Greenberg Traurig, PA - The Inside View

This jolly green giant is known for keeping it real in real estate.

“From the moment I walked out my callback, I knew I wanted to work here because it’s such a down-to-earth place,” said one particularly enamored interviewee when asked why they chose GT. It’s a sentiment that multiple interviewees echoed: “Even though the firm is rapidly growing, we still have a small-firm, family-style atmosphere.” To those who are familiar with the firm’s size, these cosy, cultural insights may come as a surprise. Founded in Miami in 1967, Greenberg Traurig has zipped from one coast to the other and beyond. These days, GT is home to more than 2,300 attorneys in 40 locations across the globe, making it one of the ten largest firms by headcount in the US and one of the top 15 firms by revenue.

It’s unsurprising, then, that GT has picked up rankings not only in Chambers USA, but in Chambers Global, too: GT is recognized for its corporate work in Latin America and Israel, among others. Domestically, the firm’s most highly regarded for banking, corporate, environment, litigation, tax and real estate. Expertise in the latter was a motivating factor for several sources, with one source boldly declaring: “We have the best real estate practice in the world.” In the US at least, the firm has 13 lucky real estate rankings to its name, spanning all ten states that it has an office in. It also scoops the ultimate prize on a national level. Around a fifth of the associates on our list opted to join this group, with corporate proving to be the most common destination. Litigation came in at a close second, while a handful opted for the IP litigation group specifically.

The Work 



Opportunityis the name of the game for GT’s juniors: “We don’t want summers to be working full-time,” explained one source, adding: “the most important thing is getting to know the people you’re working with.” Once at the firm full-time, litigators get “lots of freedom, even at the junior level.” Associates in this group work as generalists – “you’re not expected to pick a practice” – although certain offices have specialismsNew York, San Francisco, and Washingtonhave dedicated IP litigation teams, for example. Unsurprisingly, these folks found “there’s not much freedom of choice in cases.” Juniors here mainly work on patent and trademark litigation, typically representing large clients like HP, LH, and Samsung in trade secret cases: associates deal with drafting and filings, occasionally running matters.

"We get to choose our own adventure."

Litigation is also home to a products group, which focuses on issues like counterfeit clothing and product liability in the pharmaceutical space: “It’s a very lucrative practice area.” Overall, this group has plenty of strings to its bow, including environmental liability, white-collar crime, government investigations and real estate disputes. Although juniors won’t usually be the ones drafting the primary documents, litigation offers rapid progression in responsibility from day one.

Litigation clients: Activision Blizzard, Ningbo Sunny Electronic, and Medtronic. Defeated a potential national class action against Samsung concerning the advertising of its Galaxy S7 phones. 

Work assignment is “somewhat of a hybrid system” in the corporategroup: “We get an email asking what kind of work we want but haven’t had, then fill out a form with our availability. We get to choose our own adventure that way.” This department covers all sorts of transactional matters, including M&A, fund formation, restructuring and securities. The latter sees juniors compile SEC filings and research “complex issues like SEC guidance.” Rookies do everything from drafting the ancillaries to taking aim at the main transaction documents. There’s also lots of international securities research to be done, meaning associates liaise with the London and Amsterdam offices: “What I really like is the regional differences, seeing how clients operate with the same exact transaction – there are cultural differences and part of being a lawyer is being able to relate with them.” 

Irrespective of the subject matter, associates work with “an immense range” of clients, which dictates the associates’ level of responsibility: “Clients who have been doing this for 50-plus years will ask more pinpoint questions,” which typically need to be answered by a more senior attorney. Less experienced clients, however, are happy for juniors to take a more substantive role.

Corporate clients: Monarch Casino & Resort, Reading International, and Switch. Represented Draftkings in connection with its Golden Nugget Online Gaming acquisition.  

