CareeRS is Reed Smith’s firmwide, competency-based career development program. It is designed to provide our lawyers, paraprofessionals and staff with the transparency, development opportunities, feedback and support they need to help them achieve their individual career goals at Reed Smith, while at the same time helping the firm provide the best legal representation to its clients. For more information on CareeRS for our staff, please click here.

For our lawyers, the CareeRS program has four key components: Competencies, Development Options, Performance Reviews, and CareeRS Advisors.

"CareeRS succeeds in articulating the link between personal development and career progression. Lawyers at all levels now have the opportunity to discuss their expectations against the firm's expectations at the various stages of their careers."
Associate, London


Today, being a great lawyer and succeeding in a global, diverse firm requires more than simply possessing excellent legal knowledge and skills. It also requires being a well-rounded business professional who works effectively as part of a team, interacts well with clients and colleagues, is a good firm citizen, can lead a team through a case or deal, and develops and manages ongoing client relationships. Reed Smith's clients demand this, our business requires it, and the firm's competency model shows how these capabilities apply at each stage of one’s career. The competencies “wheel,” depicted above, outlines the competency areas within which all Reed Smith lawyers are expected to develop.
"The CareeRS program represents a major investment in the future of this law firm. By taking a focused, milestone-oriented approach to professional development, CareeRS will equip our associates with both the competencies and the confidence to build on Reed Smith's legacy of excellence."
Partner, Philadelphia

"I am a big fan of our 'competencies.' They articulate in a qualitative way what it takes to be a successful lawyer at Reed Smith, no matter in which office you might sit. Not only are they good for us, but they are also good for our clients, ensuring a uniform approach to service delivery, to relationship management and to lawyer development across the Reed Smith network."
Partner, London

Development Options

To help associates progress against the competencies, CareeRS provides a wide variety of development opportunities, from training programs mapped to the nine core competencies, to on-the-job development, pro bono opportunities, client and intra-firm secondments, online resources, and more.

The competency-based core curriculum offers programming tailored to the unique requirements at each level, including each level’s own “Academy” or “Core Programmes.” The junior, mid-level and senior associate Academies/Core Programmes are designed to both orient associates to the competency requirements of that level and provide training in areas key to that level—a broad range of workplace and client-service skills for junior associates, people management and self-development for mid-level associates, leadership and matter management for senior associates.

Notably, while the core curriculum includes all-important substantive and legal-skills training, it also encompasses training on competencies in the other three quadrants – Citizenship, Business Skills and Clients. For example, to ensure that our lawyers are able to “speak the business language” of our clients, Reed Smith lawyers can attend an in-house, mini-MBA course designed to help them understand core finance and accounting concepts, as well as strategy, competition and organizational dynamics.

All of the programs are offered through Reed Smith University and are taught by both in-house faculty (lawyers and senior staff) and outside experts.

"Law schools do a nice job of teaching us to think like lawyers but they don’t always teach us the specific skills that we need to service our clients or manage our careers. This great program does both."
Partner, Philadelphia

Performance Reviews

The Performance Review Process is designed to assess an associate’s annual performance against the nine competencies. This alignment with the competencies, coupled with substantial partner, management and human resources involvement, results in comprehensive, descriptive and developmentally oriented reviews for all associates – reviews that help associates not only look back to reflect on past performance, but also face forward to set goals for the coming year and beyond.
"It is so important to have CareeRS to provide guidance on what it means to be a lawyer, moving up through the ranks, and what your ultimate goal is. At a traditional law firm, you would start work at the firm, work as hard as you can, and maybe eventually become partner. You wouldn’t have a clear idea of why you want to do that or what you have to accomplish in order to get there. At Reed Smith, the CareeRS program helps answer questions like 'Do I want to be a partner?' and, 'If so, what paths can I take to achieve that goal?'"
Associate, New York

CareeRS Advisors

To support associates as they use the competencies and apply them to their own performance, each associate is assigned a “CareeRS Advisor”—a partner who is ready, willing and able to advise the associate on navigating his or her career at the firm and how to best utilize the many development opportunities available to them. The CareeRS Advisor program guarantees that every associate has someone he or she can turn to for career development advice. CareeRS Advisors are approved by practice group/department leaders and are specially trained on how to advise associates regarding the competencies, in particular, and career development, in general.

For more information about the CareeRS program, please .