When you talk with associates at Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele, you are immediately struck by how they feel they’re working at a warm, caring, nurturing place. Associates will tell you how “It’s not a pressure-packed place.” “It’s young. Everybody is very approachable.” “It’s a family. They treat you like a part of a family.” “It’s growing very quickly, so there are lots of young associates. You can commiserate with them if you stumble. If you say, ”What the hell did I do?’ there are lots of ears to hear you. And you help others.” As one associate explained it, “I’ll have interviewees tell me, ”I don’t want to get lost in the shuffle.’ That doesn’t happen here. You work in very small teams, and the doors of partners are always open.”
“It’s a great place if you like the idea of having a coach.”
Associates rave about the support that they get from the partners. They explain that in each of the firm’s three practice groups – Litigation, Workers Comp, and Contract Liability – each associate works with “four people or so.” The firm “makes an effort to limit the number of sources from which a junior associate receives assignments,” and “at the very least, junior associates have a primary source of supervision by either a partner or a senior associate.” Associates say that they get lots of mentoring from their supervising partners. “They are phenomenally accessible at any time.” One associate laughingly tell how “Sometimes you’ll see three or four associates standing outside a partner’s door, waiting to ask a question. Anything you want to know, the partners are happy to answer.” Associates also talk about their “comfort zone” and “safety net” which comes from the feedback they get. “When you draft letters, propound discovery, they tell you what you did wrong and right,” and “Since the partners are young, there’s no generational disparity. You’re getting help from people you can identify with.”
Associates describe the firm as “up and coming” and talk about the perception that work is coming in “like crazy.” Associates say that “We get all kinds of clients, insurance companies mostly, doing personal injury defense work,” but the firm is “very diverse, and getting all kinds of clients all the time, from big companies to start-ups, and the projects are all over the board -product liability defense, employment discrimination defense, workers comp defense, lots of road construction stuff, zoning, real estate, lots of estate planning. There’s lots of variety.” Associates rave about the fact that “If you research a motion, or anything else you’re in on the end product.” One associate recalled how “The first day I was here, I sat in on a motion for abuse of litigation, then I got to research that issue.” The firm even has new associates handling their own cases very early in their careers, in the form of “small things, traffic court civil stuff. You handle those right away under the review of a senior partner. You ask for strategy, and then you go and do it. You ask things like, ”Are these the right interrogatories?’ and you get feedback at every step. You handle it, and they review it.” Associates uniformly feel “There’s no better way to learn to be a lawyer than by actually handling real things, yourself, with excellent backup.” Associates also appreciate the fact that “The partners don’t cut us out of client development. We often go to lunch or dinner or golf with prospective clients. They make you feel like part of the team.”
Associates find that their principal contribution to helping run the firm come through recruiting. Associates do the “initial screening of new recruits,” and at the “annual recruiting session, they bring in the interviewees, and the associates and partners all have input on who comes in. Of course the partners have the final say, but they ask us for what we think, and they take that into account. They’re very sensitive that we’re going to be working with new people, and so they let us help pick them out.
On administrative matters associates find the partners “very responsive,” in everything from the right to “hire your own secretary” to issues involving how the office is run. One associate tells of how the associates wanted changes made in the way filing was done. “The partners asked the secretaries to submit a solution, and then we all met together to resolve it. They pay attention to things that concern us, even small things.”
“America’s Greatest Places to Work with a Law Degree”
by Kimm Alayne Walton, J. D.: