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Overview

Introduction

Vocal on civil rights and social justice, Paul Weiss attracts progressive types who value the firm’s high-profile pro bono work and its internal dedication to diversity and inclusion. The firm is a litigation all-star and also boasts a stand-out corporate practice. The firm is also known for its expertise in telecom and entertainment law. Today, the firm is active in racial justice efforts and assistance for those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in immigrant rights, reproductive rights, and voter protection...

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

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Vault Verdict

Paul, Weiss has a progressive culture and isn’t shy about standing up for equality—something that has long been part of the firm’s DNA. The firm is especially committed to its pro bono work and takes on high-profile matters, from voting rights to reproductive rights, and so much more. Lawyers are friendly and enjoy socializing, especially in pre-pandemic times at the weekly Wine and Cheese event, but some feel there isn’t the same level of socialization during the pandemic. Associates have noticed some improvements in terms of transparency lately, including regular town halls, but some still feel in the dark on decision-making, especially regarding promotion. Hours have been particularly demanding lately, but even so, many associates are happy the firm doesn’t have a billable requ...

About the Firm

 

For decades, Paul, Weiss has valiantly defended the coffers and reputations of some of the world’s largest financial institutions and companies. Though perhaps best recognized for its courtroom dazzle, the firm’s prolific corporate and restructuring departments more than hold their own. The firm is also known for its expertise in telecom and entertainment law.

Groundbreaking Start

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison dates to pre-WWI New York, where Samuel William Weiss and partners opened a practice to handle commercial law matters for other members of the local Jewish business community. Back then, Jewish attorneys struggled to find acceptance in Gentile firms. Weiss’ son Louis took a different approach and went into business with Columbia Law cla...

