K&L Gates is strongly committed to our lawyers’ professional development. Our global Professional Development Department functions as the central body overseeing the implementation of training programs and initiatives. The Department collaborates closely with Firm management and practice group and office leaders to develop an extensive range of formal and informal development opportunities and to ensure that global curricula are consistent across offices while, at the same time, addressing the unique needs of our lawyers in their local markets. At the associate level, PD programming and initiatives align closely with the Firm’s Associate Competencies and Annual Review Process to provide a comprehensive approach to lawyer development from the earliest stages.
Our programs comprise a vast selection of substantive and skills-based curricula. Substantive curricula concentrate on our key practice areas: Corporate and Transactional, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, Financial Services, Real Estate, Policy and Regulatory, and Energy, Infrastructure and Resources. Our partners, together with senior associates, compose our faculty and transmit firm values and culture as well as legal knowledge in our programs. Through our live local programs, firm wide videoconferences, and our on-line library, we showcase the talent, diversity, and experience of our lawyers across the globe.
We recognize that technical ability alone is not enough to equip our lawyers to thrive in today’s competitive legal marketplace. Thus, in addition to substantive law and practice group-specific programming, we also offer a curriculum in each of the following areas: Client Development and Relationship Management; Practice Management; Writing and Research; Lawyering Skills; Professionalism and Ethics and Technological Competence. Programs in these areas are taught primarily through hands-on or interactive workshops led by our partners, as well as nationally recognized consultants. Both the substantive and skills curricula offer a range of developmentally appropriate programs for all of our lawyers: trainees, associates and partners.
As K&L Gates has expanded its global footprint, our Professional Development programs have evolved to include region-specific programs to address distinct jurisdictional interests. Technology also plays a significant role in our efforts – from the regular use of firm-wide videoconferencing to deliver consistent training on important substantive legal topics to our Global Online Learning Center and Practising Law Institute (PLI) access providing our lawyers with 24-hour access to recordings of our in-house training programs as well as PLI’s extensive library of programs. Our commitment to lawyer development includes leadership training for our high performing senior associates across the firm. During our annual Associate Symposia, senior associates representing all offices meet with members of the Firm’s Executive Committee for three days of programs and activities designed to promote skill development, integration, relationship building and a deeper understanding of the business of the firm.
Our commitment and investment in lawyer training and development are further evidenced by our broad definition of professional development. Informal training takes place through a combination of mentoring and coaching, the associate review process, pro bono work, and participation in practice groups. Our mentoring programs ensure that each junior lawyer has a one-on-one mentoring relationship with a partner. The programs focus on accelerating our lawyers’ learning processes by translating legal knowledge into effective legal practice in order to improve the delivery of services to our clients. Mentors assist junior associates by emphasizing the firm’s values, imparting the understanding of the firm’s competencies and expectations and providing guidance to assist new lawyers with navigating their early career development. Associates are also encouraged to discuss performance feedback with their mentors to identify developmental priorities and strategies for achieving them.
The Annual Review Process also provides a structured platform for meaningful feedback and assistance in our associates’ development. This process is intended to be a constructive, proactive mechanism through which future growth is reviewed and discussed and appropriate promotion decisions are made. Our Associate Competencies, Professional Development curricula and Annual Review Process are seamlessly integrated to ensure a consistent and targeted approach to professional growth and development throughout an associate’s career.