Overview

Introduction

With more than 350 lawyers across 10 offices—including two international locations—Bracewell LLP is a global firm with a range of practices. Since its founding, it has focused on six key practice areas: energy, environmental strategy, private investment funds, banks and financial institutions, bankruptcy and financial restructuring, and white collar criminal defense. The firm has also developed a strong labor & employment practice as well as niche practices in response to Houston’s growth as a business ...

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

Best Law Firms for Energy, Oil, & Gas Law...


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No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

All offices...

Vault Verdict

Being a Texas native, it’s no surprise that Bracewell is looking for folks with Texas roots to join their ranks—great grades from local law schools can get you a big leg up with this oil-and-gas frontrunner. But the firm also casts its net outside the Lonestar state. Interviews are generally conversational rather than focused on behavioral or other formal questions. The firm’s culture is collegial and open, with social activities being semi-frequent (though this can be group dependent). Partners are genuinely interested in mentoring associates, though, while the firm offers some training programs, it seems to take a “learn-as-you-go” approach to associate development. Associates are happy with their work—particularly relating to client interaction—and the pay is market, which sati...

About the Firm

With more than 350 lawyers across 10 offices—including two international posts—Bracewell LLP is a global firm with a range of practices. But the firm’s roots in the Lone Star state are still strong as is demonstrated by its four Texas locations and its strength in oil and gas.

Hailing from Houston

Bracewell started as a glimmer in the eyes of four Houston attorneys (three of whom bore the surname Bracewell) in 1945. J.S. Bracewell, his sons Searcy and Fentress, and Bert H. Tunks established a practice that was quickly associated with Texas movers and shakers—Searcy Bracewell himself was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1947 and Senate in 1949. Harry Patterson joined in 1951 and ascended to name partner in 1966. 

From the beginning, the firm focuse...

Associate Reviews


  • “Bracewell is a very collegial firm—everyone keeps their office door open, and people tend to chat and socialize throughout the day. Our entire group (partners and associates) tends to gather for some sort of social event after work at least every other month or so.”
  • “For the most part, the culture is genuinely collegial. There are very few jerks. Partners treat associates well and are not aloof. People like each other and enjoy working together. There aren't a ton of firm-organized social events outside of the summer program. Some lawyers socialize together out of work, but most don't too much.”
  • “Everyone is very respectful. There are opportunities to get involved socially and professionally throughout the firm, but there is no pressure to attend every event or to go to every happy hour/social outing.”
  • “It feels like I work with very close friends. We frequently eat together, we host each other's families for parties and meals, we go to sporting events together, etc. We have a number of firm-organized social opportunities largely built around recruiting programs or business development events, but also some that are limited to the firm itself.”
  • “Partners treat associates with respect. People treat each other well. Performance reviews are conducted once a year, and the firm puts a lot of effort into assessing associate performance. I also feel like I have a good idea of how I'm doing throughout the year. There's a genuine effort to have transparency and continued improvement, but firm finances and internal promotion procedures can sometimes feel like a mystery.”
  • “I feel like I have been treated very well. My annual reviews were fair, and I feel like I generally know where I stand. The promotion to partner is a little unclear at this point, and that's really the only thing I would like more information about.”
  • “Partners treat us like colleagues. Work hard, work smart. If nothing is going on, no need to be up here burning the midnight oil for no reason.”
  • “Associates are treated very well by partners. All of the partners are open door and are very willing to explain and teach in your first few years. There is a very congenial, ‘we're all in this together,’ atmosphere. While the firm is relatively transparent about most things, they don't discuss lateral movement (in or out) very much with us, when explanations would very much be appreciated.”
  • “As with anywhere, the hours can be boom and bust. I have found most assigning attorneys to be respectful of my time and conflicting assignments while also making an effort to distribute work evenly. …”
  • “I am extremely busy, but there is always help available if needed. I find the firm and the partners to be very supportive of associate wellness and making sure we have what we need in order to be productive.”
  • “I always have a manageable amount. If hours get to be too much (where quality would otherwise lack), supervising attys are quick to jump in and redistribute. On the flip side, if I am slow, supervising partners will help me find work.”
  • “We have a 2,000 billable-hour requirement to be eligible for your bonus at the end of the year. 100 of those hours can be ‘diversity and inclusion’ or pro bono hours. …”
  • “Bracewell pays market salary with market raises and has a market bonus (but must hit 2,000 hours to get the bonus). There is also a discretionary bonus at 2,200 hours, so if you put in the time and do good work there is the opportunity to really get rewarded for it financially.”
  • “Lockstep is lockstep. I wish there was a bit more transparency in the second-tier discretionary bonus (earned for exceeding hours significantly).”
  • “Always happy with market compensation and bonus. Lots of good benefits, and they are quick to reimburse anything business related.”
  • “Compensation is market. Of course, I would prefer if we got bonuses below the target hours level of 2,000 hours, but it seems like the market is moving toward this system across the board, and it is reasonable.”
  • “I think my work assignments fit with my level of experience and seniority. I spend a great deal of time drafting and communicating with both the client and the opposing side.”
  • “As a first year, I feel I have gotten a wide variety of work thus far. While some of the work is not very high level (such as putting together checklists and schedules), there is a decent amount of work that I feel is more high level for only being here for about six months (drafting amendments, guaranty agreements, security agreements, etc.).”
  • “Work varies, but often includes strategy addressing long-term goals and tactical obstacles; work usually feels appropriate for my level; work involves litigating administrative matters, counseling on numerous regulatory questions, and managing various client relationships.”
  • “The firm is known for giving junior associates meaningful responsibilities. I've been assigned significant matters that required me to stretch and grow.”
  • “The firm has launched a BWell initiative, which focuses on different aspects of employee (not just attorney) well-being, including nutrition, mental health, sleep, etc. There are quarterly speakers and flyers in the break rooms that give more information about that quarter's area of focus. The firm will also put you in touch with a counselor or other professional if you are having any sorts of personal, physical, or psychological issues.”
  • “The firm has taken steps to be cognizant of and improve attorney wellness, launching a wellness program last year. I think there's pretty good buy-in, though maybe not enough follow-through when it comes to actually allocating a sufficient budget for exercise programs, etc.”
  • “The firm has a quarterly program and also the HR department has been checking in on associates as we work from home to make sure we are doing well and if the firm can help out.”
  • “In the past year, the firm has become much more intentional about wellness, particularly mental health. I think they are still catching up, but effort is noticed and appreciated.”
  • “The firm has a formal mentoring program for first-year associates. First-year associates are assigned a partner mentor and associate mentor, [are] given a budget, and are encouraged to take the lead in developing a relationship with their mentors. Informal mentorship opportunities are also available.”
  • “[The] firm hosts a ‘bootcamp,’ which is mandatory for first and second years. Deals are staffed very lean, so young associates get a lot of touches.”
  • “There is a formal mentorship program (with stated meetings and budgets), but many associates find mentors in their sections organically, as well.”
  • “They have not only online training, but in-house training and development. There is an opportunity to get training outside of the firm as well. They have a formal mentoring program and provide a lot of informal training opportunities. All in all, everyone seems interested in mentoring the associates.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is realistic and discussed with associates. Senior associates have also successfully transferred into counsel roles if they do not wish to pursue partnership. Several successful moves by associates to great in-house positions.”
  • “Promotion to partnership does happen, but on an individualized timeline. I would like there to be more discussion and transparency about non-partner roles for senior associates—I know they exist but seem very individualized. Many associates either go in-house or to the government.”
  • “Broad exposure to institutional clients can lead to good exit opportunities in-house.”
  • “I feel quite confident that partnership is realistic for those who would like to make partner.”
  • “The firm recently overhauled its pro bono program and has a partner at the firm who is in charge of running it. There are periodic emails sent out to associates notifying them of available cases and encouraging them to take some on. The partners are also very understanding with pro bono work. I have recently taken on a pro bono project in which we are assisting an author who has been approached about turning a book into a movie by helping the individual gather the necessary contracts showing a chain of ownership of the literary work.”
  • “The firm allows 100 hours of pro bono work to count towards the 2,000-hour-billlable target. I regularly handle one or two immigration cases for unaccompanied minors.”
  • “The pro bono practice is entirely driven by individual attorneys working on their own to find projects. There is little pro bono infrastructure, particularly for corporate associates.”
  • “The firm has supported my involvement in a clinic for low-income tenant advocacy.”
  • “There is a strong female presence in our partnership.”
  • “Outside of gender, there is a lack of diversity in associate ranks and no real retention plan for diverse associates either.”
  • “I can say for sure the diversity with respect to women is fantastic—three-fourths of the partners in the finance group are women, and at least half of each summer class consists of females. There is not as much racial diversity at the firm, but I think that is true of most firms in Houston. …”

