Lawyer Professional Development

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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 those close working arrangements, associates also benefit from the firm's formal mentoring program, which includes the Associate Mentor, “Gap,” and Partner Advisor programs.  

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.

Gap Program

The Gap program was conceived by the Associates' Committee. To help foster and encourage organic mentoring among associates, the program allows fourth-year and more senior associates to invite associates at least two years their junior to firm-subsidized meals or other social outings each month.

Partner Advisor Program

Senior associates (fourth-year associates and above) are matched with a Partner Advisor. Advisors serve as a resource to help navigate the later years of associates’ careers at Irell, for example by discussing career goals and professional development. In addition to providing career advice, Partner Advisors are available to help identify shadowing and pro bono opportunities, assist associates in finding the right assignments to develop new skill sets, and facilitate engagement in outside activities such as bar functions and writing or speaking opportunities. 

Review Process

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 one-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.

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