Overview

Introduction

One of the New York elites, Debevoise is a leader in the private equity and M&A spaces and is also a go-to firm for white collar matters. The firm has a reputation of being intellectual and respectful and provides ample support to its associates—from extensive mentoring to career coaching. The firm’s core franchise practices include strategic and private equity, M&A, insurance, financial services transactions, fund formation, complex litigation, white collar/investigations, and international arbitration.

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 Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

U.S. offices...


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No. of U.S. Offices

Vault Verdict

Law school pedigree and grades are important for landing a spot at Debevoise. The firm prioritizes diversity in its hiring, and interviews consist of behavioral questions on such topics as teamwork and problem-solving. The firm’s atmosphere is kind and respectful. Associates feel the partners care about their well-being and are impressed with the transparency from the top—including frequent firmwide check-ins from the managing partner throughout the pandemic. Associates appreciate that there is no billable-hour requirement and feel it builds collegiality within the firm—though hours can still be intense at times. In terms of remote work, associates feel the transition was smooth and praise the firm for providing a tech stipend, but some also wish the firm would update certain tech...

Firm's Response

Who We Are: Debevoise is ranked among the best law firms globally because of our unwavering focus on our people. Our goal is to bring the best, most diverse talent to our firm, where we work to build and sustain an inclusive community—one in which all our lawyers can grow, thrive, and work as a single team...

About the Firm

 

Debevoise & Plimpton ranks as one of New York’s most powerful law firms, representing high-profile clients in transactions and disputes in established and emerging markets around the world. The firm’s core franchise practices include strategic and private equity, M&A, insurance, financial services transactions, fund formation, complex litigation, white collar/investigations, and international arbitration.

Good Genes

Eli Whitney Debevoise—a direct descendent of the inventor of the cotton gin—and William E. Stevenson founded their firm in New York in 1931. Debevoise wasn’t the only one with an interesting background; Stevenson was a gold medalist on the 1,600-meter relay team in the 1924 Olympics. Francis T.P. Plimpton, whose name graced the masth...

