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Overview

Introduction

Pacific Northwest-powerhouse Perkins Coie cultivates collegiality through holistic hiring, social retreats, affinity groups, wellness programs, and more. Whether they hope to make partner or move in-house, associates here are in a good position. Today, the firm has more than 1,200 attorneys working across many industries, including aerospace and transportation, energy and natural resources, financial services and investments, life sciences and health care, retail and consumer products, and technology and communications.

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

Major Markets Only (All California offices; New York; Washington,......

Vault Verdict

Perkins Coie is holistic in its hiring, seeking strong credentials, work experience, and “no jerks”—and candidates should be prepared for behavioral interview questions. The firm has a “people first” culture where respect forms the basis of all firmwide relationships. Social efforts have continued virtually, though it’s hard to beat the pre-pandemic events such as affinity- and practice-group retreats. Lack of transparency into recent compensation changes is a point of criticism, but associates note the firm is generally transparent otherwise—not to mention, many associates are thrilled about the change to lockstep pay. Associates keep busy, but they appreciate the flexibility the firm provides in terms of when and where they work. Work is substa...

About the Firm

 

With its largest office still in Seattle, Perkins Coie has stayed true to its Washington roots. But over time, the firm has expanded to include 17 domestic offices—four of which are in California—and three offices in Asia. Perkins Coie likes to say that it provides “counsel to great companies,” and a look at its client list will confirm that’s true. Firm clients include household names like Microsoft, Facebook, Starbucks, Amazon, and Google. 

From Birth to Boeing

Perkins Coie got off to a good start: Founded in 1912, the Seattle-based firm’s earliest clients included one William E. Boeing Sr., founder of the eponymous aeronautics company. The relationship with Boeing contributed to Perkins Coie’s reputation for representing high-tech and cutting-edge ve...

