Gibbons Launches Apprenticeship Program
First Apprentice Assigned to Firm’s Intellectual Property Department

September 27, 2010
Gibbons P.C. has launched an apprenticeship program to help maximize the value of its legal and client services while also providing a solid training ground for new attorneys. John Cahill will serve as the firm’s first apprentice, working in the Intellectual Property Department.

“Gibbons is committed to anticipating client concerns and offering creative, proactive solutions,” says Patrick C. Dunican Jr., Chairman and Managing Director of the firm. “Given current economic realities, our attorney hiring and training practices should directly address their impact on the fees we bill our clients—though staffing client matters efficiently with the highest quality legal talent remains the most important strategy in controlling costs and increasing value.”

“Clients have clearly sharpened their focus in recent years on how law firms staff their matters, seeking lean, efficient staffing without ‘paying to train’ first-year associates,” says David E. De Lorenzi, Chair of the Gibbons Intellectual Property Department, who will oversee the firm’s first apprentice. “Our apprenticeship program is the latest constructive strategy in our firm’s response to clients’ needs, adding service and value in an ever-changing legal marketplace.”

The new apprenticeship program at Gibbons is designed to be a client-focused attorney recruitment and development platform. It exposes recent law school graduates to the day-to-day responsibilities of law firm junior associates and trains them in a “real world” law firm environment, honing their practical legal and client service skills in a variety of disciplines. apprentices actively participate in firm-sponsored and external professional training programs. With close attorney supervision, they also “shadow” attorneys throughout their assigned practice groups, at the firm, in court, and, when appropriate, at client meetings. While apprentices are assigned a billable hourly rate that is significantly lower than that of the firm’s associates—so that more routine aspects of client matters can be addressed through exceptionally cost effective means—clients are not billed for any apprentice training time, and the program eliminates the need for new attorneys to learn and develop professionally on client time.

Internally, the apprenticeship program allows Gibbons the opportunity to vet associate candidates’ qualifications before making more substantial firm investments into their training. It also provides excellent mentoring opportunities for junior and mid-level associates.