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Overview

Introduction

 

With close to 400 lawyers, Kramer Levin embraces a diversified practice model, with particular strength in bankruptcy, immigration, litigation, M&A, real estate, and white collar. Matters are staffed leanly, giving lawyers early and frequent opportunities for partner contact and sophisticated work. Rooted in New York, with offices in Silicon Valley, and Paris, Kramer Levin is a full-service shop with 375 lawyers. The firm practices across dozens of areas with particular strength in bankruptcy, immigrati...

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...

About the Firm

 

Rooted in New York, with offices in Silicon Valley, and Paris, Kramer Levin is a full-service shop with 375 lawyers. The firm practices across dozens of areas with particular strength in bankruptcy, immigration, litigation, M&A, real estate, and white collar. 

Many Eggs, Many Baskets

Fourteen New York attorneys teamed up to start Kramer Levin in 1968. From the start, Kramer Levin was positioned as a full-service firm that didn’t rely on a single hallmark practice or longstanding relationship with one major client. This approach, combined with the firm’s small size, meant that some practice areas were run by just one or two lawyers, but it also meant that Kramer Levin was able to accept litigation, real estate, transactional, tax, and trusts and est...

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2022 Vault Rankings


Associate Reviews


  • Kramer Levin attorneys and staff socialize together often. The younger professionals set up many non-firm sponsored events, as well as attend those sponsored by the firm. I can say that my colleagues have become some of my closest friends.”
  • I feel the firm really knows that in order to succeed every member of the firm needs to be supported. The team feeling created is palpable as soon as you walk in the door. I have learned so much and been supported by two different types of mentor programs that the firm provides.”
  • Before the pandemic associates would informally socialize very frequently (coffee breaks, etc.). I have been very pleasantly surprised with the effort to keep associates feeling connected during the pandemic through Zoom coffee breaks and happy hours.”
  • The firm's culture is very friendly and collegial but not overly social. There are not a big group of people getting drinks after work on a regular basis. Instead, it is very pleasant and friendly at work and people tend to want to leave work at the end of the day and spend time with friends and family, and the firm does a great job of allowing that balance.”
  • Partners at Kramer Levin welcome feedback and ideas from associates and consider ideas presented by associates. It contributes to a positive work environment where people feel comfortable reaching out and asking questions and feel encouraged to contribute ideas to litigation teams.”
  • Kramer Levin has a relatively non-hierarchical structure. Partners are generally very approachable, kind, and tend to take an interest in mentoring. The firm provides bi-annual reviews. The managing partners provide an annual state of the firm address to associates about the firm's financial performance and the outlook for the next year.”
  • In my experience, individual partners are supportive and interested in associate development. Formal reviews occur once a year. Feedback is given throughout the year, though sometimes associates need to take the initiative to ask for feedback. Firm management gives periodic updates on the firm's situations, financial or otherwise, and management gives an annual state of the firm address with more detailed business and financial information. There is not much transparency around internal promotion.”
  • The partners are very supportive and appreciative of associates. They understand the value and the work of the associates and that success of the firm depends on everyone's efforts. The formal reviews are conducted annually, but informal reviews are common throughout as you work on different projects.”
  • Finding that Goldilocks, ‘just right’ amount of the work is the ideal, but is often hard to attain. I find the hard part of the job is when various matters all hit at the same time, which can happen if you have a few billable matters that are active along with your pro bono docket.”
  • I feel like there is a fair amount in flexibility. I transitioned to less than full-time status to preserve a little better work-life balance. It has been a great decision for me personally and the firm has been very supportive.”
  • The firm has been extremely flexible over the last year in terms of where and when associates worked. The partners have also been focused on ensuring that no one is being overworked or ignored. The billable hours and bonus requirements are fair, especially because 100% of hours worked on pro bono matters are bonus eligible.”
  • Hours are what you can expect from a BigLaw firm—high when the work requires it, but otherwise manageable. Partners do not give associates busywork or unnecessary work. Tasks are substantive.”
  • We pay market salaries and bonus, along with an origination bonus and referral bonus, which is in line with the market. We are never a market leader, but we always keep pace.”
  • Compensation is industry standard for New York City, and the firm allows you to put unlimited pro bono hours towards the 1,950-hour bonus threshold. This makes it fairly easy to keep up your hours even when your billable work is at an ebb.”
  • The bonus eligibility guidelines are fair, and they adjusted the guidelines to expand the inclusion of certain business development work. We are compensated at market, which is fair.”
  • “[The] firm gave market bonus to incoming associates that started in January!”
