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Overview

Introduction

Foley & Lardner handles a wide range of business matters, and the majority of the firm’s major clients come from the automotive, energy, health care, life sciences, and technology fields. The firm is selective in who it brings aboard—maintaining the firm’s friendly culture is a must. Associates feel valued here, with willing partner mentors and an in-house attorney coach on standby to help with issues and career advice.

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 (2020)



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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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No. of U.S. Offices

Vault Verdict

Foley & Lardner is choosy—whether from a top national or regional school, candidates must demonstrate that they are personable, ready for a challenge, and genuinely interested in the firm. Foley takes pride in its close-knit culture where associates often form real friendships and partners treat them as valued colleagues. Broadly, the firm is transparent about finances, promotions, and compensation, but the finer details are fuzzy to some. Most associates have no qualms about the 1,950-hour billable requirement, but some complain about workload discrepancies between offices. Bonuses are only paid out to those who meet the billable target. The pay scale overall is below market, but—with some regional variation—most associates are satisfied with their compensation. Associate...

About the Firm

While Foley & Lardner handles a wide range of business matters, the majority of the firm’s major clients come from the automotive, energy, health care, life sciences, and technology fields. With an excellent Health Care practice and a client roster boasting such corporate staples as Harley-Davidson and Hewlett-Packard, Milwaukee’s best has grown into an international operation while maintaining local allegiances. 

Milwaukee Couldn’t Hold ‘Em 

Foley & Lardner was founded in 1842 in Milwaukee, when Asahel Finch and William Pitt Lynde opened shop before the lakeside city had even paved its roads. More than a century passed before the firm established a presence outside Wisconsin, creating a DC branch as it became the first Badger State firm to establish an office...

Associate Reviews


  • “The firm's culture is generally formal, but warm and friendly.”
  • “The office pre-COVID was a very social place, and Foley prided itself on an ‘open door’ policy. My colleagues were all open to questions when I was starting out, and [I] miss the day-to-day interaction. Litigators would regularly have happy hours after work that were well attended by associates.”
  • “It is a close-knit office culture within a specific office, but there are certainly opportunities to meet and develop relationships with attorneys in other offices.”
  • “I really love the associates I work with, many of whom have become some of my closest friends. I think Foley is a great place to make friends and be social if you want to, but it is never forced upon you. It is a good balance that I appreciate.”
  • “Partners treat associates with respect and as colleagues. Our practice groups are leanly staffed, so this requires partners to work closely with associates. The firm is transparent on performance and finances, holding a town hall to communicate the latest updates. There is a lot of transparency for internal promotion and pay for junior associates, but it gets a bit muddier after about the fourth year.”
  • “I feel that partners respect my time and appreciate the hard work I do for the firm. When I have had to turn down work due to other case commitments, it was not held against me. I also think the firm is transparent regarding compensation, expectations, and promotions, laying out clear guidelines attorneys can look to.”
  • “Associates are generally treated well by partners in my practice group. The firm could improve in terms of transparency in high-level decision-making regarding one-off issues—the firm is transparent in all cyclical decision making (e.g., promotions, finances, reviews etc.).”
  • “Associate/partner relations on the whole are very good, and I have had many experiences with partners who genuinely care and want to invest in associate development. Transparency in our twice-annual reviews leaves something to be desired, though general transparency from firm leadership is very good.”

 

