Vault and Firsthand have combined platforms! Learn more

cross

Overview

Introduction

You know you’ve made it in the legal industry when you’ve landed a spot at Latham. The firm is a global leader across dozens of practice areas and recruits the best of the best. Those seeking autonomy to shape their practice plus extensive training and support will be pleased at this legal giant. Latham is one of the world’s largest law firms. With more than 3,000 attorneys in 30 offices around the world, Latham practices in all the major jurisdictions in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and regularly represents compani...

Firm Stats


More

Total No. Attorneys (2021)


More

No. of Partners Named (2021)


More

Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


More

No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



More

No. of Summer Associates (2021)



More

Base Salary

All U.S. offices:...

Vault Verdict

To snag a coveted associate spot at Latham, you’ll need a stand-out resume—including a GPA that meets the firm’s grade cut off (which varies by law school). Interview questions come in all shapes and sizes, but candidates should be ready to let their personalities shine. Latham has a friendly, open atmosphere where lawyers and staff are down to earth and approachable. The firm has a free-market assignment system, so associates have some autonomy over their assignments and the teams they join. Most speak highly of the partners, describing them as approachable and gracious. There is also ample transparency from the top, and partners are open to questions on firm decision-making. The firm has a reasonable 1,900-hour billable requirement, though most associates share they are billing ...

Firm's Response

A career at Latham & Watkins will give you the opportunity to do some of the best work of your life. Opportunities are boundless—Latham’s Unassigned Program allows you to follow your intellectual curiosity to explore the firm’s market-leading practices before choosing your department, practice, or industry foc...

About the Firm

Latham is one of the world’s largest law firms. With more than 3,000 attorneys in 30 offices around the world, Latham practices in all the major jurisdictions in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and regularly represents companies doing business in Latin America and Africa. The firm is a global leader in corporate transactions, environmental law, finance matters, litigations and trials, and tax services.

Small Shop Gets Super-Sized

Dana Latham—former commissioner of the IRS—and Paul Watkins founded the firm in 1934 to focus on tax and employment law. In the latter part of the 20th century, the firm began aggressively and steadily expanding around the globe. The firm’s largest office is its New York location—an iconic new space on Avenue of the Americas. Despite its sprawling ...

