Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz


Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz

51 West 52nd Street

New York, NY 10019-6150

Phone: (212) 403-1000



New York, NY



Antitrust, Corporate, Executive Compensation & Benefits, Litigation, Real Estate, Restructuring & Finance, Tax, Trusts & Estates


(What attorneys at other firms are saying about this firm)

  • “Brutal but brilliant”
  • “The pinnacle of the profession”
  • “Mo money mo problems!”
  •  “Condescending”


  • No. of attorneys: 239
  • No. of offices: 1
  • Summer associate offers (2009): 23 out of 24
  • Executive Committee Co-Chairs: Edward D. Herlihy, Daniel A. Neff
  • Executive Partner: Meyer G. Koplow

Hiring: Committee


Elizabeth F. Breslow

Director of Recruiting & Legal Personnel

Phone: (212) 403-1334

Fax: (212) 403-2000

E-mail: efbreslow@wlrk.com


New York, NY

1st year: $165,000

Summer associate: $3,100/week


Fun Facts

  • “We are Pepperidge Farm's largest customer”
  • “Robert Morgenthau voted for FDR on the President's third and possibly fourth runs for office” 


  • “Can't imagine working at a place where I'd be learning more or working with smarter people”
  •  “The incredible compensation”
  • “Low associate-to-partner ratios; high pay; responsibility; respect”


  • “The relative lack of ‘hand-holding’”
  • “Feels like no matter what, you can never work enough -there is always someone working harder or staying later”
  • “This is a high-pressure place”

Notable Perks

  • “Firm lunches once a week; phenomenal healthcare”
  • “Stocked pantries; weekly firm-wide lunches; reimbursed home internet and cell phone; car rides to and from the office on the weekends, in the early morning or after 8:00 p.m.; seamless web for lunch and dinner; and a free laptop. Also, we make a lot of money”
  • “Fro-yo machine, fully subsidized healthcare, breakfast every morning, etc. All the standard perks. And first year non-stub associates have an all-in comp. package that is equal to or greater than that of most senior associates at other firms”

Associate Life

Vault’s Verdict: The overall feeling among associates is they love this firm, while there are a couple of “bad eggs,” mostly everyone gets along and enjoys their job.


  •  “I am very happy in my job. I came here looking for top-notch experience, and I'm getting it in spades.” -Junior associate
  • “Most people here love what they do.” -New York associate
  • “It's got to be an uncontroversial truism that this is the best law firm for a junior or midlevel associate.” -Litigator
  • “Interesting work and more responsibility than other firms. However, there's a ‘sink or swim’ aspect to it, and formal guidance is almost nonexistent.” -Midlevel associate
  • “Long hours are made more bearable by the partner's respect and the sense that you are a necessary component in an integral team.” -Labor and Employment associate

Firm Culture

  • “Professional. There's not a whole lot of socializing outside of work, but people around the office are friendly and welcoming at all levels. People are particularly friendly at the nightly firm dinners and at weekly firm lunches.” -Junior associate
  •  “Most attorneys are very pleasant, and there is a high value placed upon cooperation. Lawyers do not tend to socialize together, however, particularly given the high number of hours.” -Litigator
  •  “The lawyers here are almost uniformly friendly, encouraging, open, and collegial. My first stop on any question is to drop by the office of the colleague I think is most likely to know something about it, who is always ready to spend time thinking about and even researching the issue. We're not heavy on the socialization, although the people who attend the firm lunches and dinners regularly get to know each other pretty well, but there's a spirit of cooperative enterprise that pervades the firm regardless of whether there's a close personal relationship.” -Senior associate
  • “It is what you make of it -there are plenty of social opportunities especially attorney lunch (once a week) and attorney dinners (4 times a week). I think the culture is probably more intimate than at other firms.” -New York associate
  • “We are stressed, but everyone is smart and friendly and willing to help.” -Midlevel associate