  • “Foley really allows you to take initiative on your workflow and work opportunities. At times, this can create a disparity in work (especially for smaller offices). However, I have really appreciated that after a tough (high-billable) case is over or in a quiet period, my managers have allowed me to step back and reassess my work load.”
  • “I think the expectation for billable hours is ‘fair’ for BigLaw. The amount of work I've received thus far ebbs and flows. Some weeks are jam-packed while others are not.”
  • “Like any litigator, my workflow ebbs and flows, but for the most part it is manageable. Pre-COVID, I feel like there was flexibility in terms of where I worked on nights and weekends, but for the most part, it is expected that we are in the office. The billable-hour requirement is doable, but the salary is not in line with other firms that have similar billable-hour requirements.”
  • “Over my three-and-a-half years here, my annual hours have been consistently in the 2,000-2,050 range, which for me is at times challenging but overall a comfortable range. I do think there are times when work could be more evenly distributed across offices—there have been times when our office is very busy but practice group associates in other offices have little to do.”
  • “Bonuses are not awarded unless you are ‘bonus eligible.’ All associates are bonus eligible if they hit 1,950 hours. Minimum billable-hours requirement for associates [in] years one through three is 1,900; minimum billable-hours requirement for associates [in years four] and up is 1,950.”
  • “I feel fairly compensated for the work that I do given my location. The firm’s billable-hour and bonus-eligibility thresholds are fair and attainable. The entire compensation package is very competitive for my particular geographic area.”
  • “Foley recently matched the market mid-year bonuses, which was awesome. The salary scale is a tick below the top BigLaw firms, but it feels abundantly fair given the difference in pressure at Foley compared to those law firms paying [a higher] base. Bonuses are further behind market, but again, it comes down to quality of life for the money that I feel is a very good value.”
  • “Bonuses are awarded on individual bases, and high-billers/contributors are awarded higher bonuses. Salaries and bonuses do not track the Cravath scale, however, (after the first three years), which makes exceptionally busy times frustrating. Nevertheless, the quality of work and environment of the firm generally make up for any deficit in compensation.”
  • “The vast majority of what I do is substantive and/or interesting to me. Non-substantive work, like doc review, ebbs and flows, but makes up very little of my yearly work.”
  • “I spend most of my time on substantive legal work that is appropriate for my level, including drafting fund-governing and offering documents, advising clients directly on forming their investment vehicles and negotiating with investors, and facilitating negotiations with investors.”
  • “As a sixth-year associate, I basically run cases with very little partner oversight. I do substantive legal work on all aspects of all the cases I work on.”
  • “I spend [the] majority of my time on substantive legal work that I believe is appropriate for my level. I have taken/defended over 10 depositions in the last two years, argued several hearings, and conducted a direct examination at a temporary injunction hearing.”
  • “Over the past two to three years, the firm's technology for working remotely has improved dramatically. Going remote due to the pandemic was not nearly as bad as we thought, thanks in large part to the upgrades and changes made to our remote work technologies that had been improved in recent years.”
  • “Associates were permitted to borrow technology to take home with them; when my camera broke on my laptop, they got me a webcam. Our technology assistance is 24/7 with remote log-on accessibility, so I never feel out of solutions.”
  • “Foley implemented a lot of technology to help improve the remote working environment. I have been remote since I started and it has been just about as flawless as it could be.”
  • “Occasionally, technology on which we rely is down (e.g., billing platform, Microsoft Outlook, document management system, etc.). However, personal tech support is incredible. When my laptop crashed in the middle of a filing during the pandemic, a tech staffer delivered a new one to my door within a few hours.”
  • “The firm has started to take a more meaningful approach to mental health, offering speakers and programs on the topic. There is room to grow in this area, but it is encouraging the firm is moving in the right direction on the topic.”
  • “Wellness is on the firm's radar. I do believe (like most of the legal profession) the firm and individual managers can do more to check in with associates to make sure they are adjusted. I know I struggled in the past, but as my managers got to know me more they would pull back if they realized I had worked many hours or needed a break. This was incredibly helpful to me.”
  • “Foley pays for all employees to have a full subscription to the Calm app, which I use on a daily basis.”
  • “Foley offers a number of wellness initiatives, including free access to Calm, wellness check-ups (backed by payment incentives), and confidential career counseling. While I have not made use of all of these resources, it helps to know they are available.”
  • “There are a lot of training opportunities, but most are optional. With everything virtual, it's easy to attend trainings that interest you even if they are being held in a different office. For informal training and mentoring, I'll have more experienced associates or partners approach me and make recommendations or even recommend particular trainings. If I ask them about specific topics, they are happy to teach me or show me where to find the information.”
  • “The firm is making changes to the formal training that attorneys receive, which may end up being better, but it feels as though we are in a transition period as far as training programs go. All of this of course is further complicated by COVID and the abrupt halt to in-person trainings and conferences. Most partners are always willing to help with mentoring associates and the informal training is always ongoing.”
  • “Our firm needs to work more on formal training. My informal training, however, has been great. I have wonderful mentors in my practice group who have made sure that I am learning what I need to know.”
  • “There are always available formal training sessions to go to, especially as a young associate. As for mentoring, everyone is assigned an associate mentor and a partner mentor, and every additional person I've done work for has offered to explain what's going on/provide feedback as needed, which makes learning everything a little easier.”
  • “Promotion to partnership appears realistic, albeit difficult. Moreover, the steps to partnership seem relatively clear and well -defined. There also appear to be ample exit opportunities if partnership is not for me.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is imminently realistic, as is the opportunity to transition to in-house roles. There is an attorney coach hired for this very purpose, including coaching you on growing business development or positioning yourself for advancement as well as confidentially working with you on exit strategies if that is the direction you are heading.”
  • “Foley has a ‘path to partnership,’ and it is very realistic. It takes about 10 years. Lots of people, however, leave the firm to go in-house and have been successful after Foley.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is realistic for those who want it, and the firm also allows alternative arrangements. For example, attorneys can work reduced hours and receive an equivalent amount of salary. I know of one attorney who did this for a period of time and then became a partner after returning to work full time. Great exit opportunities in the Milwaukee area. I like that the firm does not offer non-equity partnerships.”
  • “We are highly committed to pro bono work and are often given awards or recognition for that commitment. I volunteer once a month with one of our local legal services groups, assisting with various matters. Most recently, I assisted with a woman seeking guardianship over her adult son and another woman who had concern over an old judgment against her.”
  • “Pro bono work has always been a strength for Foley. The firm makes it a priority and provides all kinds of opportunities to engage in meaningful pro bono work.”
  • “During orientation, there was a pro bono training, and it has been encouraged by all the attorneys I've spoken to. I'm currently working on a pro bono project dealing with a nonprofit's issues with being in a historical building. The first 100 pro bono hours you work in a year count as billable hours, and you can apply for more beyond that.”
  • “Very strong commitment to pro bono work. Unlike a lot of other firms, Foley is very open to associates bringing in new pro bono work and supports this work with partner oversight. I am currently engaged in asylum work and pro bono work on behalf of a local social services charity.”
  • “Diversity is a priority for Foley and has been since I've been employed here. They are constantly improving upon trainings, programs, and hiring plans to improve this area. However, like most of the legal profession, the ultimate outcomes/progress has been rather slow.”
  • “Foley added a new practice group pertaining to diversity and racial justice. There is excellent programming from this group as well as the women’s and LGBTQ affinity groups, with impressive speakers and the like.”
  • “The firm does a fabulous job with its D&I efforts. But, as always, there is work to do. No billable credit for diversity activities, although you can get pro bono billable credit for cases accepted through the Racial Justice and Equity Practice Group.”
  • “The firm's flextime policy is an amazing benefit for working mothers. However, I think we still see a higher level of attrition among women. I'm not sure what the firm could do to change this. We certainly need more lawyers of color, and I do think the firm has recently been making a more concerted effort to recruit lawyers of color.”

