When law school ends, the next phase of legal education begins.
Regardless of which department an associate selects—Corporate, Executive Compensation and Benefits, Litigation, Tax or Trusts and Estates—Cravath lawyers are supported from their first days at the Firm by comprehensive training programs that combine with our hands-on mentoring to provide our lawyers with practical insights, continuing guidance and sophisticated tools to shape their practice.
The relationships our associates develop with partners and the informal mentoring they receive are integral to their development as lawyers. Our rotation system establishes a framework in which partners help guide the careers of associates. The rotation system allows associates to form close working relationships with several partners and a mix of associates in different stages of their careers. Practice groups are leanly staffed to provide ample opportunities for the associates to collaborate with their partners on each matter to which they are assigned. For partners, their associates represent the future of the Firm, and that is the most compelling reason for each partner to invest time and knowledge in each member of his or her group.
In addition to the mentoring they receive as part of the rotation system, associates may obtain additional guidance through our formalized programs. At Cravath, we recognize that peers play a critical role in associates’ development, so our incoming associates are assigned an associate advisor when they arrive. This helps ensure each associate has a smooth transition to the Firm. As associates begin their second year at the Firm, they also have the opportunity to participate in our formal partner mentor program. The program provides associates with a continuing partner relationship that offers additional insight, advice and support throughout the associates’ time at the Firm.
Throughout the year, we hold a schedule of classes that enables lawyers to earn their required New York State Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits. Some sessions cover basic topics important to new lawyers, while others provide detailed instruction in specific areas for lawyers at all levels. Classes are conducted by partners, associates and outside experts on a wide range of topics. A great majority of the training materials are prepared internally by partners, providing associates with an invaluable resource in their day-to-day practice. All our departments offer training programs for their associates, and all lawyers are welcome to attend sessions in practice areas outside their own. Additionally, we are a Privileged Member of the Practising Law Institute (“PLI”). PLI is a longstanding and recognized provider of CLE to attorneys throughout the country. With this membership, every lawyer in the Firm is eligible to attend/watch the PLI sessions free of charge.
In addition to classroom-based learning, Cravath’s Online CLE Center offers access to prerecorded streaming video of all the Firm’s current CLE sessions for viewing over the Internet, either from within or outside of Cravath’s offices. Each session is presented in high-quality video and audio and, depending on the topic, includes synchronized slide decks, speaker biographies, links to PDF versions of course materials and access to current, individual CLE credit summaries. Many CLE-eligible sessions are also available on DVD format for viewing at any time.
Our training rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and were designed to offer a comfortable learning environment for large groups of lawyers, customized workshops, and one-on-one help and support. We are particularly proud of our permanent, 1,500 square-foot courtroom, complete with jury box, witness stand, counsel tables, video cameras and gallery. The space is used by our litigators for continuing education courses, pre-trial rehearsals and real-life arbitration and mediation.
The Thomas D. Barr Courtroom
The Corporate Department conducts an extensive classroom training program taught by partners and experienced associates. Instructors prepare detailed materials, which are used both in the training program and for later reference. Some classes cover basic subjects that are important to new corporate lawyers, while other classes provide detailed instruction in specific areas of the Firm’s corporate practice that are helpful for lawyers at all levels.
The Corporate Department training program typically consists of sessions in the following areas:
The Executive Compensation and Benefits Department each year presents a series of training seminars covering basic concepts such as employment agreements, deferred compensation and an ERISA roadmap, as well as timely overviews of developing areas, such as updates on the new IRS regulations governing the taxation of compensation. The seminars are designed to be useful not only to lawyers working in the Executive Compensation and Benefits Department, but also to corporate, tax and trusts and estates lawyers.
The Executive Compensation and Benefits Department training program typically consists of sessions in the following areas:
In addition to the Rotation System’s hands-on training, the Litigation Department provides an extensive formal training program addressing both basic and specialized legal skills. New programs are continuously added to our training curriculum to enhance associate skills and substantive knowledge, as well as to respond to current developments in the law and Firm practices. Programs are offered to all attorneys at every stage of their careers, and all are encouraged to participate in the many courses and workshops we offer.
