Vault and Firsthand have combined platforms! Learn more

cross

Overview

Introduction

 

Dechert is a global firm, but its collegial culture seems to create a sense of close community. The firm encourages attorneys to participate beyond billables, offering a “STARS” award and bonus for contributions related to diversity and innovation.  In the United States, the firm is known for its work in antitrust, international arbitration, financial services, life sciences, strategic transactions and private equity, litigation, white collar, product liability, real estate, and securities.

Firm Stats


More

Total No. Attorneys (2021)


More

No. of Partners Named (2020)


More

Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


More

No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



More

No. of Summer Associates (2021)



More

Base Salary

Base Salary (2021)...

Vault Verdict

While each Dechert office focuses its hiring efforts on a slightly different pool of law schools, one thing all candidates must have is a friendly personality. The firm is quite social and has made an effort to maintain its culture with virtual events throughout the pandemic. Partners are respectful, and associates truly enjoy working with them. Firm leadership offers up information about firm performance and financials, but some associates note a lack of transparency into promotion decisions. Reviews take place twice per year. The billable-hour requirement is 1,950 hours, which keeps associates busy, but they feel it is reasonable—they also love that 200 hours (often more) pro bono hours count as billable. Associates are very satisfied with their pay, but a few wish bonuses weren...

Firm's Response

In all we do, we aim to be a force for good for our employees, our clients and our world. With a history reaching back more than 145 years, giving back to those less fortunate and taking care of our community is in the Dechert DNA.

In another year marked by the effects of the pandemic, Dechert emphasized the vast array of...

About the Firm

 

Since its founding in 1875, Dechert has become a force in the global legal market. In the United States, the firm is known for its work in antitrust, international arbitration, financial services, life sciences, strategic transactions and private equity, litigation, white collar, product liability, real estate, and securities.

Business Savvy

George Tucker Bispham and Wayne MacVeagh partnered together to form MacVeagh & Bispham in 1875. MacVeagh would eventually leave the firm to become U.S. Attorney General and then ambassador to Italy. During World War II, the firm saw many of its attorneys leave to join the war effort. In response, the firm merged with Dechert, Smith and Clark. 

In the late 1990s, Dechert began reshaping its bus...

