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Overview

Introduction

 

V&E’s lean-team model means great training for associates, with hands-on experience, strong partner mentorship, and opportunities to tackle new challenges. Overall, associates agree that V&E offers a great culture, great compensation, and great work. Today, Vinson & Elkins is a trusted adviser to clients in the most important industrial and digital industries, such as renewable energy, technology, banking/finance, M&A/private equity, real estate, media, complex litigation, a...

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

All U.S. offices...

Vault Verdict

V&E hires associates with the whole package: a top law school; great grades; and a hard-working, humble personality. This combination contributes to the firm’s positive, welcoming culture where, as one associate puts it, “people come first.” Associates feel that, individually, partners care about them as people and professionals; firmwide, they are transparent about finances and other firm updates. The past year has seen many associates working extra-long hours, but the firm makes genuine efforts to reduce workload and divide work evenly when it can. Otherwise, associates feel the 2,000-hour baseline target—which includes 100 hours of pro bono and other non-billable work—is a reasonable ask. They are very pleased with their compensation, which is at market and includes ext...

Firm's Response

Vinson & Elkins has provided deep legal experience in handling sophisticated transactions, investments, projects, and disputes worldwide for more than 100 years. Today, the firm is a trusted adviser to clients in the most important financial, industrial, and digital industries. With more than 700 lawyers working across 12 offices, ...

About the Firm

 

Founded in Houston in 1917, this Texas-based institution built its name as one of the most vital energy law firms. Today, Vinson & Elkins is a trusted adviser to clients in the most important industrial and digital industries, such as renewable energy, technology, banking/finance, M&A/private equity, real estate, media, complex litigation, and tax. 

A Dynamic Centenarian

V&E is a diverse partnership and team of professionals, solving problems and creating opportunities for clients in their transactions, investments, projects, and disputes in 12 offices across the globe. In 2021, the firm celebrated the 50th anniversary of its London office—making it one of the oldest U.S. law firms with a continuous presence i...

