Overview

Introduction

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett is a longtime Wall Street workhorse, housing elite teams in M&A, banking, capital markets and securities law.  The firm is a bit more versatile than many of its peers, however, boasting formidable prowess in private equity, litigation and intellectual property as well. The 1980s and 1990s saw the firm develop one of the world’s premier M&A practices, with a unique strength in private equity leveraged buyouts.  In recent years, Simpson Thacher has represented JPMorgan, Le...

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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No. of U.S. Offices

Vault Verdict

Simpson Thacher is looking for the total package: stellar grades, work ethic, and a winning personality. Diversity is also a critical factor in its hiring process. With an open-door atmosphere, Simpson Thacher is a friendly place where lawyers enjoy getting to know each other and are generally supportive and kind. Partners value associates and take time to explain assignments, answer questions, and provide feedback. Associates also feel well supported by the firm’s robust formal training offerings. Associates have divergent views on transparency, with some feeling there is sufficient insight provided by leadership updates, and others feeling in the dark about decision-making, including the partnership process. Equity partnership is difficult, though associates are optimistic about...

About the Firm

A Wall Street institution, Simpson Thacher houses elite teams in M&A, banking, capital markets, private equity, and litigation. With more than 1,000 lawyers across 10 global offices, Simpson Thacher has long held its spot among the most elite law firms in the world.

Hear Them Roar

In 1884, three Columbia Law grads—John Woodruff Simpson, Thomas Thacher, and William Milo Barnum—hung a shingle in lower Manhattan. It didn’t take them long to leave their mark in the history books, jumping right in to the railroad reorganizations of the 1880s and having a hand in some of the most important deals relating to U.S. infrastructure—for example, advising none other than General Electric as it set up power and light companies, setting up the American Locomotive Company, and structuring the ...

