Our Academies are the cornerstone of our professional development programming. The academies are offered for associates in their first, third, fifth, and seventh years. There is also an academy for summer associates and one for those who have newly joined our member ranks.
Conducted as multi-day conferences and held in relaxed settings, our academies bring together lawyers from across the firm to network, build camaraderie, and encourage collaboration.
Each academy is tailored for each stage in your career. The focus is on developing management and leadership skills, networking with your peers, and exploring important topics on DEI, wellness, and career satisfaction.
The goal: give you the skills, tools, and perspective to ensure your long-term success.
Each academy marks a clear point—almost like a chapter in your career—to focus on a new set of skills.
They give you time to ask, “Where am I going? What’s next?”
Step back. Take stock. Plan ahead.
The academies offer the chance to step away from the daily grind, take stock of how far you’ve come, and plan the next stage of your career. Packed with opportunities to consult with practice leaders, senior partners, other associates, and professional development staff, our academies keep you energized and intentional as you move forward in your career.
First Year Academy: An Introduction to Law Firm Life
The First Year Academy is designed as an orientation to Big Law life. With sessions on the firm’s mission, strategy, and culture, you’ll leave the first year academy with a solid framework and practical advice for making your mark as a junior associate. You’ll understand what makes Wilson Sonsini an incredible place to practice.
It’s also designed to give you the substantive knowledge and skills you’ll need to hit the ground running on Day 1. Through practice-focused labs facilitated by members and associates who do this work day in and day out, you’ll understand processes and protocols and become familiar with key concepts and resources for your practice.
You’ll also get the chance to network with your fellow associates, members, and management from across our offices. We also include community service projects so you get to know each other outside the office and outside the academy setting (not to mention give back to the communities that have helped make our firm a success).
Third Year Academy: The Step Up to “Mid-level”
The Third Year Academy is all about your transition from junior associate to mid-level associate. The expectations for your role are shifting by this point, and the academy will give you the tools and skills to succeed.
The program will focus on the knowledge and techniques you’ll need to meet increasing expectations from both clients and partners, including sessions on delegation and feedback, cultivating leadership presence, and learning strategies for success as a mid-level associate.
You’ll also develop supervisory and management skills.
Fifth Year Academy: Project Management Skill Building
At this stage in your career, you’re shifting into a more senior role at the firm. So we use this academy to focus on preparing you to lead teams, manage junior associates and paralegals, and drive matters forward.
You’ll start running deals and matters, so relationships also become a major focus, as they will become an even more integral part of your role.
Seventh Year Academy: Toward Partnership and Beyond
The Seventh Year Academy is all about preparing you for the next big transition in your career. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself in five years?
The next stages of your career are bound to involve project and team leadership, client and colleague relationship management, and building your own personal brand.
Whether you seek to pursue partnership, in-house roles, or other paths to career satisfaction, this academy will help you articulate what you want from your legal career and give you the support and skills to get there.
Junior Member Academy
We also host an academy for newly elected members of the firm as well as those who have joined Wilson Sonsini as lateral.
This academy is all about helping you find your path as a new partner, build relationships that will support you in your new role, and give you greater confidence and skills for the next stage of your career.
If you’re a new associate just starting your legal practice, we support you at every step along the way. That means teaching you the nuts and bolts of your practice area from a substantive perspective right as you walk in the door.
We also teach you some of the professional skills that you’re going to really need to succeed in your new position. That includes everything from time management, to how to delegate tasks to those around you, to how to take care of the administrative aspects of the practice of law.