Vinson & Elkins is committed to our lawyers' professional growth. We offer comprehensive training and career development programs, including through our V&E Academy Initiative, for our attorneys that include valuable work experience, a wide variety of training programs, practice outlines, practice-specific training, guidelines for achieving core competencies, and individualized professional development through evaluations, feedback, mentoring, and career planning.
We are proud of our extensive attorney training and development programs, which are acknowledged as being some of the best in the United States.
Training for New Attorneys
To coordinate all attorney training and career development efforts, Vinson & Elkins established the Professional Development Office, which is directed by partners from every office, and led by our Pro Bono Counsel and Director of Professional Development Ellyn Josef. In addition to helping position our lawyers for success, a robust Professional Development program aids in establishing consistent quality across practice areas by instituting standards to be used throughout V&E's global offices.
Beginning with orientation upon joining the firm, soon thereafter new arrivals attend a New Attorney Orientation. The multi-day program is just the start of the career-long investments V&E makes in its attorneys. In the weeks following the orientation sessions, associates attend weekly lunches in their respective offices, where partners lead discussions on topics helpful for first-year integration. For associates in their third year and above, V&E’s partners, alumni and clients teach a Business Development course which includes hands-on learning. Topics covered include, marketing yourself, pitching for new business, building and working on a personal business development plan, presentation skills, and many other beneficial topics.
New attorneys receive further training related to their general practice areas: corporate lawyer training, litigation training, tax or regulatory training. Additionally, each practice area in the firm conducts training tailored to its practice area to continuously improve V&E's ability to serve clients.
V&E also equips its attorneys through hands-on experience, such as mock trial workshops and negotiation skills workshops. The associates also attend a Writing Skills program and a course on Accounting Issues. These workshops are led by highly skilled outside consultants and are assisted by a number of firm partners. Each year the firm also sends mid-level litigation associates to the National Institute of Trial Advocacy Trial Skills Workshop or to the International Association of Defense Counsel Trial Academy.
Accredited CLE Courses
The firm offers more than 300 CLE courses a year at the practice group level and firm-wide, which often are open to clients as well. The topics range from elemental subjects (such as "How to Take a Deposition" or "Basic Fundamentals of Bankruptcy Law for the Business Lawyer") to advanced or specialized courses, as well as courses covering cutting edge legal developments. V&E is accredited as a CLE provider by Texas and New York. We also apply for CLE credit in Virginia for each program.
The firm gives special emphasis to training on current ethical issues, and every "all attorney" meeting begins with a comment on an ethical issue of current relevance. The firm regularly participates in Attorneys’ Liability Assurance Society (ALAS) Regional Loss Prevention Seminars and the Annual Meeting Loss Prevention Program.
Vinson & Elkins is a privileged member of the Practicing Law Institute (PLI), which is a CLE provider in most states. All firm attorneys can take a variety of PLI courses live, on-line, or by video, generally at no charge to the attorneys. The firm also has an agreement with the American Law Institute and American Bar Association (ALI-ABA) allowing firm attorneys to receive a discount for attending ALI-ABA programs either live, online, or by video.
In 2009, the firm launched VETube. VETube allows attorneys to earn participatory or self study credit for Texas or Virginia at the convenience of their own desks. Attorneys can search VETube for training on a specific topic, or by practice group and receive Ethics training. There are 90 training programs accessible on VETube.
In addition to formal training programs, Vinson & Elkins has instituted other career development initiatives to help associates develop into excellent attorneys. The firm has defined core competencies that articulate what a V&E attorney should strive to achieve as he or she develops and serves as a road map for advancement.
Helping associates to understand their professional duties as well as navigate daily life at the firm, V&E has instituted a Mentoring Program for junior associates. Our lateral attorneys are also assigned a partner mentor for their first two years with the firm.
In 2008, V&E implemented a new feedback system for associates where junior associates are assigned a review partner as part of the evaluation process and receive evaluations twice a year. The review partner is a partner in their practice group and assists the associate with his/her career goals as does the assigned mentor.
V&E is continuously seeking ways to enhance its training program. Several practice groups have participated in an innovative upward feedback for partners program, through which partners are evaluated by other partners, associates, and staff members. The purpose of the upward feedback program is to help the partners improve their leadership and management skills, and thereby to improve their individual performance and overall performance.
Lastly, the firm retained an attorney training and development consultant, Jackie Martin, principal consultant at J.S. Martin & Associates. Jackie provides consultation to firm leadership on strategies and actions to further the objectives of firm-wide attorney initiatives. She also serves as an ombudsman and career coach for our summer associates.