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Overview

Introduction

Consistently among the top law firms for quality of life, Paul Hastings prioritizes associate mentorship, training, and long-term career development. Lawyers seeking an amiable, collaborative atmosphere where hard work and client service are valued will likely be a good fit at the firm. Over the last few decades, Paul Hastings has grown from a mid-market U.S. firm to an international outfit with strengths in employment, tax, and business law and big-name clients in more than 80 countries. With offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul,...

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 Summer Associates (2021)



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No. of U.S. Offices



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No. of International Offices

Vault Verdict

Paul Hastings is looking for team players who are kind and hardworking and will mesh with the firm’s laid-back, yet driven culture. Interviews focus on candidates’ prior work experience and more specifically what they learned from those experiences and how they grew from them. Not a party firm by any means, Paul Hastings places high value on client service and boasts a professional atmosphere where lawyers are collaborative and can create the social experiences that works for them with zero pressure. Unlike many of its peers, Paul Hastings offers significant transparency into firm decision-making, and recently, the firm modified its review process to include more frequent feedback throughout the year. Partners are both approachable and available to associates for questions and men...

Firm's Response

At Paul Hastings, our purpose is clear—to help our clients and people navigate new paths to growth. With a significant presence throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the U.S., we are recognized as one of the world’s most innovative global law firms. We understand the imperative for innovation, efficiency, and breakthrough performance...

About the Firm

 

Over the last few decades, Paul Hastings has grown from a mid-market U.S. firm to an international outfit with strengths in employment, tax, and business law and big-name clients in more than 80 countries. With offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Shanghai, and Tokyo, the firm has become especially strong in Asian market dealings.

It Started with Three

In 1951, Harvard law grads Bob Hastings, Lee Paul, and Leonard Janofsky pooled their ambition to form a new firm in Los Angeles. They divided the workload three ways: Janofsky handled employment law matters, Paul dealt with litigation, and Hastings managed business law. In 1962, Charles Walker joined the trio as a partner, adding his name to the masthead and establishing a tax practice. Walker took a brief sojou...