Associate Reviews


  • “Socially progressive, thoughtful, and genuine. We used to have a cocktail event every Friday night for socializing but that paused due to the pandemic. Now, we have semi-regular ‘circle’ events, where we meet in circles of about 20 people each for planned social events that take place over Zoom.”
  • “Socially and politically, the firm is very, very progressive and takes its ideals seriously. The impact pro bono projects the firm invests in are some of its lawyer's top priorities.”
  • “Impossible to say during COVID because we are still fully remote. There are sporadic efforts to be social but it is a huge step down from in-person over the summer where the social interaction was a real highlight. People are still friendly and helpful, but we are all much more isolated.”
  • “If you don't count the pandemic, I think the firm's culture is great—I can't imagine it being better somewhere else. There was a weekly Friday cocktail hour that a lot of people (especially first years) went to. Paul, Weiss is definitely a little traditional/buttoned up in certain ways (when compared to other, smaller firms), but compared to its peers, the culture (especially the liberal bent of most people) is a defining, positive feature in my mind.”
  • “I've made meaningful relationships with individual partners. On the whole, partners value associate work and opinions, and do their best to mentor and teach associates. The firm has grown more transparent over the years in terms of financial metrics, which are always stellar. Partnership is still a black-box though. We keep hiring awesome lateral partners and don't seem to make homegrown litigation partners anymore.”
  • “The partners with whom I've worked have been understanding of associates' workload. If a case is demanding for weeks on end, partners check in and help associates keep their heads above water.”
  • “We have a monthly town hall meeting with the chairman of the firm. He talks candidly about the firm's finances and about other issues important to associates. Relationships between associates and partners may veer on the more formal side (senior associates will usually offer to proofread juniors' work or even emails before they go to the partners) but the partners have always been friendly and approachable.”
  • “The partners I work with are pretty reasonable and treat associates with some respect, and many are very active in promoting junior lawyers' development. Decisions from on high are a bit of a black box sometimes, but I haven't been particularly unhappy about anything so far.”
  • “I appreciate the lack of billable-hour requirements for compensation. Historically, the firm has valued in-office facetime, but that has completely changed during the pandemic, and PW is taking a very measured and considerate return-to-office strategy. Additionally, the firm has tried to be as supportive as possible during the pandemic, although I think there is still a lot of room for improvement. Associate staffing can be very random, and work is not always evenly or well distributed. Lawyers at all levels are expected to work long hours.”
  • “I am given a substantial amount of work, but I feel like that is a nature of the BigLaw atmosphere at the moment. Big law firms are simply busy. However, I truly always feel like I can speak up if the work is too much for me. Speaking for myself, and I know others would say the same, I know that the partners care about my well-being.”
  • “The lack of a billable requirement is really fantastic, because it takes the pressure off, even though most associates meet the requirement, anyway. But consistently billing 190 throughout the pandemic has been exhausting.”
  • “I always feel like I have plenty of work, and if I ever don't, I know it would be more than easy to get work. Sometimes the long hours get bad, obviously, but It's really great not to have a billable-hours requirement. I can just trust that I'll end up working plenty, and when I'm not, it's okay to relax.”
  • “As a litigation associate, I have only had to work after hours and weekends when it's been necessary. I've had instances where people assigning me work have told me to make sure I don't work late on specific assignments, because they are less urgent. However, like any BigLaw firm, work can come in at any time, and we are expected to do it.”
  • “PW is a market-follower and always pays market. No complaints with compensation, and the benefits are particularly generous.”
  • “The firm compensates very generously. The firm paid all special bonuses this year and does not tie bonuses to billable hours, which is a huge plus.”
  • “The firm pays at the top of the market. The firm distributes bonuses at top-of-the-market and to all associates. Our billable hours are not tied to receiving a bonus, which fosters a team oriented work environment.”
  • “It's market salary, but sometimes it doesn't feel like enough for how much we work. Bonuses are lockstep, which is good in that we don't have to worry about making a certain number of billable hours to get it (no billable hours target is amazing) but the higher billers do not get compensated.”
  • “My work is complex and intellectually stimulating—the clients we work with are sophisticated and involved. I couldn't be happier with the quality of my work assignments. Further, my assignment partner reaches out regularly to associates to ask if we are enjoying our workload or if there are certain types of matters or clients we'd like to work with.”
  • “In just two years, I have had the opportunity to completely handle first drafts of a variety of briefs, letters, etc. I have first chaired witness interviews. I have managed document collections. have not only had the opportunity to do work appropriate for my level, but there are also opportunities to punch above your class if you seek it out. Obviously, there is doc review here and there, but that is part of the job—and an important one.”
  • “I get the opportunity to work on public, large private and mid-market private deals, as well as bankruptcies, giving me a wide range of experience. The work is rewarding and challenging and I don't think it would be possible to get better work experience. Since it is a small group, sometimes the work can often be above your class level.”
  • “The quality of work is tremendous. In the public and private M&A sphere, it is dealing with high profile deals. More to the point, I spend most of my time doing billable work, and not business development or other non-billable work.”
  • “The firm has done a great job of adapting to the pandemic from a remote work/technology perspective. In addition to providing laptop, external monitor, keyboard, and mouse, the firm also provided two separate generous tech stipends and offered attorneys a work phone if they wanted one at home. The firm provides Zoom and Microsoft Teams. I think I have been able to do the actual work completely effectively while remote.”
  • “Tech and tech support has been great. If you need equipment or support it is available quickly. The firm has largely adapted very well to the new normal.”
  • “Could have better quality laptops, but firm has provided us with monitors, keyboards, a mouse, work phones, cell phones and a home office budget.”
  • “Having the Cisco phones at the home office was a game changer. Would have liked if they had provided printers and web cams.”
