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Overview

Introduction

Handling cases that often make front-page headlines, WilmerHale is a litigation super star, with particular strength in intellectual property. The firm boasts a respectful culture where associates feel supported by partners and have the resources they need to soar with high-level matters. With 1,000 lawyers across the U.S., Asia, and Europe, WilmerHale is known especially for its work in IP, securities, and appellate litigation, as well as its life sciences and technology experience. The firm counsels in a range of industries, inc...

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2021)


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No. of Partners Named (2011)


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Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

All offices...


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No. of U.S. Offices

Vault Verdict

WilmerHale values grades in hiring, but the firm is also focused on finding well-rounded, mature individuals who fit with the firm’s down-to-earth atmosphere. The firm has an intellectual culture, where questions are welcome, and all voices are heard in strategy discussions and debates. Associates feel very supported through both the Career Advancement Program and culture of mentoring. The firm’s Trial Practice series is also a big hit in helping associates feel prepared for the various stages of practice. If you’re looking for a place to take on cutting-edge work, WilmerHale is it. And associates aren’t held back—the firm is a meritocracy where opportunities for high-level work can be earned. As one would expect from a firm of this caliber, hours are long, but associates feel the...

About the Firm

 

With 1,000 lawyers across the U.S., Asia, and Europe, WilmerHale is a litigation powerhouse, known especially for its work in IP, securities, and appellate litigation, as well as its life sciences and technology experience. The firm counsels in a range of industries, including aviation; big data, Brexit; education; energy, environment, and natural resources; financial services; health care; insurance; media and entertainment; national security; professional services; and technology.

Beantown Meets the Beltway

WilmerHale was formed in 2004 when Hale and Dorr LLP and Wilmer Cutler Pickering LLP joined forces. Legacy firm Hale & Dorr dated back to 1918. Among other things, the firm was known for its work in government matters. Firm lawyer Joseph Welch repr...

Associate Reviews


  • The firm's culture is extremely pleasant. People are genuinely nice to each other and we have a small-office atmosphere where everyone knows each other. I would describe the culture as ‘academic’ and welcoming.”
  • The culture is very welcoming and socially liberal. Pre-pandemic the lawyers socialized often at Friday night happy hours. The day-to-day is busy but people are interested in your life and how you are doing.”
  • The people are genuinely friendly, kind, and down to earth. Work colleagues care about each other and support one another professionally and personally. Since COVID lock downs, there have been less social interactions, but before COVID, the firm would host firm-sponsored events about once or twice per month.”
  • People are really kind, and there is a culture of asking questions.”
  • I have only had pleasant interactions with the partners I have interacted with. The firm conducts formal reviews twice a year and you have a partner mentor that goes through your review with you.”
  • Everyone is extremely respectful. I feel very valued, and have never been mistreated, yelled at, or talked down to. Everyone works very hard, and in general others expect quality work, but at the same time people are also expected to be courteous and professional.”
  • On a personal and professional level, the partnership couldn't be better, and they really care about their associates. Transparency is good in some regards—performance reviews, firm finances—but perhaps a bit opaque when it comes to the partnership decisions.”
  • Partners at Wilmer enjoy practicing law and very collegial with associates. There are strong debates about strategic judgment in which diverse viewpoints and free exchanges of ideas are welcomed and associates' contributions are highly valued. Associates are evaluated twice annually through a career advancement program according to a clear set of competencies, and associates are formally assigned both peer and partner mentors, although mentorship also occurs informally through social networks within the firm.”
  • There is plenty of work to go around and it's easy to keep busy. I do feel overwhelmed from time to time, but what big-firm associate doesn't? Our billable requirement is 2,000 which is pretty attainable, and there's no expectation to exceed.”
  • A huge benefit of this firm is that we have a practice manager, even as first-years. I never feel like I'm stranded trying to find work, and I know who to turn to if I'm ever overwhelmed (which hasn't happened yet).
  • People check in to make sure you are not overworked. The billable requirement is 2,000 [hours] but it is easy to hit since all pro bono work counts, as well as articles and other business development presentations that you work on that help the firm and your personal brand.”
  • I work a lot of hours, but the folks I work with know I'm human and have a life, and account for that. I can work where and when I want, as long as I am getting my work done.”
  • The firm pays market bonuses, all special bonuses, extra year-end bonuses for high billers (at several different tiers), and extra performance-based bonuses. From my experience, compensation at WilmerHale is consistently above New York market rates for top-line firms.”
  • Wilmer matches the market, including special bonuses. It also pays above-market end-of-year bonuses in recognition of higher-than-average hours and contributions to a given practice group.”
  • Base compensation is great and increases with each year. I was disappointed to see the COVID-related bonuses were tied to being on track with the billable-hour requirement.”
  • Pro bono counts 100% towards billable requirements, with no caps. The firm always matches market compensation, even if it takes them a little longer than other firms to announce this comp. The special spring 2021 bonuses were unexpected, and greatly appreciated.”

