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Your Career, Professional Development, and Benefits

Most of our new associates are recent law school graduates, but many new associates join us after gaining experience in the government or at other law firms. While outstanding law school performance is a major factor in our hiring decisions, we also focus on a candidate's experience and how that candidate could continue to develop that experience at Arnold & Porter.

Lateral Attorney Integration

We understand that making a lateral move is an important decision and that you are looking for an opportunity to build on the skills you have developed in a community that welcomes you. At present we have several programs at the firm designed to provide new attorneys with support in their being a part of the Arnold & Porter team.

New Associates Committee. The New Associates Committee is comprised of attorneys and members of the Professional Development, Recruiting, and Legal Personnel staff and is responsible for welcoming and assisting in integrating all new and lateral associates into the firm. The committee is involved with many aspects of new and lateral associate integration, including but not limited to orientation, mentoring, training, and social activities.

New and Lateral Associate Orientation. All new and lateral associates joining the firm participate in an orientation program to introduce them to the firm, their office, and practice group. Following orientation, the firm's New Associates Committee hosts a series of "Arnold & Porter Academy" training programs regarding legal and core skills that all new associates need as they get started in their area of practice. All new associates attend the annual New and Lateral Associate Retreat.

New and Lateral Associate Lunch Program. One of the challenges lateral attorneys face when joining the firm is meeting their new colleagues. The New and Lateral Associate lunch program is an informal way to get to know many different attorneys in the firm. During an attorney's first three months, the firm will sponsor his or her lunches with other firm attorneys.

New and Lateral Associate Mentoring. The firm offers a formal mentoring program for all new, lateral, and mid-level associates. New associates joining the firm are paired by the New Associates Committee with a mid-level associate who can assist with their integration to the firm. Lateral associates have the option of also being paired with a counsel or partner who can provide specific feedback and advice on career development matters.

New and Lateral Associate Retreat. At various times, we gather associates who have recently joined the firm to attend the New and Lateral Associate Retreat. This intensive program spans several days and encompasses a range of topics.

Professional Development

The firm invests significant resources in assisting in the development of our attorneys to ensure that they are and continue to be leading legal and business minds.

A team of professional staff oversee the firm's effort to assist in training and development of all of our attorneys. With their help, and in partnership with all attorneys, the firm strives to provide a comprehensive approach to assist in associate career development and advancement through: (1) formal training in legal and core skills with in-house programs and external continuing legal education (CLE) options; (2) on-the-job experience through work assignments, pro bono cases, and observation opportunities of experienced attorneys; and (3) career development through retreats, formal mentoring programs, and guidance from three highly-skilled career development counselors.

We periodically evaluate our efforts in this regard and make changes as appropriate. Our current programs include:

Formal Training. Excellent training begins by providing associates with an opportunity to learn a broad range of skills, and by working closely with experienced attorneys who have varying styles and approaches to the practice of law. In addition, our Professional Development Department provides numerous training programs each year that address both specialized legal skills and more general skills. Topics include public speaking, client communications, persuasive writing, marketing, and business development skills. Attorneys also have access to  external online and live programs offered through the CLE vendor Practising Law Institute (PLI).

Retreats. The firm has hosted a New & Lateral Associate Retreat for all incoming associates. The retreat and other seminars introduce new associates to the firm's operations and provide training on basic skills such as research, oral advocacy, deposition practice, contract drafting, and negotiations. We also have hosted a Mid-Level Associate Leadership Forum for third-year and more senior associates to teach management, leadership, client relations, business development, and career planning skills. New in 2016, the firm's Trial School is an interactive workshop that pairs teams of associates with partner and counsel faculty to prepare for and conduct a (mock) trial. Additionally, many of the practice groups conduct retreats for their attorneys to provide opportunities for knowledge sharing, social interaction, and strategic planning purposes.

Business Development. We are committed to providing the full breadth of professional development opportunities to our associates, including exposure to and participation in firmwide and practice group business development initiatives. Through a series of informal and formal workshops and speaker events on wide-ranging business development topics, associates become part of the long-term strategic business goals of the firm, as well as the short-term aims to procure ongoing legal work. Associates periodically participate in drafting client pitches, preparing and presenting at local and national conferences and symposiums, and writing articles for industry publications.

Trial Program. One of the firm's goals is to enhance the trial advocacy skills of our attorneys through real-world courtroom experience. Through this program, we provide our attorneys the opportunity to obtain counseling and trial experience in the courtroom while being supervised by experienced litigation counsel. The Trial Training Counsel, Mary Kennedy, is responsible for providing direct support and supervision to attorneys interested in enhancing their trial skills through criminal cases from the DC Superior Court. The current Trial Training Counsel has over 20 years of litigation and training experience, including handling over 50 jury trials and numerous bench trials. Programs focused on developing trial skills are also offered in offices outside of Washington, DC.

