Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell

Sullivan & Cromwell

125 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004

Phone: (212) 558-4000


New York, NY (HQ), Los Angeles, CA, Palo Alto, CA, Washington, DC, Beijing, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Melbourne, Paris, Sydney, Tokyo


Antitrust, Appellate, Arbitration, Banking, Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights, Broker-Dealer regulation, Commodities, Futures &   Derivatives, Commodities, Futures & Derivatives Litigation, Corporate Governance, Criminal Defense & Investigations, EC Competition, Environmental, Estates and Personal, Estates Litigation, Executive Compensation & Benefits, Financial Institutions, Hedge Funds, Insurance, Intellectual Property & Technology, International Trade & Investment, Investment Management, Labor & Employment Litigation, Litigation, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Privatizations, Products Liability, Project Development & Finance, Real Estate, Securities, Securities Litigation, Strategic Finance, Structured Finance, Tax,


No. of attorneys:  708

No. of offices:  12

Summer associate offers (2009): 104 out of 104

Chairman:  H. Rodgin Cohen

Vice Chairman: Joseph C. Shenker

Hiring Partner:  Karen Patton Seymour


  • “Incredible client base”
  • “Doing really well despite the economy”
  • “Extremely competitive”
  • “Gunners”


Patricia J. Morrissy

Chief Legal Recruiting Officer

Phone: (212) 558-3518

Fax: (212) 558-3588



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:  $270,000
  • 8th year:  $290,000
  • Summer associate:  $3,077/week*

*Paid at the annual rate of $160,000 prorated according to the time spent at the firm and the days worked during the month, on a semi-monthly basis.  

Fun Facts

  • “John Foster Dulles and Alan Dulles were both partners here. It has had the same name since it was founded in 1879”
  • “Sullivan & Cromwell's efforts to bring about the building of the Panama Canal are chronicled in David McCullough's book, The Path Between the Seas. The firm represents the Panama Canal Authority to this day”


  • “The brilliance of my peers and the high-quality nature of the work, the transactions, and the clients”
  • “S&C gives young associates a lot of responsibility early on. Within four months I have researched and written motions to be filed in court, appeared and presented at a hearing, and am second-chairing an arbitration. I know second years who are essentially running cases. You can get as much responsibility as you ask for. Also, the work is very interesting and at a very high level”
  • “The compensation, the high-profile nature of the work, and the experience”


  • “Overly demanding clients”
  •  “The hours can be rough, and when there's a lot of work to do it sometimes falls on one person to get it all done”

Notable Perks

“Free snacks/drinks, on-site gym that washes your gym clothes for you, 2nd and 3rd year associates get budgets to take out first year associates during the year. 5th years and above also get associate budgets. The estates & personal group provides free estate planning for partners and associates and represents associates/partners in their personal real estate transactions”

“There is an associate’s lounge that is stocked daily at 4:00 pm with candy, chocolate, fruit, healthy snacks, juices, soft drinks, and water. Every associate is issued a brand new ultra-portable laptop that can be used from anywhere. And there is an in-house, subsidized cafeteria with an endless array of food options at lunchtime”

“We were the first firm to offer extended maternity leave”

Associate Life

Vault’s Verdict: Though most associates say that they appreciate their “brilliant” colleagues, some warn of a “stuffy” office culture.


  • “I do interesting work with interesting people. Can't ask for too much more.” -Litigator
  • “Any job satisfaction is derived from the actual work itself.”  -Junior associate
  • At this level in my career, I am fortunate to have mostly substantive work with a high level of responsibility. I believe that more junior associates would rate their satisfaction lower.” -Junior associate
  • “I'm nearly as happy as I could be. There is a bit more document review than I had anticipated (and been led to believe), but this is a changed economy, and already I can see a clear path away from it in the not too distant future.” -Litigator
  • “This is a fulfilling job because you are in the middle of the biggest and best transactions around, with highly competent people. There is no better place to train as a young lawyer.” -Washington D.C. associate

Firm Culture

  • “Not as bad as its reputation would suggest. The culture is perhaps a bit stuffier than most, but most of the people, from partners to staff, are generally pleasant and professional.” -Senior associate
  • “The firm has a diverse group of people here - by design. Given that reality, everyone is going to be able to find people with whom they are going to enjoy interacting. I have consistently socialized with lawyers of all levels, many of who I would consider friends.” -New York associate
  • “If you want to drone you can drone, if you want to be a gunner you can gun, if you want to be social or anti social, both types are found. Hard work is a given; brains are expected and crybabies are best advised to close their doors if they need a good cry.” -Corporate associate
  • “The culture of S&C is one of professionalism and friendliness. You are respected by other lawyers and treated like an adult. It is not a very politically right or left leaning firm.” -Litigator
  • “Smart people sometimes lack social skills. There are some gem personalities. Politically diverse. Social functions are not why I came here.” -Junior associate
  • Associate/Partner Relations
  • “Partners can be quite harsh in their criticism, but I have never known one to be disrespectful toward an associate or any other employee.” -Senior associate
  • “I have always found partners to be very respectful. They seem to genuinely want young associates to grow in their abilities as lawyers, and are concerned with giving us interesting and substantive work. I have never had a bad experience with a partner at S&C.” -Litigator
  • “The partners I've worked with have been very professional, respectful, and cordial.” -New York associate
  • “Many partners care greatly about the associates and try to mentor them and keep them in the loop on firm matters. But many partners are also self-centered and don't even notice the associates exist half the time.” -Junior associate
  • “Treatment of associates by partners can vary widely depending on the partner, but for the most part, partners are very cordial and polite, even friendly.” -Litigator

Office Space

  • “There used to be nice old-fashioned decor, but the firm has been making modern renovations.”-Senior associate
  • “The New York office is undergoing a floor by floor renovation process, but fourth year associates are just now starting to get their own offices.” -New York associate
  • “The Firm has been undertaking renovations, floor by floor, for several years. As a result, there are frequent office relocations. Also, the office theme (i.e., lighting, furniture) often changes from floor to floor, due to the staggered renovations.” -Junior associate


Vault’s Verdict: Associates complain of really long hour, albeit with decent compensation, though bonuses have fallen recently.


