Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

425 Lexington Avenue

New York, NY  10017

Phone: (212) 455-2000



 New York, NY (HQ), Los Angeles, CA, Palo Alto, CA, Washington, DC, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Sao Paulo, Tokyo


 Antitrust/Competition, Banking & Credit, Bankruptcy & Restructuring, Capital Markets & Securities, Corporate, Corporate Governance, Energy & Infrastructure, Environmental, Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits, Exempt Organizations, Fund Formation, Government & Internal Investigations, Insurance/Reinsurance, Intellectual Property, International Arbitration, International Practice, Investment Management , Labor & Employment, Litigation, Mergers & Acquisitions, Personal Planning, Private Equity, Pro Bono, Product Liability & Mass Tort, Real Estate, Securities/Shareholder Litigation, Structured Finance, Tax

 Vault's Scoop


  • “Consistently solid”
  • “Highly Intelligent, quality oriented”
  • “Stodgy”
  • “Too anonymous”


  • No. of attorneys:  836
  • No. of offices:  9
  • Summer associate offers (2009):  75 out of 77
  • Chairman of Executive Committee:  Philip T. Ruegger
  • Administrative Partners:  Mary Beth Forshaw, William R. Dougherty
  • Hiring Partners:
  • New York and Firm wide:  Caroline B. Gottschalk, Peter Kazanoff
  • Los Angeles:  Chet A. Kronenberg
  • Palo Alto:  Alexis S. Coll-Very
  • Washington, DC: Peter Thomas


Amy Claydon

Associate Director, Legal Recruiting

Phone: (212) 455-3255

Fax: (212) 455-2502



All US offices

1st year:  $160,000

2nd year:  $170,000

3rd year:  $185,000

4th year:  $210,000

5th year:  $230,000

6th year:  $250,000

7th year:  $265,000

8th year:  $280,000

Summer associate:  $3,080/week

Fun Facts

·          “The firm just started a new initiative to work on short-term projects with charter and public schools around the city. The best part is that it's open to all staff as well so it's a way to get everyone at the firm involved”


·         “Associates are generally nice, intelligent people. The cafeteria provides a nice social hub. The partners are polite. The work is interesting (as much as possible) and you are learning from partners who are among the top of their field”

·         “Commitment to pro bono, top quality work and clients, friendly culture”

·         “Work experience, bright and interesting people”


·         “Definitely lack of feedback. I hear how I'm doing once a year - at my formal review - but otherwise have received no feedback, positive or otherwise”

·         “Inability to make plans and control personal time”

·         “Adapting to reduced support services and less junior support”


·         “Onsite gym, onsite dry cleaning” (Palo Alto)

·         “Free jelly beans in LA”

·         “Generous cost of living adjustment if you move to foreign office”

·         “The best cookies in all of NYC and weekly coffee hours and attorney dinners. Discounts with various clients”

·         “We have the best homemade chocolate chip cookies in the cafeteria. They are amazing”

·         “Discounts at clothing stores, car rental places, awesome Herman Miller aerodynamic chairs”

Associate Life

Vault’s Verdict: A weak economy, which leads to a slowdown in the amount of work affects associate morale. However, great partner relationships give associates an opportunity to work on interesting and challenging cases at Simpson.


·         “I'm satisfied insofar as I'm constantly challenged but I'm quite dissatisfied to the extent that I am able to achieve zero work-life balance and feel like I am not often appreciated despite the fact that I work almost constantly.” -Corporate associate

·         “Though times of long and unpredictable hours are hard, I am very satisfied with the caliber and variety of work I have been given and the people I work with.” -Litigation associate

·         “While the economy has certainly reduced the workload across the board, partnership prospects have never been bleaker with a large backlog of deserving associates.” -Midlevel associate

*The firm says: Simpson Thacher made more partners in 2010 than in 2009.

