Vault and Firsthand have combined platforms! Learn more

cross

Overview

Introduction

One of Boston's top firms, Goulston & Storrs works across myriad industries but is most well known for its stellar Real Estate practice. Around half of the firm’s attorneys work in this area, advising clients like developers, entrepreneurs, investors, and REITS, as well as property owners and commercial tenants. Those seeking strong mentorship and transparent management will fit in well at the firm, which touts its collaborative culture with a motto of “Collaboration: Some law firms say it. We live it.” 

Firm Stats


More

Total No. Attorneys (2021)


More

No. of Partners Named (2020)


More

Featured Rankings

Best Law Firms for Transparency...


More

No. of Summer Associates (2020)



More

Base Salary

All Offices...


More

No. of U.S. Offices

Vault Verdict

 

Goulston hires top talent both directly out of law school and laterally, with a focus on candidates from Boston-area schools. Associates describe Goulston’s culture as collegial and close knit, with frequent socializing during the workday and after hours—whether that’s an anniversary celebration, dinner at a partner’s home, or casual drinks after work. Associates and partners overall have positive working relationships. Transparency gets great scores; of note, associates attend monthly management meetings, and junior associates receive biannual performance reviews. There is no billable-hours requirement, and workflow is moderated by allocators, so it’s not surprising that associates report satisfaction with work-life balance. Associates are pleased with ma...

About the Firm

Founded in 1900, Goulston & Storrs is an AmLaw 200 firm with around 200 lawyers working down the East Coast from Boston to New York City to DC. The firm touts its collaborative culture with a motto of “Collaboration: Some law firms say it. We live it.” 

Keeping It Real

Operating across four main departments—corporate, litigation, private clients, and real estate—Goulston & Storrs is adept at handling a range of legal issues. The firm’s sub-specialties range from banking and finance to bankruptcy and restructuring to capital markets and securities to commercial litigation to data privacy to employment to environmental to estate planning to professional liability to real estate to tax—and much more. Among the industries the firm serves are health care, hospitality an...

