When the going gets tech, the tech get Goodwin.
The tech and life sciences sectors have never been so active, with the global pandemic increasing the urgency with which the world has needed their services and products. Law firms catering to clients in these sectors have certainly been very busy of late: work has been driven by a combination of increased demand for tech, pharma and healthcare solutions; a proliferation of SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies) all looking for target companies; and some truly global behemoths in both spaces looking to acquire or merge with related entities. Boston-founded Goodwin is a prime example of a law firm that’s been kept on its toes in these areas. Managing partner Mark Bettencourt tells us: “We have had multiple levels of growth compared to the previous financial year. But those are the result of our strategic focus. We aspire to operate at a level of excellence.”
But Goodwin’s track record for growth extends far beyond the previous year: over the last decade the firm has more than doubled its revenue to over $1.5 billion. Bettencourt adds that Goodwin concentrates on “the focal points for all professional services: real estate, financial institutions, life sciences and technology, and private equity. So, when one looks through that prism, we are literally at the top in terms of sophistication and driving value and outcomes for clients.” It’s an approach that appears to be working: to put into context just how busy the firm was at the time of writing, over half of the juniors on our list were lateral hires and there were 50% more juniors than the year before.
“The reality is we have the clients who are making the future.”
Our sister guide Chambers USA tips its cap to Goodwin’s nationwide prowess when it comes to life sciences; private equity; startups and emerging companies; real estate investment trusts (REITs); financial services regulation; and white-collar crime and investigations work. These accolades are accompanied by many more on a statewide level in areas such as IP, litigation, capital markets, corporate/M&A, and banking and finance. With seven domestic offices (lining both coasts) and six international offices, Goodwin has built a prestigious brand, but associates were keen to emphasize that “it’s not a stuffy firm.” Also on our sources’ list of positives was the firm’s “exceptional deal flow,” the chance to see “the lifecycle of companies represented,” and, of course, Goodwin’s position as a “market leader” in tech and life sciences.
Strategy & Future
“We are in the beginning years, or earliest phases, of a century-long era of hyper innovation and disruption,” says Bettencourt. “Our firm focuses on this disruptive space at the center of capital and innovation, and we think in the next three to five years we are going to be growing in order to continue to create value and outcomes for our clients. The reality is we have the clients who are making the future.”
“We have organized the firm in an innovative way,” adds Bettencourt. “We put the client in the center of the firm, and structure the firm around that. As our clients become more sophisticated, they need more sophisticated help and expertise from us. That requires specialized groups like data, privacy, and cybersecurity, tax, executive compensation and so on, and antitrust is part of that.” Read more from Bettencourt by clicking on the ‘Get Hired’ tab above.
“They push letting you try anything for your first year,” a source enthused. On our list of junior associates, roughly 90% of second-years were sampling areas in either the firm’s business law department (BLD) or the catch-all litigation practice. Associates tend to specialize in their second year, with over half of all third-years on our list found in the firm’s transactional life sciences or tech departments, but the private equity and complex litigation & dispute resolution groups scoop up plenty of juniors, too. It is worth noting that Goodwin leans heavily on the transactional side, with just a fifth of all associates on our list in litigation. The firm’s Boston and New York bases held the largest segment of juniors on our list, but the other offices were also represented: DC, LA, San Francisco, Santa Monica and Silicon Valley.
We heard that the life sciences and tech departments “overlap a lot,” with one tech junior estimating that “around 30% of my work is in life sciences.” The firm’s life sciences department works across the biotech, pharma and healthcare industries, as well as with venture capital and investment firms interested in the area – like 5AM Ventures, which Goodwin advised on its $70 million financing of genome medical company, Esoma. The firm’s tech team, meanwhile, represents companies throughout their life cycle, from seed financings to IPOs and M&A deals.
“I’ve never felt like anyone was forcing me to stay in the signature-page lane.”
At the time of writing M&A work in these areas was huge for our sources. The firm thrives in the mid-market space, but it also does deals like MyoKardia’s $13.1 billion sale to Bristol Myers Squibb. Goodwin’s ERISA and executive compensation lawyers also advised on related elements tied to this transaction, and the two teams regularly collaborate on such deals. Despite the high volume of M&A matters, we heard that it was possible for associates to push back from taking on more work if they were at capacity. Sources explained that “there are attorney development managers, and they will assign you accordingly, and you can reach out if you’re looking.” However, as is often the case with firms we research, many juniors had sourced more work from reaching out directly to senior associates and partners.
