Law students choose to spend their summers at Schiff Hardin and associates decide to practice here because the firm has created an environment where they can both cut their own paths and be mentored. Many of the firm’s partners first met Schiff Hardin during on-campus interviews, first worked at the firm as summer associates, and first learned the art of deals and trial practice as associates here. As Professional Development Partner, Lisa Brown manages the firm’s talent development system, from the initial hiring process through the summer program and each subsequent stage of an associate’s development. She chairs the Law Student Recruitment Committee and is an active member of the Professional Personnel Committee, Diversity Committee, and Women’s Mentoring Group.
Lisa’s mandate is to ensure that the firm’s new lawyers take full advantage of the many opportunities available to them, and that every associate have the opportunity to develop the skills and gain the experience, training, and mentoring essential to success as a partner.
Lisa began her now two-decade career at Schiff Hardin as a summer associate, joined the firm upon graduation from law school, and spent the next ten years working on the firm’s most high-profile and complex litigation matters. Among other representations, she managed all aspects of discovery and trial preparation for a $1 billion trade secret action against a major telecommunications company; all aspects of class certification and expert witness discovery in a class action against a major insurer; and all aspects of fact and expert witness discovery in a multi-million-dollar professional liability action. Through these multi-year engagements, Lisa developed a keen strategic vision, the ability to marshal evidence and integrate large amounts of data, and the skill to leverage that information in aid of creative, effective, and efficient strategies.
Lisa brings these core qualities – strategic focus, leadership ability, and project management skills – to the firm’s professional development structure. With energy and passion, she has built a talent development structure that both parallels and supports the firm’s larger strategic vision.
Schiff Hardin’s integrated hiring and professional development structure is unmatched among BigLaw firms, yet also seamlessly aligned with the firm’s commitment to the long-term success of every lawyer who chooses to practice here.
For law students considering a career at Schiff Hardin, Lisa designed, developed, and implemented – and now oversees – an innovative hiring process that goes far beyond the resume, transcript, and perfunctory first impressions of on-campus interviews. Through a panel interview with four Schiff lawyers, candidates experience first-hand the firm’s collegial, collaborative culture; learn the specific skills and attributes the firm seeks in its associate talent; and receive the platform to share more of their academic, work, and extracurricular experiences than is typically possible with a traditional law firm interview.
For law students who select Schiff as the place to spend their summer between their second and third years of school, Lisa oversees the firm’s summer program, working one-on-one with every summer associate to understand their practice area interests, professional goals, and work style. Throughout the summer, she provides each with candid, constructive feedback on their performance, along with specific, substantive recommendations for their development.
And for both the newest members of the bar starting their careers at Schiff and those joining the firm laterally, Lisa manages each associate’s individual integration into the firm. She ensures they have the right balance of work, finds opportunities in the practice areas they are interested in, and provides them with individual feedback on their performance and recommendations for their development.
Schiff Hardin’s goal when it hires law students and associates is to find the firm’s future partners. Lisa guides associates’ professional development as they progress towards partnership. She helped create and now manages a practice area-specific written core competency structure and a feedback and evaluation system that is transparent, candid, constructive, and highly substantive. Beyond helping associates meet their specific benchmarks, Lisa manages firm mentoring and skills training programs, and throughout provides individual guidance to associates at all levels.