Associate Reviews


  • “Goulston's culture is wonderful. The majority of lawyers are extremely hard working, thoughtful, and always willing to help. It is long hours, but wouldn't want to work the long hours with anyone but my team. There are regularly scheduled social events, both internal events and external (with clients in participation), and the associates are a close-knit group.”
  • “The culture is very collegial and friendly. People want to get to know you personally, and it is a very progressive firm. There are social events organized by the firm that focus on different affinity groups and they continue the BBQs at partner's houses throughout the year. There are firm celebrations for anniversaries and departures, which come with ‘informal’ social events as well.”
  • “The Boston office tends to socialize more given the greater number of attorneys. The DC office is more laid back.”
  • “Lawyers socialize in and out of office. There is no pressure to participate, and the socialization becomes natural due to no billable-hours requirement. Associates take the time to get to know each other, become friends, and go for lunch/dinner/drinks on a regular basis. [The] firm regularly organizes several opportunities for associates to socialize both internally and externally with clients as well as potential clients.”
  • “Overall, partners are very invested in associates and work well with them. The firm also values the associates as a whole and has several individuals who work directly with associates on development. The firm is incredibly transparent in decisions for a law firm. Associates have monthly meetings with the managing directors and regular opportunities to meet with practice group chairs as well. The review process is a bit opaque, but the firm has taken meaningful steps to improve that recently.”
  • “The firm is very transparent and hosts monthly associate meetings to keep associates updated about the firm's management and decision-making. The partners are all very approachable and willing to assist associate development. The firm's additional resources, in particular the Professional Development Department, are unbelievable at assisting associate growth.”
  • “There is a tremendous amount of transparency. The managing directors have monthly associate lunches with all the associates in all offices, in which they answer all questions that associates submit prior to the lunch. The discussions directly address any concerns that associates have (e.g., how much consecutive weeks of vacation can be taken, parental leave policies, compensation, the management's direction in preparation for the recession, etc.). Outside of the lunches, every partner that I have spoken to so far are all very accessible and are willing to put in the time to get to know you as an individual.”
  • “Partners treat you like a human being who has a life outside of work.  The managing partners are EXTREMELY transparent in regard to the firm management and administration, giving us all of the information about the topics mentioned in the prompt.  Reviews are done twice a year for first to fourth years and annually thereafter.”
  • “I feel that my hours are a great balance between being busy but not overwhelmed.”
  • “Work hours are definitely not as crazy as many other BigLaw firms, and although we work hard, no one talks about them and they are not discussed as part of our review process. I also have the freedom to shape my work day how I see fit, whether that's working from home one day or coming in late due to a doctor's appointment or family matter, so long as the work gets done.”
  • “Because there is no billable-hours requirement, the emphasis [is] on getting the work done, not putting in more and more hours. The firm cares about how much work is distributed to whom, and the work allocators work to make sure that work is evenly distributed. There is tremendous amount of flexibility in where and when I work because of our family-oriented culture.”
  • “The firm does not have a requirement but has a target of 1,850 hours. Only billable and pro bono hours count. Business development, training, and service on firm committees does not work, nor does time devoted to travel to other offices, which is strongly encouraged/required, particularly for attorneys working outside of the main headquarters in Boston.”
  • “There is no billable-hours requirement and in exchange, no bonuses. However, the compensation is based on the Cravath scale, starting at $190,000.”
  • “The firm doesn't give bonuses but also doesn't have a billable-hours requirement. A bonus would obviously be nice, but at the same time, it's refreshing to a) not compete with colleagues for bonuses and over hours billed, and b) not need to stress over hitting a bonus-eligible billable number as it gets closer to year’s end.”
  • “The firm does not provide annual bonuses, premised on the trade-off that there is no billable-hour requirement, and the firm wants to avoid the negative impacts to firm culture that can result from the more competitive, less collaborative environment bonus-based compensation can create. Given that we still bill relatively high hours (though perhaps not as high as some firms), I think the firm should compensate for some of this (substantial) markdown from market compensation by increasing base salaries.”
  • “The compensation completely meets expectations.”
  • “I've gotten to work on a wide range of matters in the real estate practice, and the complexity often builds on past work. Supervising attorneys often allow the junior associate to take the first crack at drafting, and on transactions, the juniors often handle the bulk of the day-to-day communications with the client and/or opposing counsel.”
  • “We lack traditional paralegal support, which means we do a lot more logistical management of things like filings. However, I think we also get exposed to substantive work a lot earlier. You will draft as a junior, with support. You will take depositions as a junior and get time on your feet.”
  • “I am regularly staffed as the junior associate on M&A transactions. We are a leanly staffed group so I am clued into the transaction from beginning to end. I conduct diligence, draft ancillaries, draft diligence reports, and help coordinate closing mechanics.”
  • “Work assignments are very substantial from the beginning. Even so, partners are completely understanding and willing to assist in the completion of the assignments and available for follow-up reviews.”
  • “Formal training and mentoring, in my experience, has not been particularly strong. But, far more important to me, informal training and mentoring via direct and daily interaction and collaboration on active projects has been invaluable and is a major—if not the major—quality I would identify as characterizing my work life at the firm.”
  • “While there is a lot of informal mentorship and training some associates can learn if they find the right people, formal training leaves a lot to be desired and the mentorship/sponsorship system needs work as well. The firm is aware of these issues and is trying to find solutions.”
  • “There are formal training sessions across different practice areas regularly provided by the firm to the associates. Recently, there were training sessions on real estate as well as IP-related transactions, and zoning issues. Informal training is substantial as all partners are willing to sit down and explain each of the redlines in the agreements that I have drafted.”
  • “Because of the low partner-to-associate ratio, Goulston offers a great opportunity to experience informal, on-the-job training as you work on a matter with a supervising partner/senior associate. The firm also invests in the mentoring process, and even when a partner isn't your formal mentor, he or she often takes on that role in an informal capacity.”
  • “There is no forced attrition at Goulston in the way it's done at many large law firms, and generally speaking, if you're hired as a first year, the path to partnership is open to you if you want it. If I choose not to take partner track, the training I receive is top-notch, and I have my pick of in-house and government jobs.”
  • “The firm is conservative in its hiring numbers so that everyone has a truly realistic opportunity to make partner. The partner track is 10 years rather than the typical seven, but from what I can tell, it is a much more stable path than most other firms.”
  • “The firm provides a clear path to partnership. In fact, the firm provides you with the date that the associate will be considered for partnership, and gives clear guidance on each step of the way on how partnership will be obtainable. Those who are not directly promoted to partners are promoted as counsel and become partners down the road as they satisfy the requisite requirements. Exit opportunities are ample as associates and partners go become in-house counsel to our clients as well as non-clients. However, people stay here for the long-haul, and generally do not make an exit.”
  • “The firm strongly encourages all associates to engage in pro bono work on an annual basis. Pro bono clients and hours are treated the same as any paying client, in that the work is expected to be prioritized appropriately and are considered billable hours.”
  • “The firm has two tracks of pro bono services. The first is a more traditional track composed of providing services to the indigent or other disenfranchised groups in matters outside of our day-to-day practice. The second track is composed of providing pro bono services to nonprofits or other organizations that typically cannot leverage our level of legal services within our day-to-day practice areas. I love this second track as a junior associate because I often take on increased responsibility while doing societally-beneficial work and also increasing my skill set.”
  • “The firm is truly dedicated to pro bono and does not discount the hours that have gone into pro bono. They are valued as much as billable hours in that the firm is giving back to the society.”
  • “There is definitely a commitment and opportunity. However, it can feel like associates are expected to work on pro bono partners care about, which is fine but also makes it difficult to pursue causes that speak a lot to you personally.”
  • “The firm recently hired a Director of Diversity and Inclusion and seems to [be] making great efforts with diversity in hiring and retention.”
  • “The firm has been working on addressing diversity and inclusion issues, and while some concrete steps have been made, a lot of work still needs to be done. The firm demographically is not especially diverse, particularly racially diverse. The firm has acknowledged this and is taking concrete steps, including implicit bias training, affinity groups, and other initiatives to address this.”
  • “Parental leave is among the best in the industry not only in terms of the actual number of paid weeks (18 weeks) offered, but the culture that actually encourages both men and women to take them. All fathers and mothers I have seen utilize all 18 weeks, if not more. If the firm's culture did not promote associates to take the leave (e.g., by way of not promoting those who have taken it), I do not think people would have taken it. Such culture allows men and women associates to grow together without discrepancy in the number of months worked by women versus men.”
  • “The firm is actively making strong efforts to diversify the firm through hiring, promotions, parental leave, affinity groups, and modified work schedules.”

