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Day-to-day associate life at Calfee is different from that at many firms. Junior attorneys who come to the firm join the practice area that best fits their interests and aptitudes. Unlike other firms, Calfee associate time is not controlled by a centralized body. Associates receive assignments directly from partners and senior associates, and each associate controls his or her own schedule and the matters to which he or she is assigned. The Calfee system allows each associate the freedom to discover areas in which he or she may want to develop a sub-specialty and to have some control over the types of matters worked.

Associates at our firm don’t wait years to handle front-line responsibilities on transactions or cases. Rather, each attorney works on matters of varying sizes and complexity from the start. This ensures that even junior associates get the opportunity to handle responsibilities including client meetings, depositions, closings and trials in smaller matters early in their careers. Associates have a chance to put into practice the skills they are observing and learning from more senior attorneys in more complex cases and transactions where they are part of a larger and more experienced team.

To further assist in associate development, the firm encourages associates to select, at the firm's expense, continuing education options that will develop specific skills or areas of knowledge each junior associate considers important to his or her own practice.

The benefit to Calfee of this professional structure is well-trained and competent attorneys at all levels. The benefit to junior associates is great experience and the opportunity to take control of their professional development.

Training and Mentoring

At Calfee, we are firm in the belief that the best training comes from hands-on experience and guidance from partners and other associates. To this end, the firm offers a structured training program for new associates. These sessions are designed to address basic skills and gain an understanding of related practice areas. Training session topics include legal writing, negotiation, ethical issues, due diligence, and drafting of pleadings.

In addition, we recognize that mentoring can come from many sources and encourage associates to seek mentoring relationships. All new associates participate in the Supreme Court of Ohio’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer Mentoring Program. Upon completion of this program, associates are assigned partners within their practice group to serve as mentors. The mentor’s goal is to help the associate focus on career development.

Unique Rewards

The benefits of having significant responsibility in substantive work may be easy to understand. However, Calfee associates also experience other, more intangible benefits. Our Associates Committees is primarily comprised of associates and newly elected partners, enabling associates to have a significant voice in the development of the talent of their practice areas and the quality of associate life at the firm. Associates are invited and encouraged to get to know and entertain summer associates and prospective clients through lunches, dinners and other social outings at our expense. The firm also sponsors an associates’ outing each year, where all non-partner attorneys are invited to attend various events throughout the Cleveland area.

All of these features of associate life at Calfee demonstrate our philosophy about the development of young attorneys at our firm. Associates will be most effective contributors to the firm over the long term when they are given significant responsibility early in their careers, supplemented by formal training; when they are afforded an active voice in the practice and a chance to develop social networks both within the firm and in their communities; and when the firm makes it possible for them to successfully integrate work with time for relaxation with families and friends outside of the office.

The Calfee system allows each associate the freedom to discover areas in which he or she may want to develop a sub-specialty, and to have some control over the types of matters worked.

In collaboration with City Visitor Communications, Calfee's Northeast Ohio Relocation Guide provides a wealth of information for those interested in the area but are unfamiliar with the local amenities.

Northeast Ohio Relocation Guide

I joined Calfee for two primary reasons. First, I was impressed by the firm’s entrepreneurial spirit. I have felt empowered to guide my own career while also receiving the firm’s full support for the development and growth of my practice. Second, I think Calfee’s culture attracts a particular type of lawyer – individuals with strong legal skills who recognize the importance of teamwork and building long-term relationships with colleagues to deliver great client service. 

Adam Pretty, Partner (joined Calfee in 2021 as a lateral Associate and elected Partner in 2024)
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