The firm’s real estate group draws on one of the largest pools of real estate attorneys in the US. Juniors are staffed on all manner of issues, including acquisitions, sales, financings and joint ventures. The firm works with both borrowers and lenders, representing organizations like SL Green and Stonings. Unlike their peers at other firms, GT’s associates have a good balance between finance and dirt work, reckoning that “at other firms, it’s 90% finance.” Whilematters can be pretty leanly staffed, sources said: “It’s been great learning experience!”

Real estate clients: Treetop Development, Novel Properties Ventures, and Skylight Real Estate Partners. Represented Société Générale in the loan aspects of a building leased to the D.C. government and local retail tenants.

Career Development 



“Associates only leave for in-house positions,” declared one interviewee, explaining:People often go to former clients.” Associates were generally positive about career development at Greenberg: “The classes are small, so mentorship works well,” one junior noted. “We have a lot of associates, but it’s very apparent that they were trying not to hire 80% more people than they need, so there is a clear path to partnership.”

Much of the training is “heavily” litigation-focused when starting out. For example, GT puts on a virtual deposition camp: “We do brief-writing exercises using a sample of documents and templates.” Understandably, business development plays a key role in career development: “The firm really encourages us to go out and meet with prospective clients weekly, in a very informal way!” Associates develop contacts not only with people they’ve worked with, but also with people they went to law school with: “The firm does do a good job of helping us develop that skill early.”  

Culture, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 



“The head of office even dropped in with a Santa costume!"

Integrity lies at the heart of culture at Greenberg; “When they bring someone in they ask, ‘What impact will this person have on our cultural ecosystem?’” Sources made it clear that “it’s hard work from the outset but it’s not like the rug gets pulled from under you.” Although office-wide Christmas parties were canceled due to Omicron, practice-specific socials went ahead. In New York, “the head of office even dropped in with a Santa costume with loads of alcohol!” Juniors were of the general opinion that attorneys made an effort to socialize outside of work; “partners will invite you to their houses, on their boats – even during COVID people would ask, “Do you want to work in my yard?”

Partners and senior attorneys also play a role in diversity and inclusion efforts: “The message form the top is that the firm is very devoted to diversity and inclusion.” Although one associate did note there wasn’t a D&I group for disabled attorneys, the groups represented “make everyone feel empowered to find tools and a way of working that works for them.” Greenberg’s affinity groups hold monthly, firmwide panels and conferences focused on marginalized communities: “They have things set up to promote these groups and to hear from people outside the firm.”

“Our affinity groups make people feel empowered.”

Around 80% of the associates we surveyed felt that “Greenberg makes a conscious effort to hire and promote racial minorities and women.” Greenberg follows the Mansfield rule, which means at least 30% women, attorneys of color, LGBTQ+ lawyers and those with disabilities are considered for leadership roles. While some juniors did bring the issue of retention of diverse associates to light, the majority thought “the firm is genuinely committed to diversity and inclusion, which is demonstrated in the firm’s leadership.”   

Hours & Compensation



Billable hours: no requirement

While there’s no official billable hours requirement, the associates we spoke with generally aimed for between 1,900 and 2,000 hours: “We don’t bill for things like interviews, but the firm does take that sort of thing into account – I’m not being asked to do anything without putting in time for it.” Bonuses are “a bit of a black box,” but one insider told us: “I can assume I’m getting a bonus, but I won’t know for sure until it’s in my bank account.” Like much of the market,associates were compensated with several COVID bonuses.  

As far as hybrid working goes, “partners don’t go into the office all the time, so they don’t assume associates should.” Juniors found that booking days off was generally flexible: “As long as you plan for it you can go on vacation,” but one insider found “I was still online every night while on holiday – it’s pretty hard to shut off.” Weekends are generally respected, and even when emails are sent on a Friday it is usually okay to respond the following Monday. We did hear of juniors working every other weekend, with the fourth quarter for corporate associates being a hotspot for client requests, “there’s no getting round that.”  