Associate Reviews


  • “Pre-pandemic, Latham had a very open, social atmosphere. More of a grab-lunch or a quick after-work drink and get home at a reasonable hour type of social, than a ‘work hard, play hard’ type of social. A lot of this is either firm sponsored, or the firm is more than happy to reimburse a lot of social expenses in the name of 'mentorship.' Our staff are the best. I have a very collaborative relationship with all of the non-attorney departments I work with, and the firm frequently hosts social events for both lawyers and staff.”
  • “Latham is cordial and people are friendly. In particular, you notice that ‘Latham lifers’ that have been brought up in the Latham culture their entire careers are extremely considerate, helpful, and understanding.”
  • “The atmosphere, colleagues, and management are all great. The importance of a positive, pleasant culture is real at Latham.”
  • “Latham has a fantastic culture. Everyone makes an effort to be respectful and collegial even in extremely stressful situations. The firm does a great job of facilitating social engagement and developing friendships with colleagues outside the office. Also, the firm's CareerDesign program has been an invaluable resource for me as I explore my professional identity and contemplate next steps in my career. I'm truly grateful the firm chooses to invest in us in that way.”
  • “For the most part, people get along very well and most people (both lawyers and staff) are very approachable and down to earth while still being hardworking. There is plenty of socialization that occurs, but much of it is of the organic, informal kind, because people have plenty of friends at the office.”
  • “The partnership at Latham [is] second to none. Latham's free market system allows associates to ‘shop around’ or ‘try out’ different practice groups and supervisors, which allows for better connecting with partners that fit your personality and work style. I have been supremely impressed with the relationships I've forged with individual partners at the firm.”
  • “Latham's transparency is one of its hallmark qualities. The firm has frequent calls and announcements to all attorneys setting forth its path and decision-making. I never feel in the dark at Latham. Further, the partners seem to truly care about the well-being of associates.”
  • “All interactions with partners I have had so far have been very positive. In a few instances, partners have gone out of their way to specifically thank me for my work on a matter. The firm is extremely transparent (both from a progression/bonuses and firm finances perspective).”
  • “Associate-partner relations are very good. Partners are very approachable and I have never had any issues seeking advice or asking questions. The firm is transparent and releases yearly reports on financials and has had several discussion regarding internal promotion.”
  • “Latham is super transparent. In our monthly associates meetings, partners answer anonymous questions. The questions are read aloud verbatim and they answer.”
  • “The work system is pretty democratic—you have the freedom and flexibility to find your own work if you want, but there is also a book system where supervisors can seek out the least busy associates for help. Generally there is little face time requirement (even before COVID) so there is plenty of flexibility to work from home, and the firm also has made good on its promise to count every pro bono hour you work toward your total billables for the year.”
  • “The hours have been demanding—most people have said this is the busiest the firm has been in the past 10 years. However, I have been able to turn down work when it would have been unmanageable, and have still been able to take advantage of the unassigned program by selecting projects I want to work on. … The 1900 hour billable requirement is extremely reasonable for a big law firm (though most people will likely exceed it by quite a bit this year based on how busy the firm is overall).”
  • “As with any big law firm, you work a lot—A LOT. And it can take away from your ability to have a life outside of work, especially now in the pandemic. There is too much focus on hours billed and on pace. And it drives people nuts. But I do think Latham does as good a job as any big law firm in trying to encourage associates to take breaks where they can, to seek balance, etc. The flexibility on where and when we work also helps a lot.”
  • “There are a lot of hours, but my supervisors have been great about checking in on me and making sure that my efforts are recognized. I've had both senior associates and partners reach out to make sure I am doing okay with the workload, and that focus on well-being is appreciated. …”
  • “I have no complaints. Latham always matches raises and bonuses and if you go above your hours you get a hefty bump on bonus.”
  • “I think my firm has top of the market compensation. I am pleased they are paying out the special bonuses this year and they did last year. The bonuses are hours based. If you bill 1,900 hours in a year, you get a market bonus for that year; 1,900 isn't too much for big law and I like that there is a bright line where you know once you hit those hours you're good and you're getting paid. They have a scaled system where as you bill more, you get more money, which I think is fair. But they also do give more money for high quality. Additionally, pro bono and other firm service (e.g. committee service) counts too. I have gotten extra bonus money every year in recognition of hours spent on pro bono and committee service.”
  • “Latham uses the market bonus as the base, so the median bonus has always been, in my time here, well above the market, with the top bonuses even higher. I have always received higher than market, and have felt that my bonus very fairly reflected my work and the hours I put in. Latham has also been true to its word of treating pro bono hours and client-billable hours completely equally for bonus purposes—even in a year where I had very high pro bono hours due to a trial, my bonus was still at the top of the scale in recognition of the hours.”
  • “I am proud to work at a firm that recognizes the increased hours associates are putting in and rewards that extra work through special bonuses.”
  • “The level or ‘substance’ of an associate's work is a function of the quality of work they've done. If you knock your early assignments out of the park, then your supervisors are more than willing to provide you with ample opportunities above your class year. As a concrete example, I was able to do in-depth expert witness preparation and take multiple depositions as a second-year associate. I certainly had to earn the partners' trust before being given such assignments. But associates who are hungry for substantive work can get it—they just have to work for it.”
  • “Quality is not a question—I'm a midlevel and generally work directly with partners or senior associates and have both ownership over the process and an active role in substantive review and decision making. I'm the first point of contact for most of my clients. At the same time, I feel very protected and safe because I have total support from the partners and senior associates who are ultimately responsible and know when to jump in. You have great opportunities to ‘step up’ but ultimately the partners are very engaged with the clients and the one's running the show/responsible.”
  • “I have been pleasantly surprised at the level of substantive work I have received, and how early in my career it came. Latham leanly staffs deals, and attorneys are given every opportunity to prove they are capable of handling more and more substantive work. Further, Latham works on high-profile and complex transactions.”
  • “One of my informal mentors told me that I should try to learn something new every day, whether that was legal doctrine or how to do a particular task. I've been able to follow his advice without trying. I get a wide variety of work, almost all of it substantive ([although] when something clerical has to happen on a tight timeline, it tends to fall to a more junior attorney to take care of it, which only makes sense).”
