Our Intensive Career Development Approach
Our industry-leading approach to career development distinguishes us from other firms. Our associates have recognized this fact by giving us top marks in 7 out of 8 categories in a recent BTI associate satisfaction survey.
We know that it’s a big adjustment to go from law school to law practice. As a first-year associate, you won’t start working for clients’ billable work until you have participated in our six-week training program and developed some foundational skills. Our program introduces you to the practice of law, addressing topics like managing time and understanding client service, and provides concrete, skills-based training in practice group-specific topics. The program also lets you continue to develop close relationships with your new colleagues and to connect with firm leadership.
We have other unique career development resources that you’ll experience throughout your associate years. Because we know that exposure to experienced lawyers is great training, our first-year apprenticeship program provides you with 50 creditable hours for time spent learning from more senior lawyers. And knowing that you may not have been introduced to business development in law school, we have a targeted curriculum for you. As a first year, you’ll learn how you can start establishing your personal and professional networks. Over your associate years, you’ll learn how to tap into your business development strengths and build a practice bigger than yourself as you progress.
Following your first year, you’ll have access to customized career development resources and receive regular feedback so that you know how you are developing. As you become more experienced, you’ll participate in our Individualized Professional Development Program, which comes with regular check-ins and the sharing of information about your progress and your goals and how they align with your group's practice and the firm's strategy.
Further, we know that lawyers must be effective communicators to be successful. That’s why we have a dedicated, in-house writing coach, Julie Schrager, whom you will work with as a summer associate and when you join us. Julie will hopefully become a trusted resource for you here. Throughout your years as an associate, you’ll be able to share your work with her and receive targeted, individualized feedback.
Our Mindful Advisor Program
Our robust advisor system also contributes to your personal and professional development at Faegre Drinker. Some firms have advisors or mentors in name only. Not us. As a first-year associate, you’ll be paired with a partner who is invested in you personally and professionally. Advisors and advisees meet regularly and collaborate to figure out how you can get the work you want, develop your skills, and advance your career. They also get to know each other as people, discussing topics including how to balance work with outside commitments and challenges. You and your advisors will have a dedicated budget, so can meet over coffee, lunch, or a baseball game or concert. See video
Our Culture of Respect and Belonging
Everything we do contributes to our culture of inclusion and belonging. We are committed to hiring, supporting, and retaining a diverse group of professionals and know that these goals require sustained and long-term efforts. We make that effort. To recruit, we connect with affinity groups at law schools around the country and with state and local bar associations. We hire upwards of 30 diverse 1L students for our summer program and stay in touch throughout law school in the hopes that they will return.
Diverse lawyers who join us participate in our active Diversity Collective, which meets cross-office, holds annual retreats, and connects often with firm leaders and clients. The Collective has leaders in each firm office and mentors, holds roundtables, and contributes to heritage month events. Our dedicated LGBTQ+ group also meets regularly, hosts book clubs and meetings with outside groups, and plans our Pride Month activities. Our Women Forward group supports for pro-woman policies, assesses how we support our women lawyers, and holds programs.
Further, dedicated DEI operations team creates and sponsors numerous educational and cultural opportunities each year, including a panel discussion addressing our firm’s work to advance LGBTQ+ rights, and moderated conversations about how to understand and address our implicit biases.
Finally, we are committed to the communities where we live and work. Since January 2022, we have contributed over 1,000 firm-sponsored service hours and have engaged over 350 firm volunteers. Specifically, we have packed 400 backpacks with school supplies, 500 hygiene kits for homeless people, 70 “welcome kits” for teens checking into shelters, 720 “pride packs” for LGBTQ+ teens, 70 hygiene kits for Ukrainian refugees, and 282 activity kits for pediatric patients.
Our Attention to Modern-Day Work Needs
We also realize that the pandemic and the stresses of the modern world have affected how everyone lives and works today. That’s why we have made a commitment to our collective mental health and well-being. We have a dedicated well-being advisor and therapist, Ali Schroer. Ali hosts programs that focus on understanding how anxiety and stress impact all of us personally and professionally and provides strategies for supporting yourself and others. Additionally, Ali hosts fireside chats with firm leaders in a series called “We’re All Human” and offers “Well-being Wednesday” drop-in sessions to answer questions and provide tangible well-being tools.
We have also introduced a hybrid work model that promotes connecting with colleagues while recognizing that 2022 is not 2019. There’s a dedicated budget for you to connect with colleagues over lunch or activities and ample in-office lunches and programs. Our policy provides a good balance of connection and flexibility.
Please consider joining us! At Faegre Drinker, you will be able to power your individual potential.