Why Work Here


Culture is Key

Vault has been surveying associates about firm life for 10 years now, and rarely do associates concur so completely about their firms' culture. A real estate associate explains, "Goulston is an incredibly warm and friendly place to work and there is definitely a sense of community within the firm." To which a trusts lawyer adds "People are friendly, and there is ample opportunity for socializing ... My spouse even enjoys the social activities!"

This culture permeates throughout the ranks. "The partners genuinely seem to care how associates are feeling" and "communication and dialogue at all levels are highly encouraged," from monthly meetings with associates and the managing directors to associates participation in firm operating committees.

Diversity at Goulston & Storrs PC

"At Goulston & Storrs, we are intentional in our efforts to increase and maintain a diverse and high performing law firm by ensuring that all of our practices and processes are inclusive and equitable and by raising awareness and addressing the unique challenges faced by attorneys from underrepresented groups. To that end, we are particularly focused on the recruitment, development and advancement of historically underrepresented populations, and on enhancing the overall inclusivity of our workplace. Greater than forty percent..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Goulston is a competitive, OCI-type recruiting process. However, because of our structure and our culture, I think we approach our candidates differently. Because there is no forced attrition, I think Goulston favors candidates who are more mature and think about their careers in the long term. Many of the Boston-area law schools are ‘feeder’ schools.”
  • “The firm is truly committed to sustaining its respectful, collegial, and collaborative culture. As a result, the interviews are not just focused on the person's credentials (which is obviously important), but the personality of the person. In order to maintain the respectful culture of the firm, the firm looks for candidates who will fit right into the positive energy that's ubiquitous throughout the firm.”
  • “[The] firm has extremely high standards.”
  • “The firm has a lateral committee with monthly plans to meet with ‘siblings’ (associates assigned as senior mentors to you) as well as mentor partners and lateral integration committee members. There are regular check-ins to make sure that the lateral is fully integrated into the firm.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


David Linhart

Associate

Goulston & Storrs PC
Meghan Hottel-Cox

Senior Associate

Goulston & Storrs PC
George W. Evans III

Associate

Goulston & Storrs PC
Yuanshu Deng

Associate

Goulston & Storrs PC