University of Denver

Law Firm Training Program Going Strong After Two Years

Former Senior Director

A couple years ago, Milbank Tweed announced Milbank@Harvard, billed as a "groundbreaking multi-year training program for Milbank associates" to give them broader context for the commercial matters they handle for clients everyday. This month, David Wolfson, a Milbank partner, talked more about the program with Lee Pacchia of Bloomberg.

“We felt that law schools, while excellent, do not provide essential knowledge you need to be a good lawyers in the market today, and that it was necessary for law firms to do that.”

Interestingly, Wolfson is not necessarily suggesting that law schools do something more. In fact, the Milbank program sounds like it is much more about recognizing and supporting the career-long arc of professional development and providing timely development tools for mid-level associates than it is an attempt to fill perceived gaps left by law schools. Milbank sends all associates to the multi-year training program, but does not begin this process until the fourth year. It focuses on associates who have enough work experience to make sense of the training and who can take what they are learning back to the office and begin applying it immediately. As Wolfson said, "In order to retain the information, you need to have context."

The program focuses heavily on business concepts, but faculty from the law school join, as well. Leadership and management, which Wolfson believes are not taught well in law schools or law firms, are also part of the program.

H/T Bill Henderson, who wrote a great article on the Milbank program back in 2011.