Associate Reviews


  • “Liberal, collegial, diligent. People care about each other, both professionally and personally. That has only increased during work-from-home. There is a premium put on top-notch work and client service, but not at the expense of finding work-life balance.”
  • “I jumped firms to Perkins because of the amazing culture here. There are always going to be really tough partners or personalities in a workplace, but I've always felt like Perkins promoted the right people to management who have great judgment and have their heart in the right place, and that ethos trickles down (and those tough personalities are dealt with in a more proactive way than I've experienced at any other firm). We also spend a ton of resources on creating a good culture, from the many retreats (e.g., Women's, Diversity and Inclusion, practice-group specific) to the curated events. Attorneys interact with each other with respect—and that's very much expected.”
  • “The partners in our group are good humored, approachable, considerate, have open-door policies, and are happy to mentor associates. Generally, my experience with business associates and partners in other offices has been similar. The ‘people first’ firm culture at Perkins Coie is strong.”
  • “Although in-person social get-togethers are not happening right now due to COVID, the firm has multiple ways for attorneys to stay connected socially. In Seattle, we have a bi-weekly Seattle Connectivity call, my practice group meets virtually once a week, and there are a lot of different programs and webinars that you can participate in.”
  • “It is a remarkably horizontal arrangement with impressive transparency for associates. A few of the promotion and compensation methods are fairly opaque, but I think they operated fairly, and the firm listened to criticism and has made them less discretionary in the interest of transparency.”
  • “I have always had positive relationships and received effective feedback from partners.”
  • “While treatment of associates by partners obviously varies, on the whole, I find that individual partners are extremely respectful of associates and in particular value work-life balance.”
  • “Partners, particularly in my group (Technology Transactions and Privacy) care a great deal about the welfare of their associates, pro-actively reach out when they feel the team needs a morale boost (mostly because of the pandemic) and makes sure to facilitate social opportunities for us. The firm itself is very transparent compared to two other firms I have been at, providing us with financials and transparency in how they have made decisions. Our reviews are particularly transparent, and we are able to see the exact comments that each partner provides regarding our work.”
  • “There is a high flow of work but also a high degree of flexibility. I do not feel overworked, but am often challenged by the workload.”
  • “Although each situation is different, I largely have flexibility to work from home or at the office. Work is not very evenly distributed; workflow depends on your matters and your popularity as an associate/counsel. Some associates/counsel are very busy, others aren't. Also, in my experience, matters are typically leanly staffed. That lean staffing gives associates/counsel greater responsibility, but it also can significantly increase your hours when things arise.”
  • “It is BigLaw, but the flexibility in terms of when and where we work is fantastic. Vacations are easy to take, given notice. And when emergencies arise, colleagues are happy to step in. Work can fall disproportionately on people who are not proactive and assertive in creating boundaries.”
  • “I feel the hours requirement is fair—1,950 [hours] with unlimited pro bono hours, and 50 hours a year on diversity and inclusion efforts count as billables. …”
  • “I REALLY like the new lockstep salary/bonus schedule for the major markets, although I wish there was also an opportunity for high billers to earn discretionary bonuses. Otherwise, I fear that I will end up working two times as much as my colleagues in the office and get paid the same (which will breed resentment).”
  • “Given the cost of living in Seattle and ‘national law firm’ scale of work, it is sort of surprising base pay is not equivalent to Bay Area, NYC, etc. However, the lower hours expectation and the possibility of ‘true up’ to a national compensation rate more than makes up for this difference.”
  • “I feel I am very well compensated, particularly because I really love what I do. Portland associates are paid top dollar compared to other Portland firms. Bonuses are usually fair, although I was less than impressed by the firm's roll-out of the special spring and fall bonuses in mid-market offices including Portland. The special bonus is half as much as our peers are receiving in the major markets, which seems to suggest we are valued half as much.”
  • “Associates are very pleased with the recent compensation changes to match the market scale/spring and fall bonuses.”
  • “I am doing work appropriate for my skill level but am constantly being tasked with increased responsibility. If you do good work and want to learn, you can advance quickly into some really interesting assignments.”
  • “The sophistication of the work I am given has increased with each year I am at the firm. In the moment, there are times where I feel like I am stuck in terms of work level, but that is more the result of the process being a marathon rather than a sprint.”
  • “I have worked exclusively on substantive legal work. I get to help draft every motion and regularly engage directly with the client. None of my work is ever shadow drafting—I get credit for my work! Our clients’ GCs know my name and are already getting familiar with the quality of my work. I couldn't ask for more.”
  • “I feel that the level of my work, which is increasingly managerial rather than purely legal, is appropriate for my level.”
  • “The firm went almost entirely remote in just days when the pandemic happened. The IT team's response has been fantastic. They helped everyone set up our home offices, and the firm provided a stipend to purchase or upgrade as we needed. Nothing to complain about regarding technology.”
  • “The firm invests a lot of money and resources into ensuring we have the latest technology to makes our jobs (and lives) easier.”
  • “Perkins has a pretty good system for technology. I have the fanciest laptop at Perkins than at any other prior law firm that I worked at. There was a $500 technology reimbursement program during the pandemic. We have standing desks with dual monitors in the office as a matter of course.”
