Vault and Firsthand have combined platforms! Learn more





Irell & Manella associates are lucky to work with friendly colleagues and partners who provide great mentorship and training. They also appreciate that they are given early responsibility and experience—and they are well compensated for it. A Southern California powerhouse for 80 years, Irell & Manella matches or exceeds its multinational peers in salary, prestige, and high-stakes cases, serving clients worldwide from just three locations in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Washington, DC.&l...

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2021)


No. of Partners Named (2021)


Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)


No. of Summer Associates (2021)


Base Salary

All offices...

Vault Verdict

Irell attorneys are a quirky, intellectual bunch. They’re friendly and social too—the firm offers an open-door environment with plenty of social opportunities. Partners and associates get along well; many associates appreciate how generous partners are when it comes to providing ongoing feedback and mentoring. The formal review process is helpful for insights into individual performance, but associates agree that the firm is not as open when it comes to firmwide matters and decision making. Associates have a billable-hours requirement of 2,000 hours, which they feel is fair, although sometimes the workload has them automatically hitting more. They appreciate that there is no pressure to bill more that they have to, though—hitting hours means a full bonus payout. And bonuses are ge...

About the Firm


A Southern California powerhouse for 80 years, Irell & Manella matches or exceeds its multinational peers in salary, prestige, and high-stakes cases, serving clients worldwide from just three locations in Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Washington, DC.

A Glamorous Start

Irell harkens back to the glamour days of old Hollywood—1941, to be exact: the year in which Orson Welles released a little flick called Citizen Kane and two tax attorneys—Eugene Berger and Lawrence Irell—established what became one of the most prestigious law firms in Tinseltown. Arthur Manella joined the firm in 1944; within a year, Berger had passed away, and Manella had become a partner. The Tax practice started handling tax affairs for Hollywood stars, including...

Associate Reviews

  • “Lots of open doors [and] colleagues interacting with one another socially and professionally on a regular basis.”
  • “There [were] weekly firm-sponsored happy hours when COVID wasn't around, and the firm does a good job keeping associates together during COVID quarantine by using virtual happy hours and paying for lunch-and-learns. Everyone at the firm is a little bit quirky, which makes it fun to work with people (they're all a bit different).”
  • “The firm has a professional culture that feels very academic. Individuals seem largely liberal and people are generally quite friendly.”
  • “Associates and partners get along well. Associates are seen as valuable members of the team and are often incorporated into important discussions, conversations with the client, and more. I always have seen partners treating associates with respect, and I have received valuable mentorship from several partners at the firm. To me, this stems from the general familial environment that Irell has fostered. The firm is not entirely transparent with decisions. …”
  • “Partners provide thoughtful feedback and gratitude for hard work, either informally (happy hour, or dinners, etc) or formally (after an assignment, or during reviews).”
  • “Reviews are semi-annual, and are conducted by two partners who have worked closely with you in that period. Those partners will tell you areas of strength and areas of improvement, and their visions for how you can continue to succeed at the firm going forward. I have generally found them helpful, and more so as I've become more senior.”
  • “My hours have been very stable, and I feel like I have never had to ‘search’ for work to meet hours thresholds. Work has been plentiful and interesting.”
  • “The hours can be a lot in short periods of time, but they are very manageable and there is very little pressure to bill more than 2,000 hours (no extra bonuses, no differentiated bonuses; hit full hours, get full pay).”
  • “The highlight of Irell for me is flexibility in my hours. Even before the pandemic, working from home was acceptable. I've never felt tethered to my desk—to the contrary, I'm not sure if most partners even know where my office is.”
  • “We're paid above-market bonuses, and the firm recently instituted a profit-sharing bonus given out in the spring. It feels like the firm appreciates my hard work.”
  • “Our base salary is market rate, but we receive above-market bonuses (with spring and end-of-year bonuses given).”
  • “We have a formal associate mentor who we can turn to for most questions. We also have had multiple Zoom training/orientation events to get us assimilated within the firm. However, most training is informal. All attorneys at the firm, associates and partners, are very helpful and willing to answer questions or provide training.”
  • “Most of the learning is ‘on the job,’ but there is a strong series of formal training in your first year on key components of litigation, including depos.”
  • “The informal mentorship relationships are very meaningful. Partners will spend time providing feedback on opportunities as they come up (immediately after depo, after oral argument, after briefing). After the first year, however, formal training is nearly non-existent (not too much of a problem because you are out there actually doing legal work: taking depos, arguing, writing briefs, etc.).”
  • “If you have bandwidth and you bring an opportunity, you can likely do it. Pro bono counts exactly like billable. I've never heard any comment about too much pro bono or a distinction between pro bono and billable.”
  • “Irell counts pro bono hours towards your billable hours with no upper limit, which highly incentivizes pro bono.”

Quality of Work and Technology & Innovation

  • “I could not be happier with the nature and quality of the work assignments I have received. As a junior associate, I have taken and defended depositions, argued motions, been to trial, and more. Early substantive responsibility is the name of the game at Irell.”
  • “Opportunities are there from the start to argue in court, take and defend depositions, handle briefing, have client interaction, etc. The tradeoff is that having responsibility can be stressful, but that decreases quickly as you gain experience.”
  • “Most of my work is substantive legal work, including client time, pitches, drafting, arguing, taking/defending depos, etc. The soft skills of people management start early here, as well—including managing more-junior associates early on.”
  • “My firm mailed all associates all computer equipment needed to start working remotely. We also have an IT team that is fast to respond to any questions or issues. All new associates also receive a $1000 technology/office decorating budget to purchase any miscellaneous items needed.”

Why Work Here

We Are True To Ourselves

Irell attorneys are a diverse group.  Although we come from a wide array of backgrounds, countries and experiences, we share a common passion for practicing law at the highest levels and we are all dedicated to finding the best solutions for our clients.  Our differences enrich us and our common desire for excellence binds us.  At Irell, we can be ourselves and focus on our shared passions.

Even casual office discussion often involves recent cases, ongoing matters, and interesting legal issues.  We wouldn’t have it any other way, and we encourage hearty discussions and debates about developing legal and social issues.  In fact, the firm produces in-house discussions and training sessions, usually led by associates, on topics relevant to our practice and our community several times every week.  The environment around the office is prime for inquisitive legal minds.

Diversity at Irell & Manella LLP

"In 2014, we proudly established the Irell & Manella Diversity Scholarship. We award an amount of $15,000 each to a select number of 2Ls, who in addition to meeting certain criteria, receive and accept an offer to join our summer program. For more details about the scholarship, please visit"

Getting Hired Here

Perks & Benefits