Attorney Training & Development
Because our attorneys are our greatest asset, we strive to ensure that each is provided the experiences and resources they need to develop and thrive. With the understanding that each of our attorneys is an individual with a unique set of skills, talents and aspirations, we offer individualized support to help them reach their tremendous potential. Our dedicated Professional Development Department is focused on mentoring, training and supporting our associates at every level of their careers.
Associates at every level work closely with partners on client matters. In addition to the natural mentoring relationships that evolve from close working arrangements, associates also benefit from the firm's formal mentoring program which include the Pod, Associate Mentor, Gap, and Partner Advisor programs.
The firm developed its Mentor Pod Program to provide first through third year associates a partner or two to whom they can go for advice and to share concerns. Pods are meant to supplement the organic relationships that develop among attorneys at the firm.
Pods include one to two partners, and two to three associates. Partner(s) in the Pod serve as mentors to the associates. In addition to individual meetings between partners and associates in the Pod, Pods are expected to gather as a group for social outings on a regular basis.
Associate Mentor Program
Newly arriving attorneys are matched with an Associate Mentor. The Associate Mentor’s role is to welcome the mentee to the firm, help him or her get settled, and be available as a resource and confidant.
The GAP program was conceived by the Associates' Committee. To help foster and encourage the organic mentoring that goes on among associates, the program gives fourth year and more senior attorneys the opportunity to invite attorneys at least two years their junior to two meals or outings per month.
Partner Advisor Program
Senior associates (fourth year associates and above) are matched with a Partner Advisor. Advisors serve as a resource to help associates navigate the later years of their associate careers at Irell. Advisors and advisees discuss the associate’s career goals and professional development. In addition to providing career advice, Partner Advisors are available to help identify shadowing and pro bono opportunities, assist the associate in finding the right assignments to develop new skill sets, and facilitate engagement in outside activities (e.g., bar functions, writing, speaking).
Irell's Litigation Solicitors are senior level attorneys who are available to consult with associates on broad practical problems, such as questions of strategy, approach, interactions with co- and opposing counsel, and the like. They are an additional resource to help associates brainstorm and reason through higher-level problems that associates may be facing on their cases or in their careers.
Each associate has two performance reviews per year, approximately every six months. The firm devotes significant resources to collecting and providing feedback to each individual associate.
Each year, the firm hosts all newly-arriving attorneys at a weekend retreat in a resort location. Retreat programming typically includes nuts and bolts sessions for new attorneys as well as plenty of social events and activities for attorneys, significant others and families. Various Irell practice groups also host weekend retreats in a resort location every few years.
Each year, the firm presents a Deposition Training to all litigation associates who are new to the firm. The training takes place over a two-day period. Associates prepare for the training in advance, attend a series of lectures and then take and defend simulated depositions.
Irell’s Training Committee produces a series of 1-hour trainings for junior attorneys on various practice topics throughout the year.
In addition to the training programs mentioned above, the Firm hosts several additional programs to supplement attorney growth and knowledge. For example, each Tuesday, attorneys are invited to a lunch discussion on recent developments in intellectual property and the litigation practice group hosts a monthly lunch presentation on recent client matters. We also provide associates the opportunity of simulated oral argument exercises presided over by retired judges.