Appellate Program. Arnold & Porter has a proud tradition of appellate advocacy, from its storied Supreme Court representation in Gideon v. Wainwright, which established the right to counsel for the poor, through precedent-setting wins today. In the past two years alone, our Appellate and Supreme Court practice has won numerous landmark Supreme Court cases on issues ranging from religious freedom to state sovereignty to tax law. And in federal and state courts across the country, our lawyers have secured high-stakes victories for our clients, including reversals of multi-million—and billion—dollar verdicts, and decisions helping ensure US elections are free from unconstitutional restraints. With support from partners and counsel supervising the program, associates take a leading role in appeals, often briefing and arguing cases. The firm makes it a priority to ensure that associates have opportunities to conduct appellate arguments. 

Career Development Management. We have two Career Development Counselors responsible for providing individualized career development assistance and guidance to our attorneys. Both counselors are former lawyers and have a combined total of more than 10 years working with Arnold & Porter lawyers. One of the counselors is also a former Director of Career Services and has counseled hundreds of students and alumni on their careers trajectories. Attorneys have the opportunity to work with the Career Development Counselors to design career plans, monitor progress, and chart advancement.

Mentoring. Mentors are a critical asset to an associate's career. We have a formal three-stage mentoring program that pairs associates with more senior attorneys as they progress and advance in their careers. New associates are paired with mid-level associates when they join the firm and maintain this relationship during their second year at the firm as part of the junior associate mentoring program. Mid-level associates are paired with partners and counsel. Mentors and mentees at the firm are offered training on goal setting and career action plans in order to help them work together to achieve the mentee's goals for the stated year. In addition, individual and group events are planned throughout the year to encourage opportunities for social interaction and networking. The firm also has several affinity groups which promote and provide informal and formal mentoring relationships.

Work Assignments. Consistent with the needs and demands of the firm and its clients, associates are assigned to individual cases or matters and often work on several matters at one time. Many associates quickly develop significant, direct relationships with the firm's clients. The firm expects all attorneys—including new associates—to assume responsibility quickly and to grow rapidly in professional competence. It is customary at Arnold & Porter for junior attorneys to have significant responsibilities on matters to which they are assigned. Junior associates can prepare and examine witnesses; take depositions; draft agreements; prepare disclosure statements; draft statements for submission to federal agencies and Congressional committees; prepare pleadings, motions, and briefs in litigation; attend meetings with clients; participate in negotiations and settlement conferences; and contribute actively to the development of overall transaction strategy and major litigation decisions consistent with the needs of the firm and its clients. To insure associates have an opportunity to work on a variety of matters and with a myriad of more experienced attorneys, each practice group and office has one or more work assignment partners to coordinate projects.

Associate Shadowing Program. Each associate is offered up to 50 hours per calendar year to participate in our Associate Shadowing Program (ASP). ASP encourages associates to shadow or observe more experienced attorneys during activities such as hearings, trials, or client meetings. The purpose of the program is to provide associates with opportunities for hands-on legal experiences, under circumstances when it is not appropriate to charge a client for the associate's time, particularly when the associate is an observer.

Evaluations. Associates seek and receive informal professional guidance and evaluation by the partners with whom they work. Once each year, every associate receives a formal evaluation and has an opportunity to discuss the evaluation with a member of the firm's Associate Evaluation Committee.

Associate Development Meetings. Following the evaluation process each year, associates have the opportunity to meet individually with their practice group professional development leaders and other designees from the group to discuss their ongoing development needs, including training, mentoring, and work assignments. For more senior associates, growth and advancement opportunities are also discussed.

Associate Participation in Firm Management. Associates sit with partners and counsel on the Hiring, Pro Bono, Ethics and Practice, and Summer Associate Committees of the firm. In addition, our firm is unusual in that we have an associate serve on our Management Committee. We also have a Committee of Associates, elected by the associates, which serves to enhance communication regarding firm management issues. The Managing Partner of the firm shares the firm's financial results and business plans with all associates in periodic meetings.

In order to most effectively meet the professional development needs of our attorneys, the above-mentioned programs are evaluated periodically and are subject to change.


Arnold & Porter has a reputation as a leader in workplace benefits and work environment. The benefits we offer are a cornerstone of the firm's commitment to our employees. This generous package of benefits, offered to all of our attorneys who work 20 hours or more a week, includes:

  • Medical, vision, and dental insurance for employees, spouses, domestic partners, and children
  • Life insurance and supplemental life insurance; Dependent (spouse/domestic partner/child) life insurance
  • Long-Term Disability insurance and supplemental Long-Term Disability insurance
  • Healthcare and Dependent Care Flexible Spending accounts
  • Health Savings Account
  • 401(k) Deferrals
  • Student loan refinancing program
  • Business travel and accident insurance coverage at no cost to the employee
  • Employee assistance and health advocate programs for employee and employees' immediate family at no cost to the employee
  • Pre-tax transportation program
  • Individual auto, home, personal liability, and pet insurance at discounted group rates
  • Employee referral program
  • Exercise facilities and showers (Washington, DC and Denver)
  • On-site cafeteria available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (Washington, DC and New York)
  • On-site child care center (Washington, DC only) and access to back-up care
  • On-site mother's room
  • On-site sick room (Washington, DC only)
  • "Healthy incentive" bonus
  • Paid Primary Caregiver leave and paid Secondary Caregiver paid leave
  • Paid Critical Caregiver leave
  • Vacation/sick leave
  • Financial assistance with the cost of adoption and fertility treatments