Training and Development

Business Education Program – The “Mini-MBA”


Traditionally, incoming first-year associates from all offices participate in a full-time business and finance education program shortly after their arrival at the firm. The Business Education Program comprises a curriculum with faculty directors from Columbia Business School covering advanced-level finance, corporate structures and other business topics relevant to Debevoise clients, and also provides overviews of the capital markets system and global economic pressures faced by clients. In addition, most of the case study examples are from companies in the main industries we represent. It is a highly interactive and demanding program that includes preparatory reading materials and exercises, daily team homework assignments and learning checks.


Departmental Level Training


Each year, we offer several hundred training programs for associates, comprising one of the most comprehensive training programs of any law firm in the world. All professional training is based on our Development Model, which was created internally by a team of senior partners and professional development staff to ensure a systematic and comprehensive approach to lawyer development.


Each fall we run a lawyering orientation to introduce you to the firm and the practice of law at Debevoise. Topics include the firm’s culture, basic lawyering skills, diversity and inclusion at Debevoise, legal ethics, and how to establish and maintain ethical and effective relationships with clients.


New corporate and tax associates attend a full-time, one-week program led by partners and other senior lawyers which covers the drafting and negotiation of acquisition documents and the art of shepherding a transaction from initial negotiations through closing. Our curriculum continues for second-year associates with a series of sessions designed to convey practical, substantive information that every associate should know about various corporate practice topics.


New litigation associates attend an intensive program soon after their arrival, with participatory sessions on the life cycle of a litigation matter, information management, research and fact development, developing a core theory of a case, pretrial discovery and lawyer-client privilege, and an introduction to drafting pleadings for litigators. In addition, the litigation department conducts writing workshops, a litigation skills seminar for second-year associates and an in-house trial workshop for more senior litigation associates to build stand-up advocacy skills.


Debevoise hosts department and practice lunches where lawyers discuss substantive developments and exchange insights about issues affecting clients in their respective practices.


Milestone Programs


Our milestone programs help you navigate important transitions in your career.


The mid-level program focuses on skills critical for third-year associates who are taking on greater responsibility for delegating and supervising, advising clients, understanding law firm economics and managing their career horizons. On a biannual basis the firm offers a 10-month mid-level leadership program to provide additional, intensive training appropriate for mid-level associates. The program includes training on effective communication skills, providing feedback and mentoring and inclusive leadership skills.


A 10-month senior associate leadership program for fifth-year associates and up explores leadership behaviors and skills and common challenges that arise in managing projects in a team-based practice. The senior leadership program provides more advanced training on leading teams and inclusive leadership skills.


A new partner orientation program covers partners’ roles and responsibilities, including firm governance principles, economics and risk management, personal practice planning, and coaching and mentoring associates.


Advanced Programs


Throughout the year, the firm’s departments and individual practice groups conduct focused, advanced training programs designed to help you enhance your substantive knowledge (of the law and of the industries in which our clients do business), stay ahead of the curve and refine your technical skills. Many of our training programs are recorded and available in an online library for the convenience of “just-in-time” or “refresher” training. This past year, we introduced programs on taking ownership of one’s career for attorneys at all levels. In addition, during the time of remote working, we have provided small-group intensive deposition skills programs for our litigation associates.


Debevoise is an accredited provider of continuing legal education (CLE) programs for its lawyers in the State of New York. As a result, lawyers admitted to the New York bar can satisfy most, if not all, of their mandatory CLE requirements by attending in-house programs. Our lawyers also participate in outside CLE programs, including those sponsored by NITA, the City Bar Center for CLE, the Practising Law Institute (PLI) and ALI-ABA, among others.