Director of Professional Development - McDermott+Consulting

Director of Professional Development

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Director of Professional Development

Build your big career with the Firm that does Big Law better. McDermott Will & Emery is a leading global law firm that brings together more than 1,400 lawyers and 1,200 business professionals. We celebrate excellence, collaboration and community and have been recognized as a top workplace by The American Lawyer, Working Mother Magazine, Vault and the Human Rights Campaign. 

At McDermott, we don’t just invest in your future, we accelerate your career – wherever it may lead. That includes supporting you both in and outside of the office.

With us, you’ll find:

  • A Firm where everyone belongs: Our award-winning culture prioritizes warmth and authenticity we encourage you to be yourself!
  • Enthusiasm for diverse perspectives: We’re smarter and stronger when everyone has a voice and a seat at the table. We welcome unique viewpoints and ideas, and we make opportunities for you and your career to thrive.
  • Support to feel your best and do your best: Wellness is integral to building a successful career and a rich life. That’s why our benefits program supports your physical, emotional, mental and financial health, with an emphasis on work/life balance.
  • Real rewards for real work: We offer generous compensation packages that recognize hard work and excellence.


Position Summary:

The Director of Professional Development is a key figure at McDermott, leading the professional development team and shaping our global approach to talent growth. This role identifies training needs and develops tailored programs for our attorneys, fostering a culture of continuous learning. The director ensures our attorneys are equipped with the necessary skills at each level to excel and contribute to the Firm’s success. This role embodies our commitment to aligning professional growth with strategic goals, driving our vision of continuous innovation as a career accelerant.


Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

  • Develop and execute an overall strategic framework and roadmap for talent development: The director is responsible for setting the direction of talent development initiatives and ensuring their alignment with the organization’s goals. Including creating a comprehensive strategy and competencies for the professional growth of attorneys.
  • Collaborate cross-functionally to assess learning needs: The director works closely with the Firm’s practice groups, leadership teams, HR management, justice, equity, diversity & inclusion, recruiting teams, and other stakeholders to continuously assess substantive learning needs. They design training programs and initiatives that meet the needs of our evolving organization, while considering the specific requirements of different levels and practice groups.  
  • Report against established Professional Development priorities, goals, and key performance indicators: The director regularly reports on the progress of professional development initiatives, measuring their effectiveness against established priorities, goals, and KPIs. Including tracking metrics, analyzing data, and presenting reports to senior leadership.
  • Manage attorney performance evaluations: The director oversees the formal performance review cycle for all attorney cohorts to ensure clarity against performance goals, alignment with competencies, and the delivery of constructive feedback to improve attorney performance and productivity.
  • Design and implement orientation and integration programs: The director is responsible for designing comprehensive orientation programs for new associates and partners. They also oversee the integration of new and lateral attorneys into the Firm, ensuring a smooth transition and promoting early engagement.
  • Lead in the design, delivery, and ongoing coordination of the McDermott University curricula and core skills training: The director oversees the development and delivery of practice group-specific training through McDermott University. They also manage the core skills training program, which includes specialized curricula tailored to different levels and practice groups.
  • Design and deliver Professional Development needs assessments: The director conducts regular needs assessments to identify gaps in professional development and adapt programs based on the results of these assessments. Including analyzing feedback, tracking participation, and measuring the impact of training initiatives.
  • Research and identify Professional Development trends for department application: The director stays abreast of the latest trends in professional development and apply relevant insights to the department’s initiatives. They also evaluate external tools/vendors for scalable, global Professional Development solutions.
  • Design associate mentoring initiatives in collaboration with key stakeholders: The director works with key stakeholders to design mentoring initiatives for associates in order to provide guidance, support, and opportunities for growth. 
  • Create, monitor, and maintain team budget: The director is responsible for creating the team’s budget, monitoring expenses, and ensuring that spending remains on target. Including reviewing team expenses on an ongoing basis and making necessary adjustments to stay within budget.


Job Specifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • At least fifteen (15) years’ experience in attorney professional development, training, and/or leadership development
  • Advanced knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite (Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word)
  • Knowledge of Continuing Legal Education (CLE)
  • Ability to work independently with minimal or no supervision and be self-motivated
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Accurate and methodical with strong attention to detail
  • Ability to take the initiative to identify gaps, offer creative solutions, and problem-solve
  • Ability to multi-task, track, and manage multiple competing priorities with multiple deadlines
  • Ability to be flexible, responsive to feedback, welcome change, and demonstrate composure in times of uncertainty 
  • Juris Doctorate (JD) or Master’s Degree in Organizational Change/Development, or other advanced degree, a plus
  • Experience in developing and presenting visually and verbally engaging training materials and stakeholder reports
  • Experience in managing others and supporting team members in a hybrid work model
  • Collaborative spirit and ability to inspire trust, influence others, promote collaboration, and motivate at all levels


    As part of our ongoing commitment to be #AlwaysBetter for our people, clients and communities, we have created a culture of belonging that champions your individuality as both a person and a professional. From our competitive compensation, top benefits and award-winning professional development programs to industry-leading wellness initiatives, we support you through every stage of your life and career. With McDermott, you can live a life you love both in and outside of the office.


    Successful candidates will be provided with outstanding career opportunities and will receive a competitive total rewards package with the opportunity to earn performance-based bonuses. ​

    Expected Pay Range in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Silicon Valley $225,000 – $300,000

    Expected Pay Range in New York, $225,000 – $300,000

    Please note that quoted salary ranges are not guarantees of what final salary offers may be. Base pay is based on market location and may vary depending on job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. Base pay is only one part of the Total Rewards that MWE provides to compensate and recognize our staff professionals for their work. Full time positions are eligible for a discretionary bonus and a comprehensive benefits package. 


    Physical Demands and Work Environment:

    The physical demands and work environment characteristics described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.


    Physical Demands:

    • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is required to sit, use hands, reach with hands and arms, stoop, talk and hear
    • Employee must occasionally lift up to twenty (20) pounds


    Work Environment:

    Typical indoor office environment



    The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by people within this classification. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills required of employees assigned to this job.