Those who’d worked with startups told us that they encountered “everything from early funding matters, through to midlevel financings, and then exit transactions, like M&A deals and IPOs.” With ongoing clients, “which are mostly public companies, it’s a case of working on SEC reporting matters, annual and quarterly reports, and general governance issues.” Others mentioned “being put on a lot of SPAC deals. There was so much SPAC deal flow! More recently, when SPACs slowed down, I worked on traditional IPOs, as well as M&A deals that were occurring as a result of earlier IPOs. I was also doing some de-SPAC transactions.”
Juniors in the tech and life sciences groups reported having a mix of responsibilities and tended to agree that “as people start getting to know you, you get good opportunities.” This source was glad to highlight that they’d “never felt like anyone was forcing me to stay in the signature-page lane.” As is true of transactional attorneys across the globe, juniors could expect to do “some project management” and – on the bigger deals – spend time drafting ancillary documents; conducting due diligence; and managing disclosure schedules. However, as is slightly less common, sources said there was “a lot of good drafting experience. I can run with the drafting and then ask a senior associate to look at it.”
Goodwin’sgeneral commercial litigation team does it all, but in its Boston head office – which had the most junior litigators on our list – the firm has a reputation for real estate, education and IP matters (mostly for life sciences companies on the latter front). The New York base (Goodwin’s other big litigation office) represents the who’s who of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup – both of which it represented in litigation related to Puerto Rico bonds – alongside companies like Frazier Healthcare. Goodwin represented healthcare tech company Phreesia in a trade secret dispute against Certify Global and Rolling Rock. In addition to general commercial litigation, the firm does securities, employment, IP, products, cybersecurity, antitrust, appellate, financial services, and white-collar crime & government investigations work.
Complex litigation and dispute resolution clients: Zealand Pharma, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Autism Speaks. Represented social media platform Clubhouse during its trademark dispute with SBS Consulting Group.
Culture & Hours
As with many firms in our latest round of research, the impact of more remote working and an influx of laterals means “it is hard to say what the culture is like.” However, one junior told us that “in normal times, the partners are really approachable,” while another highlighted that “associates are friendly, and I feel like the people I work with are at the top of their game and willing to be collaborative.” Another impediment to getting immersed in the firm’s culture was simply how busy everyone had been: “We’re supposed to have weekly coffees with other associates, but they keep being canceled because we’re too busy!” one junior mourned.
Despite the hard work involved – “especially on M&A deals” – sources said: “Partners are very appreciative of that. After a hectic deal I get a bit of downtime. At my old firm there was never any coming off the treadmill.” Another relieved lateral remarked that “coming here feels like a lifestyle change. I’m still working hard – it’s not a lifestyle firm – but I feel like I’m getting some hours back. If people ask me how my weekend was, it doesn’t feel like a trap. I can tell them. I like that.”
This kind of response was fairly universal, with one interviewee candidly explaining that despite things being “crazy busy, when I pushed back, they heard me.” Several laterals also mentioned that “people do respect weekends more than I expected. I’m usually not getting emails over the weekend or late at night.” According to our survey results, Goodwin’s hours – averaging at just over 47 a week – were below the market average of nearly 52 hours a week, while Goodwin associates also took an extra day and a half of vacation time compared to their peers at other firms we survey. One interviewee concluded that “the culture can be driven by your practice group – in mine, everyone is committed to helping everyone develop, which is a real benefit.” The firm has also recently launched the Goodwin Experience Initiative, which is focused on improving the experiences of its attorneys by providing a range of additional perks for those that meet the minimal hours requirement such as vacation days and free dinners.
We heard mostly positive reviews of career development from our interviewees. Some felt “very supported” and highlighted how “the firm has committed resources to helping associates align their goals. You can carve out a path and the firm is committed to helping you.”
“...the firm has committed resources to helping associates align their goals.”
Another flagged that “there’s a good support system here – I was given an associate and a partner mentor, but I’ve also experienced informal mentoring when a few seniors have reached out to me.” Goodwin’s survey results put the firm ahead of the market in terms of juniors feeling supported by partners: 88% of our survey respondents agreed that partners are nurturing future leaders.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
“I think for BigLaw it’s diverse,” reflected one interviewee, while another supported this assertion by highlighting how they “see more diversity here than I did at my old firm: matters are staffed with more female attorneys, as well as people of color and LGBT+ lawyers.” This source flagged that “there are plenty of women partners and lots with children” and complimented Goodwin’s primary caregiver leave policy: “We get six months at full pay, which is great.”
