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Overview

Introduction

 

SRZ attracts associates who are social and hardworking, and the firm is a great fit for those interested in the financial services industry. The firm has a history of taking on high-profile pro bono matters and hasn’t wavered in this commitment. Schulte Roth & Zabel today primarily advises clients in the financial services industry, with a particular emphasis on representing investment management firms. Relatively narrow in practice scope by BigLaw standards, SRZ trains its focus on investment mana...

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: $202,500...

Vault Verdict

Schulte is holistic in its recruiting approach, evaluating candidates on more than just law school and grades—the right personality and ties to New York are important factors. The firm is very social, and even throughout the pandemic, the collegial culture has been maintained from the top down. Associates give the firm kudos for its transparency, which is in part facilitated by frequent town hall meetings. Workload ebbs and flows, but associates are satisfied with the 2,000-hour billable-hour requirement, and they appreciate the firm’s decision to reduce the requirement during the pandemic. Compensation is market with additional targets for higher bonuses, and associates are pleased with their pay. Work is substantive with increasing responsibility as associates progress. Training...

About the Firm

 

Among the New York elite, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP has defined itself as the go-to firm for hedge funds and their ilk. While this practice focus translates into double-digit profits and aggressive growth during boom years, the firm has grown organically over the years.

Hedging Their Niche

SRZ was founded in 1969 by a group of young BigLaw associates—most from Cleary and Fried Frank—who wanted to escape the traditional BigLaw model. The firm found its place by working in areas that were mostly ignored by the big firms, like trusts and estates and the burgeoning field of hedge fund law, and soon was attracting clients like the Rockefeller and Lehman families. Bill Zabel—who had written the winning brief in landmark Supreme Court case Loving v. V...

