Jones Day - The Inside View

From one JD to the next: BigLaw heavyweight Jones Day is a one-stop shop for all your budding associate career goals.

Jones Day is a name that should ring bells for anyone interested in the mega deals and cases that the world of BigLaw can offer at the top end. This powerhouse is one of the world’s biggest firms in terms of size, revenue and coverage across the globe. Living up to its ‘One Firm Worldwide’ slogan, JD has over 2,100 lawyers in its 18 domestic offices and 22 further ones worldwide. This is all backed up by some serious legal expertise, as the firm’s whopping 102 Chambers USA and 111 Chambers Global accolades attest to.

“We’re shaping American jurisprudence and serving the biggest clients in the US.”

With its office just a stone’s throw away from DC's Capitol building, “we’re shaping American jurisprudence and serving the biggest clients in the US,” one associate boasted, with plenty of JD cases thrashed out before the US and state Supreme Courts. But don’t be mistaken in thinking that joining the firm has anything to do with your politics, as we were assured that JD recruiters are very much “looking at the competency of lawyers, not their views or politics – meeting clients’ needs is what matters here.” JD takes on newbies across all its offices nationwide, but its New York branch held the most associates on our list, followed by Cleveland, Chicago, and then DC.

The Work 

The vast majority of associates start off in the new lawyers group (NLG), except for a small handful who join directly through a clerkship. One junior described the NLG as a “year-long speed dating set up with different practice groups.” We were told that juniors are “not forced into any area – you can be discerning and pick what is interesting to you.” There’s lots of space to explore the larger groups like business litigation and financial markets, “but if you’re drawn toward more niche groups with smaller practices, they’re not going to take five associates on at the same time.” Still, juniors could pick between a handful to around ten groups to rotate through in that year. Other options to delve into include labor & employment, IP, and real estate. Some associates we spoke with took the whole year to decide which area they wanted to progress into, while others decided much sooner. Ultimately, associates revealed that there’s no specific recipe for success during this sampling year, as the firm “does a really good job at leaving it in associates’ hands to find and follow the type of work that they areinterested in.”

“Virtually every field of litigation is covered and serviced in some way by the group.”

Post NLG, the majority of associates end up in the business & tort litigation group, which certainly lives up to its acronym BATL (pronounced ‘battle’). One junior told us that “virtually every field of litigation is covered and serviced in some way by the group,” including consumer cases, and securities litigation to name a few. It’s worth noting there’s a separate global disputes group, which covers areas like international arbitration. As one put it: “The matters range from very straightforward, business-to-business contract disputes to complex toxic tort matters.” When it comes to clients, “we deal with local and reputable companies based around our local offices, all the way up to Fortune 500 companies.” Sources confirmed that the scope of the work is international, but there are some subgroups that handle more national matters.

Juniors are certainly kept on their toes in this department, as one source revealed: “I've done a fair amount of document review, as well as research and case management. I’ve participated and communicated with clients; helped to develop strategy in cases as part of an associate team; drafted outlines and motions for hearings and mediations; and I get to go to trial later this year!” Others spoke highly of their experience as “part of a trial team, where I got to serve as the lead associate all the way up to the summary judgments.” One source enthused that “you get given more and more responsibility as people become familiar with your work,” and reflected: “As it’s BigLaw, I feared that I would have to do a lot of menial document review, but that hasn’t been the case here. I've been able to get projects and do meaningful work from first drafts of motions to dismiss or sections of appellate briefs all the way up to expert reports.”

Business & tort litigation clients: Chevron, Experian, North American Coal Corporation. Argued on behalf of client North American Coal Corporation in the Supreme Court, leading to the reversal of a DC Circuit decision that gave the Environmental Protection Agency sweeping authority to transform the power sector to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

“It’s high-end work that is interesting and complex.”

The financial markets department held the second largest number of associates on our list. It contains various subgroups including banking and finance and capital markets. We heard that the typical clients are “big lenders,” but associates had also done “some borrower-side work for big funds.” One junior mentioned that the department has nurtured many longstanding connections with clients and explained that “we meet outside of work – there’s a very strong relationship with them!” 

This financial markets interviewee shed some light on what you can expect from the department: “I do a lot of title survey work – including title commitment and review surveys – and make sure everything looks good. I also do due diligence reviews and draft ancillaries like the smaller loan documents, but as a third-year I’ve just started putting together the initial drafts of agreements.” Sources frequently gave a big thumbs-up to the responsibility they’d received, with this insider explaining that they were “on a large portfolio loan that involved 100 properties across seven states, and I was directly in charge of five first-year attorneys.” They also mused that the work here “exceeded my expectations in terms of quality – I get to do the same work as my Chicago and New York colleagues. We get no lesser work in this office – it’s high-end work that is interesting and complex.”

