Belin McCormick strives to maintain a balance between sophisticated work and a high quality of life. We hire attorneys who have distinguished themselves within their practice areas. We value the opportunity to work with some of the finest attorneys in the Midwest without sacrificing the intimate setting of a medium-sized law firm and the lifestyle the Des Moines metropolitan area provides.
We keep our billable target at the moderate level of 1850 hours per year in an effort to allow our associates to successfully balance their professional and personal lives. While some firms will advertise a low billable hours requirement only to assign more work than can reasonably be accomplished within that number of hours, our target of 1850 hours is our true expectation. We find this target maximizes each attorney's work product without compromising quality.
We hire each law student and attorney with the expectation he or she will develop quickly and become a shareholder of the firm. Our attorneys are considered eligible for election to shareholder after 4.5 years at the Firm. This short "partnership track" is designed to maximize harmony between our newer and more experienced attorneys as well as to reward associates for developing the skills necessary to practice law on their own. We strive to train and mentor our newer attorneys by providing them with as much responsibility as possible. We find the best training is provided when attorneys have their own cases and deal with a reasonable level of supervision and mentorship. Associates are assigned mentors to help assure rapid professional development. In short, we want our associates to succeed and work to make that possible.
Belin McCormick recruits nationally. We strive to attract and hire the best candidates in Iowa and from top national law schools. In addition to graduates of the University of Iowa and Drake University law schools, we count among our attorneys graduates of the University of Michigan, Harvard, Georgetown, Columbia, the University of Chicago, Boston College, the University of California at Berkeley and other top law schools. We are actively seeking diversity in our workplace and encourage interested minorities and women to apply.
Successful applicants often distinguish themselves within their law school communities through involvement in various activities outside of the classroom, including, but not limited to, law review and moot court. Many of our attorneys hold advanced degrees in addition to a law degree or completed a judicial clerkship.
Our summer program is designed to provide law students with a realistic picture of what it is like to work at Belin McCormick. The Firm does not place an emphasis on billing. Instead, the summer program’s primary goal is to provide summer associates with a learning experience.
We focus our summer program on students completing their first year at law school. Typically, we attempt to provide a broad range of projects to expose summer associates to a variety of practice areas. Summer associates receive real work, including the opportunity to draft briefs, motions, and contracts, in addition to more traditional research and writing projects. Although we try to tailor the summer experience as much as possible to a student's declared areas of interest, we believe it is important that our summer associates work with as many of our attorneys as possible. Our belief that practical experience is one of the best learning goals, out-of-office opportunities are emphasized. We try to assure each summer associate has the opportunity to observe portions of a trial, hearings, depositions, business closings, real estate closings or alternative dispute resolution proceedings. In addition, we routinely include summer associates in client meetings and try to give them as much client contact as possible.
We also provide strong mentoring to our summer associates to serve as a resource during the summer and ensure that our summer associates receive valuable work experience and meet with all Belin McCormick attorneys.
The summer program is not limited to work and legal training. As part of the summer program, we attempt to integrate summer associates into the social lives of our attorneys through a series of annual Firm social events, including attending minor-league baseball games and a firm-wide lobster party.
In addition to attracting students directly out of law school, Belin McCormick has had success with lateral hires. Along with attorneys who started their practice at other Des Moines area law firms, we have added attorneys who practiced with prominent law firms in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Seattle. We also successfully recruited individuals upon completion of judicial clerkships. Our attorneys include former clerks to several United States Courts of Appeals, U.S. district court, and the Iowa Supreme Court.
Compensation and Benefits
Because we consider our most direct competition for recent law graduates to be firms located in larger cities, the Firm is committed to paying newer attorneys and summer associates salaries and benefits competitive with those found in larger firms in Minneapolis, Kansas City and St. Louis. While our attorneys also enjoy a substantial cost of living benefit from living and working in the Des Moines metropolitan area, we believe our associates should not be compensated differently from their peers in those larger markets. At present, the salary for first-year associates is $150,000.
As part of the Firm's benefits package, we offer free underground parking, full medical/dental/vision insurance, 401(k) with an employer contribution, reimbursement for bar exam and bar review course expenses, reimbursement for continuing legal education courses, the option to work part-time, vacation time, dependent care flexible spending accounts and health care flexible spending accounts.
The Application Process
We are always looking to add quality lawyers to our team. Thus, we encourage law students interested in our summer program and practicing attorneys exploring lateral opportunities to apply by sending a resume, cover letter, law school transcript and writing sample to our hiring attorney. Our hiring attorney is:
Kelsey J. Knowles
666 Walnut St
Des Moines, IA 50309