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Overview

Introduction

Fried Frank associates work on complex legal matters in a top-to-bottom friendly and social environment. The firm priorities its people and communities, with associate perks like generous wellness offerings and a strong dedication to pro bono work. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP advises many of the world’s leading corporations, investment funds, and financial institutions on their critical legal needs and business opportunities. With approximately 500 lawyers in North America and Europe, the firm excels in co...

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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Base Salary

1st year: $205,000...

Vault Verdict

Fried Frank looks beyond law school attended in its hiring decisions, opting to focus more on a candidate’s personality and experience. The firm’s collegial culture includes open doors and frequent socializing. Partners welcome associate feedback, and in return, provide insight through regular town halls—though a common associate wish is more insight into the promotion process. Associates are busy but feel there is good flexibility and fair distribution of work. The firm requires 2,000 billable hours for a full bonus payout, but this includes pro bono and other “qualified non-billables.” Associates are satisfied with compensation, which is market and includes extra bonuses for high billers. Work is mostly substantive and level appropriate. There are pro bono opportunities galore, ...

Firm's Response

Fried Frank has had near unrivaled financial success within the legal profession over the past half-decade. Our highly commercial and collaborative approach has helped garner a prestigious client base of major corporations, investment funds, and financial institutions that consistently seek our attorneys’ advice on their most complex and s...

About the Firm

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP advises many of the world’s leading corporations, investment funds, and financial institutions on their critical legal needs and business opportunities. With approximately 500 lawyers in North America and Europe, the firm excels in corporate, real estate, and tax work.

An Impressive Crew

Fried Frank traces its history to the turn of the 20th century when a group of German-Jewish lawyers began practicing in New York City in the 1890s, a time when most New York firms did not employ Jewish lawyers. In 1929, Walter J. Fried (pronounced “Freed”) joined the firm as an associate who focused on real estate law. Fried practiced with the firm until his retirement in 1979. In the 1950s, Fried was a pioneer in the movement to convert rental apar...

