The professional development program at Bass, Berry & Sims is designed to advance attorneys’ substantive knowledge, professional skills and client service. With firm-wide initiatives, a unique approach to integration, practice specific training and personalized coaching, we cultivate growth and help attorneys pursue their goals.

Core Competencies

Our firm’s Core Competencies are the foundation of the professional development program. These competencies identify the material skills and abilities that all our attorneys need in order to achieve long-term sustainable success. We use these competencies as a platform from which to promote the development of attorneys, ensure superior client service, and sustain the firm’s culture of excellence. We draw on these competencies to form a framework for recruiting and evaluating attorneys, for developing and planning training programs, and for facilitating each attorney’s ability to seek out the experiences necessary to fully develop in his/her area of practice.


Upon joining the firm, first year associates and lateral associates are guided through an orientation and integration program that is customized to their experience level and interests. New attorneys at the firm join one of our practice groups and receive support, direction and assignments from group leadership.


Associates are paired with more experienced associates and supervising members to help them navigate opportunities and achieve their potential. Supervising members play a key role in development, meeting with associates quarterly to provide coaching and performance feedback. At the end of the year, the supervising members summarize the feedback and review it with each associate, setting the agenda for the next year’s growth.


In addition to on-the-job training, the firm hosts various annual learning opportunities adapted specifically to associates, including the following:

  • An eight-week substantive training program for junior associates.
  • An immersive, two-day program aimed at helping our mid-level associates better appreciate the intersection of law and business. Learn more about the program here.
  • An interactive client service academy for senior associates.

Associates are also invited to join client-facing webinars and have access to high-quality research tools and external continuing legal education opportunities.

Member Development

We are proud of our track-record for advancing associates and helping them meet their career goals. We invite attorneys to become members of our firm based on a number of factors, including development of our core competencies, substantive legal skills, professional skills and client service.

We continue supporting attorneys with a similar suite of professional development efforts throughout their careers. For example, we host a two-year program for new members to provide in-depth knowledge and skills about firm management and legal industry development so they can best help further the mission of the firm and to become productive firm leaders. Members also have access to individual coaching, leadership development programs and advanced professional skills trainings.