Associate Reviews


  • “It is a firm where the people come first. Yes, we work on large deals with often urgent deadlines, but everyone seems to remember that we are a team (from partners to associates to staff) that must work together to serve the needs of our clients.”
  • “Since COVID, and given how busy the firm has been, there has obviously been significantly less social interaction. However, people still take the time to check in on each other frequently, and the atmosphere has remained pleasant. Lawyers and staff tend to have a great rapport overall.”
  • “People care at V&E and look out for associates’ best interests. The partners take the time to teach and develop associates and the ‘open-door’ policy is a real one. Also, the people (starting with the partners) are very pleasant to work with, and maintaining a welcoming environment is a priority throughout the firm.”
  • “During normal times, there are options for social activities (happy hours, lunches, etc.) at least weekly—whether formal or informal. One social activity I have particularly enjoyed over the last couple of years is a quarterly women's attorney book club, which a few of our associates have organized.”
  • “I have a great relationship with all of the partners I work with regularly. I enjoy them as people, and I believe they genuinely care about my career and will help me be the best lawyer I can be.”
  • “I feel valued by the partners for whom I work primarily, and believe they care about my best interests. Formal performance reviews occur once a year, but the informal feedback as projects progress are more important. The firm is very transparent compared to my last firm, giving a detailed breakdown of financial performance and strategic priorities.”
  • “Partners I work with genuinely care about associates, their personal lives, and [their] career development. [The] firm is almost completely transparent with associates about finances and firm performance. Performance reviews are conducted annually, in person, and associates are given a chance to review written reviews and ask questions.”
  • “Given the relatively low-leverage ratio of [associates to partners], there is a significant amount of interaction between partners and associates. In my experience, partners at the firm are extremely friendly, patient, and understanding, especially when it comes to junior associates still learning the ropes. The firm has also been extremely transparent in terms of performance, promotion opportunities, and finances.”
  • “The firm recently changed how it calculates achievement of its hours targets. Previously, associates had to hit 2,000 hours, including an uncapped amount of pro bono hours. Now, associates have to hit 2,000 hours including at least 1,900 client billable hours. The other 100 hours can be filled using a combination of pro bono hours and other firm work such as service on committees and diversity initiatives. …”
  • “My hours are usually at pace or above pace. I have not had an issue finding work or making the hours requirement that I would like to make. The firm has a formal work allocation system for junior attorneys that becomes an informal system for mid-level to senior attorneys. The firm tries to ensure that work is evenly distributed by checking in with all associates on a regular basis regarding pace and whether there are certain types of projects they would like to do.”
  • “Work is pretty evenly distributed; however, I have been overstretched for a few months now. I know this is consistent with the state of the market and that the firm (like many others) is making efforts to bring in lateral hires and relieve associates of the high workload. Further, the firm has a reasonable hours [target] and has paid market ‘special’ bonuses consistent with other top firms in consideration of the excessive workload.”
  • “I think I am being given the right amount of work; work feels evenly distributed, and other associates will check in with me if I feel that my other cases take priority or if I need support. The [hours target] does not apply to first year associates, so I feel less pressure in that sense.”
  • “Market salary. Market bonus for those who hit 2,000 hours. Above market for those who bill 2,150, 2,300, and 2,450. The firm always comes through on supplemental bonuses.”
  • “I am very pleased with compensation, with V&E matching New York market leaders both with respect to base salary and bonuses, including the recent special bonuses. That goes a very long way in Texas.”
  • “The firm recently included a certain amount of legal development hours in its bonus calculation, which I appreciate. As a woman of color, I invest a lot of time in diversity and women's initiatives, and now those hours can count toward my bonus eligibility.”
  • “Matters are leanly staffed, which usually results in associates being given stretch assignments where they can learn a lot but may also mean you have to do some work below your class year if there isn't a more-junior associate also staffed on the matter.”
  • “I feel I do very substantive work. As a mid-level associate, I have a mixture of tasks that are easy, a little bit of a stretch, and then some that are a real stretch (e.g., drafting definitive deal documents). The partners and senior associates have been great about giving me the opportunity to grow my skills and gain experience in my areas of interest.”
  • “Generally, I am satisfied with the work. As a junior, I feel I have received ample opportunity to draft and have client communication. While there still exist the mundane junior associate tasks (running redlines, diligence, etc.), the variety of work is interesting and helpful in developing/maintaining my legal skills.”
  • “I do mostly substantive legal work that is either at or above my level in terms of class year. I am frequently challenged with the type of work I am asked to complete, but also have adequate support where needed.”
  • “I feel we're ahead of the curve in a lot of ways when it comes to technology. I was ready to work from home when the pandemic started because I was already set up.”
  • “The firm has generally done a good job with remote technology. I can do my job at home without any real loss of efficiency, except that I would love to be able to print in bulk like at the office. “
  • “The tech package for working at home has worked well, and IT has been very good at troubleshooting remotely and sending new equipment overnight if necessary.”
  • “V&E's technology services team significantly aids in my efficiency both at the office and remotely. I have been provided with a full home office setup that allows me to do all my work effectively. I also have a full setup in my office that is ready to use whenever I choose to go to the office.”
  • “We have a counselor who will meet with attorneys for up to three times during the calendar year and our EAP program provides up to eight free sessions. We get a monthly reimbursement [on our medical plan premium] for taking part in the firm's wellness program.”
  • “Firm offers counseling, meditation, and a number of other wellness programs through regular email reminders and an online portal including the full slate of the firm's wellness benefits.”
  • “V&E has really been putting forth effort here. Some initiatives—like chair yoga and mid-day meditation breaks—really aren't all that practical for attorneys, but what I have really liked is a strong rollout of multiple options for free and/or virtual counseling.”
  • “We have organized CLEs and practice group trainings frequently, but much of the training occurs informally by working on deals with other attorneys. We have formal mentors (one partner and one more senior associate), but there is a strong informal mentorship culture. I feel comfortable asking, and often do ask, for advice from associates who are not my formal mentor and they are always willing to help.”
  • “[The] firm provides a first year ‘course’ of small group training programs to walk first-year associates in the corporate group through a number of key areas of focus in which they'll be working.”
  • “Formal training includes mock deposition, negotiation, oral argument, and trial workshops. There is a formal mentoring structure but it is more up to individual associates to drive those interactions.”
  • “… One of the great things about Vinson & Elkins is that matters are very leanly staffed, so you get a lot of direct partner interaction and a lot of chances to work on substantive matters early. It's a great ‘learn by doing’ environment.”
  • “The firm certainly does still make partners, although the path to partnership is a narrow one—as it is at every BigLaw firm. Exit opportunities are very strong, especially in Texas (where the firm has a top-of-market reputation). That said, associate attrition is comparatively low.”
  • “Promotion to partner is sometimes a bit of a black box, but I think it’s generally regarded as realistic. The firm has been promoting more counsel lately as an alternative to the [direct] partner track. The talent management team also has resources devoted to helping attorneys find exit opportunities.”
  • “Partnership seems difficult. There seems to be an emphasis on the counsel position in the last several years as more and more people seem to be promoted to counsel [first] rather than partner.”
  • “The firm has a few different opportunities for associates who wish to remain at the firm. In terms of exit opportunities, associates are well positioned to shift to in-house opportunities, particularly at private equity and similar shops with strong energy practice.”
  • “Pro bono work is encouraged, but there is a cap on the number of pro bono hours that count toward bonuses. I have done very interesting pro bono work for some Texas media entities, where I have had the opportunity to draft entire briefs.”
  • “I have done a fair amount of tax-focused pro bono work with 501(c)(3)s but also have given a lot of hours to voter information campaigns (Election Protection). We have a very approachable pro bono coordinator who shares lots of opportunities, and pro bono efforts are celebrated. …”
  • “The firm previously granted full credit towards the annual bonus for pro bono hours, but starting in 2021 the firm effectively capped the number of pro bono hours that will count towards bonus at 100 (absent exceptions for significant cases [or pre-approvals for additional work]).”
  • “There are lots of opportunities to get involved in pro bono work. The firm has a full-time pro bono counsel who is a great resource if you're looking to get involved. Up to 100 pro bono hours count towards the minimum 2,000 hours for [first-level market] bonus purposes. I have worked on a defensive asylum immigration case as well as participated in TX Free Legal Answers through the ABA.”
  • “The firm is very aware that they need to improve in many areas of diversity and has devoted significant resources to it—including [by broadening its] Diversity and Inclusion Committee, hiring additional diversity focused staff, and supporting affinity groups.”
  • “Starting this year, V&E does offer billable credit (up to a certain amount) for participation in diversity initiatives, as well as for recruiting, some practice management stuff, etc. A great change that will increase willingness to participate.”
  • “[The] firm has prioritized diversity efforts and has expressed support for minority cultures, especially during times of turbulent cultural events. [The] firm puts on great workshops around issues of diversity and allyship. [It] offers scholarships and summer associate positions to diverse law students [and] has an active diversity committee. However, firm partnership does not seem as diverse as it should be.”
  • “Our firm does offer billable credit for diversity-related work and has undertaken extensive training and initiatives in these areas and is working towards Mansfield Rule certification. I have noticed a recent uptick in women being placed in leadership roles at the firm and hope that trend will continue, and the firm has taken serious efforts to improve recruiting of diverse attorneys. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I genuinely believe the firm leadership and partnership want to make changes.”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Vinson & Elkins

