Lateral Look: Goodwin

Looking for a modern firm doing good work with a winning spread of specialist practices? Tech this out…

With a history of working on early advertising regulation, campaigning to abolish capital punishment in Massachusetts, and even putting Nazis on trial at Nuremberg, Goodwin has been pushing for progress and fighting the good fight ever since two old Bostonian college buddies put $500 apiece together in 1912 and founded the firm. Fast forward a century and Goodwin is still breaking new ground. These days it’s made a name for itself representing cutting-edge technology, cannabis and healthcare companies. 

The firm earns a plethora of top Chambers USA rankings nationwide for its M&A, financial services litigation, private equity, REITs and startups practices. Boston is the highest-scoring office with top spots for banking, capital markets, employment, IP, litigation, tax, technology and more; but the New York, DC and California bases also earn plaudits in their markets. More might be on the horizon: the firm’s been active on the laterals market, bringing in a five lawyer-strong consumer financial services litigation and enforcement team in New York from Hogan Lovells.

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings here>>

Why did you choose Goodwin?

“Its strong life sciences practice.”

"I liked that it was a firm that was growing so much, especially in the Bay Area."

"Commitment to pro bono and diversity initiatives."

"The cases are leanly staffed, so you get a lot of experience. In addition, there is strong culture of training and mentoring - it's not as hierarchical as other firms can be. You'll be staffed on small cases where it's only an associate and a partner, and you'll be staffed on huge cases where it's multiple partners, counsel, and associates of all levels."


Strategic recruitment focuses 2022

Private equity careers

The view from the firm: Goodwin’s Global Private Equity practice is comprised of 350+ attorneys across 12 offices on 3 continents. We represent private equity investors, lenders and financial institutions across the full life cycle of private and public investments. This includes advising on growth equity, add-on acquisitions, re-financings, dividend recaps, leveraged buyouts and exits. We also represent their portfolio companies across a broad range of operational issues, including acting as outside general counsel. Our particular strengths include advising midmarket PE firms with investments in the tech sector, health care, consumer products, life sciences and manufacturing. Our associates have many opportunities to work directly with clients, to lead matters and to develop expertise in a broad range of industries.  We are also committed to promoting diversity and fostering an inclusive environment in which each attorney and professional can excel and thrive. 

Private equity clients: Nautic Partners, Webster Equity Partners, Charlesbank, 5AM Ventures

Recent highlight: Advised Workfront in its $1.5 billion acquisition by Adobe.

Life sciences careers

The view from the firm: Goodwin’s Life Sciences practice is a global destination life sciences and healthcare practice with strong presence in the major US biotech markets, Europe and China. We are focused on collaboration and diversity on our team and we are dedicated to representing industry leaders in innovative healthcare initiatives that will improve patient lives. With more than 225 timekeepers, our platform consists of attorneys who have four distinct focuses: (i) corporate lawyers focused on specific expertise in the life sciences industry; (ii) a robust licensing and collaboration expertise; (iii) dedicated patent and intellectual property capabilities; and (iv) strong regulatory competencies within the FDA and Healthcare areas. This unique, inter-disciplinary platform allows us to deliver broad and efficient services to our top of market clients, who range from pure startups to commercial stage biopharma, venture capital firms and banks that invest in this sector. We are dedicated to building an inclusive culture that celebrates our team member’s unique experiences and supports the growth and success of each individual.  

Life sciences clients: Moderna, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, BridgeBio Pharma, Relay Therapeutics

Recent highlight: Represented Centessa Pharmaceuticals in its $379.6 million IPO.

Technology companies careers

The view from the firm: Goodwin’s Global Tech team is comprised of 300+ attorneys and brings a coordinated approach that interconnects business, emerging markets and new technologies with the law. Our lifecycle platform is a hallmark of our Technology practice. We partner with our technology company and investor clients, advising across the entire corporate lifecycle –from company formation through public company representation. We are committed to promoting diversity and fostering an inclusive environment in which each attorney and professional can excel and thrive. We aim to develop the best-trained attorneys in our core pillars (EC/VC, Capital Markets, Public Companies, and M&A) to provide clients with quality legal service throughout their lifecycle. While many lawyers choose to focus on the entire lifecycle from early stage through M&A and/or IPO, we encourage associates to select one or more of our core pillars as a cornerstone of their practice. Empowering associates to become experts in a focused area helps us deliver premier and comprehensive service to our clients and allows the associates to maximize their career potential. 

Technology companies clients: Dashbase, Hopin, Dynatrace, Paperless Post

Recent highlight: Acted for Virtusa Corporation on its $2 billion merger agreement with Baring Private Equity Asia.

Litigation careers

The view from the firm: More than 330 lawyers comprise Goodwin’s global litigation department. With client centricity as a core value of our firm, Goodwin’s litigators serve the varied needs of clients in high-stakes matters across the country and around the world. Whether representing plaintiffs or defendants, our litigators are both savvy negotiators and zealous advocates with significant experience in the technology, life sciences and healthcare, private equity, financial services and fintech, and real estate sectors. Committed to being legal and business advisors, they integrate financial, scientific and other expertise with cutting-edge management and trial strategies to carefully assess all options for our clients. While recently expanding our litigation group to London and adding prominent laterals to our teams in California, New York, Boston, and Washington, D.C., the firm strives to maintain our unique culture that prioritizes collaboration, equity and an entrepreneurial spirit. We pride ourselves on being just as diverse as the clients we represent, and many of our litigation teams have been led by women and attorneys of color. With a collaborative focus and unparalleled commitment innovation, Goodwin continues to achieve key wins for our clients, colleagues, and communities. This culture has enabled us to help our clients and communities overcome their litigation challenges. 

