Arnold & Porter - The Inside View

If it’s an eclectic mix of pro bono and litigious prowess you’re looking for, this firm should be your first port of call.

The product of a merger between New York’s Kaye Scholer and DC’s Arnold & Porter, A&P today has brought balance to each side's practice strengths - namely the commercial and litigation groups and its DC-oriented government practices.  Juniors we spoke with expressed that, while interviewing with firms, “you can be nervous about hiding that public interest motivation,” but with A&P “everyone was interested in telling me about their public interest!” Chairman Richard Alexander emphasized the point that “our identity of being committed to the public good is really what we strive to do in the marketplace,” and that’s reflected in associate responses as well.  A whopping 99% of survey responses agreed that the firm is committed to pro bono, with 95% agreeing the pro bono work is meaningful and engaging.

A&P’s accolades also extend to Chambers USA, where the firm has over 60 ranked departments. “We have a very significant regulatory group to complement our litigation and transaction practices,” Alexander outlines, and it’s reflected in the numbers. A&P collects gold trophies for everything from life sciences, product liability & mass torts, and healthcare, to government contracts, bankruptcy/restructuring, privacy & data security, and false claims. The firm’s awards are spread across the US, much like their associates, but most of the juniors on our list were in New York, closely followed by DCLitigation was the largest practice represented, followed by corporate and finance, and finally, IP and life sciences.

“The firm really tries to be family friendly.”

Along with the A&P’s leading practices, juniors also considered the culture a key draw to the firm.  Several associates told us what distinguished A&P from other firms was the “focus on when you have a family – the firm really tries to be family friendly.” Ultimately, “good vibes are the bottom line!”

Strategy & Future

A significant cog in the firm’s strategy is its relatively new Boston office – a part of what Alexander outlines as A&P’s more 'targeted' offerings. “We’re focused on Boston, given our focus on life sciences,” Alexander explains, “identifying leading practitioners in the Boston market.”

This past year, Alexander tells us “we spent a lot of time bringing in and focusing on growth in smaller offices like LA and San Francisco,” the latter including the recent appointment of former San Francisco City Attorney’s Office chief trial deputy Meredith Osborn as a partner in the firm’s white-collar defense and investigations practice – a testament to A&P’s exceptional ability to reel in government attorneys. In addition to Osborn, Alexander notes Judge Greenaway from the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to New York and former congressman Ron Kind to DC as highlight hires from the past year.

The Work

After trialing work across different practices during their summer, associates join their respective practice area interests. General litigation tends to hold the largest number of juniors, followed by the corporate & finance groups, and then the firm’s highly regarded IP & technology and life sciences & healthcare regulatory practices.

A&P’s litigation juniors start out as generalists before specializing at the end of their third year. That said, those who have specialized still take on matters outside of their groups “because of the interrelatedness of the practices” and the manner of work across litigation. “There are staffing partners,” one insider explained, “but you also get to know different partners and associates, so you can put your hat in the ring for a range of matters.” Associates aren’t restricted by office either, as “there isn’t a clear divide” so “it’s very easy to work with anyone.” Another source supplemented: “It’s a model that’s a better fit for individuals who can play that proactive role.”

Within litigation, A&P works across investigations and commercial litigation – “a lot of that is in New York” – government and appellate based primarily in DC, and product liability, “doing a wide range of work, a lot in the pharmacy space.” The firm has “a long string of former government partners” in white collar and government investigations,lending itself to producing a good quantity of work, most frequently on company investigations under the FCA. “You’re putting together a timeline of what actually happened,” one junior told us, which involves reading people’s emails – “which I really enjoy!” – and interacting with clients one-on-one. Then, “there’s the civil litigation side where you’re helping on shareholder class actions,” this associate continued, “as well as some litigation diligence for corporate.” We were told that first years are often roped into being part of a larger doc review, particularly with antitrust, but you’re “generally pulled in for a short amount of time.” Also, those we spoke with felt the matters they worked on did vary a lot across state, federal courts, and with international, “typically sovereign” clients.

Complex litigation clients: Samsung Electronics America, AstraZeneca, Visa. Represents Airbus in product liability litigation across the U.S. arising from alleged toxic fume contamination of the cabin air on its jetliners.

IP & technology covers patent and copyright, trade secret work, and trials from the Patent Trial & Appeal Board to the International Patent Classifications across district courts. The group has a presence in every office aside from Houston, and “I’ve been able to shift into the teams I’ve wanted to, even with different clients! Initially, people just ask you to work on cases, but over time, you’re able to shop around. If you’re not going to go and figure out who you want to work for, you might get stuck with someone who doesn’t have people clamoring to work for them.” Nevertheless, those we spoke with were positive about their experiences across the matters they worked on, as “the teams are focused on ensuring people are getting exposure.” This could mean getting juniors in on third-party depositions, allowing them to watch from the sidelines: “I’ve even been on a couple of pitches and watched partners discuss how they were going to pitch something!” On the daily, newbies are typically helping with research, taking the first cut at drafting motions and IPR documents.