Firm Culture

·         “NY has a well-defined culture which is relatively social. The foreign offices are smaller and have a disproportionate number of lateral attorneys, which gives them individual cultures that can be quite different from NY.” -Midlevel associate

·          “Nice people, pretty solid water cooler social scene and some happy hours. I've been to a number of colleagues’ personal social events and extend the same invites myself.” -Palo Alto associate

·         “Friendly and polite culture. While there is no pressure to socialize together, not uncommon to have lunch or drink after work with other lawyers.” -Litigation associate

Associate/Partner Relations

·         “By and large, the partners are great to work with. They are demanding and expect good work, but are usually responsive and reasonable. As with any firm, of course, there are a few you'd rather not work with, but most are good.” -New York associate

·         “In the Los Angeles office, the partners and associates work very closely -- even the junior associates. The partners are very polite, respectful, and willing to teach. No screamers!” -Corporate associate

·         “Our office is smaller, so we get a lot more interactions with the partners; they are very pleasant to us and very easy to work with.” -Palo Alto associate

Office Space

·         “Location is great, and we have very comfortable office space. The cafeteria has great food and is an excellent place for co-workers and even friends from outside the firm to gather for lunch or coffee. I appreciate it more and more each year.” -New York associate

·         “Sharing an office for the first two years isn’t great, but at the same time it’s helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Generally though, the office is fine/convenient, we don’t miss out on anything.” -Corporate associate

·         “Newly-renovated floor in Century City, CA. Ritzy area. View of the mountains and ocean (I'm not kidding)!” -Los Angeles associate


Vault’s Verdict: Like any big law firm, associates work long hours, which generally include late nights and some weekends. Most associates feel their compensation ranges from fair to generous.


·         “As with any other firm, the hours vary depending on workload. This firm is unusual in not having a minimum billable hour requirement, which I like a lot.” -Junior associate

·         “Unsurprisingly, the hours are rough. The long hours are draining, but in this economy it's much better than the alternative.” -Litigation associate

·         “I generally am at the office between 9 and 10 hours a day, more if there is a specific project or deadline. I also generally work at least part of one day on the weekend.” -New York associate


·         “The firm pays market.” -Junior associate

·         “Salary and bonuses are usually at "market" for New York City compensation, as compared with other big law firms. Simpson led the way in increasing first year associates to $160/year back in 2006.” -Litigation associate

·         “It's one of those top firms that obscenely over pays its attorneys. However, I do appreciate that it is lockstep -- again, part of the culture of collegiality and mutual respect.” -New York associate

Professional Development

Vault’s Verdict: Depending on office location your training will vary, however, most associates agree that the firm could do more in terms of informal training.


·         “Lots of opportunities for CLEs and firm-sponsored internal trainings. Less active mentoring, but it's there if you seek it.” -Junior associate

·         “Lots of formal training opportunities but they are not always the most helpful. It would be nice if there were more informal training and mentoring.” -Corporate associate

·         “There is extensive formal training, all of which is available live, on video and in print. New courses are added to react to market developments. Informally, senior associates and partners, when time permits, add great value through teaching younger associates.” -New York associates


Vault’s Verdict: Associates commend Simpson Thacher & Bartlett for their diversification efforts in all areas. There are a number of committees dedicated to women, minorities, and LGBT individuals.

·         “I am an LGBT associate, and find that the firm is VERY encouraging about recruiting and reaching out to the LGBT community. Simpson is a great place for LGBT associates to work -- and we have a fun, interesting group of LGBT associates here -- but our reputation remains (somewhat unfairly) less gay-friendly than some other big NYC firms. It's truly a great environment for an LGBT associate.” -Midlevel associate

·         “The firm constantly strives to promote a diverse workplace.” -Corporate associate

·         “The firm has initiated a Women's Advisory Committee to assist the partnership in addressing issues pertinent to female attorneys. There is also an active Diversity Committee which organizes many interesting speakers and events.” -Litigation associate

Overall Business Outlook

Vault’s Verdict: A majority of associates feel that the firm has a strong stable financial future.

·         “The firm just celebrated its 125th anniversary. Its litigation and corporate departments continually set the bar among the most prestigious firms. The firm is well positioned to thrive for another 125 years.” -Junior associate

·         “Simpson has very strong banking and capital markets relationships which have continued to provide large engagements through the 2008-2009 recession. While other practices may not have been as busy, the financing practices have been quite active in the last year.” -New York associate

·         “The firm has been busy and people seem positive. I imagine they expect this trend to continue.” -Corporate associate

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