Fox Rothschild LLP - The Inside View

It's merger mania at Fox Rothschild, whose most recent addition saw the firm expand into the Southeast.

THIS Philadelphia-born Fox has been leaving its prints all across the US in the past few years. The most recent (and largest) addition to the Fox clan was 130-attorney Smith Moore Leatherwood, which added six offices to the firm's network in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Managing partner Mark Morris sheds some light on the reason behind this development: “The Southeast was somewhere we didn't have a presence, but we had clients who had needs there. It was opportunistic to some degree – we heard SML was looking to consider a merger and we though we would be a good fit. They are a very sound group of lawyers with a very well-established reputation in their communities.” The merger means Fox Rothschild now has 27 offices nationwide with a total of around 900 attorneys.

“The people didn't seem like Atlas holding the weight of the world on their shoulders."

Juniors' first impressions of the firm was that “the people didn't seem like Atlas holding the weight of the world on their shoulders every day! The office had a fairly laid-back environment which was very attractive.” This particularly appealed to juniors alongside the opportunity to “build up your own book of business from a young age.” Fox takes home a number of rankings in Chambers USA in its home state of Pennsylvania for areas including bankruptcy, corporate M&A, healthcare, and litigation, as well as a bunch of other regional rankings across its network. On the more niche side, the firm achieves top-tier rankings in cannabis law and gaming & licensing.

The Work



At the time of research, juniors were spread across several of the firm's bases, with larger clusters in New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, and Washington DC. Others were dotted across Philadelphia's Chester, Bucks, and Montgomery counties, Atlantic City, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, Morristown, LA, Seattle, Las Vegas and West Palm Beach. Most were in either litigation and corporate, with a handful taking to real estate and labor & employment, and one or two in tax & wealth planning, restructuring, IP and entertainment. Different offices have different methods of work assignment – some juniors reported a more free market approach based around “establishing relationships with people,” while others had an assigning partner to “take the temperature of how much you have on, then dole out assignments as they come down the pipeline.”

"From a mom-and-pop shop to emerging companies to some public companies.”

Corporate attorneys often deal with “midmarket clientele,” which could be anyone “from a mom-and-pop shop to emerging companies to some public companies.” Juniors work on M&A deals including things like “helping clients buy different franchisee companies.” Those in Princeton noted that the office “has a huge healthcare law practice as well, so there's a lot of that type of work.” Sources highlighted “the high level of client contact – it was one of the reasons I came here.” Juniors' tasks include due diligence, contract reviews, drafting NDAs, and some regulatory work in the form of filings with the FTC or DOJ. “By my second year, I was running some deals," one interviewee reported. "And I just closed a deal by myself! We don't have a huge number of associates, so there's lots of responsibility." Another source pointed out: "That can be stressful.”

Corporate clients: Healthy Beverage, JMH Infrastructure Investors and Delta Health Technologies. Represented optical engineering company Clear Align in its purchase of the assets of a division of defense and aerospace company General Dynamics.

A third of Fox's 900 attorneys work in litigation, on a variety of disputes including class actions, appellate work, product liability, white-collar and real estate litigation. Day-to-day tasks include “plenty of research” – for instance on  “considerations for potential litigation” – as well as “putting together motions for filings, drafting substantive briefs, and some good old discovery.” Juniors generally felt that the firm “does a good job of slowly ramping up the difficulty of the tasks.”

Litigation clients: Ware Industries, Roadrunner and New York City Housing Authority. Recently represented pharmaceutical company Lannett in a securities fraud matter involving an alleged generic drug price-fixing conspiracy.

Labor & employment juniors told us about “defending employers in different class actions under the FLSA [Fair Labor Standards Act] among other cross-over work with litigation counterparts. Juniors get stuck into “a lot of writing – sections of briefs, responses to discovery, and emails to clients.”

