M&A giant and leader of the New York legal market, Wachtell Lipton is one of the most elite law firms in the industry. Known for its high-profile matters and above-market compensation, Wachtell Lipton is home to a passionate group of lawyers who embrace hard work and professionalism. The firm is small by elite, BigLaw standards, which fosters a collegial atmosphere, and has spurned domestic or international expansion by maintaining a sole office in NYC.

Firm Stats


Total No. Attorneys (2022)

250 - 500


No. of Partners Named (2022)



Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100


No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2022)



No. of Summer Associates (2022)

34 total (30 2Ls; 4 1Ls)


Base Salary

Base Salary (2022)

Vault Verdict

Wachtell Lipton may not have the centuries-old pedigree of some firms, but over the course of its 57-year history it has established itself as a major force, especially in the fields of M&A, shareholder activism, and corporate governance. Given its prestige, the firm generally recruits only the highest achievers from top law schools. Associates can expect substantive work and substantial responsibility early in their careers, and work across a range of matters is fairly distributed. Long and intense hours are a staple, even without a billable-hour requirement, but Wachtell Lipton attorneys are paid accordingly. The firm employs lockstep compensation, which is exceptional and top of the market, based on class year. Associates acknowledge that the firm has adopted various we...

About the Firm

Each year, a significant chunk of the world’s dealmaking—major mergers and acquisitions, antitrust and shareholder litigation, big-name restructurings, and multi-billion-dollar real estate ventures—gets cranked through the well-oiled machine that is Wachtell Lipton. Manning the apparatus are a gifted few, whose compensation far outstrips industry standards. While it may not be the biggest or the highest revenue-maker as a firm, it is the most profitable place in the world to practice law. Wachtell Lipton is one of the smallest firms in the AmLaw 100, but it is continually one of the top firms (and usually the top firm) when it comes to PPP. t also stands above the going market rate for first-year associate salaries. 

The New York Four

Founded in 1965 by four princes of NYU’s Law R...

Associate Reviews

  • “The firm is very collegial, although everyone is very focused on work so there is not an abundance of social events. The socializing occurs at meals in the office, when people are able to come in. There are also regular mentorship events that are firm sponsored for affinity groups, as well as attorney-organized events such as dinners, group fitness classes, and theater outings. The atmosphere day-to-day in my experience has been supportive and respectful.”
  • “It's a mix; some people are social, others less so. We get together as a class on a regular basis. People are quite collegial and casual with one another. Day-to-day is pleasant in terms of working with colleagues, though the work itself can be pretty stressful. Lawyers and staff usually have a pretty good relationship.”
  • “The firm culture is intense. But people are very interested in the work that they are doing, which translates to an enthusiasm for the work that I think is unique. People at the firm take pride in thinking critically about the development of corporate law and being innovators in a lot of landmark changes.”

Why Work Here

Wachtell Lipton is dedicated to providing advice and expertise at the highest levels and to achieving extraordinary results for our clients. We seek individuals who are talented, motivated and committed in order to maintain our record of excellence. Our associates, paralegals and administrative staff are critical to this mission. Our lawyers and staff work closely together across departments comprising an elite legal team. We are committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment.

Wachtell Lipton is an equal opportunity employer.  As such, it adheres to an employment policy that prohibits discriminatory practices or harassment against applicants or employees based on any legally impermissible factor(s) including, but not necessarily limited to, race, color, religion, creed, sex, national origin, age, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, disability or any protected military or veteran status.

Diversity at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

"Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is strongly committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment that supports the recruitment, retention and advancement of women and men of all backgrounds, at all levels of the Firm. We are an original signatory to the New York City Bar's Statement of Goals for Increasing Minority Representation and Retention. The Firm is committed to recruiting a diverse and talented body of lawyers considering diversity in its broadest form. We were one of the first New York City law firms to..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “I think the firm prioritizes candidates from top-tier law schools with great grades, journal experience, prior work experience, and clerkships.”
  • “The firm looks for intellectual curiosity and commitment to corporate law practice. Attorneys at the firm find the work very exciting and intellectually rewarding, and the firm looks for similar types.”
  • “The type of candidate that I believe the firm is looking for is one who is self-motivated, driven, and willing to learn quickly. The firm is small, so the best candidates are people who will be comfortable taking responsibility early on in their careers. For the corporate practice areas, certainly an interest in business and prior work experience are pluses; however, plenty of candidates join the firm without prior experience in business or another profession.”

Practice Area Q&A’s

Tijana J. Dvornic


Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Ryan A. McLeod


Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Jenna E. Levine


Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Perks & Benefits