Executive Q&A from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
How Are Associates Evaluated?
What could be more important than providing associates with thorough and timely feedback regarding performance? Here's how it works: the firm will conduct two reviews of associates each year—a mid-year review in June/July, and a year-end review.
Reviews focus on performance in the following categories:
• Substantive legal knowledge
• Analytical skills
• Written and oral communication skills
In addition to these semi-annual reviews, as a sixth year associate you will receive a comprehensive career assessment and review at the end of your sixth year. The precise timing may vary.
Do Associates Get Formal Guidance as My Career Progresses?
The firm has developed an extensive program to support and guide all our lawyers as they develop throughout their careers here, not only through our formal programs, but also through our personal commitment to one another. Our goal is to make Weil the place to stay by ensuring that we guide, coach and work in supportive teams.
On a formal level, our programs are geared to support associates with the following colleagues:
• First-Year Associate Mentor
• Partner Mentor
• Career Development Partner
Whether it is advice about working relationships, insight into the firm culture and how it all works, constructive feedback on assignments, or developing contacts both inside and outside the firm—we are here for you.
How Do Associates Keep Learning?
The firm places a high priority on professional training, both formalized and on-the-job, for our lawyers. Throughout the year, we offer a broad array of in-house program. We also encourage associates to attend programs and seminars at bar associations and outside legal education providers to supplement what we do here at the firm. Most importantly, associates work day-to-day with some of the finest lawyers in the world, who share their knowledge and experiences through ongoing instruction, guidance and insight.
Whether you want to brush up on old skills or learn something new, we'll help you do it.
How Do Associates Give Feedback About Their Experiences?
We recognize that it's not enough for us to tell associates how they are doing. The firm gives attorneys an opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences with partners and senior associates with whom you work in the form of an Upward Feedback Survey. You have the chance to comment on case and transaction management, assignments, building professional relationships, your professional development, and issues of respect and collegiality. It is important to note that this Survey is completely anonymous and confidential.
We also have a terrific staff of professionals who focus on Attorney Programs and can be contacted with any questions or concerns. Be assured, we want to hear from you.
• Lisa Cuevas
Senior Director, Attorney Programs and Resources
Tel: +1 212 310 6766
Fax: +1 212 310 8007
• Christian Gillis
Director, Legal Personnel
Tel: +1 212 310 6790
Fax: +1 212 310 8007
• Martha Baker
Associate Director, Professional Development
Tel: +1 212 310 6731
Fax: +1 212 310 8007
• Meredith Moore
Director, Global Diversity & Social Responsibility
Tel: +1 212 310 6769
Fax: +1 212 310 8007
Do Associates Ever Meet As a Group?
The firm offers many opportunities for associates to come together as a group. Examples include Practice Group, Department, or Affinity Group Retreats, training programs, networking and social gatherings. Another example is Town Hall meetings. Town Hall meetings are one of the many forums that the firm sponsors to encourage and support open communication among our attorneys. We hold these meetings several times throughout the year and the panels include Management Committee members, partners or members of the Associates Committee. Associates set discussion topics in advance and questions are taken from the floor. The firm's management contributes to these meetings by chatting with associates about current issues relating to firm governance and operations.
Does Diversity Matter?
To compete effectively in the global marketplace, we need the best minds around the table. And, we know that the best minds are diverse. Diverse perspectives and ideas result in better results for our clients. Diverse people and backgrounds also simply create a more interesting and dynamic place to work. One of our key goals at the firm is to create and maintain a climate of inclusion. And what does that mean?
We want to ensure that:
• Each individual can succeed regardless of race/ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other characteristics
• Group differences are respected
• Different perspectives are respected
• Communication is open
How Does Weil Promote Diversity?
The Firm has consistently been a pioneer with respect to diversity over nearly a quarter century. Our firm-wide diversity training is designed to create an environment of inclusion in which we value individual and group differences, respect the perspective of others and communicate openly. We employ focused diversity recruiting strategies because our goal is to seek out, hire and retain the best and brightest candidates in the world. We were among the first law firms to develop affinity groups within the firm to provide a forum for women, racial/ethnic minorities, and LGBT attorneys to network and grow. Not content to rest on our laurels, we continue to innovate with a series of new programs to take our diversity efforts to the next level.
Sound serious? It is, and we are. Check in with Meredith Moore to learn more.
How Do Associates Get Pro Bono Experience?
Devoting significant time to rendering pro bono legal services is an important part of a lawyer's professional responsibility, and the firm believes that pro bono work can be an enriching personal and professional experience. We handle pro bono matters with the same level of professional responsibility and resources that we give to other clients, and credit such work in our evaluation processes. In addition, the firm's Pro Bono Externship Program was established in 1999, and has successfully placed junior associates from various areas of practice at leading pro bono legal service organizations to work full time for a four-month period. Our commitment to pro bono is respected in both the legal and business communities, and its continued success depends on the full participation of attorneys throughout the firm at all levels of seniority.
For more information please contact Miriam Buhl, Pro Bono Counsel.
What If An Associate Wants a Reduced Work Schedule?
There are many reasons for needing some flexibility in your time commitment to your career. We understand, and we have developed a flex-time work program which can present you with options that work for you, for the firm, and for our clients. You should know that participation in the flex-time work program will not preclude you from partnership consideration, and all associate requests are given the same consideration.
Chris Gillis and your Office Administrator can chat with you about the Flex-Time Program and explain how it all works.
How Do Associate Programs Get Developed?
We have a terrific and dedicated set of committees and professionals who ensure that associate-related programs come to life and meet the vision of the firm's leadership. We encourage you to learn about these committees, get to know how they serve associates, and meet the partners, associates and staff who work hard to build a supportive and positive work environment.
The committees are:
• Diversity Committee
• Professional Development Committee
• Professional Evaluation & Compensation Committee
• Professional Hiring Steering Committee
• Associates Committee