  • I spend the majority of my time on substantive work at my level and work that would generally be handled by more senior attorneys at other firms. As a fourth year, I take and defend depositions; draft motions; argue in federal district court on discovery issues; draft expert reports and work directly with the experts; participate in deposition prep sessions; participate in crafting litigation strategy with the partners; and manage more-junior associates on document review, deposition prep, and privilege log projects.
  • Kramer Levin leanly staffs client matters, so from the get-go, junior associates are given substantive work. Most of my time is spent on substantive legal work, and include drafting pleadings and agreements to legal research.”
  • We have a staffing coordinator who has a system in place to track what corporate associates are working on and to help give out assignments equally.”
  • Most of my work is commensurate with my level of experience and has grown in complexity and responsibility with my tenure at the firm.”
  • The firm consistently updates its software and platforms to remain up to date. The remote work technology has been very conducive to working at home during the pandemic.”
  • The firm has a Technology Committee comprised of associates and partners alike which works to implement any changes associates/partners request. Working from home has been seamless and easy.”
  • The firm has been responsive to technological needs during the pandemic and provided stipends for associates to create and maintain an office set-up at home.”
  • The firm has provided all employees with tele-health care access through Eden Health during the COVID-19 pandemic, including assistance in obtaining vaccination appointments and paid time off to get vaccinated. The firm has corporate deals with gym memberships in the area and provides wellness tips to employees via weekly KL Alerts.”
  • The firm has a staff that is very focused on the well-being of the attorneys and staff and regularly has initiatives to further those efforts.”
  • The firm has provided resources due to the pandemic. The firm seems supportive of suggestions regarding improvements to what they are already doing with respect to wellness in all forms.”
  • Kramer Levin has a formal training for all first-year associates as well as training and refresher activities and check-in office hours with the professional development team throughout the first year. Further, every associate is assigned a more-senior associate mentor and a partner mentor. Moreover, associate mentor teams are encouraged to participate in pro bono legal work together.”
  • “We are provider with both a mentor and a CAP advisor. The combination of having someone more senior as well as a more junior level associate to talk to is great. I thought there could have been a longer, more formalized training period during orientation.”
  • “A budget is provided for mentors and the firm encourages taking advantage of that as well as doing things with your mentee such as taking on pro bono work.”
  • “Partners and senior associates are generally available to discuss issues and answer questions.”
  • Internal promotion to partner is difficult. Senior associates can stay on as senior associates or transition to special counsel positions if promoted. Many in litigation leave to go in-house or work for the government. The partnership process is not very transparent.”
  • Promotion to partner is very realistic, and I expect to be on that path. There are also opportunities to go in-house to clients and the professional development team has focused on improving efforts to provide guidance for those looking for exit opportunities.”
  • Promotion to partnership is realistic but seems to be along a longer timeline that it might be at other firms. There are, however, other non-partner roles to which senior associates can transition—namely, special counsel. And attorneys who wish to exit the firm are typically well positioned to take on other roles.”
  • Kramer Levin is incredibly committed to pro bono work and encourages all firm members to do pro bono work. Pro bono hours count as billable hours. The firm has a pro-bono committee that provides opportunities such as limited scope clinics as well as facilities pro bono relationships with outside organizations such as the New York City Bar Justice Center.”
  • All pro bono hours count towards our billable hour requirement. In the past month, I have been involved on one asylum case for a Central American immigrant fleeing gang violence, one SIJS case representing a juvenile immigrant also fleeing gang violence, and a case representing an unemployed worker in an appeal of her determination of eligibility for unemployment insurance.”
  • The firm's commitment to pro bono is incredible. The most important thing—people here, partners and fellow associates, generally understand when you have an active pro bono matter that is taking up your time. It is part of the firm's culture that people are very invested in their pro bono work.”
  • The firm has a strong commitment to pro bono work. All time spent on pro bono work is bonus-eligible and there are many opportunities for pro bono work available. I have worked on immigration cases (asylum, SIJS), as well as drafted amicus briefs in support of upholding gun safety laws.”
  • The firm offers billable credit (up to a certain number of hours) for diversity-related work/activities. There are women's circles to allow for socialization and development within a smaller group of women across practice areas and levels of seniority. There are also various affinity groups that hold social events, host firmwide programs/discussions, etc.”
  • There are relatively few female partners and very few racial minority partners, which are common issues in the industry. The firm seems to be taking steps to try to address that, particularly this year with new diversity initiatives. …”
  • The firm is focused on improving diversity. It acknowledges that there is a lot of work to do to improve in that area, but has focused recruiting, training, and other efforts to try to do so.”

