Why is Accelerate: First-Year Associates™ Important?

Accelerate: First-Year Associates™ creates a unique opportunity for women associates to practice key skills that will accelerate the transition from law student to lawyer while developing strong and diverse networks outside of the law firm.

Participants will attend an all-day program led by expert speakers at the University of Texas School of Law focusing on the following topics:

Grow Your Mindset

Expert Speaker:  Charlee Garden, Ph.D., Founder, Garden & Co.
Dr. Charlee Garden has consulted with investors, business leaders and companies for over 15 years. For the last four years, Charlee has taught mindset to the top executives at Google.  She works at the intersection of business and psychology, drawing on both disciplines to inform strategic decisions and effect beneficial changes to an organization’s leadership, capabilities, employee engagement and risk profile.  Charlee has a unique talent for moving leaders forward.  For the Accelerate participants, Charlee will provide insight and interactive conversations about the importance of mindset and how individual attorneys can grow their mindsets to maximize their potential, increase confidence, and accelerate the transition from high-achieving law students to high-performing lawyers.

Understanding the Business of Law

First-year attorneys are not equipped to think like a partner yet.  Law firms provide orientation and training on how a law firm works, billing requirements, and how to prepare time sheets.  However, the training often falls short of its goal for first-years associates to understand the business of a law firm.  During this conversation, Accelerate participants will gain a closer look at how a law firm functions, the roles of the management committee, and where junior associates fit in the equation.  As a result, Accelerate participants will have a more clear, top-down view of the law firm practice that will guide their progress both as they develop their skills within the law firm and also open their minds to consider the future possibilities of business development and growth within the law firm.

Communicate with Impact

Speaking confidently – or not – can make or break a young lawyer’s career. Professor Paula Monopoli will highlight verbal and nonverbal communication styles and mannerisms that may undermine the appearance of confidence and provides participants with practical strategies for communicating effectively. Accelerate participants will learn ways to present research in an effective and organized manner, exhibit ownership over an assignment, ask for clarity when necessary, and respond confidently when unsure of the answer to a question. During the post-lecture breakout session, faculty practitioners will coach participants towards cleaner, tighter speech by, among other things, dropping filler words such as “um”, “uh”, and “like” and removing any upswing or questioning tone from the end of declarative sentences. As a result, Accelerate participants will learn how to communicate with greater impact within their organizations to have their voices and ideas heard.

Develop Your Practice

Client satisfaction and business development are fundamental skills all attorneys must cultivate for a successful career within a law firm. The Develop Your Practice session will provide an opportunity for Accelerate participants to better understand how to demonstrate their value during their first year, how to reach out to partners and obtain the type of work that will lead to advancement within the law firm, and how to create an action plan for business development and future growth.

Follow-Up Roundtable Discussions (quarterly meetings)

Accelerate participants are given a unique opportunity – year-long access to significant and personalized mentoring from the Center for Women in Law. The roundtable discussions will reinforce the learnings from the initial program while providing a support community to discuss challenges, answer questions, and offer real-time guidance as needed throughout the year. The roundtables, co-facilitated by an attorney coach, will also serve as a foundation for building city-wide networks.


View details for the 2020 Accelerate Program and register here.