 

  • My daily tasks consist entirely of substantive and challenging legal work. WilmerHale is a meritocracy—if you're ready to take on a new kind of task, partners do not hesitate to give it to you no matter what your level of seniority is. I've lead large teams as an associate, and presented to Fortune 500 GCs.”
  • We do ‘front page of the New York Times’-type work, which is terrific.”
  • Most of my time is spent on engaging substantive work. It varies in a satisfying way: legal research, brief writing, opinion writing, depositions, drafting settlement agreements, etc. It runs the gamut.”
  • Associates tend to get substantive assignments right out of the gate.”
  • WH has a solid VPN (as compared to other firms I worked at). This means that there are not frequent interruptions due to connectivity issues.”
  • A technology stipend would be helpful.”
  • The firm is continually updating its technology. The switch to work from home during the pandemic was seamless as the firm was already routinely staffing matters with partners and associates in two or three offices for any given transaction.”
  • The firm has adapted well in terms of technology but could have done better in terms of aiding associates with additional work-at-home equipment.”
  • The firm offers a number of online resources and referral to third-party wellness platforms that provide access to counseling and other assistance. The firm has also ramped up its wellness programming during the pandemic, which includes engaging presentations on resilience as well as lighter programs like group cooking classes.
  • We were recently given a billable ‘wellness’ day, which was much appreciated and needed.”
  • The firm has been strong in wellness initiatives, but when cases are leanly staffed, there's only so much one can do.”
  • I appreciate that the firm has taken a wellness pledge and events are not centered solely on alcohol. The firm is truly an inclusive environment for everyone.”
  • Training and mentoring are both formal and informal at WilmerHale. Partners and more senior attorneys look out for ways for young attorneys to get experience early on, and we have plenty of formal training programs that are growing. The new Trial Practice series runs through all phases and aspects of trial and has been very helpful. While every associate is assigned a partner mentor called your CAP (Career Advancement Program) mentor, it is easy to find informal mentorship. My mentors look out for my professional and personal development, and have helped me with a number of challenge that I have faced at the firm. Even some of the most senior partners are my mentors and advocates.”
  • We have formal peer and partner mentors as well as a load of informal mentoring. I routinely seek and receive individual feedback at the end of a transaction or on an ongoing basis—I don't have to wait for a review to get the input I need to improve.”
  • The training and mentorship—both peer and partner level—have been extensive and more than what I'd even expected. I'm very satisfied with all of these, and I feel like my mentors have a personal interest in seeing me do well.”
  • The formal training is outstanding. I am a lateral and have gotten to benefit from a full curriculum of corporate training, something I did not have at my prior big firm.”
  • Chances of making partner strike me as very low, but the firm maintains a very senior roster of counsel and does not seem to have as much ‘up and out’ pressure as peer firms.
  • It is not clear what has to be done to make partner. The only clarity is that it is selective, and the firm is not focused on expanding the total number of partners. Exit opportunities seem abundant, as the firm is so well regarded and has a number of great clients with potential for in-house roles.”
  • Many people at the firm have been here for their entire career. Non-partner roles are available, wide network of firm alum for exit opportunities.”
  • “… Exit opportunities include both government and in-house, and partners are generally supportive and helpful in assisting associates with landing. The Wilmer name carries a lot of weight, particularly in government.”
  • Could not be stronger. We are a pro bono powerhouse. The pandemic has generated some serious legal problems in Massachusetts, and I feel like we are at the front line of helping.”
  • Firm is very committed to pro bono work. All pro bono hours count like regular billable hours with no limit. There is a minimum of 20 hour expected from each attorney, and you receive recognition for working more than 100 pro bono hours. Most pro bono projects that I work on involve helping with formation and obtaining exemption for new nonprofit organizations.”
  • Wilmer is unparalleled in its commitment to pro bono work and support of attorneys' efforts in this area. I routinely have two or more pro bono matter on my desk, spanning such areas as appellate, criminal, immigration, and family law. All time is counted towards billing requirements, and the firm has never been anything but appreciative of this work.”
  • All pro bono hours count as billable. I often work on privacy related pro bono projects, but have also been able to work on pro bono projects outside of my group, including anti-racist work.”
  • I remember when I was interviewing for firms, I appreciated that rather than have a male partner tell me about their women's affinity group, WilmerHale was actually able to demonstrate that they had women in leadership positions. I think our office make up is more diverse than some other firms.”
  • The firm has a number of affinity groups that are engaged with diversity and inclusiveness efforts, as well as a formal committee on diversity that advises the partnership on firm policy matters as well as programing and presentations.”
  • Currently working on a large case team led entirely by women partners. Over the last year with the BLM movement the firm has made a concerted effort to take in a ton of pro bono work related to police reform etc.”