  • “We have a nutrition program where you can get discounts on your health insurance. There is a free Equinox or other gym membership. The firm also has in-house physical therapy which is an AMAZING perk, and so many people see them because of back problems due to sitting all day. The firm also offers convertible keyboard risers to create standing desks.”
  • “There are wellness initiatives and the firm takes it seriously, but the reality is that little can help unless hours improve.”
  • “As a new parent and new associate, I have really appreciated the expanded child care and family wellness programs.”
  • “There is a first- and second-year curriculum with weekly trainings. We are assigned an associate mentor and also a Colleague Connect Circle, which is a smaller group of associates, counsel and partners from your practice area who do monthly social events together.”
  • “There is a formal training program for associates at all levels, involving presentations/curricula, career development meetings, etc. There are also firm-sponsored mentorship programs (including within minority/affinity groups) to provide attorneys with casual spaces to interact and receive mentoring outside of work matters. The mentoring program has room for improvement, but [I] would say it is better than the other law firm I previously worked at.”
  • “PW has recently instituted a new mentorship structure where the attorneys are divided into different circles. This was unfortunately rolled out as the pandemic was beginning, so it remains to be seen if this new structure is beneficial to attorneys. I am grateful that I still have a relationship with my mentor that predated this program. …”
  • “There is a fair amount of formal training—at least early on. The firm schedules training sessions on various discrete topics for incoming associates. There are also occasionally one-on-one coaching sessions for writing and oral presentation skills. Informally, many senior members of the firm do put effort into mentoring and providing substantive feedback to more junior members of the firm. I do feel like I have learned a lot from several people at the firm and that they have looked out for me in terms of early career development and growth.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is very difficult, but there are non-partner roles to which senior associates can transition, and exit opportunities seem vast. When associates leave, they often leave to go clerk, work for other firms, work in government, go in-house, or work [in] other law-adjacent jobs. PW has made an effort to make the partnership process somewhat more transparent over the last year or so.”
  • “Making partner at Paul, Weiss is not realistic for the vast majority of associates.”
  • “You cannot come in assuming that if you work hard and do your best, you'll make partner. There's some kind of special magic that goes into making that happen. But in terms of exit opportunities, you're incredibly marketable coming from Paul, Weiss. Our alumni go on to incredibly coveted and prestigious positions in various companies, non-profits, government, and more.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is not that realistic. There are many counsel roles. The exit opportunities are vast and people leave to do a lot of cool things, ranging from in-house to government to nonprofit. The firm has a great alumni network and an in-house confidential career advising services. They work with you to make sure you gain all the skills you want to before you leave.”
  • “Pro bono is in the blood of Paul, Weiss. It is highly valued and highly respected.”
  • “Pro bono is part of the firm’s ethos. Voting rights, fighting family separation, LGBTQ rights. Whatever the issue is, we’re fighting for justice and equality.”
  • “Pro bono hours count the same as any other work. It is a high priority for the vast majority of lawyers. PW is involved in an unimaginable array of pro bono work, everything from individual representations that never make the news to high-profile matters that make it to the Supreme Court. An added bonus is that these matters are excellent opportunities for training and skill development.”
  • “This is the place to be for pro bono. The firm has a storied history of engaging in important matters (Brown v Board of Education, U.S. v. Windsor, gun control amicus briefs to Supreme Court). The firm does not shy away from topics like reproductive rights or gun control, which many other firms do not touch. The firm encourages all associates to take substantive pro bono assignments, and there is no cap on the amount you can do. The firm also has dedicated pro bono counsel.”
  • “Highly diverse for the industry and taking concrete and actionable steps to become more so. The firm is incredibly receptive to ways to improve in this area and is working hard and dedicating large amounts of resources to it.”
  • “The firm has great parental leave policies and good fertility assistance should attorneys need it. There is also a fairly active women's network and, pre-pandemic, a robust women's mentoring system.”
  • “The firm has been very cognizant of disparate treatment of women, minorities, and LGBTQ+ individuals in the law in general and has taken concrete efforts to increase diversity hiring and retention.”
  • “They really do try, and I think especially they've been making a big effort on racial diversity in hiring. As a woman, I think one of the small things I see that actually means a lot is that people really try to be equitable about distributing administrative tasks on a team, so they don't just fall to women. One of the cutest things Paul, Weiss has been doing is a weekly children's book club for Black History Month, Women's History Months, and now Asian American rights.”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

"Most big law firms profess a devotion to diversity. Paul, Weiss has a history of putting it into practice. In 1927, when Louis Weiss and John Wharton merged their small firm with the firm that Louis's father had founded, they did so with the then-exceptional policy of bucking the prevailing system in which Jews and Gentiles did not mingle in practice or in clientele. In the same year, Paul, Weiss hired William T. Coleman, top-of-his class African-American graduate of Harvard Law School and former Supreme Court clerk, at a time when no..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Hard working, personable individuals who are comfortable with learning and feedback in a fast-paced environment.”
  • “You need high grades from a good school to be hired.”
  • “The firm's hiring process is competitive and has recently started to focus on ensuring more people of color are hired, including by interviewing at HBCU law schools.”
  • “Feeder schools are Harvard, Yale, Columbia and NYU. Grades are most important in getting a call back.”
  • “1. Please provide an example of how you've overcome a significant obstacle in your legal journey. 2. What is an area of growth you feel would aid in your legal development?”
  • “Why are you interested in Paul, Weiss?”
  • “Interviews are very informal and conversational. Most people who apply have stellar credentials, so I think people really want to figure out if you are the kind of person they would want to be in the trenches with.”

Perks & Benefits