Pro Bono



“We have a very robust pro bono program,” we were told, and although the official creditable ceiling is 100 hours “there are exceptions – if you’re going to trial for example, it will be a little more.” Attorneys are required to do X number of hours: “You get hounded if you don’t do your minimum,” we were informed. Each office has a dedicated pro bono coordinator: “Every day I get an email with ways I can get involved.” Greenberg runs a number of collaborative pro bono projects with organizations throughout the US and across its offices: the Transformative Justice Law Project; veterans & active military groups; Lawyers Assisting Warriors and the International Refugee Assistance Project are just some examples of the firm’s partnerships.

Pro bono hours

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

 Strategy & Future 



“The firm is pretty transparent," according to associates. “We get calls every couple of months from our CEO, Brian Duffy. He's very clear about continued growth at the firm." Duffy told us that GT has thrived during the pandemic, recording its best financial year yet in 2021. “We’re always looking to enhance and grow firm strength,” he explained, citing the new Portland office as an example of this, alongside “incredible” activity in South Florida and increased DC regulatory work. In response to the red-hot lateral market, Duffy reckons “this is the time to be forward-thinking. Lawyers' natural tendency is to look backwards, but this particular challenge requires thought from the next generation…” 

Get Hired



The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: 638

Greenberg Traurig interviews at schools that are nationally ranked or well represented with alumni in the current attorney population. It also attends job fairs and hires judicial clerks. In 2021 it interviewed at 37 law schools and had 14 resume collections.  

If students do not make the interview schedule because their school uses a random lottery system, “we encourage students to contact the recruiting manager for the office in which they are interested,” says co-president and global chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman. OCIs are conducted by shareholders (this is what Greenberg calls attorneys at a level similar to partner) and sometimes another attorney. Interviewers look for top academic performance, and a balance of interests in and out of law school. Kaufman adds: “We look at why the candidate is interested in our firm and ask them about practice area interests, because that will determine who the candidate should meet if there is a callback interview.”  

Top tips for this stage:  

“Share something you’re passionate about, whether that’s at law school or an extracurricular activity. We really want to find that extra interesting reason for what drives someone.” – a first-year junior associate  

“It is critical that they show that they know the firm, the local office and the attorneys who are interviewing them. Today, this is easier than ever.” – co-president and global chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman 

Callbacks 

Candidates meet shareholders and associates throughout the callback. Each interview is 20 to 30 minutes long. Kaufman tells us: “We focus on whether the candidate can thrive in our firm culture,” so candidates should expect questions about working in smaller teams and showing initiative.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“People who do well are people who’re comfortable and capable of cracking a joke.” – a first-year junior associate  

“Make sure to read the biographies of the attorneys who will be interviewing you and try and show genuine interest in their practice.” – co-president and global chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman  

Summer program

Offers: 134

Summer associates’ projects are usually assigned by an associate. These projects are based on the firm’s needs, so summers will likely get exposure to different areas of law. The exception is patent prosecution as the firm hires summers directly into this group. Kaufman says: “You should have a few projects on your plate at any given time, but do not volunteer for every project so it spreads you thin and affects the quality of your work.” Associates are given a shareholder and an associate mentor to help navigate the program.  

“They do the great activities – baseball games, cocktail events – where you meet all the practice groups,” a first-year associate recalled. “That’s really fun and can be just as grueling as the work!”  

The firm makes offers to specific practice areas.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“Take the time to learn from key professional staff, including legal assistants/secretaries, as they are often critical to the workflows of the practices.” – co-president andglobal chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman

And finally….  

Kaufman adds: “We value diversity and individuality, so be yourself!”  

Interview with Greenberg Traurig CEO Brian Duffy



Chambers Associate: How would you describe the firm’s current market position?

At this point, we continue to lead in real estate and private equity; the volume of work is significant, and we have a lot of exciting deals. We see ourselves as one of the leading firms in every subcategory of the real estate space. We are a dominant, full-practice firm in all jurisdictions.