Associate Reviews


  • “It is a friendly and supportive atmosphere. People get along and make an effort to get to know one another, but there is no pressure to socialize at work if you have other interests or responsibilities.”
  • “Attorneys are very friendly—there is no pressure to socialize, but when we were in-person, there were monthly practice group lunches (which we do on Zoom now), occasional happy hours, special events every once in a while, etc.”
  • “Simpson is probably one of the most collegial firms. We don't sit by group, so you get to know a lot more people outside of who you work with every day. Very much an open-door office mentality where social interaction is encouraged both inside the office and outside.”
  • “Lawyers zoom frequently for meals or coffee. The firm gives us a very generous budget to interact with our colleagues. The day-to-day atmosphere is very friendly, collegial and welcoming. Attorneys at STB are professional with one another.”
  • “Partners are generally respectful, seem to care about my time/well-being, and are great mentors. We receive fairly regular updates from firm leadership on the firm's performance, so it feels sufficiently transparent from my view as a mid-level associate. We get formal reviews once a year and have an opportunity to submit upward reviews as well.”
  • “The firm does an okay job at transparency. We have yearly firm updates on very high-level matters, and we have occasional practice-group specific updates. We got more updates than normal during the pandemic. But even still, I never feel like I actually know what is going on in terms of financials, promotions, etc., other than at a very high level.”
  • “The partners who I have worked with definitely do seem to genuinely value and respect the associates they work with. Firm leadership tries to be transparent, including by holding annual meetings where they discuss the state of the firm. Performance reviews are conducted annually, but I've generally found that the most valuable form of feedback is feedback directly from a partner or senior associate after a deal closes or a matter otherwise ends (which partners and senior associates typically provide directly).”
  • “I have never gotten the sense that partners view the associates as cogs in a machine. In fact, my experience has been quite the opposite. Partners value the input and work that associates (even first years) provide and go out of their ways to train us and thank us for our work.”
  • “Reviews are done annually (sometimes bi-annually). The firm is transparent about performance of the firm and the individual and partner associate relationships are generally good. There is a strong team atmosphere. That being said, path to partnership is certainly a black box and more transparency there would be nice.”
  • “Hours are pretty high, especially throughout the pandemic. There is a lot of flexibility on where you can work from which is appreciated. The high hours are mostly well distributed, and there is no billable minimum, which helps to take breaks when you can.”
  • “The last year has been intense. Since COVID hit, we have been at breakneck speeds more often than we haven't. But that feels more like an industry issue as opposed to a firm one.”
  • “I love not having a billable requirement—it doesn't mean I work less than peers at other firms, it just means when I am slow, I actually enjoy it. This year has been particularly busy, so my billables have been higher than I would like, but I find that is a trend with everyone this year.”
  • “Hours are flexible. There are patches of long-days and nights, but it usually comes in waves. The partners and senior associates acknowledge when your hours are long and usually check-in.”
  • “The compensation is top of the market, and the firm does a good job of recognizing the hard work of its lawyers through trying times in the form of special bonuses.”
  • “I love not having bonuses tied to billables. I receive the same compensation as peers at other firms, I am not punished when work is slow (i.e., decreasing my bonus) and I don't have to ‘politic’ in the hope of receiving more than the average bonus.”
  • “The firm pays at the highest level and always quickly matches any additional bonuses set by other firms.”
  • “The number of billable hours you work has nothing to do with your compensation which can be frustrating when you work more than others.”
  • “Associates are given substantive assignments very early on and receive increasingly substantive assignments as they advance. I've always felt supported by my teams though and don't think I've been given more responsibility than I'm ready for.”
  • “At the mid- to senior-associate level, associates are expected to handle drafting tasks with some supervision and negotiate documents, as well as lead client calls.”
  • “I have been given a lot of opportunities to do substantive legal work despite only being a first year. I do a lot of typical first-year work like checklists, trackers, incorporating comments, etc., but I've also been given opportunities to draft client communications.”
  • “I have had a real mix of more typical first-year assignments, like some document review, and far more high-level assignments, like drafting entire briefs.”
  • “The remote work and connectivity set up we have is spot on. I have been working remotely for the past year without a single hiccup relative to my in-office set-up. When the pandemic hit, everyone already had laptops that connected to our internal network automatically from wherever you were in the world. So it truly was seamless.”
  • “The firm is actively improving the available technologies, both from an equipment standpoint and from a knowledge-based standpoint.”
  • “The firm provides every associate with a $2,500 technology stipend to use as you please for your home office. I used mine to purchase two large monitors, a standing desk, an ergonomic chair, ergonomic keyboard and mouse, a camera for Zoom calls, a printer, and various other items. The firm also reimburses purchases like printer toner and office supplies.”
  • “Working remotely has been much smoother than expected. The technological platforms generally work extremely well and the firm has adapted to COVID very well, to the point where there is very little difference from being in the office, from a technological standpoint.”
  • “The firm offers a variety of wellness programs, including weekly virtual meditation and occasional virtual fitness classes. The firm also offers individual coaching for associates on any topic, which can include topics such as managing workload, managing stress, etc.”
  • “At the formal level, we receive wellness emails each week advertising firm-sponsored meditations, plus the standard reimbursements for gym memberships and the like. At the informal level, my team members have been especially understanding when someone is out of the office for a sick day, for their COVID vaccine, for the side effects of the vaccine, and for regular doctor's appointments.”
  • “The firm as a whole has a robust wellness program, but I would like to see partners themselves encouraging their mentees to take personal time and giving them an avenue to step away from work without concern.”
  • “The firm reimburses up to $1,000 annually in wellness expenses. I use mine for a Peloton bike subscription.”
  • “Mentoring is a huge asset to our firm. Associates and partners all take it very seriously and are actively engaged.”
  • “The firm provides both internal and external formal training resources. For incoming first years, there is a formal training program called ‘STBReady’ that involves both practice-specific modules and general training on what it means to work at a big firm, how to use the various software and systems, who to turn to with all sorts of questions, and basic training in accounting that we might need to know for due diligence. The informal mentorship and training has been fantastic—on every matter I've been staffed on, there's been at least one associate (junior, mid-level, even senior) who took it upon themselves to explain everything to me very patiently, guide me through what needs to get done and how, answer any question I could come up with, and also emphasize that I should feel comfortable asking any questions I have at any time. I'm really grateful for this, especially during the pandemic, when I don't have an office-mate or other folks on my floor to come to with questions.”
  • “Each associate is assigned a mid-level or senior associate mentor, and we are highly encouraged to meet at least once a month to check in. The firm also sponsors an extensive 1.5-week training session for all first-year associates and conducts CLEs frequently throughout the year to refresh our memories and discuss new developments.”
  • “Mentoring is a strength at the firm; partners and senior associates both on and outside of deal teams do a really good job providing feedback and advice.”
  • “I believe being in the firm makes one extremely well positioned in terms of exit options both within and outside the firm. Outside the firm, seasoned/well-groomed associates within the team are strong candidates for in-house roles for PE/funds/TMT organizations. The firm is fairly conservative in terms of hiring, and, thus, I personally don't see a glass ceiling (or ceiling) necessarily for internal progression. Partnership isn't a transparent process, but there are intermediate steps that I can see myself gunning for (e.g., counsel).”
  • “Promotion to partner is possible, but it is a long process that seems to get longer and less clear overall each year.”
  • “I would say it is pretty difficult to become partner here, but there are plenty of non-equity partner positions that people can transition into. The exit opportunities are top notch. Almost everyone who leaves is transitioning into the exact role they had wanted.”
  • “The firm has opportunities for associates to be promoted to counsel (and later senior counsel) rather than partner. I understand that other exit opportunities are very good and have seen associates leave to work for financial institutions, large technology companies and investment companies.”
  • “Pro bono hours do count as billable hours. The pro bono team sends out emails with both discrete and ongoing projects at least once a week, and they have been very supportive of me on the project I have been working on, which is applying for a T visa for a victim of human trafficking.”
  • “The firm has an extensive team of attorneys committed solely to finding pro bono opportunities for the firm. Additionally, the firm circulates a list of ‘Pro Bono Leaders’ and ‘Pro Bono Champions’ every year to highlight all of the individuals who volunteered a significant number of hours to pro bono work. Pro bono work counts as billable work, so we have every incentive to do it. I believe we are a leader in our pro bono practice.”
  • “The firm offers a breadth of pro bono work, depending on your level of time and your interest. There truly could not be more opportunities in this regard. I am on the corporate team for my favorite nonprofit. I also engage with domestic violence non-profit groups to do screenings.”
  • “The firm has a variety of pro bono work, both in the subject—immigration, education, veterans, etc.—and the type—individual client, one-time clinics, limited scope research. I have been involved in multiple unaccompanied minors/DACA clinics, I have had individual asylum and status adjustment cases, I have had individual small business clients and help women seeking protection from abuse.”
  • “Feels like they are genuinely concerned about creating a diverse atmosphere, both at the associate and partner level. Affinity groups are great, and I feel like I have many mentor figures from my community in the firm I can look to for support.”
  • “The firm always makes a concerted effort to ensure all types of individuals feel comfortable, regardless of how they identify. Following the horrific, racist acts that took place in our country this past year, the firm's leadership sent memos to all employees expressing the difficult times we have endured and their support for all who have felt particularly vulnerable. The firm also declared Juneteenth a U.S. official holiday this past year. Finally, the firm sponsors several affinity groups, including a women attorneys group, for specific people to get together, enjoy themselves, and discuss issues particular to them.”
  • “I think the firm is making active efforts to promote diversity, including having a diversity committee, which offers billable credit for events/activities. Like all companies, I think there are areas to work on, but, in my perspective, they have been generally receptive to making changes.”
  • “The leadership clearly cares about these issues and has championed initiatives, particularly in terms of hiring, to ensure a diverse workforce.”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

