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Overview

Introduction

 

Alston & Bird embodies Southern hospitality with its kind, friendly culture. Pro bono is a source of pride for associates, and the firm supports it with a unique opportunity for contribution bonuses based on non-billable hours. Alston & Bird is home to 800-plus lawyers located across the U.S., from its headquarters in the Peach State to nine additional domestic offices and three international locations. The firm has been recognized for its strength in such areas as health care, privacy and ...

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2021)


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No. of Partners Named (2021)


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Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


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No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2021)



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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

All Offices:...

Vault Verdict

Alston & Bird has a holistic approach to evaluating candidates, and being a self-starter is key. The firm embodies Southern hospitality: folks top-to-bottom are kind, respectful, social, and approachable. Alston freely shares financial information, but a recent change to bonus calculations has some associates feeling a reduced sense of transparency. Associates are also a bit disgruntled by a recent change increasing the billable-hour requirement to 2,000 hours. On the flip side, associates are incredibly pleased that the firm recently increased compensation so that all offices, including the Atlanta headquarters, are now paid at market level. Because of lean staffing, associates are busy, but they get to tackle interesting, high-level work. Training comes mostly in the for...

About the Firm

 

Alston & Bird is home to 800-plus lawyers located across the U.S., from its headquarters in the Peach State to nine additional domestic offices and three international locations. The firm has been recognized for its strength in such areas as health care, privacy and data security, real estate, and tax.

Shopping for Growth

Atlanta-based Alston & Bird’s predecessor firms date back to 1893. Nearly a century later, in 1982, the firm known as Alston, Miller & Gaines merged with Jones, Bird & Howell and adopted the combined name Alston & Bird. The firm’s operations remained in Georgia where it represented institutions like CNN, Emory University, and Augusta National founder Bobby Jones, a former firm partner, until the debut of...

