One of the most selective law firms, Williams & Connolly is a litigation standout, known for handling complex, high-stakes matters. The firm has a promote-from-within culture with an emphasis on organic mentorship. Associates have significant autonomy through the free-market assignment system and receive ample support for pro bono pursuits.
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Williams Connolly is unique among its BigLaw peers in focusing exclusively on high-stakes litigation rather than both litigation and transactional matters. It attracts top candidates with stellar credentials and often clerkship experience, who want to win cases for high-profile clients in intellectual property, antitrust, and white collar criminal matters, among others. Attorney staffing remains lean, team-driven, and nonhierarchical, with an overall partner-to-associate ratio of 1.5 to 1. The culture is collegial, with an emphasis on personal, informal, and on-the-job mentorship, as well as a homegrown partnership. Associates mostly praise the firm’s compensation structure, with an above-market base salary and no formal billable hour requirement, although they also note that it r...
Williams & Connolly continues to hold its own against firms 10 times its size by following a basic mantra: Keep it simple. The firm’s roughly 300 attorneys focus almost exclusively on litigation from a single office in DC, positioning Williams & Connolly as a go-to firm for politicos, celebrities, major American companies and their executives, and even other law firms.
A Short, Illustrious History
Legendary litigator-to-the-stars Edward Bennett Williams teamed with Paul Connolly, a former student of his at Georgetown Law, to open shop in 1967. The fledgling firm soon boasted a client list that included the biggest names in Hollywood, politics, business, and media. Among its clients have been White House royalty like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle Ob...