An ever-increasing revenue has kept this Boston-headquartered outfit in Mintz condition – and it's anticipating further growth.
“IT'S very much a Boston institution,” was a common first response from juniors when asked to describe Mintz. “We're a go-to firm in the market here because of our strong ties to the city.” And Mintz has got the financial results to prove it, as managing member Bob Bodian explains: “We followed our best year ever in fiscal 2016 with our best year ever in fiscal 2017. Over those two years our revenue grew by 23% and profits grew by over 20%. We are now in the middle of our 2018 fiscal year and we are on pace to do even better than last year.”
Mintz associates were therefore eager to tell us that the firm has reached “a key moment in its development because of the amazing growth we've witnessed.” Sources partly pinned this success on Mintz having “developed its expertise in midmarket transactions, especially in the life sciences space. The Boston office is really tech focused as we have so many startup companies in the city, and we've homed in on that to drive our growth.”
“We're growing, we're getting busier, and we're doing more work for some of our bigger clients.”
Bodian tells us that life sciences and healthcare work is what Mintz is “nationally known for,” but also flags energy, technology, telecommunications and private equity as key areas. In terms of thriving practices, “our corporate groups are really strong right now – especially M&A and capital markets – but so is our litigation practice. We have been hiring laterals into our busy practice areas.” We should add here that not all of Mintz's fine legal expertise is concentrated in Boston: the firm has six domestic offices across California, DC and Connecticut, and one overseas base in London. The bulk of Mintz's Chambers USA rankings are clustered in Massachusetts, but the firm receives nationwide affirmation for its healthcare and life sciences work.
Strategy & Future
“We are going to stay in our geographic footprint, and we will maintain our industry focuses,” Bodian confirms. Mintz will be getting bigger, however: “We are going to keep hiring high-quality laterals. We will become more leveraged, so the ratio of associates to partners will increase. There will be more associates, but the class sizes will not be like they are at big New York firms. We are growing, we are getting busier, and we are doing more work for some of our bigger clients. The associates are really busy, so we need more of them.”
At the time of our calls, Mintz's corporate, litigation and IP practices took on the majority of its second and third-year juniors; a handful could be found dotted between its public finance, real estate, health law, employment and antitrust groups. Each group has an assignment partner “to help you out if you're a little bit slow,” but overall “there's definitely more of a free-market system: you'll reach out to partners or they'll pick you personally based on your experience.”
In corporate, the team “helps to form a lot of startup companies, primarily in the life sciences and tech industries.” This involves working with “local entrepreneurs who wouldn't typically come to a BigLaw firm, so it's cool that we get to advise them on their relationships with big investors.” Outside of emerging companies and venture capital work, matters cover “a mix of everything – securities, public offerings, M&A and licensing.” Capital markets deals were singled out for being “staffed leanly: I'm putting together lots of closing documents and I helped with the drafting process for the primary agreements.” M&A transactions, meanwhile, were deemed “fun, as you get to see how all the different levers work and where you can negotiate.”
“...it's cool that we get to advise them on their relationships with big investors.”
Litigation associates “get pulled in on all kinds of things – we're working on contract disputes, property cases, some trademark and copyright matters. It's a broad spectrum and I really enjoy having that diversity.” Because of this array of work, “we definitely don't specialize straight away – you're encouraged to take on different types of cases.” Juniors can expect to do some doc review and “a ton of research,” but also get a crack at “drafting briefs, preparing for depositions, analyzing evidence and drafting correspondence to clients.” When it comes to case strategy, “the seniors want to hear what we think; one of the partners says, 'If you can prove me wrong, I love that!' They want to know what holes their opponent in the courtroom will poke in their theories.”
Training & Feedback
A weeklong 'Base Camp' program welcomes juniors to the firm. It brings them all together in the Boston HQ for “high-level training in everything: the doc review system, available technology resources, etc…” Juniors praised the level of detail it contains: “It's almost overwhelming! But fortunately they give you loads of printouts to keep.” This is followed by “periodic training sessions” throughout the year, which are typically held over lunch. Those in corporate were particularly impressed: “They cover everything – we had a guy come in to teach us about basic accounting practices, but we've also had overviews of statutes and gone through different forms.”