Associate Reviews


  • Laid back and casual, but focused on client service.”
  • Pre-COVID, we socialized pretty frequently, both informally and formally. I would say lawyers and staff have a strong relationship, and the day-to-day atmosphere is professional but relaxed.”
  • Day-to-day atmosphere is very laid back and work driven. People differ in how social they are with each other outside of work. Whether you prefer to hang out with people from work or do your own thing, you'll meet people that are on the same page. There is absolutely no judgment whether you go to happy hour with your colleagues constantly or choose not to. No pressure—it is all up to you. In my department, everyone gets along with no exceptions.”
  • With COVID, things have changed. But, personally, I am friends with my colleagues and all first-years in my class. I never feel weird about reaching out to someone, even if that means calling a partner, because they're all more than willing to take time to explain things to me so that I can become a better lawyer myself.”
  • “Partners treat associates as colleagues, not employees. I have a number of partners I consider mentors, who regularly give career advice. The firm is very transparent about performance expectations, at each level of seniority, and with respect to promotion and performance reviews. …”
  • “Formal reviews are twice a year as a junior associate, and once a year as a mid-level and senior associate. This year, Paul Hastings is changing the model to have more frequent career discussions.”
  • “My practice group partner has a 1:1 call with me every week to provides coaching, advice, and to listen to my needs and concerns. I feel I can approach any partner in this office without hesitation.”
  • “The partners make themselves very approachable. They seem to appreciate the work done by associates and are quick to give praise for a job well done. During my short time at the firm, management has seemed very transparent about firm performance and finances. Management has regularly given updates via email about the health of the firm.”
  • “I work a lot of hours, but I also know that my bosses are willing to be flexible in terms of time off. Billing requirement (2,000 hours) seems standard.”
  • “A ton of work to go around, which is good. The billable-hour requirement is manageable and was reduced for incoming first years, including having 300 ‘client-readiness hours’ and unlimited pro bono hours that count towards the billable hour requirement.”
  • “Paul Hastings has always, even pre-COVID, had flexibility in where you work—in the office, at home, or on site with a client - as long as the work gets done.”
  • “I'm a lateral associate - It's night and day from my last firm. When someone reaches out with a new project, they always ask first if I have availability, and then if I'm interested in the particular project.  I've had real control over my practice for the first time in my career.”
  • Bonus is tied to 2,000-hour target (including pro bono), and the firm is doing special spring and fall bonuses this year.”
  • The firm matches the market in every way and has been quicker to match than peer firms in recent rounds of bonuses.”
  • Everything is market. But bonuses are paid in March rather than December, like peer firms. This is the biggest drawback to working at PH, where I am otherwise completely satisfied.”
  • I feel that I am compensated in line with other associates at other firms. I appreciated that the firm is paying us an extra bonus due to performance during the pandemic and that we get to receive it as first years regardless of our hours.”
  • “Most of the work I perform is creating first drafts of ancillary documents, such as exhibits or schedules, drafting and managing checklists, and performing various diligence tasks. This type of work feels appropriate for a first year.”
  • “I'm a first year so I'm not really sure what is appropriate for my level. I spend about 50% of my time doing document production and review, and the other 50% doing ‘substantive’ legal work like writing briefs or motions, going to court, doing legal research, or interacting with clients.”
  • “I spend most of my time on substantive, level-appropriate work, including calls with the client, co-counsel, regulators, etc.; supervising and managing legal research and writing of junior associates; and developing case strategies.”
  • “The nature of my work involves running deals and preparing/drafting the main deal documents, but also managing the junior members of the deal team that are assisting on diligence and other ancillary matters.”
  • Paul Hastings has been incredibly generous with tech during COVID. In addition to shipping my laptop, PH paid for dual screen monitors, and we get a $100 work from home stipend every month.”
  • Every associate has had his or her own laptop for years now—Paul Hastings was ahead of the curve there. The firm is always looking to improve on its technology. There is an Associates' Technology Committee, which discusses and explores innovative solutions. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the firm offered full reimbursement for associates to purchase monitors, printers, keyboard/mouse and headsets to make the transition to working from home seamless.”
  • The firm's technology has worked seamlessly, and on the rare occasion I have encountered difficulties, the 24/7 tech support has been able to help me immediately.”
  • The firm has a number of wellness initiatives and resources through "PH Balanced" (from counseling, meditation, yoga classes, family care, COVID-19 fund and wellness initiatives, etc.) for attorneys and other employees that are interested.”
  • Our firm provides counseling and promotes a healthy lifestyle. I feel that the proper resources have been made available to anybody who may need them.”
  • “… Especially in regards to the pandemic a lot of resources were shared to promote wellness, as well as a firm-funded Fund to help any firm employees that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.”
  • There is a formal mentoring program for first-year associates, and outside of the formal system, senior attorneys are very happy to mentor and guide younger lawyers. Management supports this, including by allowing formal mentors billable hour relief for time spent mentoring.”
  • “[There are] lots of CLEs and informal mentorship. We also get partnered up with a mentor as a first-year associate; there’s a lot of online skills training; and our first year has ongoing training and mentorship, ranging from basic lawyering skills to benefits and finance support. The firm is transparent about resources for career coaching, and we have a mid-level symposium I’ll be going to in a couple years that focuses on coaching and career development.”
  • “The partners and senior associates take an active role in mentoring the more junior associates.”
  • “All associates in my practice group have provided me assignments and specific feedback and coaching on the deliverables. I feel very comfortable approaching either of them if I have a question—whether legal or simply about a best-practice or a tip.”
  • Many of the partners in my group seem to have started at the firm as summer associates. This provides the impression that if you stay at the firm you can become a partner. For the associates who I have seen leave the firm, they all seem to have found very desirable jobs. The firm also has senior attorneys in non-partner roles.
  • Promotion to partnership is realistic but not everyone’s goal. [There are] a good amount of non-partner roles—Counsel, other firm departments like Office of the General Counsel, or other firm management roles, etc. We have Director of Attorney Careers who will help coach you and find an in-house role for you if that’s your goal as well. It’s pretty transparent I think, lots of communication around opportunities within and outside the firm.”
  • On day 1 of the 2019 Summer Program, we were told: ‘Not everyone can make partner here, given the nature of the structure, and that's OK. We'll help guide your career in whatever way you like. If that means going in-house, then we'll place you in the best possible position to succeed.’ Personally, I think it's an ingenious business model.”
  • Career opportunities are circulated throughout the firm distribution list. …”
  • The firm does an amazing job with pro bono work, and there is no cap on pro bono hours counting towards billable hours, which says just how much the firm values and emphasizes its pro bono work.”
  • “No cap on the number of pro bono hours that count toward the billable-hours requirement. [I’ve worked] to get benefits for a veteran who suffered military sexual trauma and combat-related disability, an elderly woman who was defrauded by a contractor, and a nonprofit who was the victim of cyber fraud.”
  • 100% of pro bono hours count as billable. PH is strongly committed to pro bono work, and everyone makes an effort to do at least 20 hours per year. Notable projects include asylum claims for LGBTQ individuals and unaccompanied minors and research and outreach relating to criminal justice reform.”
  • “… The firm appears to be very committed to pro bono work, which I'm proud of. There is a lot of great pro bono work to go around. First years and summers are each given a pro bono assignment when they first start out at the firm, with opportunities for more pro bono work. The firm works closely with Kids in Need of Defense to provide pro bono services to SIJS applicants, as well as with Public Counsel to assist in adoptions cases.”
  • The firm has always, but even more so in the past year or two (in my experience) had a strong focus on diversity. We have affinity networks dedicated to celebrating different background and cultures as well a lot of programming to bring to the forefront discussions of race, gender, LGBTQ issues, disability, etc. The partners lead a lot of this programming and to me that demonstrates that the firm supports these open conversations from the top down.”
  • PH's diversity program is the reason I am at PH. It's extensive and spans firmwide, seeping into every single practice area, not just the diversity department itself. PHANs [(“Paul Hastings Affinity Networks”)] hosts monthly cultural events, often with engaging speakers—we just had Nelson Mandela's daughter speak for Black History month! I'm extremely proud of PH's commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
  • The firm is deeply committed to diversity and creating an inclusive culture and has a number of different affinity groups and initiatives aimed at promoting diversity and inclusion (diversity/inclusion webinars and conferences, hiring diverse summer associates/laterals, creating funds to donate to social justice organizations and related initiatives, etc.).”
  • The firm cares deeply about diversity and they offer top-of-the-line perks for child care and leave.”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Paul Hastings LLP

