Full-service Fox Rothschild has an “inviting” atmosphere and a spread of 22 offices across the country.
AGILE Philly-born Fox has been building up territory pretty consistently of late, even collaborating with a Wolff to do so. Recently, it confirmed its expansion into the Upper Midwest by merging with Minneapolis firm Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly and boosting the overall attorney headcount to more than 700. Fox had also bolstered its numbers in Chicago earlier that year and added a Dallas branch to its collection by way of a merger in 2014. Financial growth has also been a pattern at Fox – in 2015 revenues grew by 10%, completing a decade of consecutive annual revenue growth.
Within its native state of Pennsylvania, Chambers USA recognizes Fox's real estate, healthcare, bankruptcy, and environment practices, while corporate and litigation receive nods in Eastern Pennsylvania. The firm also picks up rankings in DC, Minnesota and New Jersey.
At the time of our calls, the largest cohorts of juniors were in Philly, Atlantic City and Princeton, with others spread across Miami, New York, Wilmington, Roseland, Exton, Warrington, Blue Bell and LA. Corporate and litigation take on the most juniors, followed by real estate. The tax, IP, entertainment, and labor departments also had a resident junior associate.
"Benefit from watching someone really talented.”
The litigation team handles a wide variety of matters. “Within that the partners have certain niches but as juniors you go where you're called,” associates informed us. “It's good to see so many different things; you learn so much procedurally about the practice of law.” What do juniors get up to day to day? “I don't spend that much time on doc review. I'd say it takes up less than 20% of my time,” we were assured. “I do a lot of research on case law and statutes as well as drafting a wide variety of filings, ranging from minor motions like discovery or motions to compel for extraordinary relief.” One associate reported: “I'm a courtroom guy, and pleased to have been part of major cases where there are tens of millions of dollars at stake, but also I've been given much smaller cases that I can work on myself with some supervision. We can spend 50 hours a year on mentorship, so I've been to shadow another attorney, seen bits of trials and sat in on depositions. I'm not foolish enough to believe that I can't benefit from watching someone really talented.” On some matters, like contract disputes, associates get to “handle things myself pretty much from start to finish. I've drafted the complaint, I communicate with the client, and then the partner looks over what I do. The firm likes people to get out there!”
Similarly, juniors in the corporate department experience “such a range of matters.” One noted: “I do a lot of business purchases and sales, general corporate governance and formation work like filing with the state and drafting operating agreements, resolutions and bylaws.” As with litigators, sources were “really proud of how much I've been able to take on. I've worked on a very small transaction that I ran myself, doing things like drafting the asset purchase agreement all the way through to helping the client to close it.” Of course, “on a larger transaction I do more of the ancillary work like side agreements.”
The Atlantic City base is noted for its gaming expertise. Juniors get to grips with “regulatory and compliance issues, representing manufacturers and distributors of gaming equipment or devices, like slot machine distributors. We represent them in their licensing proceedings in various jurisdictions across the world. The bulk of the work involves getting various clients licensed so they can operate legally. Day to day I research changes in the law, fill out applications, undertake due diligence and draft advisory memos on legal issues.”
"I don't spend that much time on doc review."
Over in real estate, “one of the clients is a large bank that lends to a lot of multifamily housing owners, and the loans range from $1 million to $160 million. I've been able to travel in order to close a loan and then I've taken on some land use and zoning work, which involved preparing applications and preparing for a hearing.” Research tasks are also common.
Work assignment varies between offices and departments. Some have a supervising partner who channels work through to associates; others said that “within my office it's informal – people just look in and ask if you have time to do something. But any work coming in from an outside office is filtered through the department chair.”
Training & Development
Interviewees praised the firm's “robust formalized training program.” This kicks off with an initial orientation in Philly: “It covers the basics like how to use the computer systems, your benefits and how to bill, through to more substantive workshops on legal writing and practice.” Following this, transactional associates and litigators have their own practice-specific training program, with the hours clocked up counting toward the overall billable total. There's mandatory writing training, a mock trial program and plenty of lunchtime seminars and CLEs available in-house. Associates in Atlantic City noted there's “a good business development program that teaches you networking skills and how to pitch to clients.” One source murmured: “I'm assuming it costs a lot of money, so it's nice that they're investing in us. It makes you feel like you actually mean something."
"It's nice that they're investing in us."
The level of feedback “really depends on the person. Some lawyers give you sparse written comments, but the bulk of attorneys are sincere about wanting to see you develop and their written comments are designed to help you learn to write more strategically.” One highlighted that “I've developed mentoring, one-to-one teaching relationships with a handful of attorneys and they really take the time to break things down and explain why and what they're doing in terms of writing or motions practice.”