TOP READ: Becoming a Lawyer in Financial Markets with Jones Day

Financial markets clients: Santander, JPMorgan Chase, Macy’s. Represented Avient Corporation during its $1.5 billion acquisition and financing of a Netherlands-headquartered protective materials business.

Career Development 

“There's been a big push to increase training in recent years,” a source noted. Part of this push was felt to be driven by JD’s “strong preference for promoting home-grown associates – they try to build you up and they are invested in us.” Formal training sessions were supported by “bullpen meetings, which take place on a biweekly basis with lawyers of varying seniorities. They provide us with the opportunity to ask questions and get some good advice,” a source enthused. We heard that JD also puts an emphasis on informal, on-the-job training: “They view the roles of the mid-levels, senior associates, and partners as teaching ones. There’s definitely an ethos to teach everyone that comes behind you.” The firm’s prominence in DC also comes in handy for picking up know-how: “We have people who have served across all levels of the DOJ and as federal judges. These people practice at the highest level of the profession, yet their doors are still open for any sort of advice.”

“They want partners to come up through the ranks and they recruit with the hope that people stick it out to make partner.”

Partnership isn’t always on the mind of a junior associate, but our interviewees were positive about their prospects on this front. We were told that “they want partners to come up through the ranks and they recruit with the hope that people stick it out to make partner.” Associates felt the pathway to the top was clear and typically takes about ten years to reach. One explained: “There's a bunch of different ingredients, but the track is somehow well defined. You know how long it will take and through the process of reviews they tell you what you excel at and what to improve on in that regard.”


Our interviewees and survey respondents were positive about the friendliness of people they’d worked with, which some attributed to JD’s Midwestern roots. One source was adamant that “it's not cutthroat in the least,” while another highlighted that “people ask me all the time if it’s scary with partners yelling at you – it’s just not like that and I have no reason to think that’s ever going to be the case!”

With so many offices in the mix, we weren’t surprised to hear that they have their own identities. One associate felt that the “NY and DC offices are more buttoned up than the Midwest ones. The Cleveland base is quite unique in that we work similar hours to other businesses here and we have a very social culture among the associates.” Cleveland associates highlighted a lively social schedule that included outings to Cleveland Guardians baseball and minor league hockey games, as well as monthly happy hours. Over in New York, camaraderie had been cultivated with a culinary twist thanks to “monthly free lunches – there's always a theme!”

The theme of family came up in many of our conversations, with a New York junior highlighting that “we know our colleagues’ families and our kids play with each other.” Another interviewee praised the firm’s “understanding that people don’t want to give their entire 24 hours to Jones Day,” which is great for those who want to devote more time to their family life. Ultimately, our sources felt the culture fed into the success of the firm, with one interviewee noting: “I think we are very practical and it’s part of what the clients come to us for. We are not going to nitpick on every issue, and that plays out in the culture here – I'm rarely irked by things, and people don’t hound me for anything!”

Hours & Compensation

Billable hours: 2,000 target

Our interviewees agreed that the hours were in line with what they expected when they joined the firm. “There's an understanding you're going to be busy,” an associate told us, “but it is easy to pass work on and you can pool associates on matters.” The overall feeling was that JD has “a culture where no one’s hounding you and that makes the difference here – you don’t feel like you're under a stress bubble.” Billing somewhere between 40 and 45 hours a week was deemed ideal, while billing beyond that does happen but isn’t a frequent occurrence: “I don’t often go above 50!” While there isn't a formal requirement to be in the office a certain number of days each week, the firm is “expecting a lot more facetime this year – they’re monitoring it.”

There is a firmwide target of 2,000 billable hours, but we were told it’s understood that fresh-faced juniors will probably bill less than that as they find their feet. The good news is that all nonbillable activities (like pro bono, DE&I, business development, and recruitment work) count toward the target. Our more established interviewees felt that hitting the target was attainable but did depend on market activity. For instance, an associate in the financial markets department explained: “I feel like we are in a recession, so work has been very slow at the moment, but there’s no email telling me my hours are low and nothing has been brought up in the reviews – there’s not strong pressure if you don’t hit it and no trouble.” Essentially, “the firm understands if it’s one or two bad years, but if it’s a long time and you don’t try to get hours then you’ll probably be pulled up on it.”

