Training & Attorney Development

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 & Olson 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 & Olson’s low leverage model 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 through which each associate receives a formal review of performance and progress. Regular evaluations allow for two-way communication and ensure that associates are provided with meaningful career development opportunities.

In-House Training Program
Throughout the year, Munger, Tolles & Olson 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 ethical issues, community involvement and our pro bono practice. Further training programs are fashioned for new attorneys, including Succeeding in Your First Law Firm Job and Nuts and Bolts of Motion Practice. Other in-house training topics have included Constructing a Cross-Examination, Interviewing Witnesses, Anatomy of an M&A Transaction and Negotiation Skills.

The firm holds a variety of trainings for junior attorneys, including: Preparing for Depositions, Working with Experts, Propounding Written Discovery, California Civil Procedure, Jury Selection Training, Opening Statements, Direct and Cross Examination at Trial and Closing Arguments. 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.

Other examples of structured pieces of training offered by the firm include:

  • Writing Workshops: The firm has historically hosted Bryan A. Garner, editor of Black’s Law Dictionary and an expert in legal writing and persuasion, for an all-day writing workshop, as well as an internal writing workshop led by senior lawyers. Writing workshops have included topics on the Nuts & Bolts of Filing & Motion Practice, Write a Better Brief and Some Brief Talking About Brief Writing.
  • Public Speaking Workshops: The firm has hosted Brian Johnson and Marsha Hunter, communication consultants who train new Assistant U.S. Attorneys at the Department of Justice National Advocacy Center, for a seminar and workshop on honing oral presentation skills. We have also engaged Cara Hale Alter for SpeechSkills, a training to help lawyers build career transforming presentation skill sets.
  • Weekly Attorney Lunches: Munger, Tolles & Olson’s twice-weekly attorney lunches often function as training and continuing legal education (CLE) opportunities. Outside speaker are frequently featured, while other lunches highlight 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 pieces of training offered in their practice areas or in areas in which they may have a particular interest.

As we have done over the past several years, select senior associates will participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s (LCLD) Pathfinder Program, a relationship-building and leadership training program for diverse attorneys. The firm also participates in LCLD’s Fellows Program, which serves lawyers with 3-7 years of practice.

The firm continues to encourage our diverse lawyers to participate in other professional development programs through organizations like the California Minority Counsel Program, Hispanic National Bar Association, Women Lawyers Association of Los Angeles, Ms. JD and others.

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 & Olson 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, in which all attorneys participate: 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.

Women+ Initiative
Founded in 1998, Munger, Tolles & Olson’s Women+ Initiative brings together a diverse group of women and men from the firm’s three offices, who are committed to:

  • Recruiting and retaining women attorneys, with a particular focus on diverse women attorneys;
  • Providing women attorneys with tools to facilitate and support successful legal careers;
  • Ensuring that the firm is at the forefront of setting policies that foster an environment where women attorneys can build and lead successful legal careers; and
  • Working to ensure that women attorneys are adequately represented across the leadership of the firm, its practice groups and with its clients.

The Women+ Initiative works closely with the firm’s other diversity initiatives, as well as with external organizations with similar missions, to identify and adopt best practices that will advance these goals. Our Women+ Initiative also hosts regular lunch discussions and training sessions covering a range of topics related to female professionals, career development, and advancement in the legal profession.