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.

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 (All 2Ls)


Base Salary

1st year: $240,000

Vault Verdict

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...

About the Firm

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...

Associate Reviews


  • “Collegial and highly team-oriented. Case teams are smaller than other firms doing the same type of work and very ‘flat’ with little hierarchy. Partners and senior associates genuinely care about getting opportunities for younger lawyers and there is plenty of substantive experience to go around—there is no sense of scarcity/competition for substantive, interesting work. The small teams and the fact that everyone is located in the same office contribute to developing close professional and personal relationships with your coworkers.”
  • “Day-to-day socializing is driven by case teams and by informal relationships among associates. Lawyers and staff have a very close-knit relationship.”
  • “The firm's culture is incredibly positive. Everyone is interested in gathering and getting to know colleagues on a deeper level. Everyone is understanding and works with associates to ensure manageable schedules and expectations.”

Diversity at Williams & Connolly LLP

"Williams & Connolly LLP remains committed to diversity and inclusion in all aspects of our firm culture and work. That commitment starts with our leadership. The firm's Chief Diversity Partner devotes all of this time to fostering diversity and inclusion at the firm. The D&I Committee works regularly with Executive Committee and other firm leaders to discuss and implement its initiatives. While Williams & Connolly seeks to move its diversity efforts beyond a simple numbers driven approach, as a result of our initiatives, in 2019 our..."

Getting Hired Here

  • “The firm is looking for someone with great credentials, but great credentials are not enough—by far the most important part of the process is whether the applicant will be a good fit for the firm based on their professional interests and their personality. Because we get all our partners from within, the goal is to find associates who we can imagine as future partners at the firm.”
  • “Williams prioritizes grades, clerkship experience, and a decent personality. Candidates who are invited to interview all have stellar academic credentials. We are also asked to evaluate whether candidates would be decent colleagues and would be someone we would like to work with on a personal level. Being a decent human absolutely matters in Williams hiring.”
  • “The firm looks for the most accomplished law school students in America from the most elite law schools in the country, and tends to hire only individuals with very strong grades, journal experience, and at least one clerkship on their resume. The firm is committed to improving diversity through hiring.”