Professional Development Q&A
As Chair of the Professional Development Committee, describe your commitment to and vision for professional development at Lewis Rice.
Lewis Rice has always been a firm that is committed to the development of young attorneys. I started my career at Lewis Rice as a summer associate, and now as a partner looking back, I can fully appreciate that commitment to training, and how important the role is that others have played in my own development. When I took on the leadership of Professional Development at Lewis Rice, I had an idea for a series of programs that touched on key components of professional development in a law firm – seeking out mentorship, getting involved, and taking responsibility for your own career. The theme for the program is "Your Profession, Your Career, Your Firm – What You Can Make of It."
What topics did you discuss throughout this year's program?
I developed the theme for the program and came up with the topics in response to questions my partners and I had been hearing regularly from associates. Questions like, "how do I seek out mentorship," "how do I become more involved in leadership internally, in the legal profession, and in the community" and "how do I start developing a book of business." In an effort to address these topics in a broad way and to provide a variety of perspectives, we assembled a panel of Lewis Rice attorneys and external guests for each program. Another thing we heard is that the younger attorneys wished for more opportunity to build relationships with more senior attorneys, so we held each program offsite and followed the presentation with a reception where individuals could interact in a more relaxed setting.
What valuable advice did you get as a young associate at Lewis Rice?
Mentorship is critical to any career, and the practice of law is no different. I am very lucky to have had many mentors at Lewis Rice, with two individuals having the greatest, long-term impact. Joe Trad gave me advice on my career – how to transition from an associate working for partners to a partner bringing in my own clients. Brian Bouquet mentored me in my practice – helping me learn the fundamentals of drafting a contract, for example. But, the most important lesson I learned from both of these men was taking responsibility for my own career. And that fundamental lesson is something I have carried with me throughout my career, and something I try and instill in our young lawyers.
How do you plan to build upon this year's program?
The good news is, the opportunities for development are endless! I know that no matter at what level you are in your career, there is always an opportunity to learn and grow. We have a wealth of information at our fingertips, in the world-class attorneys at Lewis Rice and in the relationships we have with business leaders in the community. I feel that simply providing the forum for sharing this industry knowledge is my role, and I look forward to developing a new set of programs for next year.