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “Amazing -one of the highlights of working here is the respect you are accorded by partners.” -Midlevel associate
  • “Associates are treated with great respect from day one.” -Litigator
  • “Our partners work extremely hard too, and they are very respectful to associates generally.” -New York associate
  • “Many partners will treat you like an equal (or close to it) on a transaction--there are a couple of bad eggs that are very difficult to work for.” -Senior associate
  • “There are a few partners that are difficult to work with, as at any firm. For the most part, though, they do treat associates as colleagues.” -New York associate

Office Space

  • First years have their own offices, which is nice. Otherwise, pretty standard big-law office space.” -Corporate associate
  • “Reasonably attractive, open, well lit and well laid out. Not going to win any design awards, but both comfortable and functional.” -New York associate
  • “The facilities are comfortable and relatively modern. No wood paneling or hunting dogs.” -Senior associate


Vault’s Verdict: Associates say they generally work long hours and feel they are compensated well for the amount of work they do at the firm.


  •  “I work a lot. Would I like to work less? Yes --who wouldn't? Am I upset with how much I work? Not one jot --you don't come here if you can't handle (or don't expect) the hours.” -Corporate associate
  • “Long, variable, and unpredictable. In my first full three months, I billed 282, 250, and 291 hours, respectively. I have heard that 300+ hour months are not at all unusual.” -Junior associate
  • “The hours are significant and the commitment to being available 24/7/365 should be considered by applicants. That said, I've been able to take at least two weeks vacation every year.” -New York associate
  •  “On the upside, there is no competition for hours, and no billable hour targets. On the downside, it would be very difficult not to hit 2400.” -Litigator
  • “We work a lot of hours, but the work is interesting.” -Junior associate


  • “Even in light of the recession, our compensation continues to exceed peer firms -shows the firm's commitment to rewarding hard work, particularly on the associate level.” -Labor and Employment associate
  • “Though not as great as 2006 or 2007, still very, very good given the current market (and compared to other firms).” -Senior associate
  • Will make all the hours worth it.” -Junior associate
  • “We make more than anyone period. But we still think we should make more.” -New York associate
  • “Not much needs to be said on this. Attorney compensation is already generous in my view, and the WLRK pay scale goes far beyond its peer firms.” -Corporate associate

Professional Development

Vault’s Verdict: Associates feel they gain the most training while on the job and are given very little formal training; they learn by doing.


  •  “The only effective training is on-the-job training. There now is a week of orientation for incoming associates, but the substantive, legal elements are largely useless. The stuff that sticks is the stuff that you learn the hard way, by doing.” -Midlevel associate
  • “Almost all training occurs on the job. A certain level of self-directed learning is expected on a regular basis.” -New York associate
  • “We are somewhat sink or swim --you're going to learn the most by doing, and most people here are patient enough to explain things to you (subject to having enough time to do so).” -Corporate associate
  • “We train with live bullets over here.” -Senior associate
  • “Again, very little formal training. There is a great deal of mentoring, but it is mostly ‘on the job.’” -New York associate


Vault’s Verdict: While diversity exists at the firm and the firm has taken steps to improve recruiting and the candidate pipeline, associates generally feel the firm can do more to increase the level of diversity.

  • “We need more women and minorities at the Firm, and the Firm has taken steps to improve recruiting and the candidate pipeline.” -Midlevel associate
  • “We're trying.” -Corporate associate
  • “As far as I can tell, everyone is treated the same.” -Junior associate
  • “There are lots of female associates, but we need more female partners. There are not a lot of minority/GLBT associates -very few partners.” -New York associate

Overall Business Outlook

Vault’s Verdict: Associates agree that the firm has a very healthy outlook, even during the recession the firm came through strong, and most see this trend growing.

  •  “Of course the business outlook is subject to the performance of the larger economy, but we came through the downturn well and without any layoffs or reduction in hiring. Overall deal activity has picked up significantly in the first few months of 2010 and we have been involved in a significant number of the larger matters, which may indicate that we are positioned to outperform peer firms.” -Midlevel associate
  • “The Firm is healthy. Business is picking up. And we weathered the recession like champs.” -New York associate
  • “The firm continued to operate business as usual even through the economic crunch. As the markets start to thaw, the level of activity at the firm has noticeably risen -hours are longer now.” -Labor and Employment associate

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