Associate Reviews


  • “Extremely social firm if you want it to be, but without pressure to participate if you don't want to. Plenty of interaction during COVID.”
  • “We have plenty of social events—some firmwide, some group specific. My class recently had a wine and cheese tasting event, my group does associate happy hours, and as a firm we've done mixology classes. Day to day, I can ask anyone in my group a question and expect to receive the time and help necessary for me to succeed. Another fun thing I like is our internal instant messaging system. It makes collaboration easy, and is a nice way to chat throughout the day with other associates.”
  • “Lawyers often socialize together. This has obviously changed since the pandemic, but there is an effort to get together and form relationships. Our firm also has a strong culture in social justice. People are collegial and friendly, and reaching out and asking questions are encouraged. No one feels inaccessible or too important.”
  • “With remote work it is more of a challenge, but I haven't felt isolated. There is, of course, less social interaction outside of work because we are remote. The firm has held regular town hall meetings which help to keep the firm camaraderie up. Additionally, we have regular practice group meetings as well as social events for our class year.”
  • “From what I've experienced, partners have been friendly to the associates they're working with. None seem too important to answer a question or provide feedback. We go over financials and the like fairly often.”
  • “As an associate, I have always felt valued and respected by the partners I work for. …”
  • “The firm is very transparent in providing financial performance, internal promotion, and other firm news during bi-weekly, firmwide town halls. Partners treat associates well and are reasonable when determining assignment deadlines.”
  • “Yearly reviews very close to bonus season.  This year with COVID management was very open about the firm's financial situation, which was comforting given all the uncertainty, especially at the start of the pandemic.”
  • “This is BigLaw, but my experience has been fair as far as hours go. Work has been much more predictable than I thought. Of course, we still have to generate so many billable hours, but the pace of the work has been manageable.”
  • “Plenty of hours, but typically not to the breaking point. 2020 was a good year for some associates, while others fell short, but the firm was cognizant of this in awarding bonuses with a reduced-hours requirement and additional rewards for those who were busier.”
  • “Okay with the amount—could get a bit more work and less of it all at once—but that's the nature of BigLaw and corporate work.”
  • “So far, I've been very busy and have had a lot of work/worked a lot of weekends, but it is incredible to manage my own time and not be micromanaged. I appreciate that the firm trusts me enough to get what I need to get done. I think the billable requirement is fair, and I haven't noticed any inequitable staffing practices.”
  • “Market compensation and bonuses.”
  • “Keeps with the market, plus [there are] defined step-up bonuses for hours billed over the requirement. Plus, 200 hours of pro bono or other non-billable time can count toward the requirement.”
  • “Always matches market plus usually has additional step-up bonuses for those who hit even higher hours targets.”
  • “My work has been evolving in a natural way, and at this point (month four), I do a mix of drafting things like side letters and other small items, updating documents based on other forms and precedents, and managing more administrative elements of a deal (signature packets, reviewing sub-docs, managing checklists, etc.).”
  • “As a first year, I have been given a wide range of tasks to do, including typical junior responsibilities in a transactional group such as compiling signature packets, but I also take on additional responsibilities. For example, I am usually the first to review LIBOR fallback language in deals and amendments, and I provide my substantive comments on how to re-draft portions if necessary.”
  • “[I am] performing typical senior associate work; running financing transactions with a decreasing level of oversight by partners.”
  • “I spend most of my time on substantive legal work. Nature of work ranges from document review, to having one-on-one client calls or conference calls with clients to move assignments forward. Assignments range from preparing updates for upcoming SEC filings [to] producing formation documents for new entities and reviewing and revising contracts for investment managers launching and operating private funds.”
  • “I think the firm has a done a great job making remote work accessible.”
  • “The firm's response to the pandemic has been stellar. They are generous and understanding as far as remote work goes. Some technology feels clunky/outdated, but that seems like something that affects law firms as a whole.”
  • “The firm gave associates an additional tech stipend to set up home offices during COVID. This allowed associates to create a home office with technology similar to in-office technology; e.g., additional screens, keyboards, printers, etc. The firm has adopted multiple collaboration tools for remote work such as Zoom, LoopUp, etc.”
  • “Support staff is great and always available to answer any and all questions.”
  • “Many wellness efforts are touted. There are benefits and opportunities related to many of these initiatives. The actual buy-in from attorneys varies and is largely person-specific, but the resources are there.”
  • “The firm is very focused on mental wellness and has several resources we can utilize for help, if needed.”
  • “Firm maintains VirginPulse, which provides $1,000 annual cash or gift card incentives to engage in health and wellness education, exercise, surveys, and other activities.”
  • “The firm has focused on wellness with yoga classes (previously in-person; now remote), mindfulness coaching, and other similar programs that the associates really seem to value.”
  • “Boot camp training program is very helpful. [The] firm does make an effort to provide lots of formal and informal training.”
  • “Training is extensive for [the] investment management practice area. The firm holds [a] multi-week IM boot camp for first-year associates and has occasional IM Q&A and lunch & learn events to continue learning about new and frequent issues in the funds space. …”
  • “Each first year is given a junior associate mentor, a senior associate mentor, and a partner mentor, who are all very accessible.”
  • “Tons of mentoring. A lot of it is formalized, so everyone is sure to have multiple mentors. The culture of the firm also heavily encourages informal mentoring, and I personally have mentors and am a mentor to many individuals who are not my ‘formal’ mentors/mentees.”
  • “Promotion to partnership at SRZ is a long shot because of the small number of lawyers promoted each year, but exit opportunities are strong.”
  • “I think partnership opportunities are very realistic for high-achieving associates. Special counsel promotions are also regularly given. Folks who leave tend to end up in very good positions in-house at financial institutions, often investment management firms.”
  • “Exit opportunities available to associates involve going in house to hedge funds, corporations, and lateraling over to other prestigious law firms.”
  • “The commitment to pro bono work at SRZ is incredible and a major reason I picked SRZ in the first place.”
  • “The firm works on a wide variety of pro bono matters. We do get credit for pro bono hours. I am working on a confidential pro bono project now. Other firm projects include taking part in the Tulsa Race Massacre litigation, supporting trans rights, and working on asylum matters.”
  • “The firm is very proud of its history of pro bono work (Bill Zabel wrote the brief for Loving v. Virginia) and continues to support a wide array of non-profit organizations and small businesses.”
  • “Pro bono projects count as billable hours up to a certain amount, then typically, you can request to have additional hours counted. It seems that finding projects you care about are encouraged, and there is partner support for taking on pro bono work.”
  • “The firm has started really important initiatives and now offers billable credit for diversity-related activities. The diversity of the lawyers is still lacking, but I understand this will take time.”
  • “I think all firms (SRZ included) have room to improve the representation of women at the partnership level. The firm has a bunch of new diversity initiatives, which have been featured prominently in our weekly town hall meetings, including a new diversity, equity, and inclusion committee. Associates can now get billable-hours credit for time spent participating in new diversity initiatives. Firm also began to encourage use of pronouns in signature blocks.”
  • “The firm is working to improve diversity overall, including by expanding the D&I committee, holding regular meetings focused on diversity issues, and regularly holding trainings on inclusion. The firm does offer billable credit for some diversity-related activities, especially with regard to race. We have affinity groups for multiple groups. I am a member of the LGBT group, which includes with multiple partners (and one of the managing partners). Racial diversity is something the firm knows it needs to improve, and it is focused on the issue.”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

"SRZ is dedicated to fostering diversity and inclusion in all areas of the firm's operations, from recruitment and retention to promotion and leadership. A diverse group of talented lawyers and staff is vital to the success of our firm. Diversity makes us more creative and effective, bringing together varied perspectives, experiences and backgrounds that result in a stronger workplace and better client service. Leadership Matters SRZ's Diversity & Inclusion Committee drives the firm's diversity initiatives relating to..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “I think we prioritize the character of a person over their grades or resume. Of course, we have a lot of hiring from T14 schools, and we get brilliant attorneys, but it's refreshing that a candidate isn't turned away for a bad grade. Essentially, we are not a pretentious firm, and it's fostered an air of cooperation and candor among associates.”
  • “The most important factors, in my opinion, are grades, journal experience, and personality. The firm tends to recruit from top law schools in New York and outside New York, as well as students with top marks from lower-ranked law schools in New York.”
  • “The firm seems to primarily be seeking people who, in addition to being smart and hardworking, will fit in with the close-knit community of the firm. We are a smaller firm than many others, working primarily from the NY office, so personality is important.”
  • “There is no standard set of interview questions. Most interviews are conversational in nature.”
  • “Why Schulte? Why BigLaw? Litigation or corporate?”
  • “My interviews were largely conversational. Questions included general interests in the law as well as interests outside of work. Largely, it seemed that the firm was seeking a good personality fit.”

Perks & Benefits