Shook, Hardy & Bacon’s continued growth and success is due in large part to the caliber of commitment to and diversity of our associates. When first-year associates start at the firm, they participate in an extensive orientation program for new attorneys and attend a series of seminars on practical and substantive skills covering client service, practice development and management, professional ethics and law firm economics. Under the supervision of experienced attorneys, Shook associates then assume a significant amount of responsibility early in their careers by working on cases from inception to conclusion to develop a more complete understanding of the client's business and the ability to solve any problems that may arise. With our hands-on learning and professional development program, we equip our associates with the skills needed for a fulfilling career in the law and prepare them to become leaders in the firm and in their communities. 

The American Lawyer Media (ALM) recorded an example of such efforts in “A Case Study for Getting an Associate Stand-Up Experience in a High-Stakes Trial,” featuring the development and contributions of a new trial attorney in a multimillion-dollar win for a Shook client. It’s one story of many on how Shook, which is primarily a trial firm, is committed to providing real-world, intriguing opportunities for associates who have the desire to do trial work. 

Mentoring and Development

Shook helps its associates grow professionally and personally through its formal mentoring program and its network of attorneys willing to help with a variety of issues. In the mentoring program, first- and second-year associates are assigned mentors who serve as resources for information and advice during their early years at the firm. Each associate also joins a Mentoring Circle, which meets throughout the year to discuss focused issues related to the practice of law and professional growth. These groups help associates and partners build mentor/mentee relationships and allow associates to draw from a wide pool of perspectives when seeking advice.

Attorneys with questions or concerns about professional or personal matters can also seek guidance from a partner advisor in the Associate Advisory Network. Advisors answer questions about firm policies, workload, work-life balance issues or any other topics the associate wishes to discuss, and information shared with a partner advisor is kept confidential.  Shook recognizes that attorneys may feel uncomfortable discussing certain issues with their mentors or supervising partners, so we provide our associates a confidential resource to ensure they receive the answers they need.

Work/Life Balance

Shook recognizes that attorneys have responsibilities outside the firm, and our policies reflect our commitment to preserving balance in our attorneys' lives. Shook permits attorneys of any level with at least two years' experience to work reduced hours upon approval, and associates who work on an alternative schedule continue to accrue time toward and remain eligible for partnership.  Both associates and partners serve on the Associates Committee, which oversees the management and administration of personnel and policy issues for all associates, to ensure that the associates participate in the discussion about a reasonable balance between work and personal commitments.

Investment in Our Associates

Through its Professional Development Committee, Shook invests a significant amount of resources into ensuring that its attorneys are knowledgeable and up-to-date in their fields. State bar associations recognize Shook as an in-house CLE provider for our extensive formal training seminars teaching trial practice and deposition skills as well as building business-law acumen. Shook's internal development program also holds division, section and practice group training on current legal issues directly related to attorneys' day-to-day practice.

Associates also receive a list of core experiences, customized to their practice group and years at Shook. Experiences fall into several categories, including case-related activities, research, pre-trial and trial work, as well as professional development, civic involvement, diversity, pro bono, technology and business development. The core experiences list is not a checklist toward partnership, but a collection of activities that can enhance associates’ experience at the firm and contribute to professional development and advancement.

Shook is also committed to each associate’s individual professional development.  All associates participate in mid-year and year-end performance evaluations to review progress and to set goals.  

Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers
"Best Law Firms for Women"

Shook is consistently ranked among the top law firms for women and flex-time schedules, based on family-friendly benefits and policies, flexibility, leadership and compensation of women, among other factors. 

Best Law Firms for Women