Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP offers its lawyers a wide range of training and attorney development programs to help them grow as practitioners and develop skills in the areas of law that interest them. From informal to structured training, Munger Tolles is committed to the long-term professional development of all attorneys. Because our attorneys have so much latitude in how they build their practice, they are empowered to take advantage of a range of options available to them both inside and outside the firm.
On-The-Job Training and Feedback
Munger Tolles’ 1:1 partner-to-associate ratio and culture of collegiality means attorneys work in closely knit teams. This naturally lends itself to meaningful early responsibility and ongoing feedback from team members. Informal assessments are supplemented by a biannual associate review where each associate receives a formal review of his or her performance and progress. Regular evaluations allow for two-way communication and ensure that associates are provided meaningful career development opportunities.
In-House Training Program
Throughout the year, Munger Tolles offers training programs featuring in-house or outside speakers. For example, associates during their first year are invited to attend our New Attorney Retreat, where they receive an introduction to various aspects of the firm including the associate review process, ethical issues and our pro bono practice.
The firm holds an annual Litigation Training Day for junior and summer associates. The all-day event includes an intensive walk-through of critical litigation topics including: Strategic Thinking and Preparing for Trial, Propounding and Responding to Discovery and Working with Experts. Munger Tolles also hosts a two-day National Institute for Trial Advocacy (NITA) deposition seminar, which enables attorneys to craft a successful and unique deposition style.
In addition to annual events, Munger Tolles offers regular in-house training programs for attorneys and summer associates. Our own attorneys take part in the program by presenting on their particular career strengths. Mark Kim and Bethany Kristovich have presented on such topics as Negotiation Skills, Anatomy of an M&A Transaction, Delivering Opening Statements and Closing Arguments and Succeeding in Your First Law Firm Job, respectively.
Other examples of structured trainings offered by the firm include:
- Bryan A. Garner Writing Workshop: The firm annually hosts Bryan A. Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary and an expert in legal writing and persuasion, for an all-day writing workshop.
- Act of Communication Workshops: The firm hosts workshops on communication and presentation skills based in the discipline of theatre. Act of Communication co-founder Katherine James has also hosted a communications workshop specifically designed for women attorneys at Munger Tolles.
- Practice Development Lunches: The firm’s Practice Development Department hosts lunchtime workshops on writing biographies, preparing pitch materials and developing strategies for building a practice.
- Weekly Attorney Lunches: Munger Tolles’ twice weekly attorney lunches often function as training and continuing legal education (CLE) opportunities. Once a week, an outside speaker is featured. Other lunches feature firm attorneys who share experiences and insights from current or recent matters.
External Training Opportunities
Beyond the firm, we encourage attorneys to engage with and learn from the legal community at large. Our attorneys regularly attend a range of external training programs and conferences, from the NITA Trial Advocacy Program to the Hastings Women Leadership Academy, as well as various conventions for local, state and national bar associations, including the ABA and the Federal Bar Association. Attorneys are actively encouraged to pursue and take advantage of trainings offered in their practice areas or in areas in which they may have a particular interest.
In addition, attorneys have the opportunity to gain trial experience by working for four months on a pro bono basis at the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office or the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office.
Munger Tolles attorneys have always engaged in formal and informal mentoring. Our low-leverage structure and weekly firm lunches foster an environment in which relationships develop organically. Our formal mentoring program has two tiers: one for newer attorneys learning to navigate the firm and the practice of law, and a second tier for mid-level attorneys seeking to sharpen their legal skills and develop their own practice. Specialized mentoring is also provided to attorneys transitioning to and from parental leave, and we have increased the availability of affinity group mentorships.
We have an active Women’s Initiative, which strives to retain and promote women attorneys. Training opportunities hosted by the Women’s Initiative include monthly lunches covering a wide variety of topics including effective oral advocacy, building a book of business and the art of self-promotion.