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MLW: Lawyers Shop for Career Path at Their First Job

February 1, 2016

Varnum chair of Recruiting discusses Varnum's 'free-agent' approach for new associates in this Michigan Lawyers Weekly article published January 4, 2016.

Two West Michigan law firms have been taking different approaches to acquaint associates with various practice areas before settling on a career path.

As recommended by a group of first-year associates in 1981, Warner Norcross & Judd LLP offers a ‘job jar program that enables new attorneys to work on varying projects throughout the firm.

Carin L. Ojala, Warner Norcross’ director of recruiting and development, called it a “liberal arts approach.”

“We try to give them projects in as many different areas with as many different partners as possible,” she said. “It helps you to try these areas on before you make a decision on the rest of your career.”

Varnum LLP is in its second year of a program where associates are free agents who serve stints at different practice groups.

Brion B. Doyle, chairman of Varnum’s Recruiting Committee, said the idea came up a couple years ago as part of a broader trend in the firm to organize into more industry-focused groups.

“For the first year or the first year or two, they will be able to work for every group that is exactly what is happening to group,” he said.

Read the article in its entirety: Lawyers shop for career path at their first job

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