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Overview

Introduction

Wilkinson Stekloff is a high-stakes litigation firm headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional offices in Los Angeles and New York City. The firm can count its age on one hand, but it’s hardly a fledgling—Wilkinson Stekloff has soared from the start, achieving success after success in the courtroom. Within two months of its founding, the firm had already won its first major trial, defeating a $1.5 billion class action on behalf of Philip Morris.

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

Top 150 Under 150...


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Base Salary

1st year: $205,000...


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No. of U.S. Offices



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No. of International Offices

Vault Verdict

If you’re looking to hit the ground running on trials, Wilkinson Stekloff is the firm for you. The firm’s lean staffing model means even young associates tackle substantive work, and partners are in the trenches alongside them. Those interested in joining the firm should have a stand-out resume with a demonstrated interest in trial work—clerkship experience certainly won’t hurt either but isn’t required. The firm boasts a warm culture with organic opportunities to socialize, but there is also a deep respect for personal time and family life outside of work hours. Associates work hard, so if you aren’t ready to roll up your sleeves, Wilkinson Stekloff probably isn’t the firm for you. But associates also have tremendous flexibility and aren’t burdened by a billable-hour requirement—...

About the Firm

Wilkinson Stekloff is a high-stakes litigation firm headquartered in Washington, DC, with additional offices in Los Angeles and New York City. The firm can count its age on one hand, but it’s hardly a fledgling—Wilkinson Stekloff has soared from the start, achieving success after success in the courtroom. Within two months of its founding, the firm had already won its first major trial, defeating a $1.5 billion class action on behalf of Philip Morris.

A 21st Century Firm

Wilkinson Stekloff was founded in January 2016 by a group of former BigLaw litigators to focus on winning high-stakes trials. Based on the firm’s success in just its first four years, Benchmark Litigation has twice named Wilkinson Stekloff the “Boutique Firm of the Year,” praising the fir...