Why Work Here


Bracewell is the ideal place to launch your legal career.  Our open and collaborative culture ensures that you have opportunities to work on significant matters and have meaningful interactions with partners and associates from the moment you join.  

We look for candidates who have distinguished themselves academically and actively participate in law school. Successful candidates possess a strong work ethic and are self-motivated.  Given the firm’s collaborative culture, we value individuals who are team players and want to work together to provide innovative and sophisticated solutions to challenging legal issues. 

Diversity at Bracewell LLP

"Bracewell continuously champions diversity and inclusion, both within the firm and the legal community. Our shared diversity makes us stronger as a firm, giving us different perspectives that allow us to see the world more completely and better serve the needs of our clients. INTERNSHIPS: We participate in summer internship programs committed to increasing diversity. In 2019, our New York office sponsored an intern through the NYC Bar Office for Diversity & Inclusion's Summer Law Internship Program. In Houston, we sponsored two..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “The firm has gotten aggressive with hiring 1Ls, and I believe [it] is very creative in finding ways to recruit law students. The firm is very cognizant of the culture at the firm and is very selective about the people it hires, both as laterals and as law students. …”
  • “The firm frequently recruits law students from Texas law schools, UVA, and Vanderbilt. Other law schools are also represented.”
  • “Law school, personality, interest in the energy industry. The main feeder schools for the DC office are the George Washington University Law School and UVA.”
  • “We spend a lot of resources on law firm recruiting. Associates are very involved in the process.”
  • “The firm takes a holistic approach to hiring process. While grades and law school are a great indicator, they are conclusive in the firm's hiring decision. We do tend to look at what journals students are involved with, what other interests they have.”
  • “The callback interviews are more focused on personality fit that pure academics. Most interviewers want to engage in a conversation with the candidate about their interests, prior work, journal topics under consideration, etc.”
  • “Questions around: 1. Motivation for certain life decisions. 2. That person's ties to the city and state. 3. Why Bracewell? 4. What that person wants to know about associate and firm life at Bracewell.”
  • “Why energy & environmental law?”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Annemarie Dunleavy

Associate

Bracewell LLP
Charlotte Keenan

Associate

Bracewell LLP
Kate Barrington McGregor

Associate

Bracewell LLP

Perks & Benefits