New Associates FAQ
What is the partnership track at Preti Flaherty?
Attorneys are hired at Preti Flaherty with the expectation that they will eventually become partners in the firm. The normal partnership track for new associates is 8 years, but the firm recognizes that each attorney develops differently, and has accelerated the partnership track for attorneys who have reached the level of professional development synonymous with being a partner in the firm. The firm also recognizes prior experience and develops partnership expectations on a case by case basis with lateral hires. Associates reaching the partnership level usually become non-equity partners first, although the firm also has promoted associates directly to equity partner. Non-equity partners have a competitive compensation program and participate in most of the firm decisions.
What is the firm's associate training program?
The firm's Professional Development Committee is devoted to the professional and personal development of each of its associates. Early on, associates are provided with a base of training in topics ranging from firm administration and billing, the business aspects of being a lawyer, taking depositions, to conceptualizing the document drafting process. This training is focused on younger attorneys, but continues throughout an associate's career. Each associate's skills and abilities are assessed on a periodic basis by the Professional Development Committee and additional individual training is provided as needed.
In addition to its formalized training process, Preti Flaherty's strength lies in its partners' willingness to fully engage associates in "at-the-elbow" training experiences. Preti Flaherty associates are trusted to work directly with clients and to perform on their own. Preti Flaherty also provides each attorney with a seminar budget to allow associates to attend seminars and other professional development training programs.
How are associates assigned work?
For associates that are new attorneys, Preti Flaherty assigns 50% of their time to one particular practice group. The balance of associates' time is spent working with attorneys in different practice areas. This allows new associates to explore a variety of practice areas before working toward a specialty over time. Associates' workloads are monitored by the Professional Development Committee to ensure that work experiences are balanced and varied. New associates are also assigned both a junior and senior mentor, whose roles are to provide guidance and be a sounding board for the new attorney.
How are associates reviewed?
New associates receive a formal review every six months for the first two years they are with the firm. Thereafter, associates receive a formal review annually. Attorneys for whom they have done substantial work during the year review them and each associate is also asked to review him or herself. The Professional Development Committee also reviews associates based on the quality of their written work, legal analysis, interpersonal skills, and their progress in professional development. Associates perform thorough self-evaluations to develop career and personal goals, and to ensure their continued progress in professional development.
What is the firm's attitude toward client development?
Preti Flaherty recognizes that the key to client development is to first be an excellent lawyer and the firm provides its attorneys with the training and professional development support needed to excel in the practice of law. Preti Flaherty also recognizes that the practice of law is a business and the key to any successful business is continued growth. For those attorneys seeking to market their skills, the firm provides the necessary tools and assistance. Preti Flaherty has an in-house marketing department to provide assistance in preparing promotional materials and organizing conferences and other events. The firm also provides funding to practice groups and individual attorneys to be used in the marketing of their practices.
What is the firm's position with respect to pro bono activities?
Preti Flaherty believes strongly in the importance of giving back to the community through pro bono programs and by being active in community organizations. Although the firm does not have a structured pro bono program, the firm itself is an active sponsor of pro bono legal services through the Volunteer Lawyers Project, and also supports programs for pro bono legal services for victims of domestic violence. Attorneys in the firm have provided pro bono legal services to many individuals and organizations. They participate on boards of many local and national charitable and civic organizations, including Goodwill Industries, Maine Handicapped Skiing, Maine Elder Legal Services, Family Violence Project, U.S. Olympic Committee, Portland Symphony Orchestra, American Red Cross, and the Holocaust Human Rights Center of Maine. They serve as members of town councils, school boards, planning boards and other boards and committees in their communities. Attorneys in the firm have been active in party politics for both major political parties, and have held state and national leadership roles. The firm encourages all of these activities and supports its attorneys in their efforts.
What makes Preti Flaherty special as a law firm?
Preti Flaherty is a firm that contains a diverse group of individuals who bring different life experience and multiple points of view to the table. Although varied, these attorneys all share the common traits of being intelligent, hard working, and creative -- and of providing excellent service to their clients. The firm as a whole has a "can do" approach to meeting clients' needs. Preti Flaherty also believes in the importance of giving back, and encourages the active participation of its attorneys in the local community and in the world at large.