IP & technology clients: Google, Crocs, Pfizer. Represent Nike in case against La La Land Production & Design for selling footwear infringing on Nike’s Swoosh trademark.

Nestled within the firm’s IP practice is the entertainment & media group. Work allocation is structured differently given its smaller size, so “it is a bit of a mystery… sometimes, the work just appears!” The team deals with large media corporations handling lots of pre-litigation, but the bulk is often First Amendment related, which “sometimes gets tangled with employment law” and is defamation-oriented. Here, juniors run readings of challenge statements and work through case defenses. The entertainment side involves “a little more counselling. You’re trying to stop corporations from getting sued,” which sometimes means watching episodes of shows before they’re edited to see if there’s any potential liability – “something we’ve done for a few shows!” For juniors, this means drafting versions of motions, direct client contact, and prepping individuals for depositions.

Media & entertainment clients: Bloomberg, Disney, Fox News. Defending Yelp in a securities class action alleging misrepresentations and omissions relating to retention levels for local advertisers.

“You’re kind of a professional Googler!”

A&P’s life sciences practice has “grown exponentially” over the last few years, which is reflected in the recent addition of a work coordinator to better distribute growth in the practice: “Now, we have a weekly automated system where we say what our capacity looks like and what kind of work we’re looking for.” One junior outlined that “it’s still pretty easy to reach out to a partner” though, so newbies can focus their practice more on either the FDA side, or on the healthcare side. “Within both of those, there’s transactional work,” this source explained, “so you’re on mergers, joint ventures – basically people wanting to get a buyout or a private equity investment.” Typical tasks include due diligence, where “you get to see examples of any type of document – if I need to draft something, I’ve seen it before, so I can see why it’s a junior associate task!” For juniors, lots of the work is also research-based. “You’re kind of a professional Googler!” one interviewee joked. “A lot of the stuff we look at is always changing, so you’re doing a lot of investigative work.” The other side of research is more compliance-based, looking up state regulations, “not writing, like, a true memo, but more giving brief feedback on what the regulations are doing.”

Life sciences clients: Sanofi, Bayer, Hologic. Advised Pfizer on its purchase of Lucira Health, a developer of over-the-counter COVID-19 test kits.

Pro Bono

Associates are expected to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of pro bono work. Though only 200 hours can count towards your bonus, there is ultimately no cap on how much you can take on. “Many people exceed the cap,” one insider grinned, “because there’s a culture of taking on really important matters. If you’re on an important trial that could end up at the Supreme Court, you’re probably going to end up doing more than 200 hours – but when duty calls!”

Juniors can jump onto a whole host of matters emailed around every week, approach a partner, or even bring in their own pro bono matter before the pro bono committee if they want to work on something a little closer to home. Cases sent around do “run the gamut” though, from your typical immigration work to some more elusive opportunities providing corporate advice to non-profits. A&P does have a “very strong voting and civil rights footprint,” which we heard is central to their pro bono practice: “the firm does focus on a lot of social justice and First Amendment issues.”

Pro bono hours 

  • For all (US) attorneys: undisclosed
  • Average per (US) attorney: undisclosed

Hours & Compensation

Billable hours: 2,000 target

Alongside pro bono, associates can also put 200 hours of pro bono, DEI, wellbeing initiatives, training and business development towards their bonus, on top of 1,800 client billable hours.  Interviewees had mixed feelings on the system; while some found the target doable, they did note that “if you’re someone who’s gonna spend 600 hours on pro bono, it’s less doable!” Others underscored that while you can hit 2,000 hours easily, “it’s hard to hit that with just client billables and not pro bono.” Nevertheless, all our interviewees were satisfied with the compensation and the fact that various non-billable matters can also contribute to the target, “including the retreat!” (more on that later…)

“The firm recently announced that we’ll never need to be in more than 50% ever...”

Insiders were overwhelmingly positive about A&P’s approach to hours across practices, particularly regarding holiday, maternity, and paternity leave. 73% of surveyed associates affirmed that you can take vacation on your own terms, and several interviewees mentioned that when taking time off, “I was totally off – I didn’t answer a single email!” At an average of 47.3 weekly hours, the firm operates just below the market’s average hours, and these flexible expectations when it comes to hours and hybrid working are particularly handy for parents, as one junior detailed: “You can log out at five, then back in at eight-thirty, and that to me was super important. The firm recently announced that we’ll never need to be in more than 50% ever, so it is really flexible.”