CA: Are there any highlights from the past year or in the firm’s immediate future you think our readers should be aware about?

Last year, we represented clients in almost US$42 Billion in SPACS, and it was exciting to see growth in the IP market. In litigation on pharmaceutical medical devices, we were on most of the major cases, which is definitely a highlight for us. We also posted our best financial year with more than US$2 Billion in revenue.

CA: Would you characterize the firm as being in growth mode?

We continue to look for activity in the private equity space from a growth standpoint. We are always looking to enhance and grow firm strength; we’ve increased Washington, D.C. regulatory work, South Florida has been incredibly active, and we’ve recently opened in Portland, Oregon; Long Island, New York; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

CA: How has the firm weathered the pandemic and has it affected the firm’s long-term strategy? Has it affected the firm’s remote working policies? 

I do not think it’s affected our long-term strategy – the business has changed, not the practice. It has impacted the way we think about space, the way we think about leases. Like everyone else, we also need to address the talent issues that have been written about exhaustively as we continue to add great talent in areas our clients need services.

CA: What is the greatest challenge facing the firm in the next decade? How about the legal market more generally?

From a pure business perspective, I think the greatest challenges are how to continue to elevate the value, how to continue to develop our talent for our clients – how to not lose that edge. How do we maintain that feeling of working together when you’re not physically together, and how do we enhance our culture under the challenge of a pandemic? This is a time for forward thinking; we normally look backward in the practice of law. This particular challenge requires thought from the next generation. Someone raised the idea of putting a coffee shop in the office, and who knows! You look at the turnover Biglaw experienced over the past year, people are feeling less connected to their firms, and the numbers are the numbers. The things we are doing are special, intentional events to get people together – we are working to build those relationships.

CA: How is Greenberg Traurig approaching diversity, equity and inclusion?

You have to make a financial commitment overall to DE&I and we have a phenomenal DE&I team advising us on how best to use those funds. Our talent is focused and paying attention to it, and we’re up to five professionals in this space. We made a commitment of US$5 Million to racial equity issues, and we have a Courageous Conversations series with impactful speakers, fantastic training events, and focused professional development training. Our affinity groups play a great role in making sure people don’t feel isolated. It was always a core value of the firm when other firms had not thought of it. We have a long way to go like the rest of the profession, but we’re excited about it.

CA: Any advice for those about to enter the legal industry? 

It remains a fantastic profession – enjoy the process; someone once called it the practice of law because you never really get there! The more you put into it, the more you get out of it. You’ve chosen well so enjoy it, but also, take care of yourself.

Greenberg Traurig, PA

  • Head Office: Global
  • Number of domestic offices: 33
  • Number of international offices: 10
  • Worldwide revenue: $2,003,790,000 FY 2021
  • Partners (US): 990
  • Associates (US): 749
  • Contacts  
  • Main recruitment contact: Jim Burns (burnsj@gtlaw.com
  • Hiring partner: Brad Kaufman
  • Diversity officer: Nikki Lewis Simon
  • Recruitment details  
  • Entry-level associates accepted in 2021: 63
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • 2021 Summer Associates: 60 total (46 2Ls; 14 1Ls)
  • Split summers offered? Case-by-case
  • Can summers spend time in an overseas office? Case-by-case

Main areas of work
Banking and financial services; blockchain; corporate; cybersecurity and privacy; emerging technology; energy and natural resources; entertainment and media; environmental; food, beverage and agribusiness; franchise and distribution; gaming; government contracts; government law and policy; health care and FDA practice; hospitality; immigration and compliance; infrastructure; insurance; intellectual property and technology; international trade; labor and employment; Latin American practice; life sciences and medical technology; litigation; marketing, advertising, sweepstakes and promotions law; pharmaceutical, medical device and health care; private wealth services; public finance; real estate; regulatory and compliance; restructuring and bankruptcy; retail; tax; technology, telecommunications; transportation and automotive. 

