For 130 years, Baker Donelson has built a reputation for achieving results for our clients, both nationally and internationally, on a wide range of legal matters. While providing legal services is our focus, it is how we deliver them that sets us apart. Our goal is to provide clients with more than what they have come to expect from a law firm. Baker Donelson commits to a deep understanding of a client’s business, to enable us to anticipate clients’ needs and assist in their decision-making processes.
Our unique approach to providing legal and policy services is enabled by our extensive support structure. As the 82nd largest law firm in the U.S., Baker Donelson gives clients access to a team of more than 650 attorneys and public policy advisors representing more than 30 practice areas, all seamlessly connected across 22 offices to serve virtually any legal and policy need. We provide to our clients a global network of local counsel and other professionals, and have helped our clients take advantage of global opportunities in more than 90 countries spanning six continents.
Through its Professional Development programs, the Firm strives to
- Nurture the drive, increase the knowledge, and hone the skills necessary for our attorneys to reach and remain at the top of their profession;
- Enhance career satisfaction;
- Foster friendships and teamwork among attorneys across the Firm;
- Keep the focus on client service; and
- Develop future firm leaders.
To meet these goals, we provide a variety of training and career development opportunities.
- Litigation. We offer three learning-by-doing workshops for litigation associates: Deposition Skills, Advanced Deposition Skills, and Trial Advocacy. Associates from around the Firm travel to one location to work in small teams. Instructors provide tips, demonstrations, and feedback.
- Transactional Law. We have recently developed and are rolling out new transactional learning-by-doing workshops focusing on due diligence, contract drafting, and deal negotiation.
- Practice Group Meetings and Retreats. The Firm’s practice groups often present programs during their meetings, addressing advanced topics and cutting-edge issues in their practice areas.
- New Associate Orientation. Fall associates attend a two-day workshop shortly after they join where they learn about Firm culture, expectations, and fundamental building blocks that will set them up for success such as how to craft a time entry, productivity tools, legal writing tips, and more.
Virtual Training: We offer a multi-week training series that offers both litigation and transactional law tracks focusing on substantive skills training for our associates, including topics such as “Case Planning and Organization,” “Document Discovery,” “Preparing for and Taking Lay Witness Depositions,” and our Fundamentals of Corporate Transactions Boot Camp series.
In addition, the Firm offers training programs on marketing, business development, client service, and career development as part of the Firm’s BakerGrowth: Associate Pathway program. The Firm also offers outside CLE programs, considerable “Shadowing Time” for junior associates (which counts towards billable hours for associates even when not billed to the client), a one-on-one mentoring program, in-house career coaching, and formal and informal reviews and evaluations.
When you are able to enjoy your life outside of the office, you are able to focus on providing excellent service to clients and one another while at work. That is why we take great measures to provide our employees with programs and perks that help them achieve that balance.
Gender-Neutral Parental Leave Policy: Our policy enables work-life balance by providing 16 weeks of paid leave that full-time and regular part-time employees are eligible to take as primary caregivers surrounding the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child under the age of six. Non-primary caregivers can take three weeks of parental leave in the 40 weeks surrounding the birth of a child, and one week of parental leave in the 20 weeks surrounding the adoption or foster of a child over the age of six.
Since implementing the policy in 2015, more men have utilized the policy more than women. In 2022, nearly 23 percent of the Firm’s total parental leave hours were from men. With men utilizing the policy more than women, the Firm’s policy is the first step to a truly gender-neutral leave policy in practice.
Alternative Work Arrangement Policy: Our AWA policy ensures that any attorney can get the short-term flexibility they need without affecting their career advancement. AWAs include alternative hours, reduced hours, time away from work, or a more remote work schedule. In addition, attorneys who are on an AWA remain eligible for annual raises and bonuses while continuing on their current career track to promotion.
Remote Work Policy: The Firm honors the diverse qualities of each employee and strives to accommodate different workstyles, team structures, schedules, generational attitudes, and life circumstances. Under our Remote Work Policy, associates may formally arrange to work remotely for a specified number of days each week or month, commensurate with the associate’s experience, work demands, and the needs of their team members.
Back-up Child Care Reimbursement Program: We understand that sometimes primary childcare falls through due to unexpected circumstances, and when this happens, our attorneys and advisors are faced with the expense of temporary back-up childcare. The Firm’s “Backup Childcare Reimbursement Program” is designed to help offset the cost of back-up childcare when primary childcare is not available.
