Cozen Tops Summer Associate Satisfaction List
Associates also want to be trained, not just in the law, but in business management and marketing, McGuinness said.
What all of that boils down to for Cozen O'Connor, according to McGuinness, is getting its young associates in front of both senior partners and clients from the beginning.
"We walk the walk" when it comes to professional development, McGuinness said.
Young associates, including summer associates, are not shuttered away doing research at Cozen O'Connor. Instead, McGuinness said, they work with partners and other senior lawyers on client matters.
But in a post-recession era when corporate legal departments are strapped with increasingly tight budgets and consequently are keeping a more watchful eye on how work is staffed, hasn't it become more difficult to keep less experienced lawyers involved in actual client service?
McGuinness said that while he has encountered some pushback from clients, they've generally been receptive to the firm's efforts to provide real training to its young attorneys.
The key, McGuinness said, is to communicate with the client, rather than simply sending out a bill with a lot of unaccounted-for time.
So, for example, when McGuinness had a young associate work on a matter for a fitness club client of his that involved filing a non-immigrant visa application for a professional athlete, he was upfront with the client that the associate would be meeting with the applicant and filing the actual application.
"The client understood what [the associate's] role was going to be," McGuinness said. "I explained that the associate was going to be doing a lot of the legwork and the client was pleased that a smart, motivated person was going to do this."
McGuinness said clients generally appreciate the firm's efforts to train its young attorneys by providing real client interaction under the supervision of senior partners.