Why Work Here


WilmerHale is committed to providing consistently world-class legal services and we pride ourselves on finding innovative solutions to complex problems that require us to draw on our full range of knowledge and experience. We foster a work environment that is deeply rooted in our mission to provide unparalleled, high quality service to our clients. In an effort to continuously develop and support our workforce, we provide extensive in-house and external training opportunities and actively promote the overall well-being of every individual in the WilmerHale community.

Diversity at WilmerHale

"Our commitment to diversity and inclusion starts at the top: for the first time this year, as part of the partner compensation process, partners will be asked to summarize their demonstrated efforts to help meet the firm's diversity and inclusion goals. We recently established a permanent Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC), held our inaugural Diversity Summit, and developed a new approach to networking and mentorship through Diversity Mentoring Circles. The EDIC members are selected from practice group and..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “The firm is highly selective. A great majority of associates, counsel, and partners are from T14 schools and have completed federal clerkships. The firm is looking for the most accomplished people that are committed to the work and public service.”
  • “Maturity might be the main thing. The academic and professional standards are, of course, high, and diversity is, indeed, valued. Like any top firm, clerking and law school credentials are important. But the main differentiating factor, as I see it, is high value placed on well roundedness and personal maturity. I get the feeling a question might be asked, ‘Do I want this person over for dinner at my house?’”
  • Harvard will always be a feeder school, but I do feel that the Boston office has made an effort to recruit from a variety of Boston area schools. Recruiting has also clearly valued diversity and personality fit, which I appreciate.”
  • [The firm is] looking for well-rounded people—obviously those that have done relatively well in law school, but also those with a passion for helping clients (both paying and pro bono), [those with] a commitment to diversity in the workplace and in the profession, and those with a personality that is inclusive and welcoming to those around them. This firm truly values kindness and respect.”
  • Be prepared to talk about your 1L summer job/what you liked and learned from it, and why you want to work at this firm specifically.”
  • “… The firm distributes evaluation criteria (communication skills, intellectual capability, professionalism, commitment to the legal profession etc.) to interviewers to guide their interview questions, but there are not a specific set of questions to be asked.”
  • A lot of times we will ask, ‘Why WilmerHale?’”
  • They're not afraid to get into the weeds on legal issues. I was asked about my student note; then the discussion went further than what I wrote about. They were not hesitant to press me on follow-up questions related to doctrine beyond what I wrote about.”
  • The firm hires many lateral associates, and every lateral goes through the same rigorous training program. New attorneys are also introduced and recognized at department-wide meetings, as well as at smaller group virtual happy hours or coffee breaks.”
  • No complaints. The firm supported my development from day 1 and after a year or so, I felt fully integrated.”
  • I was very pleased with the mentoring and training provided during integration.”

Perks & Benefits