Professional Development—The First Year and Beyond
Cooley is committed having the best team of attorneys to provide superior legal service. We hire the finest and then offer excellent training opportunities to develop their skills. We are dedicated to developing our attorneys throughout their careers and believe continuing education is critical to their career development and to meeting our clients' needs in a dynamic legal environment. We affirm the traditional wisdom that a large law firm is the best place for attorneys—both junior and senior—to receive a quality education. All first-year associates must attend a formal series of presentations called Cooley College, and lateral associates are encouraged to attend as needed. Since Cooley College classes are recorded and added to the Firm's library collection, any attorney can benefit from the training sessions.
Lori Mason, Director of Professional Development, oversees the Firm's professional development programs. The other members of the Professional Development department include Heather Meservy, Litigation Resource Attorney and Professional Development Managers Darlene Bong and Shannon Cloney. The whole group is dedicated to Cooley's professional development efforts.
The Business and Litigation departments, and individual practice groups, offer practice group meetings and on-going training through training sessions. At every level, we are constantly developing and changing our programs to meet the needs of our attorneys and keep them ahead of the curve.
Business practice groups
In addition to Cooley College, the practice groups deliver ongoing attorney training. Each practice conducts regular meetings for its attorneys and interested attorneys from other practices. Practice group meetings are great opportunities to learn important practice tips and "get current" on recent law developments and new Cooley deals. Participating in these meetings adds breadth and depth to our attorneys' expertise.
Client presentations may also be a part of these meetings. For example, recent Securities Regulation meetings included training in all areas of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and recent Technology Transactions gatherings covered topics, such as government contracts, license grants and third-party liability on the Internet.
Litigation practice groups
Cooley litigation attorneys keep current on the latest developments by attending practice group training sessions and meetings. Practice Groups meet on a weekly or monthly basis to share information. Several groups—such as Patent Counseling & Prosecution, Intellectual Property Litigation, Trademark, Copyright & Advertising, Employment & Labor and Securities Litigation—also hold annual training and development sessions where the practice group members from all offices meet, usually in the Bay Area. These one- to three-day sessions focus on developments in the practice area, sharing knowledge, mentoring and team building.
In addition to Cooley College and the regular practice group meetings, the Business department conducts "senior seminars" for partners and senior associates. Attorneys from each office come together for these meetings, which cover practice development tips, administrative matters, such as billing arrangements, and topics based on the ever-changing needs of our clients. In the past, this included both public and private company issues. The Business department has also held seminars on financial accounting and analysis for more experienced attorneys.
Litigation training and development does not stop after the first year. Substantive and skills-based training tracks are available to Cooley associates at all levels. For instance, we offer an advanced deposition workshop and an intensive, four-day trial advocacy skills workshop to our mid-level and senior associates. We continually add senior-level training sessions to meet the developing needs of our litigation attorneys.
Other CLE opportunities
Cooley's formal training program also consists of attending legal seminars held throughout the country. We encourage our senior attorneys to attend outside seminars relevant to their practice; and often our partners and senior associates speak at these events. Attendees then bring that knowledge back to the Firm, presenting summaries of what they learned to their colleagues during practice group meetings.
The Firm also subscribes to top notch on-demand CLE providers so our attorneys can attend relevant classes right at their desks. The Firm is dedicated to making sure our attorneys have the resources they need.