Oct 22 2019

The practice of law is learned through experience. There are many aspects of the profession, particularly involving client service, that simply can’t be taught in a classroom.

Womble Bond Dickinson’s Transatlantic Lawyer Network aims to accelerate that learning curve and equip young attorneys with the best knowledge possible. Now in its second year, the program brings together eight associates from the UK and US for a for a collaborative learning experience. This year’s class project will focus on the influence that innovation and technology are having on the delivery of legal services, and the group will present their findings to Womble Bond Dickinson’s Global Board next year.

The Womble Bond Dickinson Transatlantic Lawyer Network Class of 2019 is:

  • Imogen Armstrong (Southampton, Corporate and Commercial)
  • Kate Ashworth (Newcastle, Planning & Infrastructure)
  • Matar Diouf (Charlotte, Corporate & Securities)
  • Kristin Lamb (Houston, Trademark, Copyrights & Transactions)
  • Thomas McCall (London, Dispute Resolution)
  • Oliver Rickett (Newcastle, Corporate and Commercial)
  • Nick Verna (Wilmington, Capital Markets/Bankruptcy)
  • Katie Zimmerman (Raleigh, Mass Torts/Tobacco)

The 2019 Transatlantic Lawyer Network class spent Sept. 30-Oct. 4 in Charlotte, NC and Charleston, SC for an intensive week of mentoring from veteran Womble Bond Dickinson partners and some of the region’s leading industries. This year, the class was mentored by Will Bonas, Managing Associate in the Newcastle office, and Sarah Motley Stone, Partner in the Charlotte office.

Stone said, “The Transatlantic Lawyer Network program encourages innovation and collaboration—skills that are not taught in law school, but have a direct impact on the firm and its clients. I’m excited and honored to help cultivate an atmosphere of creative problem-solving and relationship building, which I hope will stay with our Transatlantic Lawyer Network class throughout their career.”

The week included in-person meetings and on-site visits to such notable area companies as Collins Aerospace, Michelin, Seal Software and Tech Talent South.

In addition, panels of Womble Bond Dickinson partners in both Charlotte and Charleston met with the Transatlantic Lawyer Network participants to discuss their practices and the challenges they and their clients face—with a focus on how technology has and will continue to change the practice of law. Participants also spent time with Womble Bond Dickinson associates to explore the nuances of how the legal profession differs between the US and UK.

Paul Harvey, Head of Knowledge and Legal Training for Womble Bond Dickinson (UK), and Bill Koch, Chief Knowledge Officer for Womble Bond Dickinson (US), discussed the firm’s use of advanced technology to improve client service.

The week also included a tour of Blackbaud, a world leader in cloud software solutions. Blackbaud is a firm client based in Charleston.

“The attorneys heard from one of Blackbaud’s in-house attorneys about the many technological and software advances this tremendous 3,400-employee, international software company (and firm client) is working on today. The tour was arranged by its General Counsel, Jon Olson,” said Womble Bond Dickinson Partner Stephanie Few, who works closely with Blackbaud.

“The Transatlantic Lawyer Network is an exciting example of how we are investing in developing young talent,” said Cindy Pruitt, Chief Talent Officer for Womble Bond Dickinson (US). “Our transatlantic capabilities are a major benefit for our clients, and our TLN participants are learning to be leaders in providing seamless transatlantic client service.”

Next, the Transatlantic Lawyer Network moves across the Atlantic. The eight associates will reconvene in March 2020 in the United Kingdom for another week of professional development training.

 

In Their Own Words

“We are really fortunate to be at a firm that, while large and global in scale, has smaller offices and opportunities like the Transatlantic Lawyer Network to branch out and meet others in a way that many large firms don’t or can’t facilitate. I look forward to building on those relationships and networks to collaborate with more attorneys on business development and client service in the future. I’m also excited to dig into our technologies to learn how to enhance the efficiency of my practice and help others do the same.” 

Kristin Lamb

“For professional growth, I think it forces me to think of about the future of practicing law, and provides a great opportunity to internally network within the firm with more mid-level associates and junior partners that I have not had an opportunity to work with.”

Nick Verna

“It was great to get to hear clients’ perspectives on how they use technology and what they expect from outside counsel with respect to technology. It was also interesting to visit Blackbaud’s headquarters to get a first-hand look at the collaborative, innovative (and just cool) layout and design of a tech company office….The greatest benefit of the program is getting to know the attorneys in the other offices, not only our UK colleagues but also the US attorneys we don’t otherwise have much of a chance to interact with. One of the group’s key takeaways from the week was while technology is a useful tool, personal relationships still really matter, and the program gives us a great chance to build relationships.”

Katie Zimmerman