The firm’s affinity groups, however, received mixed reviews. Some pointed to a “fairly active affinity group for people who identify as minority ethnic,” while others were left underwhelmed: “The firm’s diversity groups don’t do much – we get an email every four months.” On a broader note, however, this junior said that “DE&I is part of the regular messaging and it’s very obvious that the firm is focused on it in terms of its culture.”
Pro bono at Goodwin received a thumbs-up as “it carries the same weight as billable work and there’s no cap.”Junior associates told us that “pre-Covid we did all-day clinics, which now happen virtually.” Sources mentioned working with the Innocence Projectand citizenship clinics, as well as contributing to matters related to “humanitarian issues as a result of the US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.”
Pro bono hours
- For all (US) attorneys: 48,722
- Average per (US) attorney: 32
OCI applicants interviewed: 1,750
Interviewees outside OCI: NA
Goodwin’s recruitment scope spans the US and around the world, with both on-campus interview programs and job fairs on the firm's radar. Typically, the interviews themselves are conducted by partners and members of the firm’s local hiring committees. Associates are usually on site as well to host hospitality suites, where candidates can ask questions about the early years of practice.
During the interview, interviewers may ask “questions related to work and law school experience, what drew the candidate to law school, and what practice areas interest them.” Hiring partner Emily Rapalino explains: “We are looking for intellectually curious, driven and collaborative students with strong interpersonal skills – collegial, respectful, and those who appreciate the importance of teamwork and inclusiveness.” In addition, the firm looks to hear “how students’ experiences have shaped their career path, what interests them, and why their experiences will make them a fit for Goodwin.”
“Knowing your audience and preparation are key when interviewing at Goodwin. In general, students should do their due diligence and research firms and employers, and get to know attorneys by attending events and programs.” – Hiring partner Emily Rapalino
“Know the firm’s strengths and weaknesses. A lot of times, candidates just look at rankings but aren’t aware of the firm’s specialities.” – Third-year associate
Applicants invited to second stage interview: 905
During a standard callback interview, students should expect to meet between four and six attorneys of varying seniority. The interviews themselves are geared toward specific competencies including “interpersonal skills, drive and project management.” Interviewers use predetermined behavioral questions to evaluate a candidate’s potential for success at Goodwin. Students also have the option of attending ‘Super Interview Days,’ which include an office tour and reception in addition to the interviews.
“Be prepared for questions about anything on your resume and have questions prepared for your interviewer.” – Hiring partner Emily Rapalino
Acceptances: 163 (150 2L and 13 1L)
Goodwin’s summer program runs for ten weeks. Students have the freedom to try any practice, rather than having to decide between corporate and litigation right away. Summers also gain exposure to trainings and practice area discussions in order to “get a more well-rounded idea of what it’s actually like to practice law across a variety of fields,” says Rapalino. Assignments are received both from Goodwin attorneys directly and through assignment coordinators. Students also receive mentors from day one. “The goal of our summer program is to provide summers with as much knowledge and information about our firm, practice areas and culture so they can make an informed decision about their legal career going forward,” Rapalino concludes.
“There will be countless opportunities to get to know attorneys through work assignments, lunches, presentations and social events. Try to participate in as many of these opportunities as possible.” – Hiring partner Emily Rapalino
Interview with Goodwin's managing partner Mark Bettencourt
Chambers Associate: How would you describe the firm’s current market position?
We hold a preeminent position in the market as seen through the prism of the clients on whom we are focused. We do three things at a high level: we arbitrate and litigate, we counsel on regulatory and compliance matters, and we execute business transactions in the industries that are really the focal points for all professional services: real estate, financial institutions, life sciences, technology and private equity. So, when one looks through that prism, we are literally at the top in terms of sophistication and driving value and outcomes for clients.
CA: Your last financial year saw a growth of over 10% in revenue for the firm, are you expecting a similar return for this financial year?
In respect of our financial year, which closed on December 31, 2021, we will report much stronger results. We have had a multiple of the levels of growth compared to the previous financial year. But those are the result of our strategic focus. We aspire to operate at a level of excellence. The results are not our priority.
