Evaluation and Feedback
In addition to regular feedback in connection with actual work assignments, each associate receives a formal annual review.
Our review process begins with comments that are collected from all of the partners and counsel with whom an associate works. These comments are synthesized to provide an overview of the associate's experience. We intend the review process to be participatory, and encourage associates to be involved in developing their career paths and strategies to achieve their goals.
Knowledge Management. To ensure that lawyers have access to the most up-to-date information, we have an extensive intranet that makes internal and external practice resources and administrative information easily available. We also maintain know-how databases where details of precedents, advice and memoranda can be quickly retrieved, and our lawyers use real-time discussion forums on our intranet to share their experience and knowledge with one another. Associates also have desktop access to a wide variety of external business and legal electronic information services.
The German offices employ dedicated knowledge management professionals who are responsible for legal current awareness and maintaining precedents as well as providing knowledge management training to the lawyers.
Mentoring Program. We pair each newly arrived associate with a partner who serves as a "mentor" to provide personal and professional support. This supplements the informal mentoring relationships that develop between senior and junior lawyers in the course of working together and participating in other aspects of firm life. The offices also host a series of associate/partner panel discussions addressing various aspects of associate life at the firm, as well as social events to which all lawyers are invited.
Overseas Assignments. Frankfurt and Cologne associates who wish to practice abroad may request assignment to one of the firm's other offices, usually for a period of approximately nine months to one year. Such assignments are generally made after an associate has practiced for a period of time (generally one to two years) in a German office.
Practice Groups. The firm is not rigidly departmentalized according to the areas in which we practice. Rather, each office has established informal practice groups in its main areas of activity. This facilitates fluid team building as needed for particular projects. Practice groups and subgroups meet regularly to share recent experiences on client projects, to participate in training programs and to exchange information about recent developments in law and practice.
There are also annual pan-European practice group meetings, which not only serve an educational purpose, but also provide our lawyers the possibility to socialize with their colleagues from other offices outside the work context.
Associates, in particular at the beginning of their careers, can gather experience in various areas, and participation in one practice group does not exclude participation in others. At the same time, associates who wish to focus on a particular practice area early in their career with us are encouraged to do so.