"The firm views diversity as one of our greatest strengths, as stated in our diversity mission statement: "Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP believes that the diversity of our attorneys is vital to our continuing ability to provide the highest quality legal services to our clients in the global community we serve. In order to maintain and build on our present success we must recruit, retain, mentor, develop, and promote outstanding individuals from diverse backgrounds, who bring to the practice of law a variety of perspectives, experiences and..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “The firm's hiring process is stringent, and they look for candidates who are hardworking and have excellent work product, but the firm also places high importance on being able to work well as part of a team, being considerate and careful, and being respectful and kind to all colleagues (not just attorneys).”
  • “The firm is looking for smart, hardworking, and capable candidates. Most importantly, the firm is looking for candidates who will fit well in the Simpson culture—kind and willing to assist wherever possible.”
  • “We have training sessions and materials for people who are going to interview candidates. I think the firm is looking for diverse, motivated, and intelligent people who can function as part of a team. Based on the makeup of my class year, I think the firm hires from the best law schools in the country and chooses people who fit in well with the broader STB culture.”
  • “The firm considers—among other things—grades, experience, personality, and diversity.”
  • “I just want to learn more about you and what your interests are. I am looking to walk away from our interview with the impression that you are a thoughtful, kind, and driven person.”
  • “How do you like law school? Tell me about your 1L summer job. What type of work are you interested in?”
  • “We typically ask candidates about their greatest accomplishments and how their past experience can translate into success at our firm.”
  • “… Typical questions might include, what practice group are you interested in (and why), why are you interested in working for Simpson, why are you interested in working in the city you are applying for, what drove you to go to law school, etc.”
  • “Very well organized which means very well integrated (Zoom induction with each partner of the group, buddy associate, weekly Zoom social event with 4-5 associates).”
  • “I began as an associate here during the COVID-19 pandemic, so I started remotely. The firm has done a great job integrating me. I have received work from a variety of associates, counsel, and partners and have had the chance to meet a variety of people across the firm.”
  • “My experience as a lateral associate has been excellent, and the firm has been very welcoming in integrating those who were not part of a summer associate class.”
  • “Very good—everyone is super welcoming.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Roxane Reardon & Ben Heriaud

Partner & Associate

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Davis Coen & Danielle Jackson

Partner & Partner

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Caroline Gottschalk & Drew Harmon

Partner & Associate

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Jakob Rendtorff & Beth DiSciullo

Partner & Associate

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Lynn K. Neuner & Jacob Lundqvist

Partner & Associate

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Perks & Benefits