The goals of Professional Development are driven by Foster Pepper’s core values of Client Service, Integrity and Trust, Entrepreneurial Spirit, Supportive Environment, Civic Duty, and Long Range Commitment. We seek to achieve and maintain professional excellence throughout the firm and to promote a culture and community of continual training and learning to perpetuate that excellence.
The Professional Development Committee was established to ease the transition of attorneys into Foster Pepper PLLC and to provide comprehensive programs for their continued development.
While the Committee's stated goals are few, its impact is broad. To serve Foster Pepper attorneys, the Committee has developed a program of orientations, seminars and attorney development programs. The purpose of these programs is to widen the experiences of our newer associates, to instill the depth and breadth of our legal capabilities to our lateral hires, and to develop and enhance the legal skills of all Foster Pepper attorneys. The Committee currently runs four programs.
A significant aspect of the firm's commitment to professional enhancement has been the establishment of a development advisor program. In this program, first- and second-year associates, and certain lateral attorneys, are paired with a senior associate or a member for the attorney's first two years at Foster Pepper. The developmental advisor, generally from the same practice group, offers guidance, experience and direction to the attorney making the transition into our firm. Additionally, the functions of the development advisors include:
The PDC monitors the operation of the development advisor program and continually seeks feedback from new lawyers and the development advisors on how to improve the program.
The transition from full-time law student to practicing attorney or from one firm to another can be confusing. To assist our newer lawyers in making that transition the Professional Development Committee sponsors a Fall Orientation Program. The program outlines the firm's culture.
All new associates and laterals attend a one-day firm orientation program that includes such topics as:
This annual orientation program concludes with a cocktail reception and dinner to which the new lawyers, their development advisors, the Executive Committee and practice group leaders, and their respective spouses/significant others are invited.
In addition, as lawyers begin working at the firm, their first days are spent in a "nuts and bolts" orientation. This program serves to familiarize them with the support and technical tools available to increase their efficiency and allow them to focus on legal work. In addition to software and similar instruction, segments included are:
The Professional Development Committee offers classes that focus on general legal practice matters, such as writing, client development, timekeeping, professional responsibility and other issues of significance to all practitioners. These classes are typically unrelated to any specific legal discipline and often involve an outside instructor or speaker. The firm’s Professional Development Committee is responsible for developing the curriculum and presenting these courses.
The Professional Development Committee established a Dinner Club starting in 2006 to promote collegiality and communication between attorneys at the firm. Members who agree to participate are asked to host two dinners a year (or lunches or any social event at their home), for 4-6 attorneys. They are encouraged to invite particular Associates who have elected to participate, as well as other Members. Significant others and spouses are also invited to attend.
In addition to the Professional Development Committee, Foster Pepper offers formalized training programs for attorneys under the following categories. The Firm Survey Courses described below are a new training component started in 2006. Firm Survey Courses are held monthly, scheduled over a repeating two-year period.
Firm Survey Courses are presented by the practice groups to provide all Associates (and other attorneys who elect to attend) with some basic information regarding the different legal disciplines practiced and issues faced by the various groups at the firm. This training serves several purposes:
Each practice group offers in-depth vocational training for attorneys within its group for purposes of keeping up with cutting-edge issues and for cross-training within the each group. The subject matter and scheduling of these classes resides with the Practice Group Leaders, and may include presentations by attorneys who share information learned at multi-day out-of-town CLE programs.