Associate Reviews


  • “Lawyers often socialize with each other and visit each other’s offices. The day-to-day atmosphere is very friendly, and partners are very welcoming. I truly feel like I can go to someone’s office and ask questions at any time. Lawyers and staff frequently interact and are very friendly. The support staff is extremely knowledgeable and always willing to help.”
  • “High-energy, sociable firm with down-to-earth people.”
  • “This year has obviously been strange, but the firm culture is probably the biggest reason why I wouldn't consider leaving Dechert for another law firm. Aside from being brilliant, my colleagues inspire a friendly, cooperative atmosphere.”
  • “Dechert is very collegial. When we were in the office (pre-COVID), there were weekly TGIT [“Thank God it’s Thursday”] events, as well as in-person trainings and affinity group events. Post-COVID, we've continued to have Zoom meetings and events to try to stay connected.”
  • “Individual partners have always been great to me. I've found them to be accessible, good teachers, and eager to engage about work and life. Often the newer partners are great resources to discuss career aspirations and internal promotions.”
  • “The partners are friendly, and there does not seem to be a barrier to interact with them based off of your job position. The firm holds events in which the CEO is very transparent regarding firm performance, finances, and other important considerations.”
  • “The firm is quite transparent on most decisions, except promotion. Reviews are conducted twice yearly.”
  • “Partners do not act high-and-mighty to associates; the teamwork atmosphere is 100% top-down. For such a large law firm, there is a lot of transparency over everything going on both within our group and within the firm as a whole. We regularly are giving metrics to describe those performances, and it is clear what you need to do to keep moving up from your current level.”
  • “Reasonable, flexible, and in line with [the] firm's peer group. Great support from firm business professionals to minimize time lost on administrative tasks that are non-billable. Firm supported WFH flexibility even before the pandemic.”
  • “The billable requirement is reasonable, and the hours are hard but manageable.”
  • “Obviously, there are times in which we would all like to work less or not have to pull a late night or log in on a weekend, but overall I am satisfied with the numbers of hours I work and the scarcity on which I work weekends.”
  • “I work fairly standard hours for BigLaw: 2,000-2,200 a year, generally. There is a good distribution, and I rarely feel overworked. The firm does a good job respecting personal lives and time. The billable-hour requirement is 1,950.”
  • “We are highly compensated at the top of the pay scale for large law firms; there's nothing else to really say. They did have special bonuses for 2020 for associates who hit their billable hours requirement, which was greatly appreciated (and quite a bit of extra money).”
  • “The compensation is in line with market and the billable hours requirement is reasonable. The ability to use pro bono hours to supplement the billable hours requirement is also helpful.”
  • “… If we meet our billable-hour requirement, we are eligible for bonus. Even better, associates get bonuses for activities we exceed in such as being dedicated to pro bono, being a good mentor, or innovating the firm in some way.”
  • “Compensation is fantastic!”
  • The majority of my work is substantive legal work that is appropriate for my level or slightly above my level. I am very happy with the work I have done and the teams I am on.”
  • “My practice group monitors my workload and gives me a great mix of challenging and level-appropriate work. I have a stable group of clients that gives me a steady and interesting stream of work. When I ask for work or different types of work, the firm/practice group has been very helpful.”
  • “The great thing about Dechert is that partners are always willing to give associates more substantive assignments, provided that the associates are willing and able. By my second year, I was already taking depositions and dealing with clients on a regular basis in billable matters. As a fifth year, I have argued numerous dispositive motions on my own. But I have never felt pushed into anything I was not ready for and am always been given the option to decline work. Overall, Dechert offers associates great opportunities to grow at their own pace, and allows associates to work on more substantive matters early on, which is rare in BigLaw.”
  • “I have been given a variety of opportunities to take on a leadership role in transactions and find the work rewarding.”
  • “The firm has great technological prowess, and the technology has never been a hindrance to my success here. Of course, technology in general has shortcomings when compared to in-person interactions. But the firm has been successful in moving almost all aspects of the work into the virtual realm.”
  • “Our firm did an excellent job adapting to the switch to remote working. The only thing the firm could have done better is offer some assistance in setting up home offices and making supplies more readily available.”
  • “About as good as one expects, we try out new software every now and then and I received a new laptop when I started as a first year.”
  • “We updated our virtual meeting platform during the pandemic and I am very satisfied with it. This is the main technological tool I've been using to stay connected with my teams and my clients.”
  • “The firm makes every effort to put forth wellness as an important topic and hosts weekly meditation sessions, is always having a steps contest, and has an entire week devoted to wellness in the spring. We also are constantly being reminded of all of the resources available to us in this regard (counseling, etc.).”
  • “Dechert is really trying to spend more time and effort on wellness initiatives and resources.”
  • “This firm is better than others, I think, but at the end of the day, it's not individual wellness issues that is causing burnout, it's the workload. Still, it's better than any other associate experience I've heard of.”
  • “The firm maintains a healthy work culture. The firm frequently reminds attorneys and staff of the resources it offers (meditation courses, wellness subscriptions, group fitness initiatives, etc.). As a junior attorney, I have never felt as if I need to sacrifice my physical or mental health for work. …”
  • “Formal associate and partner mentors are assigned for each incoming attorney. Attorneys are also encouraged to seek out their own additional mentors throughout the firm. Once a month, our firm has a mentor lunch day where attorneys are encouraged to go to lunch with their mentors.”
  • “In the investment management practice group, there are formal trainings for junior associates every week, other area-specific meetings about once per week (broker dealer, private equity, overseas funds, etc.) and a weekly update call with the entire practice group to discuss ongoing developments in the industry.”
  • “Plenty of CLEs and practice group-focused trainings. The practice group focused trainings are wide-ranging and provide lots of opportunity to gain and refresh knowledge around various topics. There are also smaller mentoring groups in certain practice groups and the partners and more senior associates take an interest in developing more junior associates.”
  • “… I find that the majority of my development has come from partners and associates who are extremely willing to spend time mentoring younger associates. Examples include partners who are willing to review drafts of briefs on matters that they are not staffed on to help improve writing or partners who are willing to give earlier opportunities and assistance getting on your feet for things such as depositions and oral arguments. Associates are also extremely willing to provide guidance on a host of things from effective research, sample documents, organization and other technical skills.”
  • “Path to partnership is not fully clear, but the Dechert name carries great weight with clients and companies, particularly in the Philadelphia area. Not difficult to go in-house. Counsel opportunities are available as a non-partner role.”
  • “More exit opportunities than internal promotion potential—it's a high bar to make partner at Dechert.”
  • “There are plenty of very good associates who don't make partner, but those who are exceptional by specializing, building essential client relationships, or showing potential to build the firm's business certainly have a realistic chance to make partner. The firm is good about offering counsel positions to good associates who don't make partner. The process seems pretty transparent and firm leadership has described it in detail to me.”
  • “I believe promotion to partner is a realistic possibility for me, and various partners have suggested as much and helped me to prepare. The practice group also circulates job openings at our clients for interested attorneys that would like to exit.”
  • “Dechert has a phenomenal pro bono program, with a full-time partner and other staff dedicated solely to pro bono. The opportunities are endless; pro bono is promoted and encouraged. …”
  • “Every Dechert attorney must do at least 25 hours of pro bono work each year, but I have yet to talk to anyone who stops there. We can bill up to 200 hours of pro bono work without question, and can bill even more as long as our group supervisor approves (and I have yet to hear of anyone being denied the chance to do more pro bono work). It's genuinely surprising and comforting how much Dechert commits to pro bono work.”
  • “The firm frequently offers meaningful pro bono work to associates and partners. I am also proud of Dechert's nationwide efforts to pursue important goals such as ensuring voting rights and protecting homeless individuals' rights.”
  • “… The firm actively encourages us to take on pro bono matters. Right now, I'm working on a class action against a government-mandated school for delinquent children. The children at the school have reported being physically, emotionally, and emotionally abused there for years. The firm has given me every resource in seeking justice for these kids while I've become involved with my work here.”
  • “[The] firm is all in on these initiatives and devotes a lot of resources to them.”
  • “The firm has made it a priority to advance diversity and inclusion efforts in the past few years, including naming a [Chief] Diversity and Inclusion [Officer] as well as targeting diverse candidates in recruiting. Additionally, Dechert expanded its parental leave policy for secondary caregivers (generally ‘paternity leave’) to 12 full weeks a few years ago.” 