Associate Reviews


  • “The culture is warm and genuine, and I have made friends within the firm that I socialize with outside of firm time occasionally. The firm does have occasional firm-sponsored social events, but there is a pretty strong understanding that people work a lot and when they do not need to be working, they would like to be connecting with their family and friends outside of work.”
  • “Very collegial; frequent happy hours.”
  • “Although our firm does not plan a lot of structure social events, everyone here is friendly and fun to hang out with. So there are a lot of organic social events, as well as celebrations for birthdays and new babies.”
  • “There is probably some kind of organized social gathering once a month or so. Being at trial provides LOTS of opportunities for togetherness.”
  • “Due to our small size, associates have the opportunity to work directly with partners regularly. And partners consequently get to know all of the associates. This is an important contributor to the general impression of mutual respect at our firm.”
  • “We recently started an upward review process where partners received feedback from associates, and it was really heartening to see how seriously the firm took the process. Associate reviews are conducted after each trial and at the end of the year. I think most people find them to be helpful, as they are fairly concrete in providing details.”
  • “The partners at this firm work very hard and are often in the trenches with the associates. It makes for a good working environment.  I do not feel like the associates are treated like underlings.”
  • “Partners have consistently given me opportunities to grow in both pro bono and paid matters. Partners have said that one goal of the firm is to grow the next generation of trial lawyers and, in my experience, that's true.”
  • “There is a lot of work and you shouldn't underestimate how exhausting getting ready for trial and trial itself can be.  That said, it's important to take time off after trial, and the firm is fully supportive of that.”
  • “A lot of work, but extreme flexibility in when and how you accomplish it.”
  • We work a lot, and in preparing for/being at trial, our workload can get intense. But there is a fundamental sense of respect among the lawyers of this firm that I think is unique. Partners avoid unnecessary fire drills, and there is generally great flexibility about when and where work gets done when possible. The lack of billable hours requirement has pros and cons. On the plus side, there is no psychological burden when things are slow; you are expected and encouraged to take time off. On the other hand, there is no objective way to track how hard people are working. That said, the partners put in visible effort to keep apprised of the associates' workload, and I do think the benefits outweigh the cons. “”
  • “Great flexibility in terms of where and when I work.  Given our trial-focused practice, the work is not evenly distributed.  So there are very intense periods and very relaxed periods.”
  • “Associates at this firm are very well compensated and the compensation is transparent.”
  • “Consistently above-market bonuses.”
  • “The financial incentives at this firm are top of the market.”
  • “We are getting ready cases for trial.  There isn't a moment to spare on things that aren't directly in service of that effort.”
  • “The quality of the work I am assigned is one of the best features of this firm. Assignments vary considerably based on the stage of the case. I have done everything from drafting legal memos, to writing outlines for depositions and court examinations, to preparing demonstratives for court, to planning and executing witness preps for deposition and trial testimony, to preparing presentations for clients, to deposing witnesses and defending depositions. In general, the partnership seems invested in helping me identify and obtain the experiences I need to develop a full suite of litigation skills.”
  • “Because of the firm's size, efficiency is essential.  For us, that means there is little busy work.  Almost everything we work on is helpful to our cases or the trial in some way, so it rarely feels like you're doing a useless project.  I'd say that mid-level associates are working directly with the partners on witness preparation, as well as helping draft trial openings/closings and arguments.”
  • “The firm handles challenges cases and associates are given meaningful and substantive responsibility.”
  • “The partnership is deeply concerned about attorney wellness, but we don't have a formal structure for acting on those concerns.  Ultimately, the responsibility lies with individual associates.  But if you need support, the partners are there for you.”
  • “I don't think there are any formal wellness programs set up at our firm (that I know of), aside from a concierge and counseling service.”
  • “There are a lot of healthy snacks.”
  • “People learn on the job. Individual attorneys provide help and guidance as needed and are nice about it.”
  • “We do not have established formal training like other large firms. We do regularly host NITA to conduct trainings, which are well-received. We mostly train by doing, which is challenging, but rewarding. Again, because of our small size, there is ample opportunity to learn directly from partners and associates, and to get to know them in a mentorship capacity, as well.”
  • “There is little-to-no formal training, and it would be helpful to have some training for new associates on the substantive aspect of trial work. However, more seasoned associates and all of the partners are helpful in providing examples, fielding questions, and giving feedback on your work. So, you definitely learn by doing.”
  • “The path to partnership is less clear at our firm than at other firms because our firm is so new and the partnership is so small. That said, I think that there would be more likelihood that I would make partner at this firm than any other. Given our unique trial experience, exit opportunities include the US Attorney's Office, other firms, in-house counsel positions, among others.”
  • “Exit opportunities are great and the firm is very supportive of folks moving on in terms of help finding other jobs, making connections, serving as references, etc. Promotion to partner seems unrealistic for most people given the size of the firm and number of mid-level and senior associates. Counsel is an intermediate position, but there haven't been many of those at a time.”
  • “The partners are huge advocates for pro bono. If you want to do something, they will work with you to make it happen—and will participate themselves.”
  • “All of the associates who want to do pro bono work are able to do it, and the firm is very supportive. The partners also bring in pro bono work, and the cases are treated just like our paid cases. We've had pro bono work this year in criminal cases, family law cases, defamation cases, and so on.”
  • “The firm has supported multiple large pro bono cases, including a class action, and invested substantial resources in those cases.”
  • “A majority of the firm's lawyers are women, which is unique and makes for a very special work environment.  I think the firm is working on improving diversity in other ways, and has made good progress.”
  • “The firm is very focused on diversity.”

Why Work Here


Want To Be A Trial Lawyer?

Then you’ve come to the right place Wilkinson Stekloff is an elite trial boutique, committed to two things—litigating the most significant trials throughout the nation, and developing the next generation of trial lawyers.

What does that mean for you?  It means you’ll see courtrooms and client meetings yourself, rather than just hearing about them from senior associates and partners.  You’ll get active encouragement and guidance on how to build your own skill set, rather than just focusing on making others look good.  You won’t just be in the rooms where it happens—you’ll be helping make wins happen.

Getting Hired Here


  • “The glittering resume is expected, although we are actively trying to look beyond HYS, recognizing that there is abundant talent that didn't go to these three schools. Beyond your transcript and resume, we're also looking for the personality and drive that show us you will enjoy and excel at the work we do.”
  • “Demonstrated interest in trial litigation is a must.  A clerkship is an important way to establish that qualification, but it is not necessarily a requirement.  The firm looks for someone who is personable (able to talk to juries), smart, and able to take on the rigor of the work.”
  • “The firm looks for people excited about trial work and the opportunity to hit the ground running.  We consider candidates directly from law school or clerkships, as long as they are self-starters and ready to learn on their feet.”
  • “Why trial work? What do you want out of this experience? What parts of law school/work have you most enjoyed and most disliked?  What did you most like about your clerkship?  How do you cope with stress?  Do you enjoy working on teams or individually? Where do you see yourself in 5/10 years?”

 

Practice Area Q&A’s


Kieran Gostin & Betsy Henthorne

Partner & Associate

Wilkinson Stekloff
Brian Stekloff

Founding Partner

Wilkinson Stekloff