Associate Reviews


  • “Welcoming and friendly culture.”
  • “Alston & Bird has a ‘Southern hospitality’ spirit that permeates all of the offices. Partners actually say thank you here and appreciate and award hard work. …”
  • “Lawyers socialize with each other a fair amount, usually firm sponsored. The day-to-day is very collegial, and people are nice. Lawyers and staff are very nice to each other and have real conversations with each other as well.”
  • “We socialize as much as we can, considering the pandemic. We also have multiple mentors paired with each associate, and at least one of my own mentors sets up happy hours over Zoom so that I can meet others within the firm. Currently, everyone is interacting over email or Zoom. Overall, the atmosphere is inviting and comfortable.”
  • “The partners in my group are all wonderful mentors and great to work with. I genuinely feel like they value my input and care about my growth as an attorney.”
  • “Partners are very approachable and take associates' suggestions seriously. I used to think that the firm was extremely transparent, and in many ways, it still is, but the firm implemented a new bonus policy at the beginning of 2021 that is significantly less transparent than the previous policy.”
  • “We have an annual associates meeting that provides a full financial breakdown. It was reassuring to see the full picture, especially these days with COVID ever-looming. My experiences working with partners have been uniformly positive, including when I have made mistakes and needed to receive constructive criticism and feedback.”
  • “Workflow can be feast or famine.”
  • “As far as BigLaw firms go, Alston & Bird has a decent work-life balance. It's not hard to find work if your hours are low and partners are generally respectful of your personal time. While there are periods of time where you bill over 220 hours, partners are understanding when you are at capacity and unable to take on additional projects.”
  • “A&B works hard to distribute work evenly and to make sure folks aren't overwhelmed. By and large people, respect when you are swamped.”
  • “They recently increased our hours requirement for a bonus from 1,950 to 2,000.”
  • “Base salary and surprise discretionary bonuses have been wonderful. My only complaint is that the firm recently changed its end-of-year bonus policy to one that is now opaque and very, very discretionary. Previously, it was clear what targets we needed to hit to receive specific bonuses. It remains to be seen whether this new policy will work in associates' favor.”
  • “The firm has historically been behind market in compensation. However, it is making changes that will bring it more in line with market expectations”
  • “Overall, compensation is great for the expected work commitment. However, bonuses have been historically lackluster.”
  • “We just received a salary and bonus increase in the Atlanta office. Before, I'd say that my satisfaction would've been a five [out of ten]. However, the new special bonus and new salary structure comports with the amount of time I bill, the number of hours I work, and the amount of money I bring into the firm. …”
  • “There is a lot of high-quality work to go around, so senior attorneys are happy to have junior folks take a first cut at important, substantive work.”
  • “As a first-year associate in health care, I have been working for both our regulatory and corporate groups. On the regulatory side, I've done a wide variety of research projects and client memorandums (both formal and less formal), participated in regulatory diligence for deals, researched change of ownership requirements for a wide variety of licenses/accreditations/permits/etc., and researched and presented regulatory findings on a client call. On the corporate side, I have done significant diligence/contract review (summarizing key provisions), edited disclosure schedules, and contributed to diligence memorandums. …”
  • “All work is appropriate for my level. Being in the patents group, I draft patent applications and prosecute them in front of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. This includes related pre-filing and post-filing work with the clients.”
  • “Nearly all the work is high quality for the level each associate is on; however, work is distributed organically, and you typically become a part of a team that services a certain client and that's how most of your workflow continues. That can wax and wane as clients are doing more/less at any given time, but it typically results in very interesting work and good learning opportunities.”
  • “I do feel that the firm has adapted very well to remote working during the COVID-19 pandemic. I'm not sure how innovative the tech is, but the utility of it is spot on.”
  • “We now have a firm Teams account and Zoom account which has helped greatly.”
  • “The computers they sent us are honestly top notch. They fold into tablets so you can do work on the couch. Mine hasn't had any issues so far.”
  • “Firm technology is pretty good, and the firm's dedicated tech help center is always just a phone call away, which has saved me so many times.”
  • “There are several wellness initiatives in place, including yoga, nutrition and health-based programs, and the like. The firm seems to support these wholeheartedly. There is a COVID task force in response to the pandemic, and generally the firm has stayed communicative and run several programs with respect to mental and physical wellness in response to COVID.”
  • “I love our A&Be Mindful Monday virtual meditation sessions!”
  • “The wellness efforts are noteworthy. There are many opportunities/resources available, but it can be difficult to avail oneself to them when you have constant deadlines/calls. …”
  • “There is some formal training in the pure litigation or corporate pipelines but not as much if your practice group does not fall squarely within those areas. The firm is big on mentoring and assigns both an associate and a partner mentor, and it really is what you make of it—it can be as helpful or hands off as you want it to be.”
  • “There are several mentorship opportunities. I currently have a practice group mentor and also a mentor from the firm's diversity committee. Also, as a senior associate, I'm currently mentoring a junior associate in my practice group.”
  • “We have formal partner mentors and associate contacts as junior associates, and mine have been wonderful. They are constantly available and glad to answer questions, especially as I was onboarding and learning the firm and practice group culture (communication preferences, managing schedules, etc.). I'd say I've learned even more informally, though, because every attorney I've worked with has taken as much time as needed to explain the new assignment and answer any questions I have. I've never felt like I was shoved into the deep in and told to sink or swim. …”
  • “Partnership is a realistic option for all showing consistent work commitment, mainly from a billables perspective. There are other roles, but with partnership being fairly available they seem more alternative than standard. The partnership process is relatively known and the firm manual provides steps for accomplishing this process.”
  • “The partnership process is fairly transparent, and I know that trainings and meetings are available to explain various exit opportunities. However, I have not personally been privy to this information during my time at the firm.”
  • “Partnership is very much an attainable goal if you put in the work. There are counsel roles available for those that aren't put into partnership. For people that don't make the cut, A&B works hard to place folks in good positions to keep their career moving in the right direction.”
  • “Associates within my group and around the firm are routinely able to go to firms in other cities or transition in-house as they desire. We had a track to partnership overview during the summer, first-year orientation, and my understanding is that there are annual check-ins for all associate levels.”
  • “The firm is highly committed to pro bono work and credits 150 hours per year towards year-end bonus targets. There is a constant flow of quality pro bono opportunities. One associate argued before the NY Court of Appeals on her pro bono matter, and I argued before an appellate court on mine.”
  • “The firm is EXCELLENT with pro bono. Not much more to say [other] than we're on the cutting edge of involvement with pro bono, and that makes me extremely happy. I've worked on numerous corporate pro bono projects recently, which were not only developmentally enriching, but were phenomenal opportunities to give to organizations who give so much as their mission.”
  • “Each office has a pro bono partner, and there are tremendous pro bono opportunities. We have great partnerships with various non-profits, so there is no shortage of opportunities. The firm also celebrates pro bono wins in monthly emails, and we have an annual pro bono awards ceremony.”
  • “There is a 150-billable hour limit on pro bono work that counts to your bonus eligibility. After that, any hours in excess of 150 count toward your eligibility for an ‘extraordinary bonus’ for non-billable contributions.”
  • “The firm has very active regional and firmwide diversity committees. We also have a diversity committee partner. The firm is truly dedicated to increasing diversity firmwide at every level. Our firm made public statements about racial justice.”
  • “Alston & Bird does not offer billable credit for diversity-related work. Firm leadership takes these topics seriously and sets aside plenty of time for discussion of and reflection on diversity. While junior attorneys are very diverse, I don't think the firm has quite figured out how to provide the support necessary to retain those diverse attorneys as senior associates and partners.”
  • “There are affinity groups and activities that the firm puts on and a Racial Justice series that the firm has employed, which is great! The firm doesn't offer billable credit for diversity-related work/activities, to my knowledge.”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Alston & Bird

"Diversity is a core value of Alston & Bird LLP and part of the firm's strategic plan. We believe that a diverse law firm is critical to providing the quality of legal services that our clients expect, to preserving our core values, and to nurturing our rich culture. We take this commitment to diversity and inclusion very seriously. Our culture is enhanced through diversity of not only race, gender, and ethnicity, but includes members of the LGBTQ+ community, generational differences, cultural differences, and talented..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “I believe the firm is looking for self-starters. All factors are considered, with particular emphasis for our practice area on prior work experience and other professional matters (clerking, school, and the like). The firm skews towards local schools and those in the mid-South to Southeast U.S. However, there are opportunities for all and several are interviewed from other states.”
  • “I believe the firm looks for a baseline GPA, and then judges based on personality fit. The firm is looking for motivated self-starters who can hold a conversation.”
  • “Alston is pretty well rounded in their approach to hiring, and hires across many schools and many backgrounds. It doesn't just focus on T14 schools, and it results in hiring people who have interesting backgrounds and are excellent at what they do rather than just have superficial credentials like school or grade rankings. People generally are very emotionally intelligent at the firm and are very easy to get along with, don't lead with an ego, and also do great work.”
  • “The interview questions were straightforward and not tricky. Things that were asked in every interview (why our firm, why the city, best experiences in law school, tell us about a group you're involved in, etc.).”
  • “I recall being asked about my practice group preferences/areas of interest, why I wanted to work in Atlanta, and about various experiences on my resume.”
  • “Why Alston? Why X group?”
  • “What were you doing the last time you lost track of time? If you won the lottery, would you still come to work after? …”

Perks & Benefits