Careers - BME Associate Experience
“We hire each associate with the hope and expectation that he or she will become a partner.” – Mickey Mixson
Early, Hands-on Experience
The firm offers meaningful work on high-profile litigation matters from day one.
We typically staff cases with a small number of lawyers, most often just one partner and one associate. We believe this model provides us with an exceptional advantage because every lawyer working on the case has detailed knowledge about the law, the facts, the key documents, and the overall strategy driving that matter. That small-team model means our associates are not writing research memos to the file or to a chain of senior associates above them. They are not in a large, segmented team where they miss key events and strategic decisions in their cases. Rather, our associates are taking the lead on writing the briefs necessary to win the case. They are involved in every aspect of the case and are responsible for recommending the case strategy that will lead to an efficient and winning outcome. In this model, when we go to trial, our associates are not conducting Westlaw research from a conference room, they are sitting at counsel’s table and arguing motions and examining witnesses.
Many of our lawyers cite this early opportunity to focus on case strategy, writing, client interaction, and Court arguments as the #1 reason they selected the firm over the very different models of the big law firms.
Because we have the hope and expectation that every associate we hire will become an equity partner, our associates do not compete against each other—they help each other. Talk to our associates, and you will hear about their strong collegial spirit and care for one another. Our associates frequently discuss their cases with their colleagues, readily share tips to quickly advance the ball on a question, and informally collaborate all the time.
This happens because we hire great human beings, but it also occurs because the firm’s model encourages it. Our associates are not trying to best each other to avoid being weeded out. They are not chasing limited partnership spots reserved only for the few. They are not comparing hours each month to see if they out-billed their peers. Rather, our associates work together to win and to support each other. Because everyone can succeed, everyone’s on the same team. And that’s a much more enjoyable environment for practicing law.
The firm devotes an unusual amount of time and resources to the professional development of our associates. We have found that this investment pays off for the firm and its clients. Our philosophy is simple. Because the firm provides associates substantial responsibility, the strength of the firm is strongly correlated with the strength of its associates. In addition to being the right thing to do for the associates and the firm, we also invest heavily in our associates because they are the only source for the firm’s future partners.
The primary way our associates develop is through their day-to-day work. Rather than rely on mock exercises, our associates are capable of efficiently litigating in real life and do so every day.
The firm supplements that robust day-to-day experience with targeted training and development initiatives, including:
- A partner/associate mentor program designed to provide routine support and to identify opportunities for additional experience and growth at each stage of development.
- Monthly internal training sessions led by BME partners or associates devoted to practical litigation topics that hone our associates’ skills. These sessions not only fulfill CLE credit but also convey the philosophy and strategies that have led to the firm’s success.
- Fully funded attendance at outside seminars that provide high-quality litigation training, including a multi-day National Institute of Trial Advocacy (“NITA”) deposition training course and an intensive, week-long NITA trial techniques program.
- Annual written evaluations by all partners for whom you have performed substantial work.
One of the firm’s many unique features is that we do not hire laterals (all associates begin as first-year associates). That means that BME lawyers have spent their entire legal career developing rapidly and litigating to the firm’s exacting standards. This feature also supports the firm’s culture. BME lawyers have built trust and strong working relationships because we’ve all been here for the long haul.
You should consider Bondurant Mixson & Elmore if:
- You want to litigate business disputes in court and are committed to winning.
- You want more and earlier opportunities for brief writing, depositions, hearings, appellate arguments, and trials.
- You’re comfortable as a self-starter and are eager for higher levels of responsibility than most firms offer.
- Rather than being locked into a specialized practice group, you want the flexibility to litigate a variety of matters on both the plaintiff and defense sides.
- You like working in small litigation teams where you see and contribute to the case strategy at every stage.
- You want a law firm model that trains and invests in its associates with the hope and expectation that they will join our equity partnership.
- You want to be in a firm that supports opportunities to serve the broader community in high-profile ways, such as through pro bono litigation, service on boards of directors, leadership of bar and civic organizations, and politics.