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Overview

Introduction

As an elite firm, Willkie seeks top talent—but the firm is careful to hire only those who will contribute positively to the culture. Associates rave about many aspects of the firm, but great compensation is a clear frontrunner as far as perks go. One of the New York elites, Willkie is home to more than 750 attorneys. In addition to its home in the Big Apple, the firm has offices in Chicago, DC, Houston, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, plus six locations across Europe. The firm is known for its work in antitrust, insurance, M&...

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

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About the Firm

 

One of the New York elites, Willkie is home to more than 750 attorneys. In addition to its home in the Big Apple, the firm has offices in Chicago, DC, Houston, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, plus six locations across Europe. The firm is known for its work in antitrust, insurance, M&A, private equity, restructuring, and securities litigation, among other areas.

On Broadway

In 1888, four lawyers planted roots on a little street called Broadway in New York City, naming the firm Hornblower & Byrne. Toward the end of the 19th century, the firm picked up a new name partner who would shape the next 40 years: William W. Miller. During the Miller years, the firm added attorneys of influence to its ranks (including future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankf...

Associate Reviews


  • “These are some of the nicest people I have ever worked with. Firm culture is our greatest strength.”
  • “As a lateral attorney, I came to Willkie in part for its culture. I can only compare to my prior firm, but Willkie seems to take a kinder, more long-term approach when it comes to what keeps associates happy. That translates into a positive atmosphere, as opposed to a cynical ‘keep-your-head-down’ type firm.”
  • “Everyone recognizes and respects your personal life outside of the office, whether that's family, pets, sports, etc.”
  • “Willkie regularly hosts social events in both the pre- and post-COVID world. This includes events at the firmwide level as well as the practice group level. Every attorney that I have met and/or worked with has been extremely friendly and interested in helping me learn and grow as an attorney. Willkie's culture really is top-tier. I can't imagine putting in the hard work and long hours at any other firm.”
  • “While we were in the office, it was extremely common for colleagues to gather in the attorney lounge, conference rooms, or the dive bar across the street to catch up and unwind. Dinners or team-bonding activities after closings/filings were standard.”
  • “Every partner that I have worked with has taken an interest in helping me understand the project and answer my questions. Partners do care about the associates on both a personal and professional level. The partners want to see the associates grow and take on more responsibility and also are completely understanding of personal circumstances and non-work-related issues/stresses in life.”
  • “Partners in my group are approachable, honest about decisions affecting the group, and great mentors for questions and career development. While some partners can be more demanding than others, I honestly have never come across anyone who is disrespectful or difficult to work with. The firm leadership makes honest attempts at transparency and communication with associates, although it sometimes can seem like key decisions are made in the New York office, with other locations as a secondary priority.”
  • “I lateralled and can say Willkie is incredibly transparent. Biweekly, firmwide updates. Presentations on firm finances/performance. Updates on how busy each group is, which helps to measure your workload against your peers.”
  • “Partners are pleasant and easy to work with. They try to give as much guidance as their time allows. Reviews are conducted twice a year and are based on reviews of attorneys you've worked with closely during that time period.”
  • “Willkie has no billables requirement, which is a huge plus—there is no competition for work, and there is no stress when it comes time for semi-annual and annual reviews. There is plenty of work to go around, but the assigning partners, through the assigning system, do a good job of managing workloads and spreading work across the associates.”
  • “For BigLaw I have it good. There are busy times and not so busy times, and the busy times usually don't last all that long. No billable-hour requirement and bonus not being tied to hours/performance are extraordinarily helpful policies from a mental health/happiness perspective.”
  • “During the pandemic, we have seen an increase in hours. This is great for job security, but it has also been stressful.”
  • “We are a busy firm, and I am in a busy practice group, no doubt about it. However, nobody wants anyone to drown in work. I regularly work as hard as I can, but people are as flexible as they can be with deadlines as long as you communicate clearly and early, and I know that if I ever felt truly overwhelmed I could speak up without fear, and I would be supported.”
  • “Leading the pack, and I am happy about it.”
  • “Top-of-market salary and bonuses with no billable minimum. What's not to like? Willkie was also a leader in 2021 with the announcement of special bonuses.”
  • “Willkie was among the first to dole out the special bonuses in 2021. We can always be confident that whatever the market wage becomes for New York white-shoe firms, we will immediately receive it.”
  • “Willkie remains committed to providing lockstep compensation and bonuses with no hourly requirement. This makes a huge difference in terms of the culture among associates. It's also a huge benefit in terms of your own mental health, because you can relax during vacation or slow times instead of worrying about hours.”
  • “[Work is] very much substantive. If you show you can handle the work/assignments, you will be allowed to run with it. Not a place where you are held back due to your class year.”
  • “Cases are very leanly staffed in the San Francisco office, so the type of work you get will run the gamut. We don't have a hierarchical office, so juniors are sometimes drafting motions and taking depositions and seniors are sometimes doing doc review. The lack of segmentation keeps you close to the whole litigation process and keeps your skills sharp. Within the last year and a half, I have taken depositions, briefed and argued appeals, made numerous appearances in court, drafted substantive motions for key clients, interacted directly with clients, and [conducted] plenty of discovery.”
  • “I came from a law firm where I only did one type of corporate work and could not do anything else, given firm-structure and hierarchy. At Willkie, there are corporate generalists. I've been exposed to a variety of corporate work since joining (M&A, capital markets, venture capital). The variety of work has exceeded my expectations since joining the firm.”
  • “I think the assigning partners do their best to distribute work fairly, and we have enough interesting work so there is no shortage of high quality work to go around.”
