Known for its white collar, antitrust, and corporate work—among other things—Covington is a mainstay in the top 20 of the Vault Law 100. The firm attracts intellectuals who lean progressive and thrive on collaboration, hard work, and giving back via pro bono matters.
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Covington might not be the flashiest law firm, but in the legal world it packs a huge punch. The firm is particularly known for its top white collar practice and extensive ties to government and the judiciary—attorneys regularly go back and forth between clerkships/government positions and the firm. Covington attorneys are aware that the firm has a reputation for being somewhat “introverted,” but for the most part they agree with, and approve of, this assessment. Associates describe a culture of deep respect and real collegiality, and while socializing isn’t a top priority for many, this is seen as a worthwhile tradeoff for a pleasant and balanced work environment. Most associates say the hours are long but reasonable, particularly in light of how much substantive work they receiv...
About the Firm
This “brain trust” law firm is known for quietly (and smartly) going about its business—that business being antitrust, litigation, white collar defense & investigations, corporate, IP, export controls, data privacy and cybersecurity, and regulatory work—with particular strengths in the sports, insurance, life science/pharma, energy, tech, and media/entertainment industries.
Judge J. Harry Covington and Edward B. Burling founded their firm in Washington, DC, in 1919, with a (then unique) concept of a firm focused on regulatory issues. Since that founding, it would be hard to find many members of the Fortune 200 that have not worked with Covington. The firm played significant roles in many of the leading legal matters that arose from the New Deal. Later, in the 1950...
- “Covington's culture is, first, very collegial, and they take preserving that aspect of their culture very seriously, including in how they structure partner compensation (i.e., no origination credit). Everyone I have worked with is smart, polite, kind, and cares about delivering high-quality work. I have yet to work with anyone who yells or otherwise disrespects their colleagues. I think senior lawyers at the firm genuinely care about the associates and their development, but it is not a place where people often get together outside of work. Sometimes, yes. But not often, which is fine by me.”
- “Everyone here is so kind and respectful of my time. There's not a lot of socializing, but the events put on are nice and relaxed.”
- “Covington's atmosphere is very humane and collegial. The work can certainly be demanding, but it's driven by client service requirements and never arbitrary deadlines. Senior attorneys respect time off and try to ensure that associates have the right quantity and balance of work. We socialize regularly when we're in the office, but usually with low-key meals and gatherings—many people have families to go home to, and it's not a work hard, play hard culture.”
- “The culture is generally really friendly and respectful. It's not an extremely social firm, but there is a strong contingent of more social associates. I would say that the opportunities are there if you want to socialize with your coworkers, but there's no pressure to participate.”
Why Work Here
Working at Covington
Our distinctively collaborative culture allows us to be truly one team globally, drawing on the diverse experience of lawyers and advisors across the firm by seamlessly sharing insight and expertise. What sets us apart is our ability to combine the tremendous strength in our litigation, investigations, and corporate practices with deep knowledge of policy and policymakers, and one of the world’s leading regulatory practices. This enables us to create novel solutions to our clients’ toughest problems, successfully try their toughest cases, and deliver commercially practical advice of the highest quality.
Diversity at Covington & Burling
Getting Hired Here
- “Covington is selective and meticulous in its recruiting. [The firm is] not only looking for smart folks, but people who can play well with others and be supportive team members. I think the firm's dedication to finding good fits, including calling several recommenders per candidate, is one of the ways the firm has maintained its culture through the years.”
- “Covington generally looks for bright, motivated associates who will take ownership over their matters and bring strong intellectual chops to their work. Covington also prizes strong writing, even among very junior associates.”
- “Covington generally hires candidates from the top law schools with top grades and journal participation. Covington also hires a lot of federal clerks. If you didn't graduate from one of the top handful of schools, you'll need excellent credentials. For example, Covington does not recruit from my law school, but I was able to get the job because my grades were near the top of my class and I was on law review.”
- “... The New York office is a popular destination for laterals from top firms who are looking for better partnership prospects and quality of life without sacrificing compensation.”