Boies, Schiller & Flexner Report - July 2015
The Boies, Schiller & Flexner Associate
By Courtney Rockett
As newly appointed Co-chair of the Recruiting Committee, I consider it my charge both to attract, retain, and motivate the most skilled associates in the profession and to maintain our Firm’s unique culture and ethos. Together with my Co-chair, Phil Korologos, I have been honored with the opportunity to help grow the Firm and continue to expand its diversity under the guidance and support of our three vibrant managing partners: David Boies, Jonathan Schiller, and Donald Flexner. Together they have created a highly successful law firm that endeavors to cultivate the best trial attorneys by using a model that is common-sense yet surprisingly unique.
As with most of our competitors, we start with an applicant pool of the highest-performing students from the top ten or so law schools. We then look for applicants whose resumes demonstrate a “go getter” drive and enthusiasm. We look for self-starters, hard workers, and team players with evidence of practical decision making and leadership from a wide range of backgrounds.
Then comes the interview. This is where self-selection starts. Rather than delivering a “sales pitch,” we try to present a candid description of the realities of our practice so that candidates can make an informed decision and the interviewer can get a sense of whether a candidate would succeed at the Firm. We are not trying to find associates who will work here for a few years and then leave. We still consider ourselves to be a specialist Firm looking for teammates who want to build a career with us, and whom we hope to make partners.
We have highly complex cases and expect the world from our associates in terms of quality of output. We also want attorneys who are eager to get into a courtroom or deposition as soon as possible rather than someone who would be more comfortable behind a desk. We look for candidates with an entrepreneurial spirit, charisma, creativity, and a passion for our profession. In return, we provide them with a work environment that will help them excel and a compensation structure that will reward them for their efforts.
We understand that our jobs can be stressful, so we remove the typical superficial stresses, such as face time and dress codes. As long as their work gets done in accordance with the high standards that our clients have come to enjoy and expect, we try to give our associates the flexibility to maintain a reasonable work/life balance and pursue outside interests. That said, when a trial or similarly consuming activity is upon them, we expect as much time and concentration as associates can reasonably offer in the performance of their professional responsibilities.
We expose associates to high-level work as soon as possible while providing proper supervision. As a result, our associates at every stage of their careers tend to have more meaningful practical experience than those at other firms. To ensure competence, we also help our associates understand not just the facts and law pertinent to a case, but also the main drivers of the client’s business or industry, the key players in the litigation, how to think around corners, and the psychological and practical effects of any action taken or strategy or position adopted. This horizontal, collaborative approach results in associates capable of providing a higher level of service to our clients with more comfort and confidence in their abilities than their vertically trained counterparts, who may spend years drafting research memos for other associates and performing document review walled off from the day-to-day richness of practice. This, in turn, is readily apparent to judges and adversaries alike.
We believe that the best way to litigate is to have only as many minds involved as is necessary to win the case, and to have the same associates working on a case from beginning to end. This ensures that the whole team understands even the small, preliminary events when a case gets to trial months or years down the road. This is more efficient for our clients and has the added benefit of maximizing the experience of our young attorneys.
Applicants who are still enthusiastic after learning about our Firm tend to pursue their candidacies here and succeed, while those who turn green at the prospect often decide they would be happier at other firms.
Courtney Rockett is a partner in the Firm’s Armonk office and a Co-chair of its Recruiting Committee.