Breastmilk Shipment Reimbursement Program: The Firm offers a Breastmilk Shipment Reimbursement Program that can be used to help offset the cost of shipping breastmilk during work-related travel.
The Firm’s other family-focused benefits include:
- On-site new mothers’ room for nursing mothers
- Prenatal education
- Adoption resources
- Child care referral service
- Summer camp referrals
- College planning service
- Elder care referral service
- Financial services
- Family-friendly events
- Back-up Child Care Reimbursement Program
- Fostering resources
FOCUS ON WELL-BEING
The Firm maintains various well-being initiatives, including:
- Programming with licensed psychologist Dr. Rachel Fry
- On-demand confidential emotional and mental health support, provided via the Ginger app
- Self solutions, including flexible hours, EAP, firm-sponsored outdoor physical fitness activities, and in-house gyms/memberships (available in some offices)
OUR DIVERSITY & INCLUSION COMPACT
Our D&I Compact sets the course to become an industry leader in D&I by December 31, 2025 through the following four priorities: 1) Benchmarks and Accountability, 2) Sponsorship, 3) Business Generation, and 4) Recruitment.
- Priority 1: Benchmarks And Accountability – Track and report progress towards specific D&I benchmarks, and tie each leader’s compensation directly to their diverse lawyers’ progress
- Priority 2: Sponsorship – Support diverse attorneys through formal sponsorship by Firm leaders and owners
- Priority 3: Business Generation – Support diverse attorneys through structured business generation training
- Priority 4: Recruitment – Implement a robust D&I Attorney Recruitment Plan and provide additional resources and support for building a diverse pipeline
The Firm is focused on creating pathways to leadership for minority, LGBTQ+ and women attorneys. The Firm’s initiatives include:
- Mansfield Rule Certification: We have achieved Mansfield Rule Certification Plus, which is granted to law firms that have not only met or exceeded the baseline certification requirements but have also successfully reached at least 30 percent diverse lawyer representation in a notable number of current leadership roles.
- D&I Secondments: Positioning diverse associates and junior shareholders for secondment opportunities within corporate legal departments raises their visibility with clients, helps them gain valuable in-house experience and perspectives, and builds long-term client relationships that support their business generation and advancement.
- Menu of Mentorship Options: We are expanding our menu of mentorship options for diverse and female attorneys, which currently includes one-on-one mentoring, mentoring circles, leadership mentors and subject-matter mentors.
- D&I Sponsorship: This program is designed to empower diverse attorneys and provide resources to help them navigate and grow their practices and position them for leadership. These individuals are matched with leading stakeholders in the Firm, who serve as sponsors, for business development coaching, discussions regarding challenges and successes, potential leadership opportunities, and barriers they can help remove.
- Women to Equity (W2E): Our award-winning W2E program is an internal coaching program for women income shareholders who would like to advance to equity in the next three to five years.
- Taking the Mystery Out of Advancement: In an effort to help prepare our attorneys looking to make shareholder in the next three years, we offer a special training series that takes a deep dive into the information, expectations, and considerations that future shareholder candidates need to know.
PRO BONO AND PUBLIC SERVICE
Giving back to our communities is an integral part of Baker Donelson’s law practice and culture. The Firm’s pro bono efforts include:
- ABA Free Legal Answers Program
- Representation of prisoners challenging prison conditions, in conjunction with Southern Poverty Law Center
- Volunteer programs with Homeless Experience Legal Protection (HELP)
- Representing plaintiffs in class action lawsuit challenging Tennessee statutes requiring revocation of driver’s licenses for failure to pay fines
- Representing families fleeing dangerous conditions in Central America in immigration matters
- Supporting initiatives to assist our veteran population with various legal issues
At Baker Donelson, innovation is more than a buzzword – it’s a necessity. We have been growing our suite of innovative solutions for 20 years, making it among the most expansive in the legal industry today. Our lawyers and employees are hardwired to approach the practice of law in new and creative ways so that we can advance our clients’ legal and business goals. By listening to our clients and actively engaging them in discussions, we are able to truly understand the issues they face and deliver value as they perceive value.
- Legal Project Management
- Intelligent Budgeting
- Process Improvement
- Creativity In Pricing
- Flexible Staffing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Knowledge Management
- Online Client Services
- Creativity In Pricing