Labor & employment clients: McGrath Systems, DirectSat and DIRECTV. Recently defended wireless charging company Powermat in a suit brought by the company's former CEO, alleging that Powermat breached his separation agreement.

Pro Bono



Experience with pro bono differed slightly between practice groups. Those in litigation felt the firm to be “pretty committed” to pro bono, while a typical source in corporate said: “You have to seek out the opportunities yourself, but the firm is supportive if you find something you want to do.” The firm gives attorneys billable credit for up to 50 hours of pro bono, then “above that they decide it on an individual basis.” Sources had been involved in guardianship matters, civil domestic disputes, divorce cases, legal clinics and corporate governance matters for nonprofits. The firm also has ties with pro bono hub Philadelphia VIP which “many people at the firm work with.”

Pro bono hours

  • For all attorneys: 9,094
  • Average per attorney: 12

Career Development



Fox has a number of trainings for associates, including a mock trial program for litigators where “you're put in teams with associates from other offices and you do a trial in front of a mock jury.” There are also deposition workshops and other monthly or bi-monthly training sessions. For corporate folks, there have recently been sessions where “attorneys break down an entire M&A transaction into smaller pieces.”

On top of training, sources added: “Fox is fairly known for promoting its associates to the partnership and developing them from the ground up.” The 23 individuals the firm promoted to partner in 2019 compares well with its 22 summers in 2019. Juniors elaborated that “the minute you start, they tell you that you have the opportunity to build up your own book of business from a young age. Instead of looking at us as cogs in a wheel, they want us to bring value to the firm by bringing in clients.”

Culture



“The firm was originally more midmarket, but over the past ten years we have come into the AmLaw 100," one interviewee pointed out. "I believe our roots have given us a positive culture that continues through to today.” To juniors that 'positive culture' has come from “picking people not just based on resumes, but on who they are as a person.” Many interviewees told us of the “great relationships” they had built up with senior associates, and felt “generally everyone is very understanding.”

"Different offices do have different flavors."

With Fox having so many US bases, sources admitted that “different offices do have different flavors.” The firm has been through a number of mergers over the past few years (with the most recent one adding six offices), but despite the inevitable variations as a result, most felt “all the offices are fairly well integrated.” Most offices hold their own happy hours, though some juniors in the smaller offices felt “we could do more, but it can be harder being in a suburban office – you have to drive to go anywhere!” Historically, there's been an all-associate retreat held every other year – “it's 95% social and there for people to get to know each other.” The most recent retreat was held in Nashville.

Diversity & Inclusion



Many agreed that the “representation of women is pretty strong” at the firm – half of associates are women and the firm has one of the highest percentages of female partners of any firm in Chambers Associate. Sources praised recent hiring efforts, with a Princeton junior noting: “My class had more women than men by a large percentage.” The firm has an active Women's Initiative, which holds regular meetings. “We'll order a nice lunch and bring in articles on women in the workplace to discuss," one junior said. "It's very supportive.” Sources highlighted that “it's good to see women in partnership roles, so you can see that there is a trajectory.”

On the other hand, one source admitted: “I wouldn't say we're very diverse in terms of race.” The representation of ethnic minorities is distinctly average. That's not to say the firm isn't trying: current initiatives include providing diverse juniors with a diversity mentor in addition to their regular mentor, as well as a diversity summer internship run in partnership with local law schools. Interviewees thought these were good steps, but felt “more things like that would help increase diversity.” At the same time many said that the firm is heading in the right direction. “There's much more diversity than when I was a summer associate!” one interviewee observed. Plus sources added that the firm is willing to consider “sponsoring you to go to diversity conferences if you ask.”

