In order to ensure that their lawyers have the most up to date legal knowledge to provide their clients, EKB launched its Professional Development Program (PDP) in 2002. The PDP serves as a comprehensive in-house legal education program and uses a structured approach, integrating practical professional training and mentoring.
Participation in the EKB Professional Development Program begins when one joins the firm, whether as a student or a lawyer, and continues throughout one’s career at the firm. The PDP focuses on providing knowledge and developing abilities complementing those achieved through law school, the Professional Legal Training Course, and Continuing Legal Education.
We recognize that clients deserve and expect superior service from our lawyers and that training and mentoring are crucial to the development of every lawyer. The PDP integrates the principles behind these two ideas into one program. It is designed to help EKB’s students and lawyers stay informed about emerging legal issues and developments. As well, the PDP promotes involvement in the legal community and the larger community, and ensures that client service continues to meet or exceed expectations.
EKB is committed to the ongoing professional development of the firm’s students and lawyers. As part of our Professional Development Program, we have established a skills training strategy that has been tailored to meet their needs.
Courses are taught by EKB lawyers and professional educators who are leaders in their areas of expertise. Training is focused in three major areas:
The PDP supplements Continuing Legal Education curriculum with basic skills courses, such as legal research and writing and trial preparation. We hold regular Lunch and Learn sessions covering current or emerging legal topics and issues.
The PDP offers training to enhance our lawyers’ management of daily interactions with staff and other professionals working either within or outside of the firm.
The PDP offers courses that focus on developing the skills and techniques required for effective client relations.
Mentoring is a key component of the EKB Professional Development Program. The program, which includes formal and informal mentoring, enables mentor and mentee to exchange experiences and gain valuable feedback in a supportive environment.
EKB’s formal mentoring program is based on regular feedback and evaluation. Mentors and mentees work together to develop skills that will assist mentees in achieving professional excellence in their legal practice. Positive encouragement and academic challenge are also important aspects of the mentoring program.
A Mentor’s primary responsibilities include:
- Monitoring the type and volume of work assigned to the mentee
- Monitoring the quality of the mentee’s work
- Discussing how the mentee can build his or her own practice
- Being open and available to discuss legal and practical issues
- Developing with the mentee a Professional Development Plan, which outlines skill development throughout the mentee’s career at EKB
EKB recognizes the importance of sharing ideas and initiating open dialogue about matters related to the legal profession. We encourage informal forms of mentoring, such as lunches, casual meetings and hallway discussions.
In addition to having a partner of the firm act as principal mentor, each summer student and articled student is also assigned an associate mentor. The associate mentor provides each student with an additional point of contact and is available to answer questions and help guide the training of the student.
Traditionally held twice a year, EKB’s Professional Development Program dinners provide lawyers and students with an opportunity to discuss issues outside of the legal profession, as well as current and emerging legal issues. These events include presentations made by special guest speakers.