We know the future of the Firm is a direct result of how well we integrate, retain, and promote our talented professionals.
Through the focused efforts of our Attorney Development team, we are able to connect with our attorneys right from the start and foster a supportive environment where they can learn from established leaders within the Firm.
In the following pages, we share how Jackson Walker provides each attorney with opportunities to achieve their maximum potential through thoughtfully planned training, mentorship, and leadership development.
Developing Our Future Leaders
Beginning with law school and carrying through to partnership and beyond, Jackson Walker develops and promotes exceptional individuals from all walks of life. Our commitment to the personal and professional growth of our attorneys starts on day one.
A career at Jackson Walker means learning never stops. Our attorneys are committed to improving not only themselves, but also their communities and those around them. For our talented attorneys at all levels, we select candidates who show high potential to become firmwide and community leaders to participate in leadership development programs.
NFA Orientation Program
We prepare incoming associates for the challenging work required by our sophisticated clients through our intensive two-week New Fall Associate (NFA) Orientation Program. Throughout the first year we provide continued training that focuses on various professional and personal topics, including legal ethics and managing time and stress.
In 2018, we welcomed a group of associates who graduated from the University of Chicago, the University of Texas, Southern Methodist University, St. Mary’s University, South Texas College of Law Houston, and New York University.
Associate Mentor Program
Beyond integrating incoming attorneys, we provide access to hands-on training, mentoring, and leadership development inside and outside the Firm. Through our Associate Mentor Program, we build meaningful relationships between our associates and experienced attorneys. This program facilitates our associates’ progress by focusing on achieving benchmarks, developing skills, establishing connections with clients and partners, and growing both personally and professionally.
For partner Marisela Peña Gonzalez, mentoring second-year associate Monica Lopez has been a rewarding experience.
"As somebody who's been practicing for 12 years now, I really do try to remember what it was like as a first-year when you're not sure of the questions to ask," Marisela said. "I make sure that when associates come to me with questions, I not only give them answers, but explain how we've gotten to that point."
Facilitating Career Advancement
In April, Judy Bennett Garner was selected as a Fellow of the 2018 National Employment Law Council (NELC) Academy. As a Fellow, Judy joins a group of minority attorneys with less than four years’ experience in management-side labor and employment law as they network with and learn from established trial attorneys and in-house counsel. Launched in 2011, the NELC Academy facilitates the success of young minority labor and employment attorneys. Judy also participated as one of Jackson Walker's two 2018 representatives to the LCLD Pathfinder program.
Promoting a Diverse Workforce
The Pathway to Partnership Program provides senior associates with information to help them advance into roles as partners. This retreat-style meeting offers candid discussions about the Firm's business, personal practice presentations, and networking opportunities with colleagues. In 2018, six associates were elected to partnership – four of whom started their careers at Jackson Walker, including Houston attorney Jamila Brinson. "The Pathway to Partnership Program provided great info and perspectives that are helping me take the next step in my practice," Jamila said. "One of the reasons I've stayed at Jackson Walker is the support the Firm provides in my career development."
We recognize that life doesn't stop when you enter the office. Jackson Walker provides an option for attorneys to work on a reduced-hours program. The goal is to provide an alternative work schedule compatible with personal and family responsibilities and with the needs of the Firm, while maintaining the opportunity for professional growth, experience, and career advancement. The program is intended to help retain high-caliber associates and partners and not lose qualified attorneys simply due to their need for flexibility in their work schedule.
"It's my goal to offer every Jackson Walker attorney a platform for success.
I believe that by promoting a culture of inclusion, we can ensure that we are meeting individual development needs, and providing the tools and resources that will allow every attorney to be fully engaged and advancing toward their career goals."
Melissa Bates | Attorney Development Coordinator
Diversity Committee Member
Beyond his participation on the Diversity Committee, Chevazz Brown also serves as Co-Chair of the Mentorship Committee, which guides the Associate Mentor Program.
"Mentorship at Jackson Walker has always been an important part of our culture. I've been fortunate to have great mentors in my career, and it's been rewarding to help pay it forward by co-chairing the Mentorship Committee."
Chevazz helped found and lead The Coalition of Houston Diverse Bar Associations. In 2018, he was a finalist for the TMCP's Outside Counsel Trailblazer of the Year Award. In addition, Chevazz volunteers his time to the American Bar Association's Forum on Communications Law and Commission on Racial & Ethnic Diversity in the Profession.