Our Firm's efforts to produce the highest-caliber training for its associates is entering a new era: the Renaissance. Renaissance is the culmination of extensive collaboration between associates, partners, ;and staff to forge a comprehensive initiative to expand on the advancements of several years ago when the Lawyers Evaluation and Assessment Program (LEAP) was instituted to revolutionize the associates evaluation process. Renaissance will replace LEAP and will expand on its successes. It will provide more opportunities for associates to expand their professional skills, enhance their value as attorneys, and be rewarded for their successes. It will also connect evaluations, training, and development efforts with recruiting and marketing to create a single brand for the unique focus of Nelson Mullins on making young lawyers great lawyers.;
"Developing young talent is central to the mission of the Firm," said Robert Brunson, who chairs the Associates Committee. "Renaissance places the development of the associate as a lawyer at the very forefront of the law firm culture and puts into place the incentives and processes needed to take a quantum leap forward in shaping the future of our lawyers.
Renaissance will be the umbrella for current opportunities the Firm provides to appropriate associates to ensure awareness and fairness. According to Mr. Brunson, "We believe a significant gap exists between the programming we provide to enhance associate development and the perception of folks in the Firm and on the street. For example, last year we spent close to $30,000 on individual coaching for associates to help them overcome issues that we felt were impeding their progress. In addition, a number of associates eceived individualized instruction to take their legal writing skills to a higher level. We want people to understand that Nelson Mullins is making a concentrated effort to develop our young lawyers."
Renaissance will also be the vehicle for extending to more associates some opportunities that have previously been successful in only a limited number of offices. An example is Leadership Columbia, which is a 12-month leadership training school sponsored by the Columbia Chamber of Commerce. Similar programs exist in other cities where Nelson Mullins has offices. Through the City-States aspect of Renaissance, the Associates Committee will select the associates who have earned the opportunity to receive this training and who will benefit most from the development and networking it offers.
Each year, a Renaissance Associate, who best exemplified in the prior year the attributes that Nelson Mullins seeks to develop in its associates, will be named at the Firm Retreat. The award criteria includes not only productivity, but quality of client service, training efforts, marketing efforts and successes, Firm committee contributions, recruiting efforts, and diversity. This award will be given in addition to other recognition currently bestowed on the top pro bono associates and marketing contributors. The Renaissance Associate will participate in the Renaissance Weekend, hosted by Phil Lader, that features some of the nation's best-known leaders and thinkers from industry, academia, politics, and entertainment.
Another important example of what Renaissance adds to the Firm is the early and intensive focus on development of rainmaking skills. For the first time, the evaluation process will include pairing of high potential associates with historically successful marketing partners so that the associate will have the funding and support of the Firm to shadow that partner. In collaboration with the Marketing Committee, Renaissance will seek to better identify and train through mentoring and other efforts the best candidates for these programs.
In summary, the program includes the following:
- The Renaissance Plan: Beginning with the associate's introspective analysis, incorporating a full and interactive discussion with the team, the Firm will provide each Associate with an individualized Renaissance Plan -- a detailed, honest appraisal of where the associate stands and road map to their professional goals.
- Apprenticeships: Pairing associates with partners with proven rainmaking skills, outside coaches, and formal mentors to encourage and guide associates to success.
- Academia: Law school is over, but the education is just beginning. Informal coaching with real time feedback on daily projects is the best form of training. We top that off with exciting monthly lunchtime seminars taught by our best legal minds and some of the top instructors from the legal industry. These sessions are presented live and via Web cast.
- Cities/States: Each office will place an associate each year with local or state community leadership training and networking programs.
- Diversity: Renaissance includes a continued deep respect for racial and gender differences. Nelson Mullins is a place for all people who have a passion for excellence and an appreciation for opposites.
- Renaissance Roundtable: A vision for the future requires an understanding of the past and the present. Firm leadership will meet at least once a year with the associates specifically to talk about the Firm partnership, the strategy for the future, and whatever is on the minds of the associates. The Renaissance Roundtable will be a regular part of the Firm Retreat.