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Your Focus: Develop your practice and determine how you can best contribute to the firm’s strategic growth and success
At the start of your fourth year, you enroll in the Career Development Plan (CDP) Program. This Program is designed to support you as you move into a new stage in your career and professional development. Through a series of lectures and small group sessions, you learn the skills needed to develop and advance toward partnership, including the basics of business development, law firm management and how to manage, delegate and supervise others on a team.
An important aspect of the CDP Program is the written plan. Each associate creates his or her own plan that includes a set of goals and milestones. We provide assistance to help you draft and execute your plan. For example, you select an advisor who meets with you twice a year to discuss your plan and strategy for executing it. An external consultant is available who guides you and helps you prioritize tasks. You discuss your plan each year at your formal review meeting. The firm provides extensive resources to help you move through this stage of your career. The associates who participate in the CDP Program offer strong praise for the resources available. Melissa Cox, a partner in the DC office, had this to say as an associate:
"I'm sure you know this and probably have heard it many times, but I just wanted to reiterate how helpful the program was today. I attended the morning session and an individual coaching session and both were great. And that's coming from a cynic. Thank you for doing this. We are lucky associates!"
To complete your CDP, you need to identify how you will further develop your skills and the ways in which you plan to contribute to your practice group, be a good firm citizen and begin to build your network inside and outside the firm. As a mid-level associate we also encourage you to pursue such activities as publishing articles, giving speeches and taking a leadership role in an external organization.
As you develop into a senior associate, we discuss openly with you the partnership process. When you have amassed all of the skills necessary to be considered for partner, the practice group or department works with you to prepare you for consideration for this important elevation. As part of the partnership promotion process, you must submit your CDP. After review by the Policy and Management committees, the firm’s partners vote to determine which associates will join their ranks.