With an impressive global footprint and a roster of top-notch clients, Sidley is the cream of the crop when it comes to law firms. Come for the sophisticated work, and stay for the polite, amiable Midwestern vibe—as well as a sincere commitment to building a diverse and inclusive workplace. Sidley is a global powerhouse, with approximately 2,000 lawyers across 20 offices. The firm boasts a long list of marquee clients in a range of industries, including banking, energy, health care, insurance, life sciences, and technology. The fi...

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2021)

1.5K - 2K


No. of Partners Named (2021)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2020)



No. of Summer Associates (2021)

179 total (168 2Ls; 9 1Ls)


Base Salary

All Offices

Vault Verdict

If you dream of working at Sidley, you better have a resume that shines. The firm frequently recruits from the T14, but also scoops up stellar candidates from a range of law schools. Those who fit with the firm’s amicable, Midwestern vibe will cruise through the callback stage. Sidley has a polite, friendly vibe—lawyers enjoy catching a bite together, but are also uber respectful of family time. Partners approach associates with respect, and the firm has a culture of mentoring—which includes a budget for associates to dine with partners and get to know them. Associates are mixed on their views of transparency; some praise the firm’s candid performance reviews and Associates Committee, while others feel decision-making—including about promotion—can be murky. Associates are pragmati...

About the Firm


Sidley is a global powerhouse, with approximately 2,000 lawyers across 20 offices. The firm boasts a long list of marquee clients in a range of industries, including banking, energy, health care, insurance, life sciences, and technology. The firm’s work in complex transactional and litigation matters is bolstered by exceptional regulatory experience, and the firm features many former officials from governmental agencies in Europe, the U.S., and China. It is also where Barack and Michelle Obama met—a little glimpse into the caliber of lawyer the firm attracts.

Chicago & New York Powers Unite

Sidley traces its roots back to the 1866 founding of predecessor firm Williams & Thompson in Chicago. Historical clients of the firm that later became known ...

Associate Reviews

  • “People are friendly and close friendships develop but the office does not have a party culture where there is pressure to socialize or drink together after hours. Day to day, people are kind and collegial.”
  • “The day-to-day atmosphere is very collegial and friendly. I have never experienced a partner or management being unprofessional with associates. Sidley provides for numerous social activities throughout the year and during COVID has found online/virtual ways to continue socializing, such as trivia games, cooking demonstrations, online happy hours where a curated cocktail is mailed home, etc.”
  • “Before COVID, we had weekly attorney lunches and regular lunches for litigation attorneys. Day to day, partners treat associates more as colleagues than subordinates. Very respectful of demands of family/personal life.”
  • “The firm has a culturally Midwestern feel—people tend to be kind, polite, interested in you, and more family oriented.”

Why Work Here

Diversity at Sidley Austin LLP

"Sidley's comprehensive diversity and inclusion programming is thoughtfully designed to build our firm's diversity, strengthen our inclusive culture, and provide opportunities that enable diverse and women lawyers to succeed at Sidley and beyond. Talent Development Early Outreach Our pipeline programs begin as early as elementary school and continue through college with our award-winning Sidley Prelaw Scholars Program. A "first of its kind" among law firms, Sidley Scholars subsidizes LSAT preparatory courses..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “Sidley hires the cream of the crop from the best law schools in the country and particularly compelling candidates from some slightly lower-ranked law schools. Sidley often relies on traditional academic achievements in its hiring process, but also heavily weighs prior work experience and personality. Otherwise competitive candidates who are not a good cultural fit may find themselves passed over. …”
  • “The firm focuses on candidates from top-tier law schools, but the IP group is specifically focused on technical background. We also consider prior work experience in the relevant technology field, diversity, and maturity very heavily.”
  • “The firm primarily hires from top schools, although [it] certainly has a number of top students from schools that are not highly ranked in U.S. News. The firm looks for people that fit well with the Midwestern feel of the institution.”
  • “Sidley’s Chicago office pulls largely from Michigan, Northwestern, University of Chicago, Harvard and the other T14 schools. We also take those in the upper band of their classes from strong regional schools like Notre Dame. Sidley is an elite firm, and we are fortunate to choose from the best of the best. That said, as one who is heavily involved in recruiting, I can say that top marks from a top law school do not guarantee an offer. You have to fit the culture, which is collegial, sharp, and warm.”

Practice Area Q&A’s

Emily Mallen


Sidley Austin LLP
Matthew C. Thompson


Sidley Austin LLP
Sally Wagner Partin


Sidley Austin LLP
Tacy F. Flint


Sidley Austin LLP
Gretchen Lamberg


Sidley Austin LLP

Perks & Benefits