A topic that received mixed responses from our sources was the black box compensation model. JD doesn’t pay out bonuses but factors in an associate’s overall performance when allocating an annual merit-based compensation package (beyond the first year, which is lockstep at $225,000.) “Having a black box model can be weird in that you want to know if you’re getting paid what you should be, but the Cravath scale is available, so people can leave if they feel that they’re compensation is out of sync with it,” an associate reflected. Others felt that the merit-based system allowed them to potentially make more than they would’ve done elsewhere: “If I had been at a firm that tied a bonus to my hours then I would have been making less than I do here. The compensation is about the general standard of your performance, which is nice.” The firm explained it tries to give people as much information as possible.

Pro Bono 

For a few of our sources, JD’s standout pro bono initiative was the Laredo Project. This long-running project is run out of the eponymous Texas city on the Mexican border and deals with asylum and permanent residency cases into the US. One associate explained that “people across the firm have spent a significant amount of time down there – the firm puts substantial weight behind that program.” There are also lots of locally based pro bono matters to get stuck into and we were told about the DC office’s work with “a legal clinic for the homeless and a landlord/tenant resource center.” In Cleveland, there was an emphasis on providing the “right to counsel in housing matters,” while Chicago was another office with a focus on asylum and immigration work. In New York, associates highlighted their work on uncontested divorces. On the whole, sources told us that “the firm puts a lot of resources into pro bono: we have a firmwide pro bono partner and each office has a coordinator, which allows us to participate in legal aid clinics and accept pro bono clients. It’s special as you can see the difference that you can make to these clients’ lives.”

Pro bono hours

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

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

“We have tons of women who are admitted to partnership and positions of unique authority in the firm.”

When asked about diversity efforts, one junior noted that “we have a partner in our office who’s in charge of diversity, very approachable and makes an effort to publicize the cross-office committee.” This level of approachability set the tone for the firm’s affinity networks, which include the LGBTQ+, Black lawyers and women lawyers' groups to name a few. We learned that “people know about the affinity groups and the different events they put on – they're more for celebrating different backgrounds and they are well attended.” Juniors were positive about the representation of women in the higher levels of the firm, with one telling us that “we have tons of women who are admitted to partnership and positions of unique authority in the firm.” However, when it came to minority groups, we were told that there is “room to grow,” with this associate mentioning that “we have a Black lawyers' group, but it only goes so far. Over the last few years, we’ve had a few Black women promoted to the partnership, but diversity at the top could be better.”

Mentorship and sponsorship: ensuring diverse talent can succeed

On the recruitment front, JD announced its new diversity scholarship and fellowship program in collaboration with the University of Minnesota law school at the end of 2022. It offers a full-tuition scholarship for all three years of study at the University of Minnesota Law School and the opportunity to work at Jones Day as a 1L and 2L summer associate with the potential of staying on as a full-time associate.

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus  

OCI applicants interviewed:  2,024   

Jones Day recruits on campus at about 45 law schools and 24 job fairs. The number of students seen varies depending on the size of the law school. “We cast a wide net to various law schools to capture the best and brightest students and find our future leaders from all regions and all backgrounds,” explains hiring partner Sharyl Reisman.  

The interviews are conducted by teams of partners and associates from across the US offices. “There are no mandatory topics or questions, and questions are not based upon a particular formula,” Reisman explains. Rather, the firm is looking to gain an understanding of candidates, as well as “indications of leadership and commitment.” Reisman continues: “We use our interviews to try to identify those things, get a sense of the student’s passion and commitment to various activities, causes and organizations, and to really get a sense of the person as a person.”  

Top tips at this stage:  

“I always recommend that students try to learn as much about us – our culture, our programs, our structure, and specifically, why we are different. The Jones Day Careers website is a great start and rich with information.” – hiring partner, Sharyl Reisman.  


Applicants invited to second stage interview:  786 

Successful candidates are invited to callbacks, which consist of individual interviews with a mix of partners and associates (usually four to six lawyers). The interviews generally last 20-30 minutes. At this stage, interviewers are looking to see whether candidates “share our commitment to our clients and client service,” as well as commitment to the firm and its culture. “Our questions combined with what we can see of the candidate's past experience are intended to elicit this information,” says Reisman. Naturally, the firm is also curious as to what it is about Jones Day that has attracted the candidate: “The answer is pretty revealing with respect to what the student has done to research the firm.”  

Top tips at this stage:  

“A candidate catches my attention during the callback interview when she demonstrates by her questions and comments that she has read (or listened to videos/podcasts) about what makes Jones Day different. If she articulates two or three of these differentiators, I’m inclined to think she has researched and understands our culture and is sincere in her interest in Jones Day.” – hiring partner Sharyl Reisman.   

