Wednesday, August 24, 2011
The Wall Street Journal Blog ran an interesting piece this week about new law firm training requirements for first year associates. Some firms now require associates to attend firm sponsored business education courses. These courses are cropping up as more and more big firm clients refuse to allow first year associates to work on actual cases. According to the blog, the new associates will “learn practical skills that many law schools don’t teach, such as creating power point presentations and computer spreadsheets” as well as “how to read balance sheets.” While I do not dispute the value of business skills, I am surprised that mandatory first year associate training at some law firms does not focus squarely on legal writing, including legal drafting.
When I visit with practicing lawyers and judges and ask them what they want to see in new lawyers, the answer is almost always “stronger writing skills.” Perhaps other post-graduate, law firm sponsored training focuses on writing. At my firm, we had ongoing first year training in both persuasive writing and legal drafting. Other firms take different approaches. I would be interested to know if anyone has conducted surveys or authored papers on the topic.