Associate Reviews


  • “Fried Frank is a genuinely collegial place to work. People are friendly and feel comfortable being themselves. People are always stopping into other people's offices and planning formal and informal social gatherings. Partners know everyone, down to first-year associates, by first name and stop to greet you in the hallways. Since going remote, the culture has been preserved. For example, my group has twice-weekly video calls where we check in, ask each other about work, and take the time to chat.”
  • “Having joined during the pandemic, it has been great seeing how engaged, friendly, and helpful everyone is. People went out of their way to welcome me to the firm and I had the chance to meet and socialize with people within my group during my first week. There [are] also subgroup happy hours and other events that frequently enable people to meet, catch up, and strengthen connections.”
  • “The firm makes an effort to sponsor social events but nothing is mandatory. There’s no expectation of attending. Within the departments, you get a small firm vibe at a BigLaw firm. Many of the associates are friends and socialize outside of work.”
  • “Very social; pre-COVID, we celebrated birthdays together and regularly went out for drinks. During COVID, associates tend to call each other just to chat, and we have regularly scheduled virtual lunches and social gatherings. Pre-COVID, associates would grab coffee or snacks in the associates lounge on a daily basis. Pre-COVID, lawyers would make sure to greet staff daily.”
  • “Partners are fantastic and have especially shone during COVID. The firm has been overall transparent about general issues, but one place they are not so transparent is the promotion process.”
  • “Associate/partner relations are solid. There is an associate committee that meets regularly and is well attended, where associates raise certain ideas or issues for the partnership to consider. The vast majority of partners are kind, thoughtful, and approachable. …”
  • “The firm is very transparent regarding finances and performance reviews. The chairman of the firm has conducted monthly town halls for associates, special counsel, and staff during the pandemic, in which he has discussed the firm’s finances in depth. We have annual performance reviews, which are scheduled in advance.”
  • “I think partners at the firm do their best to be as transparent as possible and promote a friendly, connected work environment. We get annual performance reviews—typically towards the end of the year. There is a process in place pursuant to which you provide written comments on your perceived contributions to the firm and various work matters, and you receive a written review from partners the day before your in-person (or virtual) review. My review was a bit late this year, which may have been a result of the pandemic.”
  • “I am completely in control of my billable hours, and I rarely work weekends. I am able to set my own schedule (for the most part) and my hours are not that bad. There is no billable hour ‘requirement,’ although we must account for seven hours each working day, and we need to bill 2,000 hours per year to be eligible for [a full] bonus.”
  • “I feel like work is fairly distributed, and I have a lot of flexibility over where and when I can do it. I also feel that the firm's billable-hour requirement is fair and includes a significant amount of flexibility given the fact that it includes pro bono, firm matters, and qualified non-billable work (which is a broad category).”
  • “I think at times there is too much work, and there is an expectation to be always on call, but I feel that the work is evenly distributed. We have just been busier than expected over the past few months. Everyone also understands that we have lives outside of work and are accommodating when at all possible.”
  • “Though there are the expected long months, I have on multiple occasions been encouraged by partners to take a long weekend or week vacation to recharge. The weekly load is reasonable for my year, and I generally have control over how much I take on.”
  • “Compensation is top of the market at Fried Frank. The firm pays above-market bonuses to top billers. The structure is extremely objective and transparent.”
  • “No complaints! Fried Frank pays market salary for all associates based on class year and has been generous with keeping market bonuses (including the special COVID bonus and the latest spring/fall bonus).”
  • “300 pro bono hours and 150 qualifying non-billable hours count towards the bonus.”
  • “Additional 15% bonus based on 2,200 and 2,450 hours.”
  • “Excellent range of clients and sophisticated work make the job enjoyable and challenging.”
  • “As a mid-level associate, I have had the opportunity to oversee document reviews, prepare witness outlines, and write advocacy white papers. My pro bono work has provided more substantive experience, including taking ownership over the drafting of briefs and arguing in court proceedings.”
  • “Yes, I am tasked with assignments including drafting the initial markup of agreements, incorporating specialists’ comments in agreements, preparing client presentations, drafting due diligence memorandums, marking up disclosure schedules, and drafting amendments.”
  • “In my practice group, we have a practice group leader who distributes work and is excellent at doing so. I am comfortable voicing my preferences and making requests, and if those requests can be accommodated, they usually are.”
  • “Working remotely has been seamless. The firm has been supportive and the technology makes it easy to do work from home.”
  • “The firm gave us a technology stipend to buy equipment to set up our home offices during the pandemic. I've had virtually no technological issues in the past year, and the few issues that have popped up were handled by our IT people with very little stress on my part.”
  • “The firm gave us a setup that is equivalent to being in the office. As well, they have sufficiently moved many services remotely so that it feels like I am working from the office at home. The only thing missing is an espresso machine! “
  • “The first-year class had some difficulty with the remote platform of Jabber, but after hearing our reports, we were given office phones. That said a lot to me about the firm's adaptability and responsiveness to feedback.”
  • “The firm has many programs and groups that show their dedication to the wellness of their associates.”
  • “We have free counseling, free monthly (virtual) yoga, sports teams, meditation programs, fitness motivation competitions, and fitness expense reimbursements. It feels like the firm puts a lot of thought and effort into this area.”
  • “We have support groups for working parents, which is cool. Participation is pretty high.”
  • “The firm has been extremely supportive during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to remote work was seamless logistically, and the firm has made frequent efforts to ensure the community stays connected and knows what kind of resources are available (counselors, wellness initiatives, virtual social events, etc.). I felt incredibly grateful to be at Fried Frank for remote work because the firm has made it clear that our well-being is the priority.”
  • “The firm has an extensive training program, assigned mentors, and mentorship naturally occurs throughout the work process.”
  • “The firm provides so many resources, I wish I had more time to actually utilize them all. Aside from the general CLE trainings, Fried Frank also has specific training based on year, as well as an entire professional development team that has webinars, online courses, and mini trainings. We also have a career-development coach that we can utilize, whose conversations are confidential. …”
  • “We have an impressive group of lawyers and partners—[on] the job training is really good. I've learned a ton since I started.”
  • “The firm pairs you up with partner and associate mentors. With these people, there are generally monthly meetings. However, the real asset is the amount of informal mentoring that occurs among associates. Often, associates will call those below them just to check in, whether or not that person is the mentor. …”
  • “Partnership is realistic option, but only for the top performers (as at most BigLaw firms). The firm has also vastly improved its alumni networking and placement work to assist associates with transition and exit opportunities.”
  • “I think partnership is realistic for a select few. Most of the partners in my group started as associates. Associates who leave generally land at top in-house roles or other top firms. I don't see how my exit opportunities could be any better at another firm.”
  • “I think partnership is attainable for those associates who have full dedication and know from early on they are willing to put in the work it takes to get there. However, there are not many partnership promotions per year so it is not guaranteed. The firm is obligated to tell associates by their sixth year if they are on partnership track. There is also the ability to be promoted to counsel prior [to] and/or instead of being partner. I don't believe there is transparency in how that decision is made.”
  • “Pro bono is strongly encouraged—nearly everyone I have spoken to since I have been at the firm has encouraged it. 300 pro bono hours count towards our bonuses, but that number can be waived if we are involved in a particularly time-intensive project. I am currently working on a sentencing for a CJA case, an immigration application for a trafficking survivor, and a project relating to homelessness.”
  • “The firm offers many opportunities to participate in bro bono work—we receive emails about opportunities often. The employee resource groups also offer great pro bono opportunities. For example, the firm's Pride Alliance offers pro bono work assisting transgender individuals obtain legal name changes.”
  • “Twenty hours of pro bono work is required for every associate to even be eligible for any bonus. This is a big commitment and means that it is expected and understood even for corporate associates (where, at other firms, it can be more difficult to justify to partners).”
  • “… Our pro-bono coordinator in NY (Jennifer Colyer) is terrific. She keeps us all up to date on various pro bono opportunities—making it really easy for us to donate our time to causes that are important to us. This year, I worked for Election Protection. Twice a month, I also participate in a remote clinic for the New York City Civil Court Help Desk/City Bar Justice Center.”
  • “Diversity is very clearly a priority at the firm. We are constantly reminded of the ongoing efforts to achieve diversity at the firm and how important it is to have diversity in our society.”
  • “Diversity-related work counts towards the hours requirement for bonuses. Throughout the pandemic, I have been really pleased with the steps taken in the diversity and inclusion space, from the public statements to the listening sessions to the diversity and anti-racism training to the racial equity committee. We definitely need more women and non-white partners. I am hopeful that the steps we've taken are going to get us there.”
  • “The [initiative] that specifically applies to me is the affinity group for women, which has put on some excellent events (consistently), which are open to everyone. Additionally, my associate mentor is a woman, as were many of my summer mentors. The firm offers ‘qualified non-billable’ credit for diversity-related work, which counts towards our bonus.”
  • “As a member of the LGBTQ community, I can tell you that the firm focuses heavily on the recruitment and support of attorneys in this group. The Pride Alliance ERG is heavily involved on firm committees and in recruitment efforts. The chairman of the firm is very active with Pride Alliance events and often mentions the work being done to advance in this area. …”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