"At Paul Hastings, we are committed to acting with integrity, valuing knowledge, and embracing diversity. To raise awareness in the market, explore best practices, and highlight our clients and their progress in advancing diversity, we often collaborate with our clients and the industry on thought leadership. In 2017 and 2018, the Firm worked with GC Magazine to produce the GC Diversity and Inclusion Report, an examination of innovative actions of the legal community. Building on this series in 2019, we teamed up with Minority..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “It helps to come from a T14, but isn't required. Some offices are more selective than others. Generally, the firm looks for those who are down-to-earth, kind, and compassionate people; hard workers; [and] team players. We are not a ‘party’ firm, but comprised of a really nice intellectual group of attorneys.”
  • “The firm is competitive. Mostly, we care about smart, hardworking, and nice people. There are classic feeder schools, but we've taken associates from a wide range of schools.”
  • “From my perspective, the firm is probably most focused on personality, law school, and grades, in no particular order. Though I do think that personality fit is a big factor in hiring and would probably make/break a potential candidate.”
  • A lot of questions on substantive experience.”
  • The questions I find most interesting in interviewing candidates (both law students and laterals) are those which dig into the lessons those candidates learned from their experiences. Our sample questions ask about leadership opportunities and lessons learned, lessons learned from mistakes, and circumstances where candidates had to step out of their comfort zone in order to get things done, and how that went. We also place great value on understanding what people gained from their resume experiences—it matters to us much more what someone learned in an internship or job than the perceived prestige of the position they held.”
  • More conversational. ‘Tell me about your experience doing [random item from your resume].’”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Christopher Ross

Partner

Paul Hastings LLP
Elena Baca

Partner and Global Chair

Paul Hastings LLP
William Brady

Partner

Paul Hastings LLP

Perks & Benefits