Career Development

When asked about career development options down the line, one junior outlined: “It’s a good balance of centrally-run training by the professional development team and at least one professional development person in each office,” and this runs alongside practice-specific training which evolves as associates progress. For example, “in DC, we have a three-day deposition workshop for second years,” which develops to a “trial school” for more senior associates.

Of course, it would be remiss of us to not comment on exit opportunities. “Your whole experience at the firm makes it clear that folks who leave are future clients,” one associate affirmed. In DC, the focus is more on what working in government looks like, but the point stands; “they understand the importance of relationships.” Associates can also have a confidential conversation about going in-house with professional development – “which I think is really cool!” – who can also help those interested in clerking opportunities. As for partnership, one junior noted that “when you join, they explain what the path generally looks like – it just depends on the group.”


“Even on busy days, I feel like I’m in a team…”

From what we heard, the culture at the firm varies between offices and practices, but juniors ultimately regarded their peers and seniors as being “very friendly. There are always individuals who don’t fit the mold, so it’s not true of everyone,” but for the most part “the attitude is welcoming and laid back.” Most juniors also felt a distinct sense of community, from their peers and more senior associates and managers alike. “Even on busy days, I feel like I’m in a team and they’re not just breathing down my neck,” one source expressed.

This community feeling extends to the social side, including the monthly lunches, group meetings across practices, and occasional retreat: “We had an IP retreat out in Colorado, and something like 90% of us went! There was some programming, but also socials like bowling and a nice dinner!” Unsurprisingly, “when summers show up, things get livelier, but there are too many events to list off the top of my head!” Luckily though, the offices have more frequent, casual meetups like ‘The Garden Room’ every Wednesday in DC. “It’s a beautiful room now, not a garden anymore, but it’s a nice time to see colleagues in a different context,” one shared.

“It’s nice to know you have support broadly across the firm!”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Although sources felt the firm had made progress in its DEI efforts recently, chairman Richard Alexander admits there’s still room to grow. “The legal profession has made strides” when it comes to related policy and representation, he tells us, “but it is behind society in terms of raw diversity numbers, and that should concern the industry.” Mentoring helps to address concerns at the firm, Alexander continues, and much of this centers on groups like ACCORD – Attorney Community Championing Our Racial Diversity – and a Black Attorney coalition, as well as the firm’s numerous affinity groups, such as Pride for LGBTQ+ lawyers; the First Gen Professionals Group; Valor for veterans; AP Cares for caregivers or parents; and the Woman's Initiative for Success and Empowerment (WISE). Testament to this, associates told us that “the affinity groups are very active,” highlighting A&P’s diversity retreat where multiple affinity groups come together in DC for a few days over the summer. “They do one maybe every year,” one junior outlined, where “we had a number of different speakers and workshops, then some casual socialization – it’s nice to know you have support broadly across the firm!”

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

OCI applicants interviewed:  1,149

Interviewees outside OCI: Undisclosed     

'Geographic diversity' is one of Arnold & Porter's primary aims when it puts together a summer class, so interviews take place across the country and write-ins are encouraged. Partners, counsel and senior associates alike conduct OCIs. School alumni are often picked for this, as are current and former members of the firm's recruitment committee.  

Beyond the usual academic criteria, applicants are also questioned on their commitment to the location they're interviewing for; how much research they've done into the firm's practice; and additional skills like languages or a technical education. Given the firm's DC roots, it's no surprise that a clerkship will stand you in good stead if you’re looking to join the litigation practice.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“I was asked about my first summer internship, and felt like I needed to speak substantively about the lessons I learned from it. They questioned me on why I chose to do it and the value it offered.”  

“A lot of firms don't want to hear you talk about pro bono in interviews, but at Arnold & Porter people are glad to hear you're interested in it.”  


Applicants invited to second stage interview: 289

Alumni from the candidate's law school also hop on board come callback time, where those who've progressed to this stage meet between four and six attorneys for interviews. At least one of these will take place with a lawyer/lawyers working in the practice area that the applicant is interested in.