From the Firm: “Our parental leave policy gives all caretakers at least 12 full weeks and birth mothers an additional 8 weeks of disability.”

  • “From my perspective, the firm does a nice job of promoting diversity. The firm recognizes diversity champions every year and issues unequivocal statements against discrimination whenever those situations arise in the news, which are appreciated. Many of the firm's senior leadership (both attorneys and administrative employees) are highly-accomplished women. …”
  • “The firm has very active affinity groups supporting diversity. There is also a lot of programming and training around this topic. Management is clearly active in making the firm more diverse and truly believes in improving diversity and the lives of diverse associates at the firm.”

Why Work Here


Culture at Dechert

It takes a committed, global team to deliver the excellence in service and innovative thinking our clients expect. Cultivating creativity to harness the very best ideas comes from respecting and valuing everyone’s voice, and creating a shared enjoyment in all that we do. At Dechert, we believe that building community within the workplace and with our clients – whether multinational companies or pro bono causes – is the key to success. It’s about building a firm where people are trusted and empowered to do their very best.

Diversity at Dechert

"At Dechert, Diversity and Inclusion are not simply words written on our website and in our policies - they are principles we live by every day. As a truly global law firm, working together effectively to deliver service to our clients requires us to value and respect each other voice and empowers people from different backgrounds, experiences and points of view to be fully themselves and bring their very best. Dechert believes that vigorous exchanges of ideas among legal professionals with different life experiences stimulate..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “The firm looks for excellent grades from a top school. But the firm also seems to prefer people who are friendly and social.”
  • “The firm has really made a push to focus on diverse candidates. There are typical ‘feeder schools’ for each office, but we often see candidates from outside of those schools as well. We do have grades requirements and cut-offs for most schools.”
  • “My firm values excellent grades (top 25-30% of class generally) about equally as much as personal fit and interest in the firm. We care a lot about hiring and retaining candidates with strong interpersonal skills who communicate well orally. We highly value diversity and make sure each incoming class is balanced.”
  • “Dechert looks first at law school, then grades within the school, journal membership (law review really is the only thing that counts here), and diversity. There are certain schools that are targeted, but that varies widely by office.”
  • “Among the questions asked during interviews, the firm is interested in prior experiences and how candidates envision their own legal career unfolding. The firm obviously also asks ‘typical’ interview questions related to law school grades, weaknesses, etc.”
  • “Dechert uses behavioral interviewing (e.g., describe a project that you had to work on for an extended period of time and how you stayed engaged; tell me about a recent successful experience making a presentation; what are your methods for keeping others on your team advised of the status on projects).”
  • “Personality questions. What makes you tick. If you put interesting facts about yourself on your resume, your screener interviewer will ask you about them. What are your favorite law school classes?”
  • “What are you passionate about? What did you think of your law school and why? What was your favorite class?”
  • “As a lateral associate, the firm did a wonderful job of formally and informally ensuring that I was integrated into the firm. I was provided formal mentors, and many of my colleagues took intentional steps to offer help when needed or anytime they sensed I was confused during my lateral transition.”
  • “The lateral integration process here has been very smooth. I was fully engaged on meaningful deals shortly after arriving and have enjoyed the work so far.”
  • “We hire a great deal of lateral associates, and I think that we laterals integrate seamlessly!”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Hayden Coleman & Caroline Power

Partner & Associate

Dechert
Mara Cusker Gonzalez & Rachel B. Passaretti-Wu

Partner & Partner

Dechert
Sheila L. Birnbaum

Partner

Dechert
William J. Tuttle

Partner

Dechert

Perks & Benefits