We attribute our success as lawyers to a combination of our knowledge and expertise, and our ability to think and act like our clients. Operating like a business provides us the flexibility to be nimble and adapt to the realities of our clients and their business needs. We are looking for people who know who they are and are proud of it, who are willing to work hard and enjoy doing it, and who crave both the challenges and the rewards of individual enterprise.
Eric Choi – Why NGE?
Our values as corporate citizens are guided by our responsibility to our people, our clients, our communities and our environment. We advance diversity, equity and inclusion, improve access to justice, promote environmental sustainability and support community initiatives at the local level and beyond.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
We believe diversity is critical to our success. Working with people who are different challenges our thinking, leads to better decision-making and sparks innovation. We value and celebrate the unique characteristics, perspectives, passions, and experiences of each and every person at the firm. Our goal is to attract, retain, and promote exceptional people who can help us provide sound and sophisticated legal counsel to our clients. We recognize that the true benefit of a diverse workforce can be felt only when there is a genuine sense of organizational inclusion.
We are deeply committed to pro bono work which has been and will remain a cornerstone of our mission. We are committed to using our legal skills to make life better for others, especially the most vulnerable members of our community. We encourage our attorneys to dedicate at least 50 hours per year to pro bono work and all associate hours spent on approved pro bono work count as billable time, without any cap. Our attorneys provide free legal services to low-income individuals, defend immigration rights, and represent asylum seekers. Additionally, we support nonprofit, charitable, religious, and educational organizations by volunteering thousands of hours of legal services.
We recognize the importance of taking meaningful action to address our impact on our shared natural environment and resources. Our sustainability efforts inform every aspect of our firm’s relationship with its people, communities, and environment. We have embedded environmental best practices into all areas of the firm’s operations in order to reduce our environmental footprint, operate more efficiently and engage all our personnel as we continue to optimize our impact.
Training & Development
The firm has a dynamic program with multiple resources and tools to help attorneys manage their professional development. Through formal mentoring, assignment review partners, practice group leaders, and other informal mentors, each associate has, in effect, a board of advisors. These advisors assist associates in getting the work and experience they need to develop and also provide insight into their career development.
Legal education is an ongoing process at Neal Gerber Eisenberg. Associates and partners alike participate in a program of continuing education that couples practice-specific training with general sessions in areas such as legal ethics, business development and practice management. Topics are as varied as the interests and needs of program participants: negotiation training, writing and drafting seminars, and workshops such as “Communicating With Greater Authority and Presence” and “Getting the Work Done: Delegating, Supervising, and Investing in Talent,” taught by preeminent experts.
Formal training programming for first-year associates begins with the First-Year Foundation Series. The firm provides this first-year curriculum to help associates better understand the firm’s resources, and to offer valuable practical information and guidance so associates can hit the ground running. The First-Year Foundation Series also provides first years with an opportunity to get to know each other and colleagues throughout the firm.
Mentoring is cultivated at every level of the firm to introduce associates to the firm’s unique culture and the way we practice law. Incoming associates are paired with both an associate mentor and a partner mentor. Together, they serve as “go to” people at the firm, available to act as a sounding board, to provide introductions, to give informal feedback and to help strategize about career goals.
The firm uses a competency-based framework made up of practice-specific benchmarks and firm-wide core competencies to provide associates with a roadmap for successful professional development. The core competencies focus on the key drivers for success at the firm, including communication and analytical skills, professional judgment, client service, professional development and firm citizenship. Meanwhile, specific practice group benchmarks specify the technical legal skills to be mastered in each field. In addition to mentors, associates are assigned an Assignment Review Partner as part of the competency framework. The final piece of the framework is the Professional Development Plan used by associates.
Assignment Review Partners
With the implementation of the competency framework, partners and associates are more cognizant of the need to diversify work assignments and spread work equitably to provide all associates with opportunities for growth. Each practice group has Assignment Review Partners who are responsible for 3-4 associates. The competency system allows us to focus on assignments as a way to develop skills and create opportunities, rather than just distribute hours.
Assignment Review Partners meet with each associate at least quarterly to ensure that developmental needs are being met by the projects and matters assigned, including pro bono opportunities and non-billable projects. They receive hours reports from our finance department each month, detailing the hours of the associates in their practice groups. They examine the hours focusing on key issues, such as:
- Number of hours – Does the associate have sufficient work? Are the hours distributed equitably throughout the group?
- Type of Work – Does the associate have the mix of work needed to build core competencies and meet benchmarks? Are certain associates being pigeonholed at the expense of their development? Are stretch assignments equitably distributed?
- Non-billable – Is the associate engaged in productive non-billable activities? Are non-billable opportunities, such as working on pitches, being distributed equitably? Is the associate making connections and strengthening their reputation through non-billable work?
- Key clients and partners – Is the associate getting the opportunity to work with key partners in the group? Are they getting the opportunity to work with top clients in that group?
Professional Development Plans (PDP)
Through this living document, associates are empowered to articulate their professional goals and ambitions and outline the steps necessary to achieve those goals. In the early stages of practice, a PDP will likely focus on developing substantive legal knowledge and skills, such as strong writing skills. As associates develop, their PDP will broaden to include items such as practice management skills and developing a professional identity.
At Neal Gerber Eisenberg, we want you to succeed and we will do everything in our power to make it happen. Because, in the end, your success is our success.
At NGE, we understand the importance of promoting, supporting, and sustaining the well-being of each person in our NGE community. We have developed a multi-dimensional program called Being Well that focuses on physical, mental, social, and financial well-being. Our program includes a year-long curriculum with monthly themes, resources, and training workshops. We cover a wide range of topics, from stress management to digital wellness to substance abuse. We also offer additional resources to help our employees with family planning, fertility complexities, and the care of aging loved ones. Our PLAY Group (Parenting, Lawyering and You) co-sponsors well-being related events.
NALP Directory Profile
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