For incoming associates, the Litigation Department offers programs taught by partners or very experienced lawyers within the department that are designed to improve basic skills, such as research, brief writing, oral advocacy, deposition practice and negotiations. The programs are organized around the stages of a case, including pleadings, discovery, motions, trials and appeals and also focus on the practical aspects of being a new litigator, teaching specific hands-on skills related to various aspects of the Firm’s litigation practice. Training is offered in every facet of litigation.
For all of our attorneys, the Firm also offers advanced programs designed to focus on specific areas of interest, such as electronic discovery, intellectual property law and securities litigation developments. Associates are encouraged to attend as many training sessions as possible in order to augment core skills that are essential to an attorney's development.
The Litigation Department training program typically consists of sessions in the following areas:
The Tax Department runs a formal training program covering areas of tax law that are more easily learned in a classroom setting than by working on a deal. The program also covers issues of practice and “lore” that are often as important as knowledge of the technical provisions of the Internal Revenue Code. In addition, in order to train tax lawyers to be practical business lawyers, we encourage tax associates to attend the Corporate Department training program.
The Tax Department training program typically consists of sessions in the following areas:
Matters in the Trusts and Estates Department are typically staffed with one associate and one partner, which directly fosters an associate’s training and professional development. Each associate works on a wide range of matters, which ensures that an associate is exposed to all aspects of our trusts and estates practice. In addition, our trusts and estates attorneys customarily attend lectures, webinars and other programs conducted by bar associations, trust companies and other organizations in the estate planning field. The Department schedules a monthly luncheon to allow discussion of current developments in the field and issues of particular interest within the Department. The Department maintains internal manuals in estate and gift taxation, estate planning and estate administration and other subjects.
Our training program also includes specialty programs such as Highlighted Matters presentations. The Highlighted Matters program allows all lawyers in the department to learn in-depth about a recently concluded matter within the Firm from a panel of partners and associates who worked on that matter. The program offers an inside look at an interesting and high-profile case by providing specific practice and trial tips and unique war stories, and sharing what led to an ultimately successful outcome for the Firm and our clients.
The hands-on workshops—deposition workshop, legal writing workshop, negotiation workshop and oral argument workshop—are led by partner presenters who use substantive course materials, presentations, video clips and interactive exercises to help guide associates through legal procedures they will encounter throughout their careers. Associates then engage in hands-on mock exercises to demonstrate what they have learned during the course of the workshop. At the conclusion of each workshop, associates are provided with constructive, individualized feedback.
Cravath has a tradition of inviting sitting judges to the Firm to speak to partners and associates regarding matters the judges deem to be important. As part of the Lunch with a Judge series, sessions provide opportunities to learn from judges about their lives and judicial philosophies in a personal setting, as well as to hear their perspectives on the different focuses for lawyers and judges. The series provides excellent insight into how judges view the role of the attorney in the litigation process, and gives an understanding of the careers of exceptional jurists and the decision making process of the courts. Representative courts of judges include: United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York and the New York Court of Appeals.
In addition to judges, we have other prominent individuals address our attorneys. Prior guest speakers have included general counsel, alumni and journalists. At a recent session, a panel of alumnae who are general counsel discussed their career paths and shared advice regarding selecting outside counsel and business development strategies. At another session the conversation focused on making decisions within a business context and diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.
This program covers a series of topics related to business development. The sessions are generally presented by a panel of Cravath partners, allowing associates to hear a variety of perspectives and experiences. Topics covered include strategies for new business pitches, the history of a client and international business development. Each session offers a variety of tips for how associates can get involved in business development at any level of their careers.
The Technology Training Program has been designed, with lawyer input and feedback, to help attorneys work most effectively with the Firm’s technology. Each training session is interactive and includes a number of time-saving, practice-specific automated tools. Facilitated by IT Trainers, these sessions help attorneys to efficiently work with various templates and customize presentations that are in keeping with the Firm’s website, client memos and other branded materials.
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