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Overview

Introduction

It doesn’t get better for litigators than Susman Godfrey. Junior associates are given immediate responsibility and are treated like future partners. And despite long hours, the firm is very social, and firm-hosted retreats are a notable favorite. Since its founding in 1980, Susman Godfrey has established itself as the nation’s premiere litigation firm. Susman Godfrey has more than 130 partners and associates across four offices—its original Houston location as well as offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. The firm handles...

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

Base Salary (2021)...

Vault Verdict

As a top litigation boutique, Susman Godfrey requires a federal clerkship (or two) in addition to a stellar academic record. The firm’s culture is very much work hard, play hard: It’s no secret that associates pull long hours, but they’re also a social bunch, and the firm’s regular retreats are a favorite perk. There’s not much ramp up time when it comes to the type of work associates do—from day one, they are expected to dive into all substantive aspects of a case, and many feel the work they do is on par with partners at other law firms. Formal training is minimal, because associates are expected to learn by doing, but partners and more-senior associates serve as willing mentors. Associates are thrilled with compensation, which includes an above-market salary and huge bonuses—pl...

About the Firm

Since its founding in 1980, Susman Godfrey has established itself as the nation’s premiere litigation firm. Susman Godfrey has more than 130 partners and associates across four offices—its original Houston location as well as offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. The firm handles huge cases across the country for both plaintiffs and defendants.

Susman Godfrey boasts blue-chip clients, such as Walmart, Chevron, KKR, NBC Universal, and General Electric, and has also won historic plaintiffs’ verdicts in class actions and for smaller entities, such as the $706 million verdict for HouseCanary in 2018.

Contingency Pioneers

In 1980, Steve Susman formed a Houston firm following his success in the Corrugated Containers case, w...