  • “Latham was probably more prepared than any other firm to handle the pandemic from a technology perspective, because Latham was already encouraging people to work from home when they needed to.  Pre-pandemic, I was working from home every Friday.  Latham was already providing computer monitors, telephones, and other supplies to associates to build workstations at home, so we were ready to continue working when the office closed. …”
  • “The firm offers attorneys a multitude of technology options to make work-from-home easier: monitors, second screens, webcams, mobile phones/hotspots, etc.”
  • “I am mostly satisfied with the firm's technological platforms as we have transitioned to work from home. The biggest complaints are that the firm did not provide a tech stipend (at least to first year's being onboarded) and does not allow certain expenses to be reimbursable such as printer ink. These particularly come to mind because I know that other firms have offered these benefits.”
  • “The firm has a ‘LiveWell Latham’ program that it extensively promotes. This program includes subscriptions to meditation apps, resilience programs, counseling services, home fitness programs (with trainers providing small-group programs over Zoom), and  presentations by various medical experts on topics ranging from stress reduction, mindfulness, and even the science behind COVID-19 vaccines.”
  • “Great benefits—really the top of the line. Has the best parental leave of any firm I've heard of (and everyone takes it), personal leave (bereavement, illness, etc.—and people take it), awesome free counseling services, constant exercise/meditation/nutrition programs going on.”
  • “The firm has expanded wellness efforts during COVID and offers frequent discussions with medical/wellness professionals. I feel like I would have an abundance of firm resources if I feel unwell from a physical or mental perspective.”
  • “We have endless amounts of wellness efforts. Free counseling, mediation apps, live Latham online fitness classes. No room for improvement there. But … the thing that would actually improve my wellness is working less. And that is never going to happen in BigLaw.”
  • “There's more training, mentoring, and sponsorship than is imaginable … in a good way. Whatever training opportunity you want exists, and there are frequent emails soliciting feedback on improvements or new training opportunities. I've seen several suggestions for training experiences be put into place, which is encouraging to see that feedback is taken seriously.”
  • “The formal mentorship program has been incredibly helpful to me; my first assigned mentor was a wealth of information and perspective. I also generally have had positive informal mentorship experiences as well. I've found the training programs very helpful, especially a multi-day contract drafting workshop for second-year transactional associates—I implement tips and tricks from that workshop daily.”
  • “Latham has a bevy of formal training programs that help with basic nuts-and-bolts skills of lawyering. Additionally, the partners are very supportive of information and formal mentoring and training that really teaches you how to do your job—the partners in my small group especially so.”
  • “The firm provides a lot of formal training and has various formal mentorship programs. However, I find the informal mentor relationships I've formed (which was not difficult to do) and the on-the-job training I've received to be much more valuable. Latham has a culture of learning, and people are generally pretty patient when you are learning how to do something you haven't done before or aren't comfortable with.”
  • “The firm offers plenty of formal and informal mentoring. I have both a formal mentor and many informal mentors. The firm offers plenty of training series.”
  • “Achieving partnership at any BigLaw firm is hard, and that is true at Latham as well.  However, the firm is transparent about what one needs to do to make partner.  It is also transparent about how to make counsel, which is a non-partner role that can be a long-term position or a stepping stone to make partner, depending on one's situation and goals.  The firm also has dedicated (and confidential) career counselors for those who do not see partnership or counsel as their long-term goals.  I know several associates who have used these services to their benefit.”
  • “Latham makes partners every year. Partnership prospects here are very real. The firm even acknowledges that not everyone wants to become a partner and—get this—has a dedicated team on helping those who want to leave to find something appropriate for them (win/win really—if the firm can place you somewhere you like, you'll always be a friend of the firm). But that level of awareness is astounding. Associates often leave to fantastic and high paying in-house roles or business roles.”
  • “… Latham has an incredible reputation (rightly so!) and incredible clients—they openly encourage going in-house with clients and even have a page on the intranet dedicated to highlighting open positions for associates.”
  • “The firm is very transparent about promotion possibilities. My primary supervisor began having very candid discussions with me about plans with respect to my future beginning in my fifth year. Exit opportunities include other firms and in-house positions. The firm is a great one to have on your resume.”
  • “The pro bono program is a big part of why I chose Latham. They truly do encourage associates to take on pro bono matters, and I've done more than 1,000 hours of pro bono work in my 4+ years here. It's been an enormous part of my life and Latham and has increased my job satisfaction significantly. Latham also counts all pro bono hours for bonus purposes.”
  • “Pro bono hours count 1:1 with billable hours with no cap.  Latham is very committed to pro bono. As a third year, I drafted an entire summary judgment response in a federal court pro bono case.”
  • “The firm has an active pro bono committee, actively provides lawyers with pro bono activities, emphasizes the importance of every lawyer doing pro bono work and provides associates with full billable hour credit for all pro bono work.”
  • “… We have a diversity of pro bono projects like asylum work, veterans benefits appeals, 1983 cases, and more. Our firm was the main outside counsel in the 2020 Census case, which was staffed with a big team as a pro bono matter with the [LCCR].”
  • “They are trying. In addition to our existing diversity initiatives, a racial justice task force has been formed. My office is making an effort to expand our reach further in the community, not just through monetary donations but also through time donations. This year we are on track to have our most diverse summer class ever. The parental leave policy is top of the market. I have felt very [supported] as a working mom. The firm offers billable credit for diversity initiatives and what that covers is very broad.”
  • “Latham is working hard to hire and retain more diverse pools of new attorneys; they have done very well on the hiring front and still have progress to make on the retention part, which involves deeper looks into the fluid manner in which mentoring and assignment distribution tends to take place. The firm listens to its various affinity groups and gives them voices into firm policy that helps the firm evolve.”
  • “Latham has poured a ton of resources into improving diversity across the firm. Each incoming class of associates is more diverse (across all metrics) than the previous class. They are genuinely committed to its improvement. However, it is still less diverse than it could be, and there's work to be done (as is the case across the legal industry).”
  • “The firm has strong affinity group networks that host many events, including yearly retreats, and serve as a jumping point for many great informal and formal mentoring relationships. The firm also does offer billable credit for diversity related work activities which is appreciated because I can participate in diversity initiatives with other organizations on behalf of the firm without worrying about falling behind on hours.”

