The skills and expertise of our attorneys are the most critical element of the firm's success. Our dedication to continuous professional excellence is reflected in the variety of training and development opportunities available to attorneys at all levels.
Training Bank Program
Barley Snyder's Training Bank is a unique program that enables associates to devote a considerable amount of time to training and mentoring activities within the framework of our billable hours expectations. One of our guiding principles is the importance of partners providing the training and mentoring associates need to grow and develop the necessary skills to become excellent attorneys. The purpose of our Training Bank program is to give associates maximum exposure to useful training opportunities, including attendance and participation at hearings, depositions, transactional activities and marketing events. What is special about this program is that Training Bank hours are considered billable hours and count toward an associate's annual billable hour goals. The program is designed to maximize the benefits of the mentoring and training process while preserving time for participants to seek professional development opportunities. In general, the Training Bank is available to all associates with three or fewer years of experience within our firm.
A colleague or mentor often is the best resource for development of an attorney's professional skills and expertise. The firm's internal training program, Barley University, captures this resource by providing regularly scheduled training, utilizing the breadth of experience and expertise within the firm as well as taking advantage of outside speakers for particular topics. Barley University is a monthly series of lunch meetings geared toward sharing information about a variety of topics, including substantive legal issues, client and community service expectations and opportunities, ethical issues and new technologies. These sessions are conducted in a relaxed, informal setting and provide an excellent way to enhance knowledge, share information, socialize and stay current on the issues that may affect one's practice.
The firm has developed a comprehensive associate evaluation program, monitored by the firm's Associate Committee. The Associate Committee oversees matters of associate development, supervision and compensation and is made up of partners representing the firm's practice groups. The evaluation process is conducted throughout the summer months, when the committee obtains and evaluates information gathered from each associate, practice group leaders and other partners to provide the most meaningful, comprehensive and goal-oriented feedback. The firm's philosophy is to reward top performers with merit increases that recognize superior performance, rather than a lock step-type compensation system for associates. Measurement against partnership criteria is also part of the evaluation process, and is regularly reviewed with associates beginning early in their careers. We expect the highest level of excellence from our associates, as we consider our associates to be potential future partners. Through partner supervision and mentoring and our comprehensive annual associate evaluations, our goal is to ensure that associates understand exactly what is needed to achieve partnership and have the tools to do so.
Continuing Legal Education
We strongly encourage and support outside development opportunities through continuing legal education programs. Each year, associates work with their supervising partners and practice group leaders to cultivate a personal plan that will identify the educational opportunities most beneficial to their professional growth.
Tuition Reimbursement Program
We offer educational assistance to associates who have been with the firm at least six months and who are interested in pursuing additional education relevant to their professional growth at the firm. Assistance is provided for approved programs offered by institutions including accredited colleges, universities and continuing legal education courses. Reimbursement covers actual costs of tuition, registration fees, books and other materials up to $5,000 per year.
Involvement in the community is one of Barley Snyder's core values and we encourage every attorney to become active in community organizations from the very beginning of his or her professional career. Our firm has a long history of board service to organizations within its communities, and we encourage our attorneys to develop leadership skills and help the communities in which we are located by participating in professional and charitable organizations throughout their careers. Most of our attorneys are active in at least one community organization and many hold leadership positions in numerous organizations. The firm actively supports involvement in community service and professional organizations and encourages attorneys to seek opportunities to serve.