“It's a law office, not an interior design firm!”
The Philly HQ offers “beautiful views, especially at night when the city is lit up.” Is there any fancy décor? “It's a law office, not an interior design firm!” Meanwhile, the Princeton outpost is “a typical corporate suburban office in a corporate park. Most of us have windows and our own offices, which is a pretty big thing.” Plus, there's a small cafeteria and gym. A couple of associates in Atlantic City flagged up its reputation as “one of the ten most dangerous cities in the country. I've worked here for ten years so I'm more accustomed to it and I'll often be one of the last females here during the evening. I get a bit nervous but there is a guard who'll walk you to your car, although he's not armed. I haven't heard of any problems." On the inside, “it's fine, just like a standard office – not impressive but not dilapidated, nothing that's gonna knock your socks off.” Other Atlantic sources in Atlantic City said: "We certainly have nice offices. They're clean and pretty modern. There's a kitchen and a pantry with coffee and teas and all that plus a small room with a TV."
Hours & Compensation
Litigators have a billing target of 1,900 hours, while it's 1,850 for everyone else. Most sources felt that "it's a realistic figure because there's plenty of work to be done. The firm also encourages you to log non-billable hours for training and pro bono.” While some declared that “it's a manageable workload that allows you to have a work/life balance,” others flagged up that “I do have concerns when I think about the lifestyle I want in the future. It is very time-consuming, especially because your billable time doesn't represent all the time you spend in the office.”
“It's pretty transparent."
Fox's starting salaries range from $110,000 to $145,000 depending on the market, although “they just got readjusted to become more competitive.” Bonuses increase for every 25 hours associates clock up in excess of the billing target. “It's pretty transparent: you pretty much know the dollar amount you're gonna get.” There's also discretionary bonus for those who bill over a certain threshold. “I forget the figure but it's an outrageous amount of hours!”
Philadelphia folk characterized Fox as “an entrepreneurial place. They're open-minded about you bringing in business as an associate. This is a big town with a small-town feel and you're expected to be involved in the community, meeting people, networking – those relationships can translate into business. We're given a marketing budget to work with and encouraged to take friends from law school out to lunch. It's not a requirement to bring in business but they give you the resources to make it a reality.”
"Everybody is accessible."
Atlantic City is “very laid back and everybody is accessible.” In Princeton, “one of the great things is that everyone truly knows everyone, even though it's a larger office. Corporate partners know litigation partners and like each other, people know about one another's personal lives and ask about their families. You never see a closed door unless someone's on a conference call. Everyone's happy to help if you've got an issue.”
Socially, there are happy hours every fortnight in Philadelphia, although these sorts of get-togethers happen less frequently in suburban offices, as you might expect. There's also a national associates' weekend, most recently held in DC, in which lawyers from all over the country congregate for a weekend of “seminars and awesome evening events. It's really cool to get to see colleagues in other offices. I met my best friend at a firmwide deposition training and we've built a relationship even though we're hundreds of miles apart.”
Associates can count 50 hours of pro bono work toward the bonus program. While some sources had “done very little,” others had taken on “a bunch of different things” including prisoners' rights cases, family court matters and tax cases. Others had been involved in a project that “helps people to get petty offenses and misdemeanors expunged from their records.”
Pro bono hours
"The firm has done a good job on gender equality issues."
“We have diversity initiatives, but it's not the most diverse place,” agreed interviewees. "The firm has done a good job at gender equality issues. There's a policy for those with children to work on an adjusted part-time schedule. Some people are really satisfied with it; others think it's difficult because the full-time partners they're working for don't take into account that they have a day off.” In addition to the women's initiative (which holds meetings “to address concerns unique to women, talk about what we're involved in and how we can support each other”) there's a “strong effort made to get people into the LGBT and racial minorities committee.”
Associates in Atlantic City reckoned that “a candidate's tie to the local area is definitely considered because we're one of the few big firms down here. If they bring someone in from out of the area they may leave at the first opportunity.”
"We encourage young lawyers to attract and develop clients."
Managing partner Mark Silow tells us that the firm looks for candidates who are “obviously very smart, bright and eager to succeed. We want someone who wants to take control of their career and do all the things required to have successful law practice like investing time in business development.” He adds that young lawyers must “be prepared to make the necessary investment of time and effort to succeed. This is an excellent place to build a practice, and we have a very accommodative rate structure so we encourage young lawyers to attract and develop clients and practices. That's not something you find at a lot of large firms these days.”
Strategy & Future
"We're keeping our eyes out for new market opportunities."
Fox's most recent highlight is the merger with Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly in Minneapolis. What does the future hold for the firm? “We continue to look for opportunities to grow,” confirms MP Mark Silow. “We're looking to grow our existing offices to make them all full service and we're keeping our eyes out for new market opportunities.” Where might these be? “We're not really looking overseas, but within the US we're interested in Pacific Northwest areas like Portland and Seattle. Boston is also an attractive market to us.”
Mark Silow, managing partner, Fox Rothschild
Chambers Associate: What have been the major highlights for the firm over the past 12 months? Are there any key transactions, cases or hires that stand out?
Mark Silow: The major highlight is our merger with a firm in Minneapolis – Oppenheimer Wolf and Donnelly. That's a significant transaction for us.
CA: What can we expect from Fox Rothschild in 2016? What's the strategy for the future?
MS: We continue to look for opportunities to grow. We're looking to grow our existing offices to make them all full service and we're keeping our eyes out for new market opportunities...
CA: In terms of geographical growth, are there any new areas of interest to the firm in the US or overseas?
MS: We're not really looking overseas, but within the US we're interested in Pacific Northwest areas like Portland and Seattle. Boston is also an attractive market to us.
CA: When it comes to hiring new associates, what qualities do you look for? What characteristics does someone need to thrive at Fox Rothschild?
MS: They obviously need to be very smart, bright and eager to succeed. We look for someone who wants to take control of their career and do all the things required to have a successful career in the law, like investing time in business development and putting in the long hours.
CA: How would you describe the firm culture? Fox has grown a lot in recent years through mergers – how do you maintain the culture?
MS: The culture is a one off. It's very entrepreneurial. We have a very large client base and our attorneys continue to attract clients every day. We're also collegial – very co-operative, very collaborative. We treat ourselves as one firm spread over 22 offices.
CA: What advice would you have for a law student thinking of joining the firm? And what does the firm offer that's unique?
MS: Be prepared to make the necessary investment of time and effort to succeed. This is an excellent place to build a practice – we have very accommodative rate structure and we encourage young lawyers to attract and develop clients and practices. I think that's not something you see a lot of at large firms these days.
Fox Rothschild LLP
2000 Market Street,
- Head Office: Philadelphia, PA
- Number of domestic offices: 22
- Number of international offices: 0
- Partners (US): 450
- Associates (US): 227
- Summer Salary 2016
- 1Ls: $1,900/week
- 2Ls: $2,211-$2,788/week
- Post 3Ls: N/A
- 1Ls hired? Yes
- Split summers offered? No
- Summers 2016: 28
- Offers/acceptances 2015: 16 offers, 16 acceptances
Main areas of work Corporate; entertainment; financial restructuring and bankruptcy; intellectual property; labor and employment; litigation; real estate; taxation and wealth planning.
Firm profile Fox Rothschild LLP is a national law firm with nearly 750 lawyers practicing in 22 offices coast to coast. Our lawyers provide a full range of legal services to public and private companies – from family-run businesses to multinational corporations. We also represent charitable, medical and educational institutions both in the United States and in more than 50 countries worldwide.
• Number of 1st year associates: 14
• Number of 2nd year associates: 19
• Associate salaries: 1st year: $110,000-$145,000 depending on geographic location
• 2nd year: Non lock step compensation
• Clerking policy: Yes
Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2016:
Berkeley; Cardozo: Chicago; Chicago-Kent; Colorado; Columbia; Cornell; Delaware; Denver; Duquesne; Fordham; GWU; Georgetown; Loyola (Chicago); Loyola (Los Angeles); Minnesota; Mitchell Hamline; Nevada; Northwestern; Penn State; Penn; Pittsburgh; Rutgers; Seton Hall; SMU; St. Thomas; Temple; Texas; UCLA; UC Hastings; USC; Villanova
Job Fairs/Consortia attending in 2016: BC/BU NY Recruitment Program; Delaware Minority Job Fair; NJ Law Firm Group Minority Job Fair; Philadelphia Area Minority Job Fair
Summer associate profile:
Our summer program is the foundation of our recruiting efforts. Each summer we invite a diverse group of bright, highly motivated law students to experience the practice of law at Fox Rothschild. Since the majority of our new lawyers come from the pool of second year summer associates who complete our program, we consider the summer program the most important component of the recruiting process.
Summer program components:
Our summer program is designed to expose summer associates to a realistic view of what it is like to practice law at Fox Rothschild. The program provides ongoing interaction with the attorneys on substantive assignments and during varied social events. Summer associates receive work assignments from all departments. We strive to ensure that the assignments given to summer associates are interesting and meaningful, with the results of that work used by our attorneys. Feedback is provided on an assignment-by-assignment basis, as well as through more formal mid-and end-ofsummer evaluations. In addition, we encourage all summer associates to provide us with a detailed critique of all aspects of the summer program.