  • “Willkie has made a big upgrade in technology in the time I've been here (about five years). When I arrived, IT systems were somewhat outdated and the subject of occasional jokes and complaints. More recently, and especially in response to the pandemic, the firm has really focused on equipment, software, and tech support for remote work. I'm now very satisfied with the firm's technology and hope this will continue to be a priority post-COVID.”
  • “[The firm is] constantly updating the tech, [and] they buy us a personal laptop of our choice every three years. Constantly testing new software to try and make attorney work more efficient and streamlined.”
  • “Willkie has done an amazing job of adapting to remote working. We've been provided landlines (that work through wireless!), multiple monitors, office supplies, and a VPN/server access that rarely lags and has only been down once in the last year. The hardware is superior to anything any of my friends at other firms have gotten.”
  • “[Efforts include] monthly programming, opportunities for time off, and educational activities. Leadership from the top speaks openly and honestly about the challenges. Junior assigning partners ask senior lawyers to be solicitous and thoughtful about juniors’ workloads, including [by] avoiding weekend work unnecessarily and respecting vacation time.”
  • “Willkie has multiple partnerships and resources available for mental health and family care, which have been especially helpful during the pandemic. From a social standpoint, we have also offered virtual group fitness programs, activities for children (e.g., virtual cooking, music, and craft classes), yoga classes, and nutrition programs.”
  • “The firm offers a $500 fitness allowance each year. In addition, it has programs throughout the year (like the Willkie Fun Run 5K) to encourage wellness. I believe the firm provides a benefit that allows us to get in touch with a counselor, but I haven't used it.”
  • “Firm is very supportive and understanding in situations where individuals need time to deal with personal/family matters.”
  • “My group holds an annual ‘boot camp’ refresher course in substantive training and coordinates ongoing, substantive CLEs throughout the year. In addition, the firm provides several training opportunities each month, including an annual ‘Fourth Year Seminar’ for associates transitioning into the mid-level role. Coupled with multiple mentorship opportunities (both with more-senior attorneys and through the firm's Women's Professional Development Committee), I have several mentoring resources available.”
  • “The firm offers plenty of CLE courses (at least one per week), and many are geared to junior associates. The firm has also implemented a writing program for associates to practice writing skills outside of billable assignments. The firm also has [a] mentorship program which partners junior associates with a partner and a mid- to senior-level associate. Because the Chicago office opened in March 2020, the program has paired Chicago associates with two partners: one from New York and one from Chicago—in addition to a senior associate.”
  • “There is a ton of training at the firm. Each incoming associate is provided a formal associate mentor and partner mentor. During the pandemic, each incoming associate is also provided a virtual officemate to help out with more general firm questions and have another person who checks in on you.”
  • “Both the formal and informal mentoring systems at Willkie are strong. I have many people that I feel comfortable reaching out to [about] any questions/concerns.”
  • “Partnership seems realistic, and the firm recently introduced non-equity partnership and expanded consideration of counsel roles. Our office works with many major tech clients, so associates are well positioned to transition to in-house roles with local industry leaders.”
  • “Making partner is very realistic, even if you don't have your own book of business. Exit opportunities are plentiful, especially with former or current clients of the firm. The firm even sends around job postings to go in-house at clients. Many associates go on secondment as well.”
  • “Partnership path is available for those who truly desire it. With the caveat that BigLaw firms are not structured such that many associates in any class can join the partnership, Willkie recently introduced the two-tiered partnership structure (non-equity after eighth-year path to equity), with the explicit goal of allowing more candidates to reach partnership in quicker time. That process remains a bit opaque from a mid-level associate perspective but will increase in the coming years. The exit opportunities, from in-house (both clients and otherwise) to other firms at any level, are robust.”
  • “Path to partnership doesn't seem impossible, but there could be more transparency. Departing associates have a wealth of exit opportunities; it appears that most lateral to other BigLaw firms or go in-house with a client.”
  • “Willkie does not cap billable credit for pro bono work and actively encourages associates to take on pro bono matters. When I am busy with a pro bono matter, my supervisors are responsive to requests for additional support to balance with my billable work as well.”
  • “We get a pro bono email almost weekly with new and available work. Most people have at least one pro bono assignment at all times. Associates seem enthusiastic and motivated to take on these cases.”
  • “Voter protection, transgender name change petition, child labor laws, and Covid PPP-related loans are all types of pro bono projects I've worked on in the last year. [It was] a banner year for Willkie pro bono, [and the firm] counts pro bono hours as billable hours and puts its money where its mouth is on pro bono work.”
  • “We are encouraged to have one to three pro bono cases at any given time. I have worked on contested divorces, asylum cases, and wrongful detention cases.”
  • “Diversity is an issue that the firm has taken seriously. Internal committees meet regularly to think about how to do better in terms of hiring and promotion. We also have affinity groups that have begun to take off.”
  • “The firm does make an effort to promote diversity, which includes speakers and trainings to discuss issues like implicit bias and talking about race. While translation into actual diversity varies and often hinges on factors that are difficult to account for, the San Francisco office has achieved a very high level of diversity. The large majority of the office is female, LGBT, or POC. It is something our office is very proud of.”
  • “I was worried that, as a woman of color, I might be given less or different work than the other first years, and this has not been my experience or the experience of my fellow WOC in other departments from what I have heard. I also know that the diversity and inclusion committee is continuously working on personal anti-racist growth within the firm and trying to make sure all are welcome.”
  • “The firm has demonstrated serious attention to growing diversity at all levels of the firm.  The lack of billable hours requirement incentivizes participation in diversity related education and programming.”

