Accelerate Career Start

Despite entering in equal numbers, women continue to leave the legal profession at higher rates than men.
The goal of Accelerate Career Start is to improve the retention of first-year lawyers and strengthen the pipeline to partnership and leadership positions. It is the only program of its kind designed to focus on the first-year experience, which often determines the career trajectories of lawyers. 

Accelerate Career Start

It is the only program of its kind designed to focus on the first-year experience, which often determines the career trajectories of lawyers.

Accelerate Career Start believes that a strong foundation during the first few years in practice will have a lasting impact on legal careers. With that in mind, Accelerate is a multi-year program. In the first year of the program, new lawyers will learn critical skills and network through plenary sessions addressing such topics as best practices for starting a legal career, the business of law, and productive communications. In the second and third years of the program, participants will explore career opportunities and challenges with small cohorts facilitated by senior lawyers, including partners and general counsel. 

Accelerate Career Start creates a unique opportunity for associates to practice skills that accelerate the transition from law student to a lawyer while developing strong and diverse networks outside the law firm. Participants will attend an initial program, followed by 4 plenary sessions

or cohort meetings throughout the calendar year, led by expert speakers curated by the Center for Women in Law.  Our goal is to maximize potential, increase confidence, and accelerate the transition from high-achieving law students to high-performing lawyers.

Law firms provide orientation and training on how a law firm works, billing requirements, and how to prepare timesheets. However, this training often falls short of its goal for first-year associates. Accelerate Career Start intends to demonstrate the value to legal employers of investing in early professional development. The result will be more lawyers staying with their firms and in the profession longer and reaching for higher leadership positions. The Center for Women in Law will use the program to understand the impact of the early career experience on participants’ advancement.

Second-year and third-year Accelerate participants get a unique opportunity: year-long access to significant and personalized mentoring from the Center for Women in Law. These sessions or cohort meetings will reinforce the learnings from the first year of program while providing a supportive community to discuss challenges, answer questions, and offer real-time guidance as needed throughout the year. These meetings, co-facilitated by an attorney coach, will serve as further foundation for building networks.