Williams & Connolly LLP

Williams & Connolly LLP


Williams & Connolly LLP

The Edward Bennett Williams Building

725 Twelfth Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20005

Phone: (202) 434-5000



Washington, DC



Administrative Law · Antitrust · Appellate · Arbitration · Business Transactions & Tax · Criminal Defense · Employment & Labor · Federal Programs & National Defense · First Amendment & Media · General Civil Litigation · Health Care & Medical Products · Intellectual Property · International Disputes · Plaintiffs’ Litigation · Product Liability, Torts & Medicine · Professional Liability Defense · Real Estate · Securities & Financial Services Litigation · Sports · Trusts & Estates


No. of attorneys: 240

No. of offices: 1

Summer associate offers:  “Because nearly all of our summer associates obtain judicial clerkships, formal offers are only extended after the clerks receive permission from judges to request offers.  Typically, all summer associates who request offers are welcomed to return as associates.” 

Managing Partner: By six-member committee

Hiring Committee Chair: Robert M. Cary


Ms. Donna M. Downing

Attorney Recruiting Manager

Phone: (202) 434-5605

Fax: (202) 434-5029

E-mail: ddowning@wc.com


  • Washington, DC
  • 1st year: $180,000
  • 2nd year: $195,000
  • 3rd year: $210,000
  • 4th year: $230,000
  • 5th year: $250,000
  • 6th year: $270,000
  • 7th year: $290,000
  • Summer associate: $3,450/week

Vault's Scoop


·         “Litigation ninjas”

·         “Crème de la crème for those without souls”

·         “THE top litigation shop in the country”

·         “Pretentious”

Fun Facts

·         “Our founding partner used to own the Redskins and the Orioles”

·         “People probably don't know that everyone is so down-to-earth and that there truly is a family atmosphere in the office”


·         “Great work and a great atmosphere. No politics. “

·         “The partners are a good group, and you get a lot of responsibility right away”

·         “The firm has great clients and great cases”


·         “Can be very fast paced with little downtime”

·         “Hours are on the long side”

·         “The cases are getting bigger”


·         “Free lunch every day”

·         “Fully subsidized health insurance, free gourmet meals in the attorney dining room”

 Associate Life

Vault’s Verdict:  Young associates are entrusted with real responsibilities on a variety of cases; spacious offices and pleasant leadership make for a contented attorney corps.


·         “One is hard-pressed to find another firm that exposes young associates to the types of experiences found at W&C” –Litigation associate

·         “I could not imagine enjoying a job at a big law firm more than I enjoy my job at Williams & Connolly. I'm truly lucky” –D.C. associate

·         “In terms of firms, it does not get much better: guaranteed above-market compensation, fully subsidized health care, delicious free food every day, intellectually stimulating work, brilliant colleagues, and a collegial environment. If you don't like the place, it's probably because you either don't like litigation or you don't like law firms in general.” –Litigation associate

Firm Culture

·         “The firm has a lunchroom for attorneys, which fosters frequent social interactions.” -Litigation associate

·         “Lawyers frequently congregate in the attorney-only dining room, where it is common just to walk up to a table and join in (even with senior partners). Socialization outside of work occurs, but is mostly limited to happy hours. People at the firm span the political range--several attorneys left for the Obama administration at the same time several returned from the Bush administration. Professionally, the attorneys are driven, yet humane. Most office doors are left open, and I have not heard of any yellers.” -D.C. associate

Associate/Partner Relations

·         “The partners couldn't be better here. No screamers, no unreasonable demands, and genuinely care about our well being.” -Litigation associate

·         “Associates are not fungible here. The partners here view associates as part of the team and part of the family. I feel very lucky to have more than one partner here who I can talk to about work or life issues. The partnership as a whole wants to make sure associates are happy and having fulfilling experiences. They work hard to add transparency to evaluations and to give us clear signals about where the firm is going and how it is doing.” –Senior associate

·         “Because of the low partner to associate ratio (almost 1:1), partners and associates work very closely together, and associates play a significant role on even the most important cases. Partners are generally very respectful toward associates, and even junior associates are encouraged to communicate directly with the partners.” –Junior litigator

