Associates at Gibson Dunn get the best of both worlds, learning right from the start as valued team members on high-profile matters and through targeted junior and mid-level training curricula.  Our associates’ education also goes well beyond training programs – our culture’s emphasis on continuous development, a team-oriented approach and collegiality means that we all learn from each other every day.  Our unique Free Market System gives associates the chance to chart their own development.  Along the way, our partners and Professional Development team provide feedback, guidance and coaching to ensure our associates feel supported at each stage of their career here and beyond.  Starting your practice at Gibson Dunn provides the foundation for your future success, whether as one of our partners, a Fortune 500 general counsel, a leading government official, or faculty at a top law school.

Gibson Dunn welcomes new associates with a two-year, multi-faceted integration program which includes formal skills-based training programs, our celebrated three-day New Lawyer Academy, one-on-one guidance from an assigned partner advisor, and an opportunity to rotate into up to four departments. 

New Associate Training Curriculum

Our first-day orientation program, presented by members of the Associates Committee, provides our new associates with all of the tools and information necessary to get started on the right track.  During their first year of practice, associates participate in a series of in-depth basic training programs presented by our own partners and senior associates.  The centerpiece of our New Associate Training Curriculum is the annual three-day New Lawyer Academy, which offers engaging presentations by our attorneys on topics including the firm's culture, history and economics.  The Academy also gives our new associates the chance to network in person with other Gibson Dunn lawyers from around the world.

New Associate Guidance

Upon arrival, each Gibson Dunn first-year associate is assigned a partner advisor from our Professional Development Committee (PDC) to guide them over the next two years.  The PDC is a global committee of partners responsible for mentoring and monitoring the performance of our first- and second-year associates.  Our new associates are also assigned an associate buddy or mentor to serve as a resource on any number of topics, including how to navigate the Free Market System, develop effective work relationships, and succeed with early projects.  The Professional Development team is also a key resource for our new attorneys, offering individualized coaching to, and small group meetings with, all new associates. 

New Associate Rotation Program

The foundation of our Free Market System is associates' ability to make informed choices about the type of work they wish to pursue.  To this end, new associates are given the opportunity to rotate among Gibson Dunn's four departments (litigation, corporate transactions, real estate and tax) before deciding on a department at the start of their third year. Each rotation lasts six months, providing new associates with a true sense of life as a lawyer in each practice area. 

Gibson Dunn's focus on professional development continues beyond each associate's first two years.  The firm has a variety of programs to assist associates in their ongoing development as attorneys.  As in our Free Market System, associates are given the resources to choose the types of training and guidance that best serve their needs and professional goals. 

Expert Level Training

Gibson Dunn provides extensive training opportunities to our mid-level and senior associates.  Our in-house critical skills training is presented by our partners and senior associates, who are consistently ranked as experts in their individual practice areas.  Our associates benefit from departmental retreats, which bring attorneys together in one location every few years to sharpen their skills and share ideas as a group.  Our fourth-, fifth- and sixth-year associates also participate in the three-day Mid-Level Academy, which offers targeted training presentations to prepare them for the next stage of their careers. 

Mentoring & Associate Support

Strong mentoring is a key ingredient to an associate's success at the Firm. To foster these bonds, each of our offices has established a mentoring program that implements the Firm's mentoring principles and is appropriate for the size and nature of the office. The Firm has also developed specialized materials and training programs to support our attorneys' mentoring relationships. The mentoring programs in each of the Firm's offices are reviewed several times per year and best practices are shared throughout the Firm.  Our Professional Development department also offers individualized career coaching from a team who previously "walked in their shoes" as successful Gibson Dunn associates.

Meaningful Feedback

Our Associate Compensation Committee is a global committee of partners responsible for conducting an annual review of each of our third-year and more senior associates.  The committee's goal is not only to provide associates with a meaningful evaluation of their performance and progress, but also to be a constructive influence in their career development.  We pride ourselves on the fact that each associate's year-end message is compiled by a partner from another office, and often another practice area, to ensure that the associate's performance is viewed in its entirety objectively and from a new perspective.

Onward

At Gibson Dunn, associates truly craft their own careers.  Our partners act as sounding boards and collaborators as associates seek their next adventure, whether as a Gibson Dunn partner or down a path toward an in-house, government or teaching role.  Indeed, our associates benefit from an outstanding group of alumni and vast network of industry-leading clients who regularly look to us when adding to their organizations.  Our Professional Development team also offers individualized career path coaching to each associate.

Experiences

ASSOCIATES COMMITTEE

The Associates Committee, comprised of associates and partners from each Gibson Dunn office, is a resource for associates at every level in connection with all issues affecting associate life at Gibson Dunn.

One of the Associates Committee’s primary roles is ensuring that new associates, whether arriving right after law school or as laterals, transition smoothly into the Firm.  Committee members organize welcome events for new associates, plan and host the New Lawyer Academy, participate in new associate training, and oversee the buddy program in each office—all with an eye to associate integration.
 
Associates Committee members also organize regular social events in each office, such as breakfasts, lunches, and happy hours, to promote socializing and mentoring, and to allow new associates to get to know lawyers they have not worked with directly.  In addition, in most offices the Associates Committee provides funds for experienced lawyers to take new associates out for coffee, lunch, drinks, or other informal events.

The Associates Committee is also responsible for identifying, assessing, and resolving issues important to Gibson Dunn associates.  Over the years, the Committee has spearheaded initiatives concerning nearly every aspect of associate life at the Firm.  The Associates Committee monitors the associate review process on an annual basis, providing feedback and suggesting improvements to Firm management, including the Compensation and the Professional Development Committees; recommends important revisions to Firm policies affecting associates; provides feedback to management regarding the Firm’s mentoring efforts; and addresses a myriad of other everyday areas of concern to associates (e.g., technology, support staff and resources, book allowance, bar dues, health benefits, childcare, after-hours meal reimbursement).

Finally, the Associates Committee facilitates communication between associates and Firm management.  For example, Committee members in many offices organize “town hall” style meetings where Partners-in-Charge report on the state of the office and solicit associate feedback.  Committee members also encourage associates in all offices to bring their Firm-related ideas or concerns to the Committee’s attention, so the Committee can relay those ideas and concerns to the Partners-in-Charge of the relevant office or other members of Firm management and translate them into new programs or solutions. 

Ethan Dettmer, a partner in the San Francisco office, chairs the Associates Committee.  Jeremy Robison, a Washington, D.C. associate, serves as Vice-Chair.