We place a premium on maintaining a productive work environment that fosters a collegial spirit among our attorneys. Of course, our associates work hard, as do our partners; but we recognize the importance of families and a balanced life. Our expectation is that our associates will work as hard as necessary to provide high quality legal work on the projects to which they are assigned and to develop as highly competent lawyers. As a group, our associates average approximately 1800 billable hours per year.
We strive to provide our associates with intellectually challenging work assignments and to keep drudgery to a minimum. For example, none of our litigation associates are full-time document reviewers, and none of our business associates conduct due diligence day in and day out. Nor are any of our associates locked in the library for weeks at a time.
We have invested significant resources in cutting-edge technology to provide a competitive advantage in the national legal market. This technology permits our attorneys to work from home and on the road. Our skilled computer staff provides training and support for all attorneys.
We have developed part-time schedules to respond to the unique needs of some of our associates and special counsel. We regularly hold firm retreats to strengthen our relationships and plan for the future. Throughout the year, we have other social activities for our attorneys and their families, including anniversary parties, holiday events, and our annual firm picnic. We encourage our attorneys to be involved in the community they serve. Our attorneys serve in leadership positions in numerous charitable organizations. We also benefit from the participation of associates on several important internal firm committees, including the recruiting, technology, and activities committees.
“Foulston offered me an attractive balance: The firm has sophisticated practices in a wide variety of areas and industries while maintaining the warm, friendly atmosphere and mentorship focus of a much smaller firm. At Foulston, our lawyers take ownership of their careers in a supportive, team-oriented environment that provides a wealth of resources—including the chance to work with, and learn from, some of the most talented attorneys in the Midwest.”
~ Kelsey N. Frobisher, J.D., University of Oklahoma, 2015
ORIENTATION AND TRAINING
Our Associates Committee is responsible for our formal orientation and training program. During their first week at the firm, new associates take part in an intensive “nuts and bolts” training session. Every month, all associates participate in an afternoon training session presented by one of our attorneys addressing a particular subject. These sessions address topics including legal ethics, negotiation tactics, legal writing, client relationships, drafting opinion letters, and deposition techniques, as well as substantive areas of the law.
Attorneys licensed to practice law in Kansas must complete twelve hours of continuing education each year. We encourage our attorneys to meet these requirements by attending high quality seminars addressing topics in their practice areas. Our litigation associates may attend multi-week workshops sponsored by the International Association of Defense Counsel.
The best way to learn the practice of law is to “just do it.” Nearly all of our litigation associates interview witnesses and take depositions within a short time after joining the firm, argue motions before the court within a matter of months, and obtain trial experience within their first year. Foulston Siefkin associates rarely write legal memoranda for partners; instead, the partners expect them to prepare the first draft of the brief to be filed with the court. Similarly, our business associates attend client meetings and become involved in complex transactions shortly after joining the firm.
PRACTICE AREA ASSIGNMENT
New associates are assigned to one or two of the firm’s practice areas based on the needs of the firm and the associate’s preference. The practice team areas include the following: tax and business, commercial litigation, general litigation, healthcare law, general business, labor and employment litigation, science and technology, and appellate practice.
Each practice area has a team leader who is responsible for coordinating work assignments for the associates in the group. Associates generally receive work assignments from all of the partners within their practice area.
If an associate expresses an interest in practicing in other areas, the team leaders work together to afford the associate such an opportunity. Many of our associates will work in two or three practice areas prior to becoming partners, and a number of partners are practicing in different areas than the ones where they started out as associates. We encourage our associates to develop areas of specialization within the field in which they practice.
Our associate compensation is competitive with major law firms in the Midwest, and is adjusted annually to reflect the changing legal market. In addition to the annual salary, new associates receive a stipend to cover living expenses while they study for the bar. The firm pays all direct expenses associated with the bar examination, including review courses. Associates are compensated based on their law school graduation date and the length of their employment with Foulston Siefkin. Because we do not want to foster unhealthy competition among our associates, we do not pay productivity bonuses. In the past, the firm has given a holiday bonus to associates.
Benefits available to associates include family health, dental, life, and disability insurance. Associates may participate in the firm’s 401(k) plan upon eligibility. The firm contributes three percent of an associate’s annual salary to his or her 401(k) account regardless of whether the associate contributes to the account. Associates also are eligible to participate in a pretax health and dependent care reimbursement plan.
Our associate attorneys receive frequent feedback from the attorneys with whom they work. Each associate is formally evaluated on a semi-annual basis by the partners with whom the associate has worked. The associate’s practice area leader and a member of the Associates Committee meet with the associate to discuss what he or she is doing well and provide constructive suggestions for improvement.
An associate joining our firm directly out of law school is eligible for partnership consideration six years following the first January 1 he or she is employed by Foulston Siefkin LLP. The length of the partnership track for judicial clerks and lateral hires is determined on an individual basis.
The law firm believes that attracting and retaining a qualified and diverse workforce will allow us to better serve our clients and meet the firm’s mission and goals. Foulston Siefkin has taken a number of steps in its recruiting and participation in professional diversity programs which the firm believes has, and will, continue to pay dividends. Foulston Siefkin is committed to continued diligence in its diversity efforts. Foulston Siefkin is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, pregnancy, age, disability, military or veteran status, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression and/or other protected classifications.
As of January 2019, eighty-five attorneys practice with the firm. Fifty-seven are partners, twenty are associates, and eight are of counsel or special counsel.
Fifty-eight of our attorneys practice in our Wichita office. Twenty of our attorneys practice in our Kansas City office; and five practice in our Topeka office. One of our Kansas City attorneys is a faculty member at the University of Kansas School of Law.
Forty of our attorneys fall into the general category of business attorneys, thirty-six would describe themselves as litigators, and nine practice in the area of employment and labor law.
Our attorneys include alumni from a number of law schools across the country, including Colorado, Creighton, Florida, Georgetown, Iowa, Kansas, Miami, Michigan, Missouri, New York University, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City University, Texas, Texas Tech, Missouri -Kansas City, Virginia, Washburn, and William Mitchell.
If you are interested in pursuing an associate position with Foulston Siefkin LLP, please send your résumé, law school transcript, and a writing sample to: