Lateral Look: Jackson Walker

Texas-born Jackson Walker will not only pledge loyalty to its Lone Star State, but also to its rising associates.

No firm in our research is as synonymous with the Texas legal market as JW. “We offer the most comprehensive coverage for businesses operating in the state of Texas, both geographically and by practice area. We also have a number of practice areas that have national prominence,” explains managing partner Wade Cooper. With Chambers USA recognizing the firm’s real estate practice as one of the very best in Texas, and also rating JW highly in areas like energy, environment, corporate/M&A, healthcare, labor & employment, and general commercial litigation, Cooper has a point.

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings here>>

Why did you join Jackson Walker?

Great culture; wonderful attorneys; highly regarded litigation section.

"Reputation for trial practice and opportunity for real experience."

"Biggest firm in Austin – firm only has offices in Texas."

"Culture and community; unique practice group; long term vision."


Strategic recruitment focuses 2022

Corporate careers

The view from the firm: Jackson Walker has a broad corporate practice featuring particular strengths in mergers and acquisitions, private equity, fund formation and outside general counsel work, with clients ranging from large private equity funds and publicly traded companies to family-owned businesses and small start-ups.

For associates in the corporate group, this provides the opportunity to gain exposure to complex, high-profile deals while simultaneously taking leadership roles in smaller and mid-sized transactions very early in their careers. Associates are given a great deal of autonomy, and encouraged to work across a variety of subspecialties. This allows our corporate lawyers to develop core skills in corporate and M&A work, while exploring interests in specific industries or technical areas. Our corporate associates are also given unparalleled support when it comes to business development, and are encouraged to begin building their own client relationships as a way to gain even more control over their practice and careers.

Corporate clients: Design Space Modular Buildings, NuStar Energy, Lionstone Investments. 

Recent highlight: Counseled KDC in an equity investment by Cadillac Fairview and the formation of an initial $800 million US commercial office and mixed-use fund.

Litigation careers

The view from the firm: Jackson Walker’s trial group is one of the Southwest’s largest, encompassing nearly half of the firm’s 400+ lawyers. Our diverse experience covers multiple industry sectors and specialty practice areas and takes us into courthouses across the Lone Star State. Our clients include family offices, financial institutions, media companies, and private equity firms.

Our associates quickly receive actual litigation experience by working on all facets of trial and appellate work. Associates often take depositions, argue motions, and participate in trials at the very early stages of their careers. We find that this early experience allows trial lawyers to learn their craft while also providing high quality legal service.

Litigation clients: ABC News, JPMorgan Chase, Belo Cop.  

Recent highlight: Defended CBS Studios against a defamation lawsuit filed in the California Second District Court of Appeal.

Real Estate careers

The view from the firm: Jackson Walker’s real estate practice group is comprised of over 100+ attorneys who provide comprehensive real estate services to clients across the United States. Services include financing, development and construction, leasing, acquisitions and dispositions and joint ventures for multifamily properties, office buildings, shopping and mixed use centers, and industrial buildings. Adept at working with real estate clients on both sides of the negotiating table, Jackson Walker assists real estate developers, investors, lenders, tenants and owners.

An integral part of the real estate practice group, associates at Jackson Walker are involved in various aspects of real estate transactions ranging from due diligence, to title and survey review, to documentation such as purchase and sale agreements, development agreements, leases, deed restrictions, loan agreements, and easements. Jackson Walker seeks to recruit and retain associates that contribute to the breadth and depth of the group’s real estate experience across all asset types and industries.

Real estate clients: American Airlines, Blackstone, Greystar Real Estate Partners.

Recent highlight: Represent MD Anderson and UT Health in connection with the development of TMC3, a 37-acre multi-institutional translational research campus in Texas.

Finance careers

The view from the firm: Jackson Walker’s finance group handles both lender-side and borrower-side work for a variety of clients in a broad spectrum of industries, transaction sizes and geographic locations.  Lender-side clients include banks, debt funds, life insurance companies and other lenders, and borrower-side clients include private equity, corporate borrowers and real estate developers and investors.  The diversity in clients and transactions and significant deal volume allows associates to gain valuable experience early in their careers and exposure to complicated lending transactions.  The finance group works as a team across all offices, so associates also have the ability to work with a variety of partners.  Associates are also given immediate contact with clients and are a vital tool in the group's business development strategy to develop the firm's next generation of clients.

