We believe that consistency in recruiting and professional development efforts is very important.
We created an Attorney Advancement & Recruiting Committee (AARC), which is co-chaired by three partners who have spent several years working in the recruiting, professional development and evaluation processes related to associates. In addition, the committee consists of a partner from each office, the firm's Sr. Director of Recruiting and Development. The committee is charged with hiring and retaining attorneys who will be successful at Taft on a long-term basis. The members not only conduct on campus and in house interviews, but also play a major role in the firm's summer program. In addition, these partners are responsible for overseeing the progression and evaluation of associates, which is done through open lines of communication and transparency about what is needed to be a successful attorney at Taft.
The firm also has an Associate Advisory Group, which includes one or two associates from each office, the Sr. Director of Recruiting and Administration. The group meets periodically to discuss issues, concerns and areas for improvement, and it works closely with the AARC.
Taft is committed to the professional development of its attorneys and hopes to promote the best interests of the firm and its employees by: (1) coordinating efforts to integrate new attorneys into the firm, (2) providing the necessary tools to assist attorneys in the development of their practices, and (3) creating an atmosphere in which people can develop good relationships with others in the firm. We strive to accomplish these three goals by offering the following programs:
- Orientation. By developing and implementing an orientation program for new attorneys, we are able to help people “hit the ground running.” The goal is to provide new people with basic information about the firm, how the firm operates and available support services.
- Mentoring. New associates are assigned a mentoring team that includes a partner and an associate. When possible, the associate mentor is from the attorney's practice area. We realize that needs often change as an associate progresses, so associates have the opportunity to choose a new partner mentor on an annual basis. While associates may need a mentor to teach the basics of the practice as a first or second year attorney, they may need a partner to assist in business development efforts as they become more experienced.
- Training. As a firm, we believe that the best training is the day-to-day work that attorneys do with others in the practice. This “hands-on” training is vital to development. The firm also sponsors firmwide and practice group specific training.
- Evaluation. Associates are formally evaluated on an annual basis but receive informal feedback on a regular basis while working closely with more experienced attorneys. Evaluations are completed by the people with whom an associate works, and the criteria on which an associate is evaluated changes as the associate progresses.
Each associate is given milestones specific to the practice area. These milestones provide a roadmap of how the associate should progress.
- Integration. We encourage our attorneys to interact with one another, as well as with staff members. We believe that working together as a team is the best way to serve our clients. The firm periodically host breakfasts, lunches and events to encourage interaction.
Though our atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, we believe in working hard and meeting the needs of our clients. Because we believe that it takes more than billable hours to be successful, we encourage our attorneys to be involved in the firm and in the community.
At Taft, we are focused on ensuring that all our attorneys are equipped with the tools to become the best they can be, which in turn helps ensure that we continue to be among the strongest, most progressive, most effective law firms in the region.