  • “The hours are grueling. The amount associates are paid is insulting, given the revenue we generate for the firm.” -Junior associate
  • “While overall hours are not necessarily bad for Biglaw in NYC, the unpredictability is particularly painful. Partners rarely will push back on demanding clients to create realistic expectations in terms of timing, so anything can be dropped on you, usually at the most inconvenient times. .. We have plenty of vacation time, but it is difficult actually to take it.” -Corporate associate
  • “I wish I could work less, of course, but for this job I can't really complain. I haven't had too many completely terrible months. Things are getting busier again and senior associates seem to have it the worst, so we'll see. I rarely have weekends entirely free, but it hasn't been as bad as I expected when I started.” -Midlevel associates
  • “Being in litigation, I can plan ahead and schedule my time so I can work 9 to 10 hours of billable time a day and then head home. I aim for about 200 hours a month (which contemplates a month of vacation a year). I have never once heard anyone talk about hours here - or what is required of you (at least on the litigation side). I believe that in large part stems from a belief that what is important is not the hours you work but the job you do. If you can write a great brief in 2 hours, then why spend 10 hours on it? You do your work and are expected to be able to determine when you can take on additional matters. I have yet to have a past-midnight work day or a weekend that I had to work the entire time. I suspect that, as I work here longer, there will be more instances where I work later or have more on my plate at once. As of now, I have found it an agreeable balance.” -Litigator


  • “For a firm that does cutting edge work and is a go-to firm for complex litigation, I'm disappointed that we are not also leaders in compensation for associates.” –Midlevel associate
  • “Hoping the bonuses get better as the economy improves, but salary and bonuses are always competitive with other NY firms.” -New York associate
  • “We are well paid but the bonus is a source of irritation among associates.” -Litigator
  • “S&C is amazing. I have no annual billable hour targets or requirements, and to the extent they do monitor billed hours, every conceivable activity counts, including unlimited pro bono hours. There is no 50-hour cap on pro bono hours that are treated as billable. The lone source of frustration is the firm's seeming capitulation to the market by giving market-level bonuses, despite the fact that partners made nearly as much last year as they did two years ago. That is disappointing. I would prefer bonuses to be tied at least to some degree to the performance of the firm in a way that makes us all feel more invested in the firm's success, almost as a proxy for revenue-sharing arrangements.” -Junior associate
  • “No minimum hours or anything like that, we pay market, even when the firm is doing MUCH better than the market, the partners will choose to keep the cash for themselves rather than actually providing a bonus for a very hard year of work.” -Corporate associate

Professional Development

Vault’s Verdict: Associates feel they have a great formal training program for incoming associates.


  • “Excellent formal training program for incoming and lower-level associates, not a great informal or mentoring system despite recent efforts to improve.” -Senior associate
  • “If anything, there is too much formal training and it is a bit overwhelming to use before you actually run into the scenarios. On the subject of informal training, I think that you get as much out of it as you put into it. No one will make you get feedback if you don't want it, but if you want it they seem to give as much as you can take.” -New York associate
  • “Formal training at least once a week with interesting, useful topics. Informal training...not so much. Zero partner interaction in that respect and very little from more senior associates. I'm sure if I sought it out, it would be there, but there's just not much informal mentoring going on here.” -Litigator
  • “I've had the good fortune of working closely with several partners who've mentored me. I get the sense that I've had better mentoring than some, though.” -Senior associate
  • “There is a lot of formal training, but I don't know much you take away from that. Most of the training is learn by doing. The associates are generally very willing to help you learn.” -Corporate associate


Vault’s Verdict: Associates feel the firm makes every effort to diversify the workplace.


  • “It seems to make a lot of effort; but the results would seem less than breathtaking.” -New York associate
  • “I'm not GLBT, a minority, or a woman--but I've known more female associates than male associates who've made partner in recent years (two of whom were minorities). With respect to GLBT, several partners (including the head of the litigation group), are openly gay and bring their partners to firm events.” -Senior associate
  • “Far too few minorities in the office. Women are pretty well represented among the partner and associate ranks.” -Los Angeles associate
  • “There are a number of young, high-profile partners here that are either women, minorities, GLBT, or some combination of thereof.” -Junior associate
  • “I think we're one of the better firms at trying to get minorities and women to come here.” -Litigator

Overall Business Outlook

Vault’s Verdict:  S&C associates are generally upbeat about the firm’s prospects.

Overall Business Outlook

  • “It feels good to be able to describe my firm as more than a mere ‘survivor’ of the global economic meltdown; I feel like I'm working for a winner. I think the office parties and perks will never again be as gilded as they were when I was a summer associate in 2008, but at the same time, life is pretty good here, compensation is top notch, and I don't feel like job security is an issue. I am unqualifiedly happy here.” -Junior litigator
  • “Turnover remains high - meaning our associates remain in high demand, even in a bad economy. We are about as well-positioned as any firm to ride out the storm.” -Corporate associate
  • “Workload has been consistently increasing and our financial institutions group is in a strong position given the current market.” -New York associate


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