For over a decade, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz has ranked in The Vault Law 100 as one of the most prestigious firms in the country, as well as first in New York City, and is ranked number one in M&A. Moreover, in the American Lawyer’s survey of midlevel associates our firm has ranked among the highest in the country in such categories as partner-associate relations, interesting work and benefits and compensation. Thus being an associate at our firm is a sought after opportunity for top graduates of the nation’s most prestigious law schools. Importantly, we recognize the critical role that associates play in our success. Our culture reinforces the respect we feel for our associates by giving them substantial responsibility, close working relationships with partners and clients, state-of-the-art support and a long-term commitment to their professional development. The result of this unique combination of sophisticated practice, intellectually charged atmosphere and people-oriented culture is a group of associates who are enthusiastic about working at Wachtell Lipton.
We have always maintained a low ratio of associates to partners. This structure allows us to avoid the kind of hierarchical assignment structure that often prevails at more “leveraged” firms. The firm’s size and structure affords our associates the opportunity to quickly take on meaningful responsibilities which allows them to become highly valued members of small teams working directly with clients; as a result, competition or “one-upmanship” among associates has never been an issue — a true team spirit prevails. Given the nature of our practice and, in particular, the absence of repetitive, standardized transactions and matters, we train associates to be complete, well-rounded lawyers as opposed to specialists in subparts of particular transactions or matters; in short, we try to develop in each of our associates the skills necessary to become a partner in our firm.
Our relatively small size and unusual partner-to-associate ratio allows each associate the opportunity to work directly with partners in an informal and non-structured atmosphere that encourages hands-on training and the development of close working relationships among lawyers of the firm and our clients.
We prize independent thinking and creativity in our associates; our relatively small size and unusual structure are designed to create an engaging, high-energy atmosphere in which these traits will develop and flourish.
We provide our attorneys with the necessary support and technology to allow for the practice of law at the highest and most responsive level. In addition to the systems infrastructure in place in the office, we provide each attorney with a laptop and a smartphone. We also support remote access on a worldwide basis to allow connection to the office and all of our information resources.
Our Associate Development Committee (ADC) is dedicated to providing an exceptional workplace that fosters associates’ professional development in a collegial and supportive environment. The ADC’s mentoring program supports the training of new associates and their acculturation into the firm. Each new associate is assigned an associate and a partner mentor upon joining the firm. Additionally, all associates are assigned a class dean, who ensures that associates receive work experience of appropriate breadth and intensity, as well as sufficiently detailed feedback about their progress in acquiring the skills necessary to succeed at the firm.
All new associates starting in the fall participate in a week-long orientation and training program designed to introduce them to firm practices and procedures and bridge the gap between law school and the practice of law. Individual departments offer specialized training as it relates to their practices. In addition, a variety of Continuing Legal Education programs are offered in-house throughout the year to help keep attorneys abreast of the latest developments and legal issues.
Although the majority of our current associates were former summer associates, we also consider and welcome applications from attorneys, including judicial law clerks.