From the Firm: Associates receive hour-for-hour credit for up to 50 hours of diversity, equity, and inclusion activities so long as they otherwise

Why Work Here


We Are Driven by Our Values and Culture. We have a unique and special culture, based around our core values of transparency, inclusion, innovation, and collaboration.

We Are Enriched by Our Diversity. Our firm reflects a rich mixture of races, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, religions, culture, socioeconomic backgrounds, and primary languages. This diversity makes us who we are. 

We Build Careers. From day one, we provide our associates with the mentoring, training, feedback, and career guidance, they need to be at the top of their field.

We Are Flexible. We recognize that our lawyers have varied interests outside of the office, so our policies reflect a commitment to fostering a healthy work-life balance. We provide generous parental leave policies, a reduced–pace program, and cutting-edge technology that helps help lawyers manage their workload.

We Give Back. As one of the world’s largest providers of pro bono legal services, we take seriously our commitment to give back to the communities where we live and work.

Diversity at Latham & Watkins

"Latham is a leader in developing, promoting and implementing processes to ensure lawyers are hired, trained and promoted fairly, consistent with our goals of equal opportunity and diversity in the practice of law. To enhance opportunities for our lawyers from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, we continually and critically assess all facets of our lawyer programs —from initial recruiting through progression to partnership— to ensure that all of our lawyers can develop into top practitioners and succeed at the firm...."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Latham's recruiting process is extremely competitive, and there is a grade cut-off that varies by school. Typical BigLaw advice applies where pedigree of school, grades, and law review, and diversity matter. Latham also values prior work experience, particularly where relevant to the practice area. The firm will and does consider write-in candidates from mid-ranked law schools with excellent credentials (I was one).”
  • “Recruitment is very important, and we are 100% committed to diversity in our recruitment process.”
  • “Latham wants the best candidates from a wide range of schools. As a non-T14 grad, I was pleasantly surprised that Latham was not snooty about pedigree, but they still had high standards. Latham cares about grades, practice area interests, previous work experience, and other ‘prestige’ factors like journal/clerkship. Once you got past the screener, I felt like the main focus was personality and interest in the firm.”
  • “Extremely competitive, but broader/more holistic approach than some peer firms. Lots of representation from top schools like Columbia, Harvard, etc. but also lots of representation from schools like Fordham.”
  • “The firm tries to ask experiential questions that evaluate how candidates solve problems or how they overcame difficult issues. Other questions may focus on a candidates legal acuity (in light of their experience level) and work style.”
  • “We typically use their resume as a guidepost and go from there, along with asking questions to gauge their interest in the firm and their areas of interest in the law. It is always my goal to ask them a few questions that will allow them to evaluate their critical thinking/reasoning skills (e.g., I noticed you're on Law Review—are you writing a comment or note? Can you tell me what it's about and what legal debate it's analyzing?)”
  • “We are trained to conduct structured interviews. Questions are designed to assess a candidate's core competencies. There are certain questions I ask in each interview so that I can compare responses across candidates: What aspect of law school do you enjoy the most, and what do you find the most challenging? What practice area are you interested in? Why Latham?”
  • “I like to tailor questions based on individuals' resumes, so there is no one set of questions typically asked. That said, I like to probe on the candidate's ability to speak under pressure, to assess their own strengths and weaknesses, discuss what they add to the group, and why they are leaving their current employer.”
  • “The firm has a laterals team that reached out frequently to check in and see how I was going, whether I'd met the people I want to meet (or if they could facilitate that) and that I was getting the work I wanted to do.  It was unobtrusive and friendly, and those folks were my first friends at the firm!  It was a very welcoming experience.”
  • The firm has both formal and informal programs for lateral and clerk integration. The firm understands that circumstances for lateral hires are different from those facing summer associates and tailors these integration programs to address those challenges.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Ben Potter & Jana Kovich

Partner & Associate

Latham & Watkins
Belinda Lee & Aaron Chiu

Partner and Vice Chair of Global Antitrust & Competition Practice & Associate—Antitrust & Competition Practice

Latham & Watkins
Tara Elliott & Michelle Ernst

Partner & Associate

Latham & Watkins
Michael Dillard

Global Chair

Latham & Watkins
Leslie Caldwell

Partner

Latham & Watkins

Perks & Benefits