Office Space

·         “Functional and nice. We have a great conference center. "Luxurious" is just not the W&C way, and I am glad for it.” –D.C. associate

·         “The firm does not believe in a lot of frills, but the office is nice and every associate has their own (fairly spacious) office.” –D.C. associate

·         “All associates (even first years) have large, windowed offices. While the firm decor may not be the most glamorous I've ever seen, our individual offices are great.” –Midlevel D.C. associate


Vault’s Verdict: Associates work long hours – face time is no requirement here, but deadlines come into play. Most associates appreciate their compensation, and no one complains about not having to reach a certain amount of billable hours.


·         “Long hours are never fun, but when you work with wonderful people who give you responsibility, take your input seriously, and send you home with a paycheck like we receive, it's really hard to complain about the hours. Also, I find that, other than when you're in trial, people here are very understanding about outside-of-work obligations, so there's never any problem with leaving early or taking days off when you need them.” -Litigation associate

·         “Long hours are never fun, but when you work with wonderful people who give you responsibility, take your input seriously, and send you home with a paycheck like we receive, it's really hard to complain about the hours. Also, I find that, other than when you're in trial, people here are very understanding about outside-of-work obligations, so there's never any problem with leaving early or taking days off when you need them.” –Midlevel associate

·         “I work many hours, and so do my colleagues. But it's because our work is cream-of-the-crop and there is a lot of it.” -Litigator


·         “I would not change the comp structure for anything. No bonus, no hours requirement. I just work hard to get the job done, and I get paid very well to do just that.” -Litigation associate

·         “No billable hours requirement and no bonuses actually helps the firm culture feel more relaxed. The focus is on doing good work on the cases you have, not meeting hours requirements or beating your fellow associates.” -1st year associate

·         “Our "no bonus" policy is a blessing. Without the added stress of having to compete for hours and bonuses, I find that we can focus on doing high-quality work (however long it takes) without becoming obsessed with the number of hours. It's also nice to know we'll be appreciated for our substantive contributions, not just our sheer number of hours.” –D.C. associate

Professional Development

Vault’s Verdict: Associates learn by doing; there is very little formal training but great opportunity to gain experience quickly.


·         “W&C does not do much formal training. The in-house CLE's are good. Mentoring can be hit or miss. If you find the right partner, it's great. If you don't, it can be hard to find a "mentor" at all.” -Litigation associate

·         “The firm has CLEs, many of which are practice-oriented. But the way things work here is that you learn by doing.” –Senior associate

·         “The firm offers best training available -- on-the-job training.” –D.C. associate


Vault’s Verdict: The firm is well diversified, especially in regard to women.

·         “The firm makes a lot of effort in hiring women and minorities. It appears that it has been difficult to translate into getting folks to stay at the firm. I cannot speak to GLBT issues at the firm -- it is a respectful place, but I am not aware of any particular outreach.” -Litigation associate

·         “With regards to women’s issues (all I know about), the firm is great. We have very few formal policies, which makes it easy to work with the firm leadership to structure part-time schedules, extended maternity leave, etc.” –Midlevel D.C. associate

·         “I'm a minority woman and I feel like I am judged based on the quality of my work above all else. That's refreshing because many firms have "diversity" initiatives that make me feel more like a box to be checked off than a competent attorney.” –Young litigator

Overall Business Outlook

Vault’s Verdict: Most associates recognize the financial strength of Williams & Connolly; with a strong client base, the firm has a bright future.

·         “Couldn't be busier or more financially strong. We are turning work away.” -Litigation associate

·         “Things are incredibly busy at the firm, which did not lay off anyone or freeze salaries.” -2nd year associate

·         “We've been lucky...and smart. Lucky because we have a great client base that hasn't seemed to drop off at all with the slow economy. Smart because our firm has always avoided the kind of out-of-control spending that has plagued some firms. We don't do lavish summer associate events or otherwise spend money on perks. As a result, there have been no layoffs (lawyers or staff) and everyone appears to be busy with client work.” –Experienced associate


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