some of the best training a lawyer can get. This can range from attending a trial to sitting in on an investigation. You’ll get credit for this time.
Feedback and Advancement
We’ve rethought the talent model. The old lockstep advancement model wasn’t serving our lawyers or our clients. So, we reinvented it. Now we have three associate levels – Associate, Managing Associate and Senior Associate. Each has well-defined benchmarks and criteria for advancement. The pace is up to you, though lawyers typically spend two or three years in each role. In each of the past several years, we have had at least one associate fast-track to partner. We provide annual feedback, and we recently introduced real-time feedback in response to a request for more feedback from our associates. Real-time feedback will be rolled out globally in early 2019.
Over the past few years, we’ve added a whole range of agile working options to give our lawyers more choices and the ability to personalize when and where they work. We don’t ask our lawyers to make a choice between agile working and partnership consideration – and there’s no stigma attached to taking advantage of these options. One-quarter of the partners promoted in 2018 used agile working arrangements at some point, including three who use customized schedules and two who are based in markets where the firm does not have offices. Our associates talk about agile working on our Careers site.
Supporting New Parents
We’ve set a new standard for U.S. BigLaw when it comes to parental leave – 22 weeks of paid leave and nine months of job protection for primary caregivers. To help you return to work when you come back from leave, we have onramping “Guardrails” – predictable hours in the month after returning from leave. Our associates told us that the unpredictability of hours was really challenging, so we made this change. We also offer non-primary caregiver leave of six weeks, with a two-week onramping period. And we recently launched a Parent-to-Parent Coaching Program, where we connect lawyers returning from caregiver leave with a mentor who has been through it themselves. There’s no stigma to going out on primary caregiver leave – last year 33 female and seven male associates took it.
What We Look for In Candidates
We’ve identified the three qualities our most successful lawyers have in common:
- Grit – perseverance and passion for your long-term goals
- EQ – the other kind of smarts (i.e., empathy and relationships)
- Teamplay – motivated by opportunities to collaborate on complex problems
- Innovation – inspired by driving change and making improvements in the way things are done
We seek out candidates who have diverse backgrounds and interests, and who bring interesting life experiences and perspectives that shape their worldview.