Diversity at Foley & Lardner LLP

"At Foley & Lardner, we encourage attorneys and professional staff to appreciate the values of inclusion, belonging, and diversity, and to take action to improve how we relate to each other and the opportunities we can create for everyone. The talents and perspectives of a diverse team help Foley better understand the global marketplace, deliver innovative and quality legal solutions, and foster a vibrant and fulfilling professional environment for all employees. Diversity and inclusion is woven into the fabric of the firm and is manifested..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Like many firms, Foley considers quality of law school and grades. However, what I found as a 2L interviewing and helping with recruitment now, [is that] we often look beyond those factors for a candidate that fits best with the culture of our office (eager to learn and ready to help colleagues).”
  • “[We look for] a very well-rounded individual who not only excels academically, but socially as well.”
  • “Our firm is very competitive when it comes to recruiting—you have to have pristine academics to get an interview. We are looking for the best and brightest to serve our clients. The firm has a strong contingent from Midwestern law schools, given our strong presence in the area. Still, regional offices tend to hire from law schools in their areas. Our firm does have training for interviewing new candidates.”
  • “I think the firm looks for people with excellent grades, who attended high-quality schools, and who are interesting people. The Milwaukee office hires from both T20 schools and schools like the University of Minnesota, the University of Wisconsin, and Marquette University.”
  • “The interview process was pretty informal—if you have the credentials and [are given] a callback, they are mainly evaluating your fit with the firm and its culture.”
  • “One of the big ones that I always ask is ‘Why Foley?’ Especially for 2Ls, it is helpful to know if you are interviewing with us for a specific reason or if we're just another firm on your list for OCI. Candidates that are able to articulate specific reasons are impressive.”
  • “What are the accomplishments you are most proud of? What are challenges you faced and overcame in law school or otherwise?”
  • “The interviewers really wanted to know the person, so they asked general questions; also, the recruitment is practice group-specific, so you have to already know what you are interested in before the interview and why.”
  • “The integration was seamless. There was an effort to get me work from a wide range of people right away, and the firm did well to assign me a compatible mentor.”
  • “[The firm] could have [a] better system for orientation/welcoming of laterals—[it] seems much more structured for new hires, which makes some sense, but laterals are left to figure things out at the whim of those they work with.”
  • “No complaints. Training was brief, but the opportunities for good, substantive work came quickly.”

Perks & Benefits