Associate Reviews


  • “We're friendly but not overly social. I like that it's not forced—there are opportunities to socialize with colleagues if you want them, but you're also allowed to have a life outside the office. The firm has a very well defined culture and specifically looks for people who will be a good fit—intellectual but not arrogant, collegial, good teammates and good people.”
  • “Everyone is courteous and respectful. Everyone seems to be aware of the difficulties from working from home during a pandemic and have been trying their best to accommodate.”
  • “I have developed many friendships at Debevoise, and I often socialize with my friends outside of work, but there is no culture of forced interaction or penalty for not participating in happy hours. The firm's culture feels special, and everyone at the firm feels invested in protecting and cultivating that culture. Debevoise lawyers are exceptional at what they do, but being great lawyers is the baseline; the firm places a premium on kindness and respect, and the attorneys and staff here work hard to be considerate of one another and pitch in where they can.”
  • “Day-to-day atmosphere is great; I started during the pandemic, so haven't socialized in person with the other attorneys, but have had some great zoom social events, like the Foodie Magician and a Scavenger Hunt.”
  • “Associates are treated as respected team members by partners, and I've always felt like an equal and important part of any work team by partners with whom I work. The firm is incredibly transparent in terms of financials, business, and diversity and inclusion.”
  • “The partnership has treated the associates incredibly well during the pandemic. Debevoise was one of the few firms to not significantly push back start dates and also to give incoming first years a special COVID bonus. Individual partners have treated me extremely well too. Firm is incredibly transparent about finances. …”
  • “As mentioned elsewhere, I have been very impressed with the firm transparency. During COVID, our managing partner talks to the entire firm every other week about the latest developments, and it has been very reassuring to know that we are in a strong financial position and the firm never contemplated layoffs or reduced salaries.”
  • “Partners are super dedicated to the growth and mentorship of associates. Partners treat associates with respect and the firm demonstrates its interest in the associates' well-being as well. The firm is extremely transparent with regard to finances, internal promotion, and performance reviews. Formal reviews occur on a yearly cycle but informal feedback is abundant and there is a strong culture of giving constructive feedback in the moment.”
  • “I love that there's no hours requirement, that junior associates are explicitly and regularly told that it's not our responsibility to manage our hours, and that pro bono hours ‘count’ equally with billable hours. I work a lot but it's pretty well balanced. There have been weeks of 70+ hours but they're rare and the firm seems committed to balancing those out with lighter weeks.”
  • “The workload has been a little bit intense lately, but there have been periods of less work that make everything manageable and sustainable. The staffing coordinator does a great job of checking in with associates and making sure our workloads are manageable.”
  • “Debevoise’s lack of billable-hour requirement makes the firm more collegial and comforts lawyers when they have a slower week.”
  • “No hard billable-hours requirement; I generally work long hours (as does everyone at a big firm) but senior associates and partners are thoughtful about assigning work and very open to hearing about any issues with feeling overwhelmed by workload.”
  • “We are lock-step which is great for most people. We receive market compensation and bonuses.”
  • “I feel very, very well compensated. Debevoise will never be a first-mover when it comes to bonuses but you can feel 100% assured that they will very quickly follow whenever more than a couple of our peer firms have announced bonuses (whether year-end or special).”
  • “I have worked pretty long hours recently but feel like there is a healthy relationship between my billable hours and my salary. The firm has provided COVID bonuses that went a long way to accounting for the challenges and literal expenses of working from home and social distancing.”
  • “I find that the firm is very generous and is quick to show appreciation for associates with additional bonuses especially during the pandemic.”
  • “I am very happy with my work assignments at Debevoise. Junior litigation associates inevitably need to do a fair amount of run-of-the-mill tasks like discovery and document production. However, a big portion of the assignments I receive do give me opportunity to develop substantive skills, such as research, brief writing, and depositions.”
  • “As a junior, there is a mix of challenging substantive work (analysis and drafting) and less challenging work generally expected of juniors (diligence, organization and coordination). There has been an equal mix, so the latter has not been unduly burdensome.”
  • “I am deeply involved at all levels of cases, from legal research, to briefing, to communications with clients and opposing/co-counsel. The firm actively assists me in ensuring that my work is well rounded and I am developing the skills i need to be successful.”
  • “No complaints here. As a senior associate I basically run cases and have all the client contact I want.”
  • “Our technology can really be improved. I think we have adapted to accommodate to remote working, but I still find some of our programs to be less than ideal—e.g., using PDF Converter Enterprise instead of Adobe, Windows 2008 as our operating platform, and Microsoft Office 2010.”
  • “Working remotely feels very seamless. The firm's IT help desk is easily available.”
  • “Debevoise transitioned well to work from home. They did appropriate testing and it was a smooth transition. They gave everyone a stipend to set up a home office. Overall though, we used pretty antiquated technology and need to update a lot of our programs. I don't see this as a serious barrier to my work, but it's sometimes annoying. We still use programs like Concordance, which just seems totally outdated.”
  • “Tech stipend was given, and the firm is very cognizant of difficulties of working during the pandemic.”
  • “The firm has been excellent about mental health outreach during the pandemic. They even provided all employees with access to Ginger, which offers on demand mental healthcare and therapy sessions.”
  • “I have had senior partners call me out of the blue just to check in and ask how I am handling my first year given the virtual reality we live in. The firm is extremely focused on attorney well-being.”
  • “During the pandemic, these kinds of initiatives have increased. There's a daily morning fitness Zoom class; weekly mindfulness class; free access to Ginger, a counseling app, etc. People talk about wellness more at regular meetings. There's greater consciousness of the need for mental health and life balance since the pandemic, and greater acknowledgement of the demands that other aspects of our life put on our time and energy. We also have a career counselor you can talk to confidentially about your career at or after the firm.”
  • “The firm offers fitness classes and access to a mental health services app. The firm expresses deep care about our physical and mental health, though the constraints of BigLaw make it challenging to have an impact on those measures since the work has to get done.”
  • “Most practice groups are good about giving on the job training. There are fairly regular trainings for first years, mid-levels, and senior associates as well as CLEs being given almost weekly. Before first years officially start, there is a business education program that teaches high-level finance and accounting concepts as well as business topics. This is a great frame for understanding how clients work and helping us think with an eye toward business.”
  • “There are a mix of formal mentorships (every junior associate has both a partner mentor and an associate mentor) and informal mentorships (the culture very much fosters asking questions and seeking feedback on the quality of one's work product). The affinity groups are very active and I appreciate the one that I am a member of. There are also a wide range of training programs, from the 4 week Business Education Program during orientation to First Year Trainings on substantive areas of law to midlevel and senior trainings on more advanced topics.”
  • “When you have partners who are committed to teaching, those values are passed down to other associates within the firm and they in turn also become phenomenal mentors and teachers to junior associates. I've found this style of mentoring to be invaluable to my professional and personal growth at the firm.”
  • “The litigation department runs a formal training program on legal writing and the firm as a whole runs an effective orientation on knowledge management services, professionalism at the firm, and legal ethics.”
  • “Partnership appears incredibly difficult, as one would expect. But the firm does mainly promote from within rather than seek lateral partners.”
  • “It's always difficult to make partner at a firm like Debevoise, but the firm is committed to promoting internally. Exit opportunities are top notch.”
  • “Partnership process could be more transparent.”
  • “… Exit opportunities vary, but the firm has hired a dedicated career coach in recognition of the fact that almost everyone will leave and it is in the firm's best interests for associates to land in the best spot possible.”
  • “Pro bono at the firm is highly encouraged. Our pro bono coordinator does a wonderful job with identifying matters that would be of interest to you if you ask her to think of you for anything. My pro bono matters have been some of the most rewarding matters I've worked on at the firm.”
  • “Debevoise has a very strong commitment to pro bono, as demonstrated by the fact that the firm does not impose a cap on the amount of pro bono hours an associate can spend. All pro bono hours are recognized in performance reviews.”
  • “I have recently worked on a 501(c)(3) application, investments by non-profit organizations, and a DACA application.”
  • “All pro bono matters are treated as billable. We regularly get emails regarding new matters that the firm has started and are encouraged to reach out if we are interested. I have participated in a name-change clinic, asylum representation, and assisted in various employment law related issues for nonprofits.”
  • “There are an incredible number of women at every level of the Debevoise hierarchy—it's one of the most amazing things about the firm!”
  • “I can see that the firm makes substantial efforts to promote awareness among colleagues regarding these social issues and build a diverse environment. As a member of a minority group myself, I do feel Debevoise's commitment to diversity and see concrete actions being taken towards that goal.”
  • “I am a gay, Latina, first-gen woman. I am LOUD and PROUD about this, and the firm not only embraces me but lets me run free and organize events. We have an associates of color retreat and many other initiatives to support diversity in the workplace.”
  • “The firm has generous leave policies and does not penalize individuals for taking leave. The firm actively centers diversity and inclusion issues, and while there is much more to do in the industry (and Debevoise is no exception), I feel confident that the firm cares about and is working towards improvement in this regard.”