All newcomers are paired up with mentors (typically a senior associate). “We have full confidentiality with our mentors so you can speak freely and not worry about it having an impact on future reviews. The firm gives us a budget every month to have lunch with them.”
Once associates bill 1,850 hours of standard client work, all the pro bono hours they've accrued can count toward the firm's 2,000 target for a bonus. Most juniors agreed that a proactive approach is required: “It's really up to you to follow your interests and actively seek out opportunities.” Those who are feeling particularly active can call upon Mintz's dedicated pro bono chair, who “will link you up.”
“...we receive training on how to do it.”
While Mintz lets its associates decide whether they have time for pro bono, we still heard that “people generally have pro bono matters on the go and take them as seriously as paying client assignments.” In addition, “the firm does encourage it and we receive training on how to do it during the Base Camp program.” Mintz's Domestic Violence Project is a key avenue for pro bono work, but we also heard of “a ton of opportunities” that spanned political asylum cases, protective orders for victims of sexual abuse, custody battles, veterans' matters and 'incubator' advice sessions for startup companies.
Pro bono hours
- For all US attorneys: 14,598
- Average per US attorney: 30
Offices & Culture
Almost two thirds of the juniors on our list were housed in the Boston HQ; the remaining third were split between the San Diego, New York and DC offices.The hot topic for Boston associates was the upcoming renovation of the office. “We're downsizing so the idea is to make the space feel more open – we'll be having glass walls put in, for example.” Some juniors were a little worried at the thought of losing their current view onto the world via their office window. Bodian tells us: “Everyone will have their own office, but my expectation is that associates will have interior offices for the first few years at the firm.” Still, the renovations sound pretty snazzy: “We're doing a floor-to-ceiling gut renovation, and all of our systems will be updated,” Bodian adds.
Bostonians frequently described the culture in terms of how collaborative it is: “It's one of the reasons I came to Mintz. Everyone helps each other, and I can go into anyone's office to ask how we're approaching something and why we're doing it that way.” Juniors often felt that their efforts were recognized: “Often the partner who's in charge of the group will send out an email on a Friday to thank the team for all the work they've put in – it goes a long way to making you feel appreciated and noticed.” That appreciation can take a financial form too, as Bodian reveals: “Because we had such a strong financial year, we increased the bonus pool. We took half a million dollars and gave it to our staff, totally apart from our regular staff bonuses, and we added $200,000 to the discretionary bonus pool for our lawyers.”
Hours & Compensation
On average, juniors across the offices got in between 9am and 10am, and left between 6pm and 8pm. Many then log back on for a few hours when they get home. Over in litigation, filing deadlines can mean a week of 10pm exits, while corporate juniors also experience “midnight finishes a few days in a row” when certain deals close.
A bonus is granted to associates if they bill 2,000 hours in a year. The amount they subsequently receive is not solely “based on hours – your performance reviews also play a part." For newcomers the bonus policy is bittersweet: “Because of the way Mintz's fiscal year runs, you're not eligible for a bonus the first year that you're here. However, that means that you don't have to worry about hours, which takes the stress off a bit.” Others added: “The bonuses for juniors fall in line with the market, but as you get more senior they fall below.” There were also mixed opinions on how achievable Mintz's 2,000 hours bonus target is, with corporate juniors in particular concerned: “It's so hit and miss with the type of work we do.”
This junior put it quite bluntly: “They've done a good job – I don't look out at a sea of white faces.” Many of our other interviewees agreed, and highlighted some of the initiatives Mintz has put in place, including its sponsored 1L summer position for a diverse candidate and its various affinity groups. The LGBT group “isn't huge, but we have a decent number of partners and associates involved across the offices. We organize both social mixer events and volunteer activities with local LGBT nonprofits.”
Mintz's women's initiative organizes a well-being week every fall and our female sources felt that there's “a supportive environment for women: our affinity group recently held a meeting across the firm via videoconference – every single person introduced themselves and we discussed what we can do to help one another's careers.” The firm also recently increased its primary caregiver parental leave period to a fully-paid 18 weeks. Also of note is the firm's overarching minority affinity group