THORNTON SMITH believes in building a professional team of exceptional lawyers, professional and support staff through our commitment to professional development, diversity and community initiatives to become the best place to work in the British Virgin Islands. Building a fully engaged staff is integral to providing total client satisfaction and so we seek to train and equip new graduates rather than lateral hires to build a strong culture of quality and professionalism based on our corporate values. With cutting-edge infrastructural support we seek to enhance the work experience to help meet both the needs of clients and employees. We are not merely looking for academic excellence, but employees who also demonstrate strong communication skills and leadership potential with a commitment to community building and a sense of being part of a team.
We offer one (1) twelve (12) month pupilage annually for anyone seeking to be admitted to practice law in the British Virgin Islands, unless exempted by the Virgin Islands General Legal Council. However, we are not looking for pupils merely with excellent academic ability but well-rounded pupils. Our ideal applicant will be confident, articulate and an interesting individual with the proper comportment for legal professional life.
Our pupilage contract is a special-form training contract which will be for one (1) year commencing in September/October 2016 and divided into two (2) six-month periods, known as “sixes”. Each six will be spent under the guidance and supervision of a legal practitioner of at least ten (10) years’ experience. The first six will be divided into two (2) halves, with the first quarter of the pupilage (September/October – December/January) spent gaining an involved appreciation of BVI law. The second quarter of the pupilage (January/February – April/May) will be spent observing and assisting their supervisor in matters involving the Financial Services Commission, the Labour Arbitration Tribunal, the Magistrate’s Court and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Virgin Islands Circuit), including its Commercial Division. Upon successfully completing the first six, the pupil will be able to appear on their own before the Financial Services Commission, the Labour Arbitration Tribunal and the Magistrate’s Court handling their own case load.
Applicants for pupilage must complete an Application for Employment Form which can be obtained upon request from firstname.lastname@example.org and attach all the required documents, in particular:
(a) a copy of a valid passport;
(b) a copy of all Certificates/Diplomas/Degrees;
(c) Two Written References (non-family members who have known the applicant for the last two (2) years); and
(d) If they are not persons deemed to belong to the British Virgin Islands, they must show proof of residency in the British Virgin Islands.
Applicants should submit their applications to be received at our office by 1 April 2016 for a pupilage beginning on 1 September/3 October 2016. Only one (1) applicant will be offered a pupilage in 2016 from among regional and UK law students. Interviews with potential candidates will be arranged via teleconference or other electronic media, if not in person, by 1 June 2016. An offer will be made to successful applicants by 1 July 2016. When the pupil first arrives at our Chambers they will be given an induction by the Founder and Principal to familiarize the pupil with our policies and procedures as well as provided a tour of the Attorney General’s Library and various Courts and Registries. At the end of the first six the Founder and Principal will conduct a performance appraisal using our Employee Scorecard, which is a specially designed balanced scorecard used at our Chambers. Upon successfully completing the second six, the supervisor will conduct a second performance appraisal, and upon admission to practice law in the British Virgin Islands, the pupil may be offered a position as a Newly Qualified Associate for an initial eighteen (18) month period. From the offer of pupilage our aim is to start preparing our pupils, not to be an associate in our firm but, to become a partner within a decade of admission. The statutory minimum that a pupil can be paid in the British Virgin Islands is US$3,000.00 per month.
As an Equal Opportunities Employer, we promote equality of opportunity in selecting our pupils and in particular we will recruit the most qualified individual without regard to race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, disability, age, sexual orientation or preference, military status, or status as a special disabled unless a person deemed to belong to the British Virgin Islands is qualified.
If you would like to join us as a Pupil, contact our HR Center.
Our very progressive 18 months mentorship program is designed to fully integrate lawyers and professional staff into our organization. Each Newly Qualified Associate and Professional Cadet is assigned a Mentor and is responsible for supervising the work and rotation across practice areas of the Newly Qualified Associate or Professional Cadet.
Before beginning work on any transaction, Newly Qualified Associates participate in a Legal Writing Clinic and also, along with Professional Cadets, a one-day Client Care Workshop. After completion of both the clinic and workshop the Newly Qualified Associates and Professional Cadets are then allowed to assist in actual matters. At the end of the Mentorship Program, a Newly Qualified Associate and Professional Cadet should have received 3 performance evaluations: (a) at the end of the probation period; (b) at the end of the first year; and (c) at the end of the mentorship program. Our performance evaluations are based on a specifically designed balanced scorecard called the THORNTON SMITH Employee Scorecard. Newly Qualified Associates and Professional Cadets who successfully complete the mentorship program are then assigned matters directly, but would continue to work closely with their Mentor for another 18 months until they are evaluated to become a Junior Associate or Junior Professional.
Although THORNTON SMITH does not make lateral hires in the normal course, if a lateral hire is made in an exceptional situation, they will also be provided a Mentor in a fast-track version of the mentorship program. Lateral hires of partners would generally be outside our recruitment strategy.
If you would like to join us as a Newly Qualified Associate or Professional Cadet, contact our HR Center.
Continuous Professional Development
We are committed to the continuous development of all our employees through training, evaluation and advancement. Although every employee is responsible for their own development, as part of our team, we take an active role in ensuring that our employees remain current in their areas of expertise.
At THORNTON SMITH there are 4 main levels for lawyers: (a) Newly Qualified Associate; (b) Junior Associate; (c) Senior Associate; and (d) Partner or alternatively as Of Counsel. We also have 4 main levels for professional staff: (a) Professional Cadet; (b) Junior Professional; (c) Senior Professional; and (d) Executive Management. We follow a 3-year advancement model at each level, so that a lawyer must make partner at THORNTON SMITH within their 9th year after joining as a Newly Qualified Associate, but advancement through each level may be attained earlier than at the end of the 3-year period based on all-round exceptional performance using the THORNTON SMITH Employee Scorecard.
The THORNTON SMITH Training Center was established to teach the skills our employees need to effectively fulfill our mission. It provides lawyers and other staff members with world-class training in diverse skills ranging from computer applications to regulatory issues.
Total Compensation & Benefits
We are committed to recruiting and retaining the best talent as part of our corporate values. Our compensation philosophy is driven by providing value to our clients and remaining competitive within the market. Our compensation package uses a 12 grade scale for all employees based on job descriptions and job specifications utilizing a factor comparison approach to position evaluation which establishes position classifications and salary ranges for each level. In addition to the base salary we provide a Performance Bonus to reward employees who exceed their minimum performance standards in accordance with the THORNTON SMITH Employee Scorecard. We also consider a Signing Bonus in exceptional circumstances, especially where a student who meets all of THORNTON SMITH’s recruitment criteria and is recognized with an award from their academic institution or other special achievement. Within each 3-year level an employee may receive a salary increase based on various factors identified in the THORNTON SMITH Employee Scorecard which is not a cost of living adjustment (COLA) or an annual increment.
In addition to monetary compensation, we provide a competitive and comprehensive benefits package, subject to our Policy Manual and Staff Handbook. If you would like to join us contact our HR Center.
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