Lawyer Recruiting: Professional Development

McGuireWoods’ comprehensive associate training and development plan is designed to provide lawyers at all levels with the knowledge, skills and abilities to achieve their clients’ objectives. We understand that developing our associates strengthens the firm and continually improves the level of service we are able to provide to our clients. For that reason, we are deeply committed to the professional development of our attorneys.

We know that the best training occurs during real life experiences. Associates receive training through their on-the-job experiences and gain knowledge by working closely with the partners and associates within their practice group. A supervising partner is assigned to each associate to monitor work flow and oversee development. The firm recognizes that formal training and focused development programs are essential in the continuing advancement of our associates. Therefore, on-the-job training is just the start.

Formal Training

Through in-house seminars and CLE courses, we educate attorneys on firm operations, skills development, and practice-specific topics to take the guesswork out of practicing law. These programs cover firm operations such as partnership track expectations, billing and collections, and firm finances; skills development such as client development, client relations and service, negotiations, and writing analysis; and practice-specific areas such as trial advocacy, client counseling, credit and loan agreements, and M&A transactions issues. The firm maintains a Privileged Membership with Practising Law Institute (PLI) to offer a wide array of programs to attorneys. The firm also provides each associate with an annual professional development fund that they may use to select and attend external programs of their choice.


The firm offers retreats to associates and partners which promote collegiality and provide learning opportunities as they progress throughout their careers. The Junior Associate Retreat is held for associates in their second or third year of practice and covers topics such as risk management, the basics of business development and management skills. The firm also holds a Mid-Level Associate Retreat for associates in their fourth and fifth year to discuss the firm’s strategic plan, business development, and law firm economics (among other topics).


Mentors are assigned to first-year associates to ensure they are able to transition effectively into law firm life. For lateral associates, the firm has an informal mentoring program which is designed to allow associates to select the mentor of their choice. Firm guidelines are provided for navigating these relationships, but the program is intentionally kept flexible so associates may define the terms of their own mentoring arrangements.


The firm encourages attorneys to seek and provide informal feedback on a regular basis. Annual evaluations are held each spring for all associates. Individual meetings to discuss performance and goals for the upcoming year are scheduled with the associate’s supervising attorney and the Associates Committee liaison for their practice group. The goal of these evaluations is to provide associates with constructive feedback on how to further his or her career.

Associates Committee

The firm’s Associates Committee promotes associates’ continued satisfaction and professional growth. A partner liaison from each practice group oversees associate issues and ensures constant communication with the committee members. The Associates Committee hosts quarterly informational meetings via videoconference for all associates. These meetings provide updates on topics such as productivity and profitability, training and development, mentoring and compensation.

The Associates Committee assists in recognizing outstanding attorneys through the McGuireWoods Excellence Award. This award recognizes McGuireWoods attorneys who have demonstrated excellence in any of the McGuireWoods Core Values: the development or application of professional skills, service to clients, service to the firm, or service to the community.

Professional Development Department

The Professional Development Department is dedicated to the professional growth of each of our associates. Whether it is a question about a specific training program or assisting with a practice group transfer, the Professional Development Department is ready to assist.

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