We have a deep-seated belief here that the best lawyers are frequently the most “complete” professionals. Often we speak of our generalist approach to professional development. Our goal is to help young lawyers develop fundamental skills and broad-based knowledge, instead of narrow niches of legal expertise — especially at the outset of their careers. We adhere to this philosophy in every practice area at Simpson Thacher.
Such lawyers serve our clients well. Their problems are routinely complex and demand sophisticated and multidisciplinary responses. Clients don’t come to Simpson Thacher for rote or repetitive solutions. It’s therefore critical that we help associates master the fundamentals over a range of challenging experiences in a multidisciplinary context, so that they’ll be able to apply those skills to complex and varied client problems.
This ideal of the complete lawyer also serves the growth and expansion of the Firm. Technologies and markets change rapidly and seizing opportunity requires the speed and agility of versatile professionals; economic cycles in a global economy demand it. Developing “complete” lawyers stems from an old-fashioned idea of legal excellence, but it also positions Simpson Thacher for the future.
Being trained as a generalist does not preclude also becoming a specialist in one or more areas of importance to our clients. Our practice and clients demand it. And exceptional firms such as Simpson Thacher are expected to field top-flight, experienced teams with concentrated experience. It would be untrue, then, to say we don’t need or develop experienced lawyers with specific concentrations of expertise. We do. But, room exists for exceptional generalists and exceptional specialists in today’s market. Simpson Thacher develops both, and we think we are better for it.
—Gary Horowitz, Partner