"Fried Frank is committed to being the best law firm it can be, in part through creating an environment where the best people are hired, developed, and eventually promoted. Supporting this key firm initiative is an independent Diversity and Inclusion Office (the "D&I Office"), headed up by the Director of Diversity & Inclusion, who is supported by a Diversity & Inclusion Manager and a Professional Development and Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator. In conjunction with the Firmwide Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the D&I Office drives the..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Our firm has always recruited students from a variety of different law schools. That is something that it prides itself in. Good grades are important, but so is personality. People generally just want to get you know you on an interview.”
  • “We hire a lot of fantastic associates off of clerkships. In general, I am looking for self-starters who show me they can substantively discuss their legal work/study, but who also have other interests they are passionate about.”
  • “As a participant in the firm's hiring process, the firm looks for candidates with strong academic backgrounds. However, the candidate's well-rounded background also plays a large part in the hiring process. The firm does not put as much weight on the law school of candidates who demonstrate other impressive credentials and diverse backgrounds. The firm does have guidelines and training for interviewing. Interviews are more of a conversation, allowing candidates to demonstrate their personality.”
  • “Fitting the firm culture is very important. A person with the right attitude and top grades at a non-top-tier school can be more compelling than someone with solid grades from a top-tier school.”
  • “’What made you decide to practice law?’ ‘What do you consider one of your greatest personal achievements and why?’ ‘Please tell me about a situation where you had to problem solve and come up with a solution with little notice.’”
  • “Generally, [interviews include] a mix of standard questions and ‘performance’ questions—some examples: Have you ever had to deal with a work conflict? How did you overcome it or resolve it? What was the best thing about law school for you thus far? Is there anything important you want to let me know about we haven't covered? What was the lesson you learned from [whatever work experience caught my eye]?”
  • “We ask a lot about experiences which allow us to get some more insight on the candidate as prior experiences show how a person works or how they have handled previous situations.”
  • “I usually like to ask what interests them in the practice of law, what kinds of practice they are interested in, and discuss interesting points on their resume. Most of the people we interview come from excellent schools, so I think the foremost concern is finding somebody intellectually curious and with a good personality fit.”
  • “I was quickly integrated into the group and began working on multiple matters with different groups of attorneys right away.”
  • “[The] firm works hard to make sure clerks are appreciated for their experience and boosted up with peers who have been at the firm for longer.”
  • “I do not believe I am treated any differently than someone who started at the firm as a summer associate. The firm (and my group) does a great job of helping laterals assimilate. The career development advisor for laterals does an excellent job.”
  • “The firm does its best to provide formal and informal mentors to help with the new associate onboarding process.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Meredith Mackey

Partner

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Jonathan L. Mechanic & Laurinda Martins

Partner & Partner

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Erica Jaffe

Corporate Partner

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
Jonathan L. Mechanic & Valerie Kelly

Partner & Partner

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP

Perks & Benefits