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Professional Development

At Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, we consider our associates to be our future partners, and we treat them as such. Our ongoing professional development and trainings help ensure that WTO associates have the necessary skills to become top litigators and future leaders of the firm.

Hands-On Experience
WTO partners know that the best way for up-and-coming lawyers to become effective advocates is to practice through direct, stand-up experience. Unlike associates in the litigation departments of large, national firms, WTO associates are directly involved in case strategy, lead depositions, examine witnesses at trial, and draft and argue complex motions at the trial and appellate levels. 

To complement all that stand-up experience, WTO is committed to mentorship of our young lawyers. WTO’s Attorney Development Counsel Allison McLaughlin—also a practicing litigator at the firm—coaches associates to:

•    Find opportunities and experiences that match the associate’s goals
•    Develop persuasive writing skills
•    Build stronger relationships with partners and clients 

Additionally, the firm pairs every associate with a more senior associate mentor and, if requested, a partner mentor. These mentors help associates navigate firm life and meet their professional goals. 

Regular Trainings
We offer monthly attorney trainings, often for CLE credit, on a wide range of relevant topics. Recent topics include:

•    Taking & Defending Depositions via Videoconference
•    Building a Better Partnership With the Client
•    Best Practices for Dealing with Difficult Witnesses
•    Negotiation Techniques for Litigators
•    Questionable Discovery Tactics
•    Mediation, arbitration, and settlement strategies and negotiations.

Associate Boot Camp
Each year, the firm offers a day-long “associate boot camp” to all associates who joined the firm that year. The course orients new associates to the firm and imparts philosophies and hard skills to help associates specifically to succeed at WTO. Partners, trial presentation coaches, and consultants present on topics ranging from developing effective legal writing skills to relating with jurors to practicing grit and perseverance. 

Courtroom Performance
WTO has a retainer relationship with the nationally recognized trial consultants at Courtroom Performance, Inc. to help WTO associates hone their courtroom presentation and advocacy skills. Additionally, Courtroom Performance helps WTO attorneys to prepare witnesses for depositions and trials, usually at no additional cost to WTO’s clients.
Ongoing Professional Development Expenses
The firm strongly encourages and supports each associate to attend the highly regarded two-week trial practice course offered by the National Institute for Trial Advocacy. Additionally, each WTO attorney receives an annual budget that can be used for other outside professional development expenses at the lawyer’s discretion.
For more information about WTO's professional development program, email Please address correspondence to Allison McLaughlin, Professional Development Manager.

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