Our programs help FordHarrison attorneys to achieve their individual professional goals and meet the ever-changing needs of our clients. Programs are in place for both our partners and our associates. We recognize the value of investing in the training and education of attorneys as a means of continuing the progress of the firm as a whole and advancing individual attorneys' careers at FordHarrison.
Partner Programs and Resources
FordHarrison Leadership Academy. The Academy is an 18-month leadership development program for current firm leaders and high potential future leaders. The curriculum for each class varies according to the most pressing issues facing the firm and our clients. The objective of the program is to identify and cultivate internal leaders in a systematic, thoughtful manner, and facilitate the relationships and collaboration among partners that we believe is the foundation of excellent client service.
LEAP. LEAP is an integrated, two-year program for high potential salaried partners designed to accelerate their successful transition to equity partnership. The program focuses on honing client service and management skills through a combination of formal training sessions, individualized coaching, mentoring, and peer feedback.
New Partner Orientation and Lateral Partner Integration. FordHarrison conducts an annual multi-day program in Atlanta for lawyers new to partnership and lateral partners new to the firm. For lateral partners joining FordHarrison from other law firms, this program provides an introduction to the firm's culture and history as well as the resources available to accelerate the transition of their clients and ease the integration of their practices with the firm as a whole. New partners rising from the associate ranks focus on topics such as firm economics and administration, client development strategies, and effective supervision and delegation.
Associate Training and Professional Development
Associate Orientation. This is an annual two day training program designed for all associates new to the firm. Associates from all offices come to Atlanta to get to know one another and get an in-depth overview of FordHarrison, our history, firm culture, and how the firm works. The faculty is made up of our own in-house experts — partners and senior associates from throughout the firm. The program is typically held in October and includes substantive classes (e.g., Employment Discrimination and Harassment 101, NLRA Basics) skills-based classes (e.g., Advanced Legal Writing, Litigation Workshop), and practical professional training (e.g., Law Firm Economics, Intro to Client Development and Marketing).
On-going Associate Training.
FordHarrison's on-going training initiative is designed to supplement the on-the-job training opportunities of day-to-day practice. To ensure that associates in all office locations have equal training opportunities, we provide webinars and live regional and office-specific sessions. These sessions include both generally-applicable presentations and presentations that are tailored to specific developmental stages. In 2012, we are focused on industry-specific trainings so our associates know our clients and their businesses.
Individualized Legal Writing Resources. FordHarrison associates have the benefit of an experienced practicing attorney who also serves as an internal writing coach for associates who need or desire additional assistance with regard to legal writing, research, or analysis. The firm also maintains an internal blog Do the Write Thing that is updated weekly with legal writing tips and commentary including writing assignments and challenges for junior associates.
Partners in Progress Associate Mentoring Program. FordHarrison provides every associate employed by the firm for less than three years with a mentor-partner. In other words, the program includes both beginning associates new to the practice of law and lateral associates new to the firm. Through mentoring, new lawyers partner with more experienced legal practitioners to learn about the firm's history and their professional responsibility to their fellow attorneys. The FordHarrison Partners in Progress Mentoring Program aims to build viable mentoring relationships between attorneys in the firm that will accelerate the professional progress of individual attorneys and at the same time strengthen the firm as a whole. A mentoring relationship can also augment a new attorney's critical legal skills and provide an overall perspective of the labor and employment practice area and the legal profession to associates.
Year One Program. The Year One Associate Development Program is a 15-month program of on-the-job training through mentoring, hands-on work assignments, and direct observation of legal matters. Year One associates will prioritize learning, as opposed to billing. They will not have a traditional billable hours requirement. Instead, their progress and development will be measured by "clinical hours." Associates will spend clinical hours learning about our clients' businesses and our practice by shadowing seasoned FordHarrison lawyers during contract negotiations, hearings, expert depositions and other situations in which they might not otherwise participate until much later in their careers. Our goal is to develop lawyers who will be prepared to handle greater responsibility for sophisticated legal matters earlier in their legal careers.
Client Service Secondment. FordHarrison offers two types of Client Service Secondments. The Year One Client Service Secondment is an opportunity for a Year One associate to work in a client's office for several months at no charge to the client. Year One associates gain an inside understanding of our clients' businesses and the expectations of in-house counsel.
FordHarrison also offers our clients a more senior attorney for a Client Service Secondment to provide additional support when our clients are in need. For example, when a member of a client's legal department is on short-term disability leave or when they face a major project requiring temporary full time support. The FordHarrison associate will work full-time or part-time in our client's office on a temporary basis at a negotiated rate.