Attorney development

Because we only get paid if we win, we need our young lawyers to become winning trial lawyers as quickly as possible.  Here is how we make that happen.

Early training and responsibility.

There is no substitute for experience.

From day one, we begin preparing our associates with the litigation and trial skills that win cases.  As a result, our associates can soon (within their first year at the firm) take critical depositions, write and argue summary judgment motions, and examine witnesses at trial.  Our associates do not take notes for a partner at a meeting.  They are their client’s lawyer facing partners from major firms.

For example, just two months after becoming an attorney, Simon argued a claim construction hearing in federal court in a high profile patent infringement matter:

Attorney

Based on the arguments that Simon presented in our briefs and during the oral argument, we prevailed on each of the six disputed claim terms.

As a second example, as a second year associate, Jonas successfully briefed and argued a Federal Circuit appeal against Google.  For the oral argument, Google sent the chair of the appellate practice from a large firm.  Here is an audio recording of the argument. And here is the result.

Jonas arguing in the Court of Appeals at the Federal Circuit

Click here and here to read about our associates’ experiences.  We challenge you to find a junior partner in BigLaw with more experience.

Deliberate practice.

Skill improvement does not stop after the first few years.  We work hard to improve the skills of each lawyer at our firm (from our most junior associates to our senior partners).  We do this through deliberate practice.

The term “deliberate practice” comes from the science of expert performance.  Anders Ericsson, et al., The Role of Deliberate Practice in the Acquisition of Expert Performance, 100 Psyc. Rev. 363 (1993).

“Deliberate practice” means an “activity designed specifically to improve performance” that “can be repeated,” where “feedback on results” is “continuously available.”  Geoff Colvin, Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else, p. 66 (2008).

We apply deliberate practice to all aspects of litigation, from writing to cross-examination skills.  For example, we participate in “trial lab” two to five times per week, practicing cross-examination, presentation, and other advocacy skills, with focused problems and immediate feedback.

Simon practicing cross-examination

Through deliberate practice, our associates (as well as our partners) hone their skills in all aspects of litigation.