Litigation clients: Zealand Pharma, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, co-founders of Wayfair, Zendesk

Recent highlight: Defended Denmark-based biotechnology company Zealand Pharma and its U.S. subsidiary against allegations of breach of confidentiality agreements and trade secret misappropriation. 


International and secondment opportunities

The view from the firm: Goodwin has a Global Mobility Program that allows our attorneys to spend time in other offices internationally. We also offer various secondments opportunities to support our clients and associate's professional development and growth.


Career development & the path to partnership



1.5 : 1


partners made 
in 2021

associate : partner 

of junior associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children strongly agreed the firm’s name adds value
to their resume
agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: We provide in-house training programs, continuing legal education (CLE), organized/formal mentor program, trial advocacy training, observation opportunities, practice group training, and practice area retreats.  


Hours & compensation





billable hours

average number of vacation days associates took 
in one year

average number of hours associates worked 
in one week




the bonus amount was fair

agreed they could take
vacation on their own terms

found the bonus allocation
fair and transparent



2021: $202,500
2020: $205,000
2019: $215,000
2018: $240,000
2017: $275,000
2016: $305,000
2015: $330,000
2014: $350,000
2013: $365,000


The view from the firm: Attorneys who meet the 1,950 billable hours threshold will be eligible to receive a bonus. Billable hours include not only client related-work, but pro bono work and time spent on our strategic culture and innovation initiative. There is no cap on the amount of pro bono hours an attorney can do. The firm strongly encourages all attorneys to meet or exceed 50 hours of pro bono service annually. The firms has more than 1,100 attorneys doing over 75,000 hours of pro bono work in a year. The firm uses a lock-step system with a variable component (range per class year). Flexwork schedules and work arrangements are developed by the attorney, the firm’s Flexwork Committee, manager liaisons, and Partners with whom the attorney works. Hours billed, quality of work, pro bono hours, and overall contribution (e.g., recruitment activities, firm committees) are all factors are used to determine the amount of an associate's bonus.  


Is Goodwin 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: Goodwin is looking for candidates who are self-starters, collaborative, have outstanding academic credentials, comparable law firm experience, and excellent written and verbal communication skills. We have positions open from the junior associate level to the Partner level in almost all our major practice areas. 

What stands out about the firm's culture?

"It mirrors our tech clients."

“Seniors take a lot of time out of their day to teach you.”

I liked that this was not a stuffy firm and that I could feel free to be myself. The associates I worked with right away were helpful, supportive and just generally wonderful people.


Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing




reported strong performance in inclusivity training

rated the firm for mentoring from diverse role models


The view from the firm: Goodwin is committed to promoting diversity within our firm and to fostering an inclusive environment. The firm continues to expand efforts that specifically emphasize greater inclusion and elevation of attorneys from historically underrepresented backgrounds including women, LGBTQ+ and BIPOC attorneys through formal sponsorship and training programs such as our Associate Advisor Pods and Pipeline programs and Executive Committee (EC) Sponsorship Program. Additionally, Goodwin established a Black Antiracism Task Force (BATF) that includes the entire Management Committee, co-chairs from CRED (Goodwin’s Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity), along with lawyers from the Black community and leaders from the professional staff. This past year we also launched BOLD@Goodwin (Black Organization for Leadership and Development), an affinity group for our professional staff at Goodwin. BOLD@Goodwin is an inclusive initiative that offers a variety of resources that empower Black professionals and foster allyship. The combination of our focus on enhancements in the areas of one-on-one connection and systemic disruption demonstrate our dedication to achieving our publicly stated goals and our mission to become the most diverse, equitable and inclusive firm in the AmLaw100.


Pro bono




average pro bono
per US attorney    

    found the pro bono
work interesting


The view from the firm: Goodwin believes that it has a professional and civic responsibility to perform a substantial amount of legal work for the public good without compensation. Our Pro Bono Initiative reflects the entrepreneurial spirit of our firm. We have been at the forefront of providing pro bono assistance to low income small business owners through our signature program, the Neighborhood Business Initiative, which offers legal clinics, presentations, and one-on-one legal advice in and around our communities. As a signatory to the Pro Bono Institute Challenge, the Firm's overall goal is to dedicate 3% - 5% of our billable hours to pro bono work.  Our pro bono work is facilitated by a Pro Bono Committee and a Pro Bono Director, Pro Bono Senior Manager, and Pro Bono Specialist who consistently take initiatives to make pro bono opportunities and activities accessible to our lawyers. Goodwin has managed a docket of over 700 active pro bono matters with a good mix between transactional pro bono and litigation-related pro bono matters. The firm and individual lawyers have received numerous awards over the years including the ABA's highest honor, the Pro Bono Publico Award, along with the highest honors from the NY State Bar and the Massachusetts Supreme Court.


Sustainability and CSR

The view from the firm: The You@Goodwin Well-Being Platform provides the resources to support Goodwin employees and their families along their journey. These benefits include but are not limited to free seminars and workshops offered in the areas of personal, professional and financial wellness (examples include caring for an elderly parent, managing work and personal stress, or trying to engage in an overall healthier lifestyle); access to child daycare; access to onsite yoga and fitness classes; onsite mental health counselors available for free and confidential sessions; guide employee assistance programs; CLEO offerings; teladoc medical experts, and health advocates. 



See opportunities at the firm here>>

Recruitment contact

Ashley Nelson, Managing Director, Talent Acquisition, Associate & Professional Track Recruiting (