Associate Reviews


  • “Everyone is very friendly, and there is a sense that the firm is one big family. There's not as much social interaction during work hours., i.e., no one is going off for hour-long coffee breaks together. But the work atmosphere is very friendly, and the firm retreats provide great bonding experiences.”
  • “Lawyers frequently socialize with each other outside the office. The firm also has attorney retreats and mini retreats, the latter of which include significant others. Both help develop a strong camaraderie.”
  • “We operate through small trial teams. You get to know the lawyers on your team very well on both a personal and professional level. It makes for a fantastic work environment. Some of my close friends are partners at SG.”
  • “I've been working remotely since day one, so it's hard to say what life is like when you're actually in the office. On the whole, though, I'd say that people at the firm are wonderful. Beyond being brilliant at their jobs, people are funny, friendly, and down to earth. There's a lot of socialization, even if it's over Zoom, and I imagine things will only get better once we're past this pandemic.”
  • “Associates are really viewed as future partners. It's not just some lie they tell you during recruiting. The firm is completely transparent and many of the major decisions are made by a firm-wide vote, where associates get a vote as well.”
  • “Partners generally trust associates to do the most important work on the case. Firm finances are extremely transparent, and associates are frequently provided details regarding financial performance. Associates are reviewed formally twice a year and, as part of a mentorship program, associates are reviewed on a more informal basis every month.”
  • “The firm could not be more transparent or inclusive of associates in almost every aspect of firm governance (except, understandably, partnership votes and partner compensation).”
  • “We're incredibly valued by the partnership, and I think that shows in bonuses and the sort of work we get to do. We're also wildly transparent. Reviews are twice annually. A couple of partners sit down and chat with me about comments from folks on my trial teams. Nothing is a surprise--it's all feedback I've already received.”
  • “There is a tremendous amount of independence and flexibility. No one is looking over your shoulder or telling you what to do. There is no hours requirement. Even before the pandemic, work locations were flexible. However, the firm is busy, and there is always a lot of work to get done. Hours end up being high.”
  • “It's no secret that associates at SG work a lot, but the partners trust us to get our work done, and we have incredible flexibility on when and where we work. That trust and flexibility has become even more important during COVID, when everyone's working remotely.”
  • “We work a lot, but it is almost always high-quality, substantive work. I don't ever feel like I'm just a machine churning out hours to meet a billable-hour requirement. The amount of work is reflective of the level of involvement and input you have in the case itself.”
  • “Anyone who comes to work at Susman Godfrey knows that we work a tremendous number of hours. The difference between here and other firms is that we're putting in long hours because we're taking and defending depositions as first year associates, writing and arguing motions, and going to trial. …”
  • “Our salary is slightly above market, and bonuses have traditionally been significantly above market.”
  • “Top of the market. Hard to complain about that.”
  • “Nobody can beat it. Business development budget of $2,500 [that] I can spend taking friends to dinner or to ball games. Wildly large bonuses. Above-market salary. Twelve weeks of bonus-protected parental leave for anyone.”
  • “Associates run our cases from start to end. As a young associate, I'm given responsibility that junior partners at standard BigLaw offices may not even get. Within my first two years at the firm, I've examined witnesses at trial and taken countless depositions.”
  • “Associates get to do real, substantive legal work. I don't know of a firm that does this better than Susman. In my first 1.5 years here, I've taken multiple depositions, argued in court several times, get tons of client interaction (including one-on-one time), and have learned a ton by doing.”
  • “I draft and argue motions, take and defend depositions, run the case day to day, and have extensive client contact. I'm not sure what else you could ask for as an associate.”
  • “All assignments are routed through a formal process, which makes it hard for partners to play favorites and results in an equitable distribution of ‘good’ assignments.”
  • “Pretty easy to work from home as a lawyer. Susman has made sure we have all the supplies (ink, paper, etc.) and equipment (monitors, printers, etc.) that we need. The tech to work remote was already there.”
  • “The transition went very smoothly. There wasn't much that needed to be done differently. Even pre-pandemic, I was regularly traveling for work and worked remotely when it was convenient.”
  • “The transition to completely remote work has been totally fine. The firm was already used to people working remotely, and we've taken to using Zoom for a lot of calls now. I’m sure it could be better and more cutting edge, but it's quite good.”
  • “The firm has unlimited paid vacation and parental leave, but it's hard to take advantage of either, given how central we are to the cases we're staffed to.”
  • “We have annual retreats and mini retreats that are focused on physical activities like hiking, skiing, and scuba diving.”
  • “[There has been] more of a focus on formal mentoring during the pandemic, with more frequent mentor check-ins for wellness.”
  • “The firm cares and supports any associate who needs it—but the work needs to get done and there are high expectations.”
  • “You learn by doing. There is not a lot in the way of formal training, workshops, moot court, etc. However, you get plenty of experiences early on to hone your skills. You just have to do it in a ‘live fire’ situation. The firm definitely tries to promote mentorship, and I always feel comfortable reaching out to partners or more-senior associates when I have an issue. But again, there isn't a ton in the way of formal programs.”
  • “At Susman Godfrey, associates ‘learn by doing.’ You learn how to take a deposition by taking a deposition (I took 12 depositions my first year at the firm). You learn how to argue a dispositive motion by arguing a dispositive motion (in my two full years at the firm I've already argued two dispositive motions). If and when you want advice or guidance, the partners and more-senior associates make themselves available and are very supportive. When I was preparing for my first dispositive motion argument, the senior partner on the case (who is extremely busy) mooted me three times.”
  • “Almost all training is informal, though there's an initial formal training when associates arrive and some formal presentations done throughout everyone's tenure. There's a formal mentoring program in place, and that's where most training/advice happens. There's also very much an open-door atmosphere (metaphorically, right now), so lots of training and question-asking happens that way."
  • “Partnership is a realistic path for any Susman Godfrey associate who is willing to put in the hard work.”
  • “The partnership track is very transparent. It is six years at the firm. Associates receive informal feedback regularly and formalized reviews twice a year. There are not many associates at the firm, and it seems to me that all associates have a substantial chance at making partner.”
  • “Partnership process is … transparent. And promotion is a very realistic possibility. Everyone up for partner since I've been here has been promoted. Of course, there's some natural (and some encouraged) attrition. But it's far, far less than you'd see in BigLaw.”
  • “The firm does a good amount of pro bono work, but pro bono matters are often handled by partners alone, so pro bono opportunities for associates can be limited. Associates are encouraged to seek out their own pro bono matters, but workloads can make that difficult.”
  • “Pro bono work is respected and treated like any other matter taken on by the firm in terms of seriousness of effort and time and resources allocated to it. SG does less pro bono work overall than other firms (you're not going to find an associate that works exclusively on pro bono matters), but there's always opportunity to work on incoming pro bono matters.”
  • “There are some pro bono opportunities to those who want them, but given the responsibility and opportunity you get as an associate on a daily basis, folks generally only work on the issues they really care about—but the firm is very supportive of that when it comes up.”
  • “Pro bono hours count as billable, and pro bono work is viewed positively and supported at the firm.”
  • “The firm takes diversity very seriously, and I believe it is committed to improving on that front. There are lots of committees and partners who focus on this work. Partnership right now is not very diverse, but associate classes are much more so. So the real key is going to be retention and promotion to fix the partnership diversity. I believe the firm is aware of this and is moving toward that goal.”
  • “Susman is a more diverse firm than it was five years ago and is committed to employing and empowering lawyers of all backgrounds. Like many (if not most) of our peers, the firm still has a way to go.”
  • “The firm seems to be doing everything it can to address these issues—outreach, pro bono, mentoring of law students with these backgrounds, scholarships, [and] a 1L diversity summer associate program.”
  • “The firm is very receptive and is making strides towards developing and implementing policies and events that will further equity at the firm. The parental leave policy for associates was fairly recently changed in response in part to associate feedback, and it's now vastly improved. The firm has a diversity committee and a recently-constituted racial justice working group tasked with developing and recommending ways that the firm can meet its commitments to equity both within the firm and with respect to society at large. Hours worked on those committees are billable. There's also funding for affinity-related mentoring.”

Getting Hired Here


  • “Clerking is a requirement for everyone. So the candidates that come in are already super strong on paper. The rest of the process largely turns on fit. There are certain feeder schools, but the firm looks closely at all applicants, and we have lots of people at the firm who came from non-feeder schools.”
  • “SG is extremely competitive: We only hire applicants who clerked for at least one U.S. Circuit or U.S. District Judge with stellar academic records (and most SG associates have clerked at both the circuit and district level).”
  • “Only hard requirement is that the candidate have completed a federal clerkship. Aside from that, the firm looks for strong credentials, positive recommendations, and a good interview. Diversity is a plus. No training is provided for interviewers.”
  • “… Candidates usually come from top law schools, have law review experience, and have great grades. We're in the process of putting together more useful guidance for those who interview candidates and for ensuring that a sufficient number of partners are involved in the interviews.”
  • “1. Why do you want to work at a trial firm (as opposed to an appellate firm)? 2. Why a boutique rather than a big firm? 3. Where do you see yourself in five years?”
  • “I can only speak for myself. I try to get a sense of why applicants want to be lawyers, how they think, and what interests them. My questions are very candidate specific. I just want to get them talking and see how they defend their ideas (whatever they are).”
  • “… What sets Susman Godfrey apart from other litigation boutiques you may be considering?”

Perks & Benefits