Our client, Legal Innovators (LI) is a startup that recruits and trains a highly qualified and diverse “class” of new associates, mostly Ivy law graduates who were close to the hiring standards of big law firms. Legal Innovators takes on the salary and expense of developing these associates in the early months, then places them in law firms and corporate counsel offices. After a two-year period and a significant track record, the associates will be in the associate placement market. See https://www.legal-innovators.com
Our Principal, David Cruickshank, developed the training and evaluation program for Legal Innovators, working with co-founders Jon Greenblatt and Bryan Parker. David also leads regular skills programs and advises on professional development and placement strategies. The associates at Legal Innovators follow a competencies map and are evaluated on those competencies. They pursue both in-house training courses and recommended external courses that are paid for by LI. Associates are also tested on a number of knowledge and skill areas, such as Accounting for Lawyers. They write monthly self-evaluations, receive mentoring and they will have year-end evaluation reports that can be made available to client firms.
In short, LI associates will come to the hiring market with a junior professional development profile the equal of the most sophisticated large firms. This development strategy addresses the main complaint of clients – that they have to pay for highly-paid juniors to learn at large law firms. Similarly, corporate law departments rarely hire at the entry level because of the cost of training; now they have an alternative placement and hiring source.
What does this case study mean for law firms that recruit from law schools? It demonstrates that the clients want “practice-ready” associates as soon as possible. Law firms with strong competency frameworks, tailored training courses, a diverse associate class, mentoring and regular evaluation will meet that market need sooner and their investment will pay off in client confidence. Edge can review your existing associate development program and bring it up to the high standards expected by your clients in today’s market.