"Having diverse teams in an inclusive environment at V&E means that we are able to leverage the power of different perspectives and ideas to provide the best solutions and service to our clients. With purposeful involvement from top leadership and active allies across our firm, V&E's inclusion efforts are focused on solutions that allow us to attract, retain, and promote the best and brightest lawyers. V&E's Chairman and Managing Partner are personally involved and oversee our global diversity initiatives, integrating inclusion into how we..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “We hire from all of the top schools nationally, as well as most of the regional schools near our offices. Traditional credentials help, including good grades in law school and clerkship experience. Strong social skills are also important.”
  • “[The] firm generally recruits highly-ranked students from top law schools. The firm seems to highly prioritize grades, diversity, and personality. The callback interviews heavily focus on personality.”
  • “V&E looks for high-quality academics, an understanding of the firm's primary industries, and fit of skills/interest with practice group needs.”
  • “A successful candidate is someone who is humble, is willing to work hard, actively seeks out ways to benefit the team, and treats everyone with respect.”
  • “We try to ask open-ended questions to get a good idea about who the person is and whether or not they are a good fit for the firm.”
  • “Why are they interested in V&E/[certain city]/certain practice group?”
  • “We generally ask questions about the student's resume, why they are interested in our firm and legal market, and why they went to law school. We'll throw in a few behavioral questions from time to time, but no curve balls.”
  • “Interviews tend to be informal and focused on getting-to-know-you type questions.”
  • “I joined the firm after having completed two clerkships and spending two years at another firm. I started getting interesting work quickly and within months felt totally at home at V&E, and I attribute that to a very conscious effort by partners in our group to help that happen.”
  • “I felt like I was trained and integrated into the team from day one. They provided me ample opportunities to get up to speed on substantive areas I was less familiar with and gave me opportunities to travel to other offices to meet the team.”
  • “The firm has a great onboarding/training phase to get lateral associates integrated quickly and effectively.”

Perks & Benefits