Firm profile
Greenberg Traurig, LLP has more than 2400 attorneys in 43 locations in the United States, Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. The firm, often recognized for its focus on philanthropic giving, innovation, diversity, and pro bono, reported gross revenue of over $2 Billion for FY 2021. The firm is consistently among the top firms on the Am Law 100, Am Law Global 100, NLJ 250, and Law360 (US) 400. On the debut 2022 Law360 Pulse Leaderboard, it is a Top 15 firm. Greenberg Traurig is Mansfield Rule 4.0 Certified Plus by The Diversity Lab and net carbon neutral with respect to its office energy usage. Web: www.gtlaw.com.

Recruitment
HISTORIC LIST OF OCI Law Schools:
Law schools and programs at: Boston College; Boston U.; Brooklyn Law School; Chicago-Kent College of Law; Columbia Law School; Cornell Law School; Duke Law School; Emory Law School; Florida International University College of Law; Fordham Law School; George Washington University Law School; Georgetown University Law Center; Georgia State University; Howard University; Indiana University Walkaround Program; Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; New York University School of Law; Northeastern University; Northwestern University Law School; Notre Dame Law School; University of California, Davis School of Law; University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law; University of Chicago Law School; University of Florida - Levin College of Law; University of Georgia; University of Miami School of Law; University of Michigan Law School; University of Pacific, McGeorge; University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Southern California - Gould School of Law; University of Virginia; Vanderbilt Law School Walkaround Program

HISTORIC LIST OF Recruitment outside OCIs: Job Fairs: Boston Lawyers Group (BLG); Boston Fair for Law Students of Color”; Cook County Minority Job Fair; IP Job Fair; Lavender Law Fair; Midwest-California Consortium; SEMJF
Resume Collects: Law schools and programs at: Cornell; Duke; Emory; Florida International University; Fordham; Florida State University; George Washington University; Georgetown University; Harvard; New York University; Northwestern University; Pepperdine; St. Thomas; Stanford; Stetson; Thurgood Marshall; University of California, Berkeley; University of Chicago; University of Florida; University of Miami; University of Michigan; University of Pennsylvania; University of Texas; University of Virginia; Yale

Summer associate program profile: An important goal of the program is to help summer associates with the transition from law student to practicing lawyers and future leaders by including them on client matters. We look for attorneys who have an entrepreneurial spirit, initiative, willingness to assume responsibility, and leadership skills. Components of the program include: corporate deal simulation; exposure to innovative technology; conflict resolution training; litigation training, such as oral advocacy presentation; visit to appeals court and Q&A session with a judge; and firsthand exposure to in-house counsel and their interaction with law firms. We are proud that several firm leaders started their careers as a summer associate at the firm.

Social media:
Recruitment website: www.gtlaw.com/careers/
LinkedIn: greenberg-traurig-llp
Instagram: @gt_law
Twitter: @GT_Law
Facebook: GreenbergTraurigLLP

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2022

Ranked Departments

    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Private Equity: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Immigration (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 5)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Appellate (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Product Liability (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
    • Immigration (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Energy & Natural Resources (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Life Sciences (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Public Finance (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Corporate/Commercial (Band 1)
    • Gaming & Licensing (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Life Sciences (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
    • Energy: State Regulatory & Wholesale Electric Market (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Immigration (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 5)
    • Litigation: Appellate (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 4)
    • Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 4)
    • Franchising (Band 3)
    • Gaming & Licensing (Band 1)
    • Healthcare: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Immigration (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Leisure & Hospitality (Band 2)
    • Life Sciences (Band 5)
    • Native American Law (Band 2)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Product Liability: Consumer Class Actions (Band 2)
    • Projects: Power & Renewables: Transactional (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • REITs (Band 5)
    • Retail (Band 1)
    • SPACs (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)