Finance clients: Variety of large institutional clients.

Recent highlight: Represented an international financial institution and its investment bank subsidiary in defense of an action claiming misrepresentations in connection with the sale of $60 million in mortgage backed securities.

International and secondment opportunities

Client secondment examples: Goldman Sachs, ProTom International, Southern Glazer's.


Career development & the path to partnership



1 : 1.6


partners made in 2020

associate : partner gearing

of junior associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children agreed that joining the firm was good for their personal development agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: A broad range of clients and low associate-to-partner ratio gives associates access to high-value work experience, and JW associates have extensive latitude in how they build their practice. Our robust in-house CLE’s and business development program for associates offers training that is proven to be successful, and pairs participants with mentors to work together toward the associate’s personal goals and career objectives. Our leadership development program helps associates explore their strengths and default behaviors before we teach specific strategies to manage and motivate interpersonal and team relationships, and ultimately, how to excel in community and organizational level leadership.   


Hours & compensation





billable hours

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week




agreed they had a good work-life balance

felt they could take vacation on their own terms

found the bonus allocation fair and transparent



  • 1st year: $205,000

The view from the firm: Performance reviews for associate attorneys are conducted twice a year. Our associates have an annual 1,950 billable hour requirement to be eligible for a full benchmark raise, and a 2,000 billable hour requirement to be eligible for a bonus. Associates will receive billable hour credit for up to 50 hours of approved pro bono work. JW offers alternative work schedules and non-partnership track positions. Associate compensation including bonuses are based on performance benchmarks and is not strictly lockstep. 


Is Jackson Walker the right firm for you?





said they’d chosen the right firm

were happy in their current role

felt comfortable being themselves

The view from the firm: Our strategic goal is to provide excellent work product to our clients, and to achieve that objective we look to hire associates who have a strong academic background, a demonstrated work ethic and leadership qualities. We have associate roles ranging from partnership track (including full time and associates on an alternative work schedules), as well a limited number of non-partnership track positions. We seek to hire associates who will have the ability to become partners. 

What stands out about the firm's culture?

It is very cooperative, with teamwork emphasized. Everyone works hard, but also appreciates work-life balance. 

"It was as advertised. The people care about me personally, not just the hours I log."
"The inclusiveness: it really is a collaborative environment where we are free to be ourselves and grow as lawyers."
"They really want all of the associates to become future equity partners and they enable you to do that."


Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing






reported strong performance in inclusivity training

rated the firm for mentoring from diverse role models

of partners are women

of associates identify as ethnically diverse


The view from the firm: Our Diversity & Inclusion Committee is governed by the Committee Chair and Co-leaders of our Pillars of Success. These Pillars—Professional Development/Advancement & Retention, Cultural Awareness/HR, Recruiting, and Marketing/BD—affirm our commitments to support the growth and advancement of diverse attorneys by creating a culture of inclusion, seeking future partners who reflect the diversity of our clients and communities, developing and advancing our next generation of leaders, and bringing positive change to our communities. At JW, we are committed to listening, learning, and engaging with those from different backgrounds and celebrate the differences that make us unique.


Pro bono




average pro bono
per US attorney    

    found the pro bono
work interesting


The view from the firm: JW has an award-winning pro bono program and comprehensive Pro Bono Policy administered by partners and associates on our multi-office Pro Bono Committee. Associates will receive billable hour credit up to 50 hours of approved pro bono work. Recent pro bono work includes participation in the Buried Alive Project, which fights injustice in the criminal justice system by reviewing life sentences for non-violent drug convictions. We are proud that our attorneys obtained a sentence reduction for Robert Dale Gray, after serving more than 20 years of a mandatory life sentence he received under now-repealed drug sentencing laws.


Sustainability and CSR

The view from the firm: We acknowledge the importance of these factors and our management considers these issues on an everyday basis. We have developed a practice team to support our clients in their ESG efforts and we’ve done several webinars on ESG for clients



See opportunities at the firm here>>

Recruitment contact: Meghan Pier, Director of Associate Recruiting

Visit the firm's website here>>