Hours & Compensation



Associates have a 1,850-hour target (1,900 for litigators), which most found to be achievable, though “on the transactional side it can be more difficult.” As mentioned, up to 50 hours of pro bono can count as billable, but folks reckoned “Fox could do better by having other things count too – like time spent training people.” Some of these type of things could previously be counted as billable, but now associates need to hit the hours threshold first, then those extra hours can start counting toward their bonus (and in more nonbillable categories than before, we should add).The bonus system is mostly based on how many hours attorneys have billed over the target. “There's essentially a tiered system," a junior explained. "If you bill X amount over the target, you will get X amount of bonus.” The bonus also takes into account associates' realization rate.

“It's not at the Cravath scale, but it's fairly equivalent with the expectations here."

Most of our interviewees were pretty content with the compensation at Fox, despite it not being at the top of the market. “It's not at the Cravath scale, but it's fairly equivalent with the expectations here," a source in Princeton told us. "The expectations are obviously still high, but you don't expect calls at 2am to handle X, Y, and Z. It's a fair trade-off.” For our interviewees, days usually started around 8:30am and finished around 7pm. “I'd say maybe once or twice a month I am in the office past 8pm,” one interviewee reflected.

Strategy & Future



“Fox is focusing a lot on acquiring other offices and expanding our national footprint," one associate observed. "I think the firm is looking to expand in regions where we don't yet have offices to service clients in different areas.” Managing partner Mark Morris explains: “We are still in growth mode, trying to enhance our presence in almost every practice area and establish more of a brand throughout the country.” In particular, Morris says, the firm has “an emerging companies and venture capital group that we're looking to continue to enhance. Plus our cannabis practice is growing – it's a new industry, and it's going to continue to spawn quite a bit of demand for legal services.”

Get Hired



The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: 741

Interviewees outside OCI: 27

Fox Rothschild visits approximately 35 law schools nationwide, and interviews around 20 students per school.

Fox has a firmwide recruitment committee made up of both associates and partners – the firm typically pairs associates and partners together to conduct the interviews. During interviews, interviewers ask questions aimed at measuring “students’ analytical abilities, motivation/initiative, judgement and previous experience,”  Kathryn Plytynski and Julia Borginis (professional development assistant and attorney development manager) tell us.

Top tips for this stage:

“Show us how you’ve gotten to where you are. What keeps you motivated? How will you contribute to your future employer in a unique and significant way?”Kathryn Plytynski and Julia Borginis, attorney development department.

Callbacks

Applicants invited to second stage interview: 207

Most of Fox’s offices conduct a ‘super-day’: all successful candidates are invited on the same day for a presentation about the firm’s summer program, followed by one-on-one interviews. Candidates meet with four attorneys – a mix of partners and associates – for 30 minutes each. “At this stage, candidates should continue to expect to answer competency-based questions. Additionally, we are trying to determine a candidate’s interest in Fox in particular, versus wanting to work generally at a large law firm,” explains Kathryn Plytynski and Julia Borginis. The day also involves either a lunch or cocktail reception, providing students the chance to meet more lawyers and “get a feel for the culture.”

Top tips for this stage:

“Be able to articulate your past challenges and achievements in a comprehensible manner.” Kathryn Plytynski and Julia Borginis, attorney development department.

Summer program

Offers: 36

Acceptances: 22

Fox's summer program lasts for ten weeks and starts with all summer associates gathering in Philadelphia for an orientation. All of the summers meet again a further two times throughout the program for professional development and social events. Socials include the likes of axe-throwing, baseball games and food tours.

Fox does not have a rotation program, so summers are free to sample work from various practice areas. Assignments are obtained via an online portal and accompanied by weekly trainings that are delivered by video-conference tech across the offices. In addition, summers can expect a one-one writing session and business development training (the latter is delivered by the firm's marketing department). All summer associates are assigned two mentors: one is an associate and the other is a supervising partner, who keeps an eye on summers' overall workload each week. Before the summer is over, summer associates rank their practice area preferences for when they return to the firm (the majority do return), although practice area assignment is largely determined by business need. 

