professional development 

Individualized and integrated professional development is part of the commitment we make to our associates.  Our comprehensive training programs, personalized approach to mentoring and work allocation, and performance review programs complement the unparalleled opportunities for informal training and real-time feedback that derive from our associate-to-partner ratio and one-office model.  At Choate, associates are in control of their careers, and partners are invested in developing associates and helping them succeed.

Training

Associates participate in training programs that anticipate the substantive and technical knowledge they need to succeed in practice.  Our Professional Development team collaborates with the Training Partners to design a training curriculum for associates in each department and across experience levels.  Training programs focus on technical legal skills, substantive areas of the law, business concepts, trends in relevant industries and leadership, management and professional skills.  Several training programs – such as a mock motion session before Senior Counsel Margaret Marshall, formerly the Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court – are interactive.  Associates learn by doing. 

In addition to our in-house training programs, associates have the opportunity to work one-on-one with professional coaches and participate in external training programs, such as the National Institute for Trial Advocacy’s Trial Skills programs.

Mentoring

Relationships and mentoring are critical to one’s development as a lawyer.  It’s easier to develop strong relationships with professionals at all levels of practice in a firm our size, and under one roof.  Although it is common for associates and partners to develop these relationships informally, through day-to-day interaction, our formal mentoring program provides another framework through which associates may collaborate with partners to develop the relationships and the substantive, technical and professional skills necessary to achieve their career goals.  Choate’s mentoring program is tailored to associates’ levels of experience.

New Associates
The first-year associate mentoring program is designed to match new associates with one partner and one associate mentor from his/her department.  Partner and associate mentors help our new associates acclimate to the practice and integrate both professionally and socially.  Although new associates have typically developed a working relationship with their partner and associate mentors as summer associates, these mentoring pairings are often different from their summer associate mentor pairings, which allows new associates to expand their internal networks.

Experienced Associates
After the first year in practice, associates collaborate with the Professional Development team to create a partner mentor pairing that will meet their individual needs and goals.  Associates may prefer to work in a mentoring pair with a partner from their own department or outside of their department.

Feedback

Providing constructive feedback is an ongoing priority at Choate.  In addition to regularly receiving feedback from the partners and senior associates with whom they work, associates receive formal evaluations twice each year.  Formal reviews are delivered by a partner in the associate’s department and include feedback from written evaluations that are completed by senior attorneys with whom the associate has worked since the previous review period.  The biannual evaluation program provides associates with concrete, actionable suggestions which they may implement for continued success. 

 

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