  • “Perkins Coie is constantly upgrading old tech and introducing new tech to help us work more efficiently and make relevant information available to us. Onboarding remotely as a new associate went off without a hitch, and the transition to remote work was extremely smooth by all accounts. Perkins Coie already supported flexible working arrangements, so many of the details of remote work had already been figured out by IT before we needed to make that move. I have no issues day-to-day and actually love working remotely.”
  • “We have quarterly wellness challenges where you're incentivized with gift cards and raffles to establish healthy practices. The firm also offers yoga, free counseling sessions, the Peloton ride group... tons of stuff.”
  • “I am amazed by how many email invitations I get for wellness-related events, ranging from yoga to talks about coping during the pandemic. We have an exercise room and a nap room in the office. The firm offers Headspace and other programs free of charge to all employees. The firm has provided a lot of educational opportunities during the pandemic and recently hosted a panel discussion about the COVID vaccines where medical exports fielded questions from firm employees. It was well received and really helpful.”
  • “On a firmwide basis, I think the firm has done a good job, but that does not matter so much on the micro-culture/practice group level when the group has such a significant impact on an associate's career prospect. In my group, there is a strong sense that an associate cannot show any weakness and that individual wellness is not a consideration.”
  • “The firm places a very high emphasis on mental wellness and has ensured access to online wellness apps and free online therapy. The firm also has a high emphasis on informational meetings for COVID wellness and has granted attorneys and staff time off both to volunteer with COVID efforts and for time off after the vaccines.”
  • “The firm puts substantial resources toward formal trainings and mentorship, but there is no replacement for the informal relationships and lessons learned from more (and less) experienced colleagues.”
  • “Many partners and senior associates are proactive about providing younger associates opportunities and making themselves available to answer questions and give feedback.”
  • “New associates are assigned an associate mentor and a partner mentor when they start. Those mentors are supposed to check in with the new associate regularly and take them out to coffee/lunch. At least in my group, informal mentorship also exists and people are really generous with their time. New associates often identify one or two people they work with regularly and go to them with their concerns/questions too.”
  • “I feel like most of the training and mentoring I have received have been self-initiated, but I have found the individual lawyers and the firm more broadly receptive to my efforts. The firm is currently implementing more formal criteria for associate development, which will help associates identify activities that may further their careers at various stages. They are requesting associate feedback to make sure the criteria work for us, which I really appreciate. I have also seen an increase in internal training opportunities within my practice group, which provides a great opportunity to get to learn more about partners' practices and gain important skills.”
  • “Associates who stick around seem to be promoted on schedule. Many take lucrative in-house positions before that time comes.”
  • “Promotion to partner is absolutely realistic for those with interest. Other non-partner roles are available, but I'm not sure how many people take advantage of those opportunities and do not see them promoted as a viable alternative. A lot of people go in-house to clients or other companies. The partnership process seems transparent, but more senior attorneys refer to it as a bit of a black box. I understand that the firm gives people signals in the annual review process once they get close to qualifying for counsel and then partner.”
  • “I will not make partner at my current firm. There are ‘senior attorney’ roles that remain a possibility, or a transition in-house to one of my clients.”
  • “Promotion to partner is a very realistic goal. People who aren't interested in partnership can transition to senior counsel, which several have done in recent years. Working at Perkins keeps all your doors open in Seattle—associates and partners can go to any other firm (though very few leave to go to another firm) or in-house at effectively any company. Partnership process seems relatively transparent. Doing good work, hitting your hours, and being pleasant to work with seem like the ticket.”
  • “The firm has a generous pro bono policy and supports pro bono initiatives even for junior attorneys. I focus on immigration-related pro bono work.”
  • “The firm has implemented pro bono initiatives to encourage all attorneys to contribute at least 21 pro bono hours in 2021.”
  • “Pro bono work counts toward yearly hours requirements. There is no limit to the number of hours that count, though there is conversely a requirement that at least 1,800 must be billable to a client in order be eligible for a bonus. That's sort of a backwards limit of 150 hours of pro bono, but technically one could still do 151+, so long as they still billed 1,800 to a client. (Though there isn't much compensatory motivation to record the 151st hour of pro bono work.) Recently, I have been defending the trademarks of a LBGTQ+ community organization. I am actively attempting to establish a pro bono relationship with a mentorship group for disadvantaged kids that seeks to engage them with the patent system. …”
  • “There's a plethora of pro bono opportunities, and attorneys are strongly encouraged to participate (and are given billable credit).”
  • “The firm is incredibly proactive in fostering diversity within the attorney ranks. Like most firms, our partnership is lacking in greater diversity—particularly race, ethnicity, and LGBTQ+—but the firm has hired a Chief Diversity Officer who is implementing great policies in furthering our diversity efforts, including granting billable hours for work we do in advancing diversity-related causes.”
  • “Diversity and inclusion is a firm priority, and it shows. Certain diversity and inclusion activities are billable. One area for improvement is a stronger paternity leave policy.”
  • “The firm is incredibly supportive of diverse attorneys and staff. I fall into various diversity categories and can attest that I have never felt so comfortable at a workplace as a cross-diverse individual.”
  • “Perkins Coie is known for making diversity a real and legitimate priority. We have lockstep pay for associates, which eliminates any possibility of pay discrimination, and a number of well-supported diversity groups. The firm makes sure to offer many educational events and they are always very well attended by members of the firm as well as clients, etc. We now get billable hours for diversity & inclusion efforts, such as mentoring diverse law students.”

