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Published on December 13, 2020 by Content admin

Gibson Dunn’s recent webinar provided an insight into the firm and its training program through a discussion and Q&A with their Graduate Recruitment and panel of current trainees so if you’re looking for advice on your application or interview, it doesn’t get better than this!

What Sets Gibson Dunn Apart

Gibson Dunn, known for its international presence, has foundations in the US and 20 offices spanning major cities throughout the United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America. The firm prides itself on expertise lying within complex cross-border matters.

The structure of the firm sets it apart by providing an enriching training program with an inclusive culture that all trainees present during the event attested to. The first advantage of the firm’s particular structure is it’s split into transactional practice and dispute practice, which provides trainees with the opportunity to explore more areas of law. The second is the firms free market system and low leverage model, an element that empowers associates to seek out the work they want to be involved in, an arrangement that encourages and supports professional advancement. Trainees praised both elements for their positive impact on the trainee experience and the firm’s overall culture, with the encouragement of working on favoured projects allowing a closer relationship between trainees and more senior members of the firm and therefore supporting a more inclusive environment.


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Trainee Characteristics

Kathryn Edwards, Graduate Recruitment & Development Manager, gave an insight into the characteristics that fit best with the firm’s culture and work. First was sociability. At a busy, commercial firm the role of a trainee can be demanding. Each candidate needs to be able to work well within a team for the success of the firm at large. Second, as a result of the leadership requirements faced within the team arrangement, was an entrepreneurial spirit. This would provide a foundation for a trainee to be able to take advantage of the opportunities available within the Gibson Dunn system, such as through the free market system and the low leverage system. The third was maturity. With the firm’s work being both dynamic and demanding in nature, this characteristic is an asset that enables candidates to juggle different matters, be adaptable and emotionally engaged. The last characteristic mentioned by Kathryn was intellectual curiosity, a characteristic supporting the candidate’s aptitude for the firm’s work, which is principally unprecedented international matters, through good judgement and creativity in both ideas and responses.

Conducting a Trainee Program Virtually

Trainees detailed their experience of a virtual training program at Gibson Dunn as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, stating that their training program, despite the change, hadn’t been hindered by the virtual structure. On their ability to participate within various teams, the trainees talked about the regular Zoom meetings that enabled them to integrate within the team and create the connections and experience. To make the transition from office to home working easier, trainees were given a budget to spend on office equipment and furniture. Trainees were also supported by the professional development resources provided to them throughout the lockdown period, with weekly Zoom meetings with graduate recruitment and a professional development budget for materials, memberships and webinars to assist trainee development.

The Firm’s Diversity Efforts

Gibson Dunn has a variety of initiatives that tackles diversity and inclusivity, and, being an international firm, has both a global diversity committee and local committees to produce and sustain these initiatives. The firm has a ‘prime experience program’ to target individuals from diverse backgrounds. Gibson Dunn has also created multiple platforms to support diversity and promote inclusivity, including their LGBTQ+ group, disability group, wellness group and their multicultural forum. The firm’s Recruitment Manager, Kathryn Adams, held that the firm’s approach to diversity was focused at the recruitment level, in order to produce sustainable development, while also recognising the importance of promotion.

Gibson Dunn’s Pro Bono

Gibson Dunn is also proud of its pro bono work which provides the opportunity for contributing towards real change. The firm has been involved in a number of pro bono projects, including UNSEEN, a charity for the abolishment of modern slavery, and has also supported individual pro bono projects brought in by its associates. The firm’s value for its pro bono work is demonstrated by its credit system, in which it attributes normal billable hour credits to the work. Trainees praised the firm’s work and its encouragement of greater professional development through the broadening of available practice areas.

Watch the full webinar now!

Visit the firm’s profile to find out about training contract and vacation scheme opportunities:

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