Why Work Here


Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a premier law firm with market-leading practices, a global perspective and strong New York roots. Our clients look to us to bring a distinctively high degree of quality, intensity and creativity to resolve legal challenges effectively and cost efficiently.

Deep partner commitment, industry experience and a strategic approach enable us to bring clear commercial judgment to every matter. We draw on the strength of our culture and structure to deliver the best of our firm to every client through true collaboration.

Approximately 800 lawyers work in ten offices across three continents, within integrated global practices, serving clients around the world. Our lawyers prioritize developing a deep understanding of the business of our clients. We then pursue each matter with both intensity and creativity to achieve optimal results.

We are committed to serving our clients through excellence in lawyering. We receive numerous accolades and awards recognizing this commitment and the firm’s market prominence worldwide.

Debevoise is also recognized as one of the leading firms for diversity. We believe that a diverse workforce, where all of our colleagues feel respected, builds a stronger firm, and benefits clients and the wider community.

The firm’s culture fosters a collaborative approach across disciplines and regions, and, as a result, clients benefit from the dedication, cohesiveness and superior quality that we bring to all of our work worldwide.

Diversity at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

"One of the greatest strengths of Debevoise & Plimpton is our community. This has been true throughout the history of the firm. In recent years, we have built upon that strong foundation with specific community-building initiatives and firm-wide events. • This past year we instituted a new Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Council, a 40+ lawyer group that works with our D&I Leadership Team to encourage dialogue on important issues affecting diversity and inclusion at Debevoise. We have also revamped our associate liaison..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Grades and pedigree are important. Moot court and main journal experience are both looked upon favorably. Harvard/NYU/Columbia are typically ~60% of the class.”
  • “When we interview candidates, we receive training and long guidelines to follow. We are encouraged to think about our unconscious biases and give every candidate fair consideration. We (at least, junior associates) are not given the candidates' grades; we only receive their CV. We aren't looking for candidates with particular experiences or schools. We are looking for people who communicate well, who are open, good team players, smart, creative, etc.”
  • “High-quality candidates [who are] strong in writing, with backgrounds showing demonstrated interest in subject matter.”
  • “Debevoise seems to hire only the best students from the best law schools. They appear to like individuals with journal experience (both law review and specific-interest journals), moot court experience, and other signs of commitment to the profession and the intellectual life of the law. The big feeder schools appear to be Columbia, Harvard, and NYU (in that order), with Stanford and Yale also sending a substantial number to Debevoise each year as compared to their law school class sizes. A few top students are then recruited from the remaining T14 and regional heavyweights like Fordham.”
  • “Where do you see yourself in five years from now?”
  • “We have moved to a standardized behavioral interviewing system in an effort to reduce unconscious bias.”
  • “The firm has standardized its practice in recent cycles in an effort to make recruiting more inclusive/uniform, but the categories of questions are aimed at communication skills, teamwork, and problem solving.”
  • “We often ask questions about teamwork, ownership of work, and what attracted the candidate to Debevoise.”

 

Perks & Benefits