Top tips for this stage:

"Be open to new experiences. Ask questions, be proactive, and use the resources that we will provide to you. Good communication is key – make relationships with the attorneys and staff in your office."Kathryn Plytynski and Julia Borginis, attorney development department.

Fox Rothschild LLP

2000 Market Street,
20th Floor,
Philadelphia,
PA 19103-3222
Website www.foxrothschild.com

  • Head office: Philadelphia, PA
  • Number of domestic offices: 27
  • Partners (US): 589
  • Associates (US): 251
  • Counsel (US): 82
  • Contacts  
  • Main recruitment contact: Natalie Quinn, Director of Associate Recruitment
  • Diversity officers: Yesenia Gallegos and Prince Thomas, Diversity Committee Co-Chairs
  • Recruitment details  
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2019: 21
  • Atlantic City, NJ: 1, Blue Bell, PA: 1, Dallas, TX: 1, Denver, CO: 1, Exton, PA: 1, Greensboro, NC: 1, Las Vegas, NV: 1, Los Angeles, CA: 2, Minneapolis, MN: 1, New York, NY: 2, Philadelphia, PA: 2, Pittsburgh, PA: 2, Raleigh, NC: 1, Seattle, WA: 2, Warrington, PA: 1, Washington, D.C.: 1
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2019:
  • 1Ls: 7, 2Ls: 25
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2019 split by office:
  • Atlantic City, NJ: 1, Blue Bell, PA: 2, Dallas, TX: 1, Exton, PA: 2, Denver, CO: 1, Greensboro, NC: 3, Minneapolis, MN: 3, Morristown, NJ: 2, New York, NY: 2, Philadelphia, PA: 4, Princeton, NJ: 2, Raleigh, NC: 1, Seattle, WA: 3, Warrington, PA: 2, Washington, D.C.: 1, West Palm Beach, FL: 1, Wilmington, DE: 1
  • Summer salary 2019:
  • 1Ls: $2,211-$3,076/week
  • 2Ls: $2,211-$3,076/week
  • Split summers offered? No

Main areas of work
Fox Rothschild has nine primary departments and over 60 practice areas firm-wide. Our departments are: corporate, employee benefits and executive compensation, entertainment, financial restructuring and bankruptcy, intellectual property, labor and employment, litigation, real estate, and taxation and wealth planning.

Firm profile
Fox Rothschild LLP is a national law firm with over 900 lawyers practicing in 27 offices from 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 worldwide. Our attorneys have been recognized for their commitment to clients, success in their fields, and diversity.

Recruitment
Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2019:
Berkeley, Boston College, Boston University, Cardozo, Chicago, Colorado, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Florida, Florida State, Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, Iowa, Loyola – LA, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, Mitchell Hamline, New York University, Northwestern, Rutgers – Camden, Rutgers – Newark, Penn, Seton Hall, Seattle, SMU, Temple, Texas, UCLA, UNC, USC, UVA, Villanova, Washington, Wisconsin

Job Fairs/Consortia Attending in 2019:
Hispanic National Bar Association Career Fair, New Jersey Law Firm Group Minority Job Fair, Philadelphia Area Minority Job Fair, Lavender Law Conference and Career Fair

Recruitment outside OCIs:
Our firm participates in a number of recruiting events including law school and diversity event sponsorships. We also hire 1L summer associates through local diversity organizations.

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, through trainings, 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-of summer evaluations. In addition, we encourage all summer associates to provide us with a detailed critique of all aspects of the summer program.

Social media:
Recruitment website: www.foxrothschild.com/careers-for-attorneys/
LinkedIn: Fox Rothschild LLP
Twitter: @FoxRothschild
Facebook: Fox Rothschild LLP

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2019

Ranked Departments

    • Real Estate Recognised Practitioner
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property Recognised Practitioner
    • Labor & Employment Recognised Practitioner
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Cannabis Law (Band 1)
    • Gaming & Licensing (Band 1)
    • Startups & Emerging Companies Recognised Practitioner
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)