Training, both formal and informal, is a critical part of an associate’s growth. We are committed to providing training for all of our associates so they are able to take on responsibility at an early stage in their careers. Our junior associates often find themselves involved in cases and deals where they have similar responsibilities to those held by more senior associates on the other side. Our commitment to training enables this level of early responsibility. In addition to the training that associates gain from working closely with partners from day to day, each major department and practice group conducts its own series of training programs.
Litigation and IP Litigation
Litigation and IP litigation associates participate in numerous workshops covering the nuts and bolts of trial practice. These workshops are designed for associates at all levels of professional development.
First-year associates participate in two programs that address such topics as brief-writing, deposition skills, drafting pleadings, trial preparation and appellate procedure. A third program involves a mock case in which the associates take a deposition and receive on-the-spot feedback.
In their second or third year, litigation associates participate in a three-day deposition training program featuring associate teams that take and defend depositions against another major firm. Hired actors play the witnesses, and a court reporter records the depositions. Partners provide feedback, and lectures and demonstrations supplement the learning-by-doing.
Mid-level associates attend an intensive three-day in-house trial advocacy program, where actors play fact witnesses, expert witnesses and litigants in mock cases. The associates give openings and closings and conduct direct and cross-examinations. Senior and retired litigation partners provide feedback, and demonstrations are given throughout the course.
Senior associates often participate in week-long trial advocacy programs sponsored by such organizations as the National Institute for Trial Advocacy.
We have also held negotiation and expert witness training programs for our lawyers. The litigation practice groups also hold regular meetings and conduct specialized training for their lawyers.
Corporate and Securities
Entry-level associates in our Corporate and Securities Group participate in a formal program, consisting of lectures, discussion sessions and workshops involving practical exercises. This program is designed to introduce associates to the intricacies of our transactional practice and the resources available to assist them in their work.
Partners, senior associates and outside professionals, such as investment bankers and accountants, give presentations on various aspects of public and private company mergers, acquisitions and dispositions; securities transactions and venture capital investment; bank financing; and bankruptcy matters. Speakers from related areas discuss the special issues of transactional practice associated with environmental and antitrust regulation, intellectual property and employee benefits. Associates learn about the structure of complex corporate transactions and are introduced to fundamental business attorney skills, such as performing due diligence, drafting transaction documents and preparing for and conducting closings.
As our associates advance, they become affiliated with one or more of the practice areas within the group, and they participate in the substantive training and education programs provided within those areas.
Finance and Real Estate
Dechert’s finance and real estate associates participate in a number of professional development programs, including weekly training sessions, monthly discussion programs and focused in-depth workshops. Our programs feature Dechert partners, lawyers from affiliated practice areas, and outside professionals as presenters and cover a wide range of areas, including multi-jurisdictional mortgage finance, securitization, mezzanine lending, sale-leaseback financing, syndicated loans, real estate joint ventures, general and limited partnerships, synthetic leasing and bankruptcy and restructuring issues.
The weekly training sessions cover a variety of topics and are designed to keep our associates apprised of industry changes. The monthly discussion programs provide further training and analysis of current issues. Our group also provides off-site programs for associates at various levels. These programs deal with specific business issues as they relate to associate professional development in the group and in the firm. Hands-on learning is a daily event, as our junior associates work closely with senior associates and partners to sharpen their skills.
Dechert’s financial services associates attend in-depth semi-monthly lectures concerning the regulation of investment companies and investment advisers, on both a theoretical and a practical level. The lecture program includes topics such as the composition, role and responsibilities of a registered fund’s board of directors; restrictions on fund investments; distribution of mutual fund shares; valuation issues; affiliated transactions; regulation of closed-end investment companies; and the structuring and operation of unregistered, private hedge funds. The program covers the development and application of laws and regulations, while also discussing industry business practices. The lecture program is organized and taught by a number of Dechert partners and counsel who are seasoned in the financial services industry.
The Financial Services Group also holds weekly discussion sessions on current topics of interest. These sessions, led by a partner or counsel and an associate, focus on developments under the federal securities, tax, employee benefits and commodities laws, and are designed to help keep attorneys apprised of developments in financial services regulation.
Most of the training programs are offered internationally, with participation from partners, counsel and associates from several offices. There is a program focusing on private funds that highlights regulations, strategies and current events across multiple jurisdictions. At the group’s retreat, financial services lawyers from all offices meet to share knowledge and ideas. The national and international training opportunities that the group provides demonstrate a strong commitment to continued professional development.
Learn more about Associate Development at Dechert