Potential summers get quizzed on why Arnold & Porter is the firm for them, and would do well to think up some thoughtful questions about their target practice area or the firm more generally ahead of time. Keep in mind the following things the firm is looking for: interest in Arnold & Porter's specific practice; realistic expectations about working at the firm; leadership potential; commitment to the firm's values; and general good manners and intelligence.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“People here aren't really arrogant or show offs. It's all about overall fit, so don't be afraid to show your personality: we're not looking for candidates who are bookish to the point they can't function in a team.”  -  a junior associate 

“We look for candidates who are interested in our work and core values, and are intellectually curious and collegial. We want to know why candidates are interested in Arnold & Porter, so be prepared to answer that question when you interview.”- Arnold & Porter 

Summer program  

Offers: 141

Acceptances: 56

Arnold & Porter prefers summers to spend at least the first eight weeks of the summer with them. That time will be filled with actual case work – the vast majority of summers will get to sample a variety of practice areas – as well as events like a two-day training forum and more fun stuff. Houston, for example, hosts a Bayou City Bike Tour so everyone can get to know the local area better; over in New York, events have ranged from taking in a Broadway Show to a Mets game.   

Give your all when it comes to the work side of the summer: the firm is looking for content they can use to form part of real cases, and a strong work ethic is a prerequisite for coming on board.

As in every summer program, it's also crucial to treat everybody at the firm with respect and professionalism. Don't panic, though – the vast majority of summers return to the firm as juniors, and if you've made it this far you've clearly got the skills to make the cut.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“If by the end of the summer you can find a niche you're interested in, make your mark there and when you come back work will be waiting for you. It's invaluable to come out of the summer with a sense of how your path will progress going forward.”-  a junior associate 

“Attorneys are genuinely interested in meeting summer associates. Take every opportunity to meet attorneys at the firm and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone directly. They want to get to know you and your interests and talk about their practice and the firm.”  - Arnold & Porter 

And finally...  

Arnold & Porter made it crystal clear to us that anything that shows commitment and makes you stand out from the crowd – even if it's totally unrelated to law – is worth talking about at interview.  


Arnold & Porter

601 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC,

Main areas of work
Our nearly 1,000 attorneys in 14 offices practice across more than 40 areas, including antitrust, corporate and finance, intellectual property, life sciences and healthcare regulatory, litigation, real estate, and tax, providing clients a multi-disciplinary approach to their most complex legal issues.  

Firm profile
Arnold & Porter is recognized for its regulatory experience, sophisticated litigation and transactional practitioners, and leading multi-disciplinary practices. We are the firm of choice for 121 Fortune 250 companies. The firm’s core values of excellence in the practice of law, maintaining the highest standards of ethics and professionalism, respecting and promoting diversity and individuality among our colleagues, and maintaining a deep commitment to public service and pro bono work, keep us grounded, focused, and evolving to meet new opportunities and challenges.

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2023:
Arnold & Porter interviews students from over 40 law schools across the country. Please visit our website for a complete list of job fairs and on campus interview programs.

Recruitment outside OCIs: Please visit our website for interviewing and application options outside of OCIs.

Summer associate profile: Our firm is a collection of independent, diverse personalities who share a common devotion to first-class legal work and client service. We seek candidates with outstanding academic and extracurricular achievements, relevant work experience, as well as strong interpersonal skills and references.

Summer program components: Our summer associates experience the firm’s strong commitment to excellence, diversity, pro bono work, and professional development, working side-by-side with our attorneys on actual client matters. We endeavour to match work assignments to each summer associate’s practice area and pro bono interests. Our summer associates participate in the firm’s extensive training programs, including a attending a firmwide orientation in the firm’s Washington, DC office and a retreat summer associate training forum in the New York office. All summer associates have mentors and receive feedback on each assignment. Our summer program features a mix of social events and programming designed to appeal to a broad range of interests.

Social media
Recruitment website:
Instagram: arnoldandporter
LinkedIn: Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP
Twitter: @arnoldporter
Facebook: Arnold-Porter-Kaye-Scholer-LLP

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Litigation: Appellate (Band 2)
    • Technology: Outsourcing (Band 2)
    • Technology: Transactions (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Litigation (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 5)
    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 4)
    • Advertising: Transactional & Regulatory (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Appellate Law (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: ABS (Band 3)
    • Climate Change (Band 2)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • False Claims Act (Band 1)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance) (Band 4)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Enforcement & Investigations) (Band 3)
    • Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 3)
    • Government Contracts: The Elite (Band 1)
    • Government Relations: Federal (Band 2)
    • Healthcare: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 2)
    • International Arbitration: The Elite (Band 2)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: The Elite (Band 3)
    • International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy (Band 4)
    • Leisure & Hospitality (Band 4)
    • Life Sciences (Band 3)
    • Life Sciences: Regulatory/Compliance (Band 1)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: The Elite (Band 1)
    • Product Liability: Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Retail (Band 4)
    • Securities: Regulation: Enforcement (Band 4)
    • Sports Law (Band 4)