Why Work Here


At Willkie, people are our most valued asset.  From the day you start at the Firm as a young lawyer, you are an integral part of the Willkie community and, whether you choose to remain here for the rest of your career or decide to move on to other endeavors, you will always be a part of the Willkie family. 

There are many reasons to work at Willkie.  At its simplest, our fundamental goal is to provide our attorneys with the highest-quality training, early responsibility and the opportunity to work on challenging and cutting-edge matters in a collaborative environment where people genuinely get along with each other. 

Diversity at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

"Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons based solely on an individual's qualifications and merit without regard to age, ancestry, citizenship status, color, disability, gender, gender identity and expression, gender reassignment, pregnancy or maternity, paternity, marital or civil partnership status, caregiver status, nationality, national origin, citizenship, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or preference, veteran's status or any other classification protected by law. The..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “Willkie is not exclusive to any single candidate; however, like many elite, NYC-based firms, it draws its summer candidates predominantly from the T14 law schools plus a few key New York institutions with long connections to the firm (Fordham, St. John's). Willkie does not deny applicants based on any one criteria and often prioritizes the ‘fit’ in interviews once the candidate has shown the intellectual capacity to be successful.”
  • “The firm offers guidance for those interviewing candidates, and my group makes an active effort to have candidates interview with a mix of associates and partners at various levels. Willkie does not hire from ‘feeder schools’ and is interested in bright, enthusiastic, eager candidates. My group has a mix of attorneys from several types of schools.”
  • “The firm looks for people who are smart and can get the job done, but also who have a personality and a life. This is not the firm filled with anti-social people who value work over every other priority in life.  There is a true balance between work and other important areas of life.  Many of the hires tend to come from the routinely T14 schools, where they did well and may have participated in a journal—though lack of journal doesn't seem to be a deal-breaker. Past work experience, including past careers outside of law, also seems to be valued.”
  • “The firm has no strict prerequisites and is very diverse in its hiring strategy/efforts, and this is probably what makes the firm so unique and provides the generally cordial work environment.”
  • “Willkie tends to shy away from legal or practice-group specific questions. Rather, we focus more on questions about how a candidate's prior work experience or school activities have shaped them as a person or encouraged them to pursue a particular area of law. We ask questions to get to know the candidate as a person and why they have chosen the path that they are on. It is also a bonus if a candidate is able to articulate why they are interested in Willkie beyond general answers that could apply to any other BigLaw firm.”
  • “[Questions are] mainly focused on your interests; why Willkie. A keen interest in private equity work is a huge plus, as the firm represents a lot of clients in the private equity space.”
  • “Why are you interested in coming to Willkie? This is always my primary question but, too often, where a candidate fails because they fail to articulate any discernable reason for wanting to work at Willkie.”
  • “Questions vary by seniority, with law students being asked about their personal and professional interests and lateral candidates asked about their experience. Interviewers want to get a sense of what it would be like to have the candidate in the office and work with them on a daily basis.”
  • “There are several mentoring opportunities, orientation presentations, and ongoing training programs to help integrate lateral associates.”
  • “I felt welcomed and supported and was satisfied with the experience. I probably did miss out on some shared experiences and bonding through the summer associate program, but I never felt left out or treated as an outsider.”
  • “Most people in my practice group were quick to reach out and help in any way possible. By the same token, when new associates are hired, the partners make sure everyone knows and encourages everyone to reach out.”

Perks & Benefits