Summer program  

Offers:  335  


The summer program at Jones Day ties into its famed New Lawyers Group: “Summer associates don’t rotate through practices; instead there are a variety of assignments available, and students can steer themselves to the areas they want to try.” There is usually a work assigner to offer assignments across the practices. The tasks summers get involved in allow them to hone their research and writing skills, while practical trainings cover things like how to take a deposition or how to prepare documents for transactions. Each summer associate is also assigned a partner and an associate mentor.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“Get yourself exposed to as much of the firm as you can and get involved in as much as you can. Don’t treat it as an eight or ten-week program, but as a process of getting to know the people and place.” – hiring partner Sharyl Reisman

Jones Day

51 Louisiana Ave., N.W.,
Washington, DC,
D.C. 20001-2113

Firm profile
Jones Day is a global law firm with 2,400 lawyers in 40 offices across five continents. The Firm is distinguished by: a singular tradition of client service; the mutual commitment to, and the seamless collaboration of, a true partnership; formidable legal talent across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions; and shared professional values that focus on client needs.

Main areas of work
Jones Day’s practices cover the spectrum of transactional, litigation, regulatory and tax matters. Core practice areas include corporate/M&A, litigation/trial practice, government regulation, real estate, energy, healthcare, cybersecurity, issues and appeals, banking/finance, bankruptcy/restructuring, labor and employment, securities litigation, financial institutions, antitrust, tax and intellectual property.

Law Schools attended for OCIs in 2022:
Benjamin N. Cardozo, Boston College, Boston University, Case Western, Chicago, Cleveland – Marshall, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Florida, Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia State, Harvard, Houston, Howard, Illinois, Iowa, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, New York University, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pennsylvania, Penn State University Park, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Santa Clara, SMU, Stanford, Texas, Texas A&M, UC Berkeley, UC Hastings, UC Irvine, UCLA, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Yale

Recruitment outside of OCIs in 2022:
Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, Boston College / Boston University Job Fair (NY), Boston Lawyers Group Diversity Job Fair, BYU Early Interview Program (Dallas), U Conn. Off-Campus Interview Program (Boston), Cook County Bar Assn. Minority Law Student Job Fair, Cornell / NY Job Fair, Emory in NY Interview Program, George Washington Regional Interview Program (NY), Lavender Law Career Fair, Loyola Patent Interview Program, Midwest-California-Georgia Consortium (Chicago), Minnesota Minority Recruitment Conference, New York Interview Program, Notre Dame in Dallas Interview Program, Penn Regional Interview Program (Texas), Southeastern IP Job Fair, Southeastern Minority Job Fair, The Law Consortium Regional Interview Program (Chicago), Tulane Interview Program, UTexas On Tour NY Job Fair, Vanderbilt Walk Around Job Fair (Chicago), Vanderbilt Walk Around Job Fair (Dallas)

Summer associate profile
Jones Day provides unlimited opportunities for talented lawyers, not only within the Firm but in boardrooms and courtrooms worldwide. Participation as a summer associate is the best entryway to these opportunities. Our dedication to training and the relatively small size of the summer/new lawyer programs enable us to staff matters leanly, providing summer associates and junior lawyers with substantive and meaningful experiences on cutting-edge legal matters. Because of the Firm’s structure and supportive and collaborative environment, summer associates and junior lawyers also have vast resources at their disposal, not least of which is the Firm's deep and well-regarded bench of 2,400+ practitioners across the globe. In addition, summer associates join in pro bono projects and community service work with organizations both inside and outside the law to address pressing social issues, including social and racial injustice, human trafficking, asylum, clemency, domestic violence and veterans’ affairs, to name a few.

Social media:

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Construction (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Litigation (Band 5)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment: Transactional (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 4)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 2)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Antitrust: Cartel (Band 3)
    • Appellate Law (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Investment Grade Debt: Issuer Counsel (Band 4)
    • Construction (Band 2)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Derivatives (Band 4)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 4)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 4)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Broker Dealer (Compliance & Enforcement) (Band 4)
    • Healthcare: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • International Arbitration: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Political Law (Band 5)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts: Mid-Market (Band 3)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Product Liability: Tobacco (Band 1)
    • Projects: PPP (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Retail: Corporate & Transactional (Band 1)
    • Securities: Regulation: Enforcement (Band 4)
    • Tax: Controversy (Band 5)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 4)