Why Work Here


Working at Kramer Levin

• You’ll get real work, not make work. We’re not a mega-firm, and we don’t staff like one. You’ll be an important and valued member of our team.

• As a Kramer Levin Summer Associate, you have a say in what type of work you do. There are no department assignments. No rotations. We want to know what interests you and how we can help you play to your strengths.

• If pro bono interests you, then we have a lot in common. Our commitment to pro bono is well-known. What is less well-known is that there are no limits on the number of pro bono hours you can count as “billable” toward bonus requirements. In pro bono as in life, we encourage you to follow your interests.

• Training is second-to-none, due in large part to our robust “shadowing” program, which provides junior attorneys with hands-on learning opportunities by encouraging them to accompany more experienced lawyers to depositions, negotiations, strategy sessions, corporate board meetings, conference calls and the like. As with pro bono, hours spent shadowing count as “billable” toward bonus requirements.
 

Diversity at Kramer Levin

"At Kramer Levin, we believe that exposure to varied perspectives, experiences and backgrounds enhances our work environment and creates a healthy culture of acceptance and professional growth. Our firm's diversity mission is to proactively build and promote mutually beneficial relationships and to operate the firm in an inclusive, ethical and culturally sensitive manner that embraces individual differences. At Kramer Levin, your career will not be limited in any way by race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and..."

Getting Hired Here


  • The firm participates at OCI at traditional T14 schools as well as at non-T14 schools in NY. Fit is important to the firm. There are general guidelines or suggestions for interviewers. Candidates interview with multiple attorneys who provide feedback to the hiring committee, which extends offers to candidates.”
  • Not sure of any particular feeder schools though we certainly interview lots of NY law school students, which makes sense. I believe we are looking for a top tier law school candidate but we do also interview at schools like Brooklyn Law and St. Johns, which I think is a good thing. Particularly the bankruptcy group likes to hire former clerks and I believe the firm as a whole has that preference.”
  • Fit is very important for Kramer. There isn't a mold that you have to conform to, but you need to be able to work pleasantly with others.”
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? Tell me about yourself. What do you think a first-year's day looks like? What are you interested in about the firm?”
  • Summer associate program candidates may be asked to discuss substantive assignments they completed during their 1L summer or about their teamwork experiences. They may be asked why they are drawn to the firm or about the criteria they used to narrow down which firms to interview with.”
  • Why do you want to be at Kramer? Tell me about your last experience working in a team.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Nathalia Bernardo & Dennis K. Heyman

Partner & Associate

Kramer Levin
Rachael Ringer

Partner

Kramer Levin
Josh Winefsky

Partner

Kramer Levin
Daniel Eggermann

Partner

Kramer Levin
Meigan Serle

Associate

Kramer Levin