Why Work Here


Our Commitment to Diversity & Inclusion

Perkins Coie embraces diversity and inclusion as part of our commitment to excellence and community.  Diversity is integral to our collegial environment because it allows us to learn from one another, appreciate differences and similarities, and collaborate more effectively.  We are not only committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the firm; we are also committed to supporting efforts and partnering with other organizations to make the legal profession more diverse and inclusive.

Affinity groups are a key to the firm’s success in this area.  The firm currently has nine affinity groups, including those for African American lawyers, Asian Pacific Islander lawyers, Latino/a lawyers and LGBT lawyers.  These groups develop educational programming, assist with business and professional development opportunities, maintain relationships with national diverse bar associations and foster community among diverse attorneys within the firm.

Diversity at Perkins Coie LLP

"STEADFAST COMMITMENT Perkins Coie's vision is that we will be second to none in creating and fostering a diverse workforce that reflects the broader society, ensures opportunities for all attorneys, and advances Perkins Coie as the most trusted advisor to our clients. One of the most meaningful changes that the firm implemented during 2019-2020 was creating a Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Plan (SDIP) spearheaded by the firm's Strategic Diversity Committee. The SDIP aims to position the firm as "the best place to..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “It helps to have a strong GPA, to have demonstrated an interest in law through extracurriculars, and to have some relevant work experience (even if just a summer internship). The Portland office doesn't have any particular feeder schools, although there seems to be a preference for ranked national schools over local schools. Some ties to Portland or the Pacific Northwest are helpful.”
  • “Perkins has a ‘no jerks’ policy. While they hire the best and the brightest, they understand that ultimately, we all want to love what we do and enjoy interacting with coworkers. Overall, I felt that they were looking for mature candidates with prior work experience who could bring both stellar legal skills and emotional intelligence to the role.”
  • “I think the firm does a great job balancing the traditional aspects of the hiring process (grades, law school, etc.) and the diverse and additional value that a candidate brings to the table.”
  • “The firm definitely looks for the best of the best, but they recognize that really solid common sense can drive people away from the most competitive (read: expensive) schools, journal, clerkships, etc. They really look at things holistically.”
  • “Describe a time when your performance was criticized by someone you [respected]—a teacher, a parent, friend, or mentor. How did you respond? What did you learn? Describe the worst on-the-job crisis you had to solve: How did you manage to maintain your composure? …”
  • “I can't really say I was asked interview questions. I'm a conversationalist, so I end up just chatting with anyone I interview with.”
  • “For 1Ls, we try to standardize so we can compare across candidates. Behavioral questions are popular. …”
  • “I'll ask about experience; I'll ask about their contributions to specific cases they worked on. I'll ask them what they think about particular legal issues in the hypothetical/abstract. Honestly, I'm just trying to get folks talking. I'm trying to see how they think and work through problems.”
  • “It's now years ago, but I was warmly welcomed in, quickly given assignments, got lunch with everyone on the team, and had lots of open doors I could go to with questions. I try to replicate that experience for others joining now.”
  • “I lateraled to the firm during the pandemic and have been very impressed by how well the firm has integrated me despite the fact that we are still working remotely and I have not met anyone in person.”
  • “Lots of meetings with other laterals and clerks where we could talk and ask questions. …”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Hayley L. Berlin

Counsel

Perkins Coie LLP
Han-Wei (“Harvey”) Chen

Partner

Perkins Coie LLP
Charles Torres & Paul Navarro

Partner & Associate

Perkins Coie LLP
Julie Schwartz & Nicola Carah Menaldo

Partner & Counsel

Perkins Coie LLP
Alan Murphy & LeAnn Johnson Koch

Partner & Partner

Perkins Coie LLP

Perks & Benefits