CA: We’ve heard that your tech and life sciences groups are doing a lot of M&A work, is that right?
In a recent article by The American Lawyer, we are at the top for global deal volume according to the Refinitiv League Tables. We did over a hundred more M&As than the next firm. That has been driven by tech, life sciences, private equity and particularly private equity’s investment focus on technology and healthcare. We’re very, very busy.
CA: What impact is that having on your antitrust department?
The reality is that antitrust is incredibly busy. We have organized the firm in an innovative way,. where we put the client in the center of the firm, and structure the firm around that. As our clients become more sophisticated, they need more sophisticated help and expertise from us. That requires specialized groups like data, privacy and cybersecurity, tax, executive compensation and so on, and antitrust is definitely part of that.
CA: What’s the plan for Goodwin in the next five years?
As a species we are in the beginning years, or earliest phases, of a century long era of hyper innovation and disruption. Our firm focuses on this disruptive space at the center of capital and innovation, and we think in the next three to five years we are going to be growing in order to continue to create value and outcomes for our clients. I cannot imagine a place that’s better to practice law. The reality is we have the clients who are making the future.
CA: How would you describe the firm’s culture?
Culture is the sum total of everything we do and everything we are. Who are we? A community of highly-motivated, strategically-aligned, and empathic people who care about our clients and our colleagues. When you define yourself that way then you fundamentally care about the right things. That’s what our culture is about, and it has allowed us to enjoy financial prosperity we otherwise wouldn’t have achieved. Ultimately, we want people to be proud of being at Goodwin and if they leave we want them to be proud of being from Goodwin.
CA: What is the greatest challenge facing the firm in the next decade?
More than anything, our ability to continue to attract highly-motivated and talented individuals and retain them in a manner that’s in line with our culture is our greatest challenge. I do not think it will be our most difficult challenge, but it is our most important one. We have an enormous business opportunity, but we cannot trade that for who we are as a firm. We want to propel our firm forward at the pace our clients demand, but we want to do it while maintaining and nurturing our culture.
100 Northern Avenue,
- Largest Office:
- Number of domestic offices: 7
- Number of international offices: 7
- Worldwide revenue: $1,973,367,527
- Partners (US): 446
- Counsel (US): 133
- Associates (US): 854
- *As of February 1, 2022
- Main recruitment contact: shley Nelson, Managing Director, Talent Acquisition, Legal, Associate & Professional Track Hiring
- Hiring partner: Emily Rapalino, National Hiring Partner
- Diversity officer: Yakiry Adal, Director, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
- Recruitment details
- Entry-level associates starting in 2121: 112
- Clerking policy: Yes
- Summers joining/anticipated 2022: 1Ls: 13, 2Ls: 150
- Summers joining/anticipated 2022split by office: (1Ls + 2Ls): Boston: 42, New York: 44, Washington, DC: 16, Los Angeles: 7, San Francisco: 22, Santa Monica: 12, Silicon Valley: 20
- Summer salary 2022: 1Ls: $4,135/week 2Ls: $4,135/week
- Split summers offered? No
- Can summers spend time in an overseas office? Case-by-case
Main areas of work
Technology: We help technology companies secure funding, protect their intellectual property, and navigate a challenging regulatory environment. We also help our technology clients differentiate their products in the marketplace and scale their businesses accordingly.
Life Sciences: Our life sciences team serves both innovator and investor clients who work collaboratively to improve patients’ lives. We advise companies from pure start-ups to commercial stage biopharmaceuticals, as well as the investors, banks and other entities who support those companies.
Private Equity: Our team focuses on middle-market private equity. We advise founders, buyers, sellers, investors, boards and special committees in matters across the corporate lifecycle. Our private equity work includes buyouts, growth equity deals, and growth company representations in the technology, healthcare, financial and business services, consumer and manufacturing sectors.
Real Estate: With a distinct emphasis on the capital markets, our real estate lawyers focus on transactions involving equity and debt financings, joint ventures, portfolio and REIT mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, hospitality and leisure, and large-scale development work.
Financial Industry: Our financial industry practice provides clients a full-service platform across transactional, compliance, regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters. Our lawyers offer extensive experience in the investment management, banking, insurance, fintech, consumer finance, commodities, broker-dealer and investment bank sectors.
At Goodwin, we partner with our clients to practice law with integrity, ingenuity, agility, and ambition. Our more than 1,800 lawyers across the United States, Europe, and Asia excel at complex transactions, high-stakes litigation and world-class advisory services in the technology, life sciences, real estate, private equity, and financial industries. Our unique combination of deep experience serving both the innovators and investors in a rapidly changing, technology-driven economy sets us apart. To learn more, visit us at www.goodwinlaw.com.
Recruitment Law Schools attending for OCIs:
American University, Boston College, Boston University, Brooklyn, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Florida A & M, Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Loyola, McGill, New York University, Northeastern, Northwestern, Santa Clara, St. John’s, Stanford, Suffolk, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Hastings, UC Irvine, UCLA, University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas, USC Gould, UVA, Vanderbilt, Washington College of Law, William & Mary, and Yale.
Recruitment outside OCIs:
Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, Boston Lawyers Group Job Fair, Lavender Law Career Fair, Loyola Patent Law Interview Program, NEBLSA Job Fair, Southeastern Minority Job Fair, Midwest California-Georgia Consortium, and National Law School Consortium.
Summer associate profile:
Candidates interviewing with Goodwin for summer associate positions should have excellent written and oral communication skills, as well as outstanding academic credentials.
Summer program components:
Gaining real-world experience is critical as you begin your journey as a lawyer. At Goodwin, our summer associates receive the resources and tools necessary to provide best-in-class client service from day one. We offer a robust training and professional development program, while also providing you the opportunity to explore your personal career aspirations. Through various work assignments, pro bono projects and client interactions, Goodwin gives you the guidance necessary to bridge the gap between law school and the start of your legal career.
What sets Goodwin apart is our people. Summer associates have the opportunity to witness our unique culture firsthand through mentorship programs, social events, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. In addition to helping you chart your course, we provide summer associates with the opportunity to network and collaborate with lawyers, as well as our Global Operations Team, who work diligently to see you succeed both personally and professionally.
Recruitment website: www.goodwinlaw.com/careers/law-students
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2022
- Banking & Finance (Band 4)
- Capital Markets: Debt & Equity (Band 2)
- Corporate/M&A: Private Equity: The Elite (Band 4)
- Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 5)
- Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 3)
- Life Sciences (Band 3)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 4)
- Technology: Transactions (Band 4)
- Venture Capital (Band 2)
- Tax (Band 4)
California: San Francisco, Silicon Valley & Surro
- Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 3)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
- Real Estate (Band 2)
District of Columbia
- Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 3)
- Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory (Band 4)
- Intellectual Property: Litigation (Band 4)
- Antitrust (Band 2)
- Banking & Finance (Band 3)
- Banking & Finance: Corporate & Regulatory (Band 1)
- Capital Markets (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
- Healthcare (Band 4)
- Intellectual Property (Band 1)
- Labor & Employment (Band 3)
- Life Sciences (Band 3)
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
- Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
- Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 2)
- Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 2)
- Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment (Band 1)
- Real Estate (Band 1)
- Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Band 2)
- Tax (Band 1)
- Technology (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
- Healthcare (Band 5)
- Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 3)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
- Litigation: Securities (Band 4)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (Band 2)
- Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 4)
- Tax (Band 4)
USA - Nationwide
- Appellate Law (Band 4)
- Banking & Finance (Band 5)
- Cannabis Law (Band 3)
- Capital Markets: Convertible Debt (Band 2)
- Capital Markets: Equity: Issuer Counsel (Band 3)
- Capital Markets: Equity: Manager Counsel (Band 3)
- Corporate Crime & Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 5)
- E-Discovery & Information Governance (Band 4)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 5)
- ERISA Litigation (Band 2)
- Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance) (Band 3)
- Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation) (Band 1)
- Financial Services Regulation: Financial Institutions M&A (Band 4)
- Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 2)
- Healthcare: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
- Intellectual Property (Band 3)
- International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 4)
- International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: The Elite (Band 4)
- Leisure & Hospitality (Band 2)
- Life Sciences (Band 1)
- Private Equity: Buyouts: Mid-Market (Band 1)
- Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 2)
- Product Liability & Mass Torts: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
- Real Estate (Band 2)
- Registered Funds (Band 3)
- REITs (Band 1)
- Securities: Litigation (Band 4)
- Startups & Emerging Companies (Band 1)
- Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 4)
- Technology (Band 4)