With offices in 16 locations throughout the U.S. and one in London, Shook, Hardy & Bacon has built a reputation as a top firm in a number of practices, but it is especially regarded for its expertise in complex litigation and products liability. Shook is a strong supporter of associate development, offering in-house training that covers topics including writing, negotiations, and trial skills. The firm is particularly well known in the product liability area, especially for its work on behalf of pharmaceutical, medical dev...

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2021)

500 - 750


No. of Partners Named (2021)



Featured Rankings

Best Law Firms for Products Liability


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



No. of Summer Associates (2021)

21 total (15 2Ls; 6 1Ls)


Base Salary


Vault Verdict

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP is looking for high performers from law schools near its headquarters in Kansas City as well as near its other offices around the U.S. Pre-pandemic, attorneys socialized often at firm-sponsored events and in their free time, with a generally collegial culture in the office. Associates feel respected by individual partners but note a distinct lack of transparency from firm management on matters like associate compensation and firm decision making. The billable-hour requirement is 2,000 per year, with up to 50 hours of pro bono credit counted toward that total. Associates are given interesting, substantive work, with opportunities for business development as well. Associate salaries are not consistent across offices, and compensation does not match t...

About the Firm

Shook, Hardy & Bacon is an AmLaw 200 firm with more than 500 attorneys who have helped build the firm’s reputation for trial strength in complex litigation. The firm is particularly well known in the product liability area, especially for its work on behalf of pharmaceutical, medical device, technology, and automotive companies. Indeed, Shook is among the Top 10 firms in Vault’s Best Law Firms for Products Liability.

Top Reputation

Founded in 1889 by attorney Frank Sebree, a former Missouri state legislator, Shook, Hardy & Bacon started out with railroad work as well as local political corruption. One of the firm’s early partners Henry McDougal served as the special prosecutor in the murder trial against infamous outlaw Frank James, having previously helped a wealthy fa...

Associate Reviews

  • “Lawyers socialize together frequently, both at firm sponsored events (pre-COVID) and in their free time because the lawyers here are genuinely friends. There is a huge emphasis on being friendly and professional to everyone in the firm—not just between lawyers. It's a generally pleasant, friendly atmosphere.”
  • “The firm culture is overall good. Colleagues are great, collegial, and supportive, and fun to socialize with. However, even before COVID, the firm had cut back on events that enhance the culture and connection across the firm, such as the all-attorney retreat.”
  • “Shook has a very friendly, Midwestern culture. People are quite friendly. Between attorneys, there is a relatively flat hierarchy built around litigation teams where everyone's voice is valued, and you don't have to go through multiple layers to talk with a senior partner.”
  • “I came in as a lateral and have been pleasantly surprised with the culture of the firm and the frequency of firm-sponsored events and happy hours. Not so frequent that they feel like a burden, but frequent enough to maintain social connection with your colleagues.”

Diversity at Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

"Shook embraces diversity and believes that genuine inclusion creates an environment where everyone feels they belong and can thrive. We believe our focus on diversity and inclusion constructs a more broad, rich, and vital environment for all, as well as fostering an environment that produces more innovative solutions for our clients. Our diversity and inclusion vision is: • To cultivate inclusive behavior where everyone is respected, rewarded, equipped, and invested in because of their differences;..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “The firm values candidates who are social, ambitious, friendly, and would work well on a team. New hires are high performers in terms of grades, prior work experience, law school activities, etc. The firm values diversity a lot in the hiring process. The firm hires from a variety of schools around the country.”
  • “The firm still hires from schools near its headquarters, like UMKC, KU, and MU, but it is focused on trying to get associates from more prestigious schools. Diversity is a huge consideration across the board. For summer associates, most are probably in the top 10% of their class, especially if they're from an above-mentioned law school.”
  • “Our firm is looking for well-rounded candidates who would contribute positively to the firm culture and clients. We value diversity and specifically targeted HBCUs beyond just Howard in our recruiting this year. We also value clerkship experience in our hiring. We frequently hire from schools geographically close to our offices, but routinely have summer associates or new associates from schools that are not near any of our offices.”
  • “The firm looks for candidates with top grades and law review or moot court experience. The firm also gives significant consideration to hiring diverse classes. The firm greatly appreciates candidates with clerkships, particularly federal clerkships in Missouri and Kansas. Additionally, the firm appreciates applicants with scientific backgrounds and master's degrees. The firm hires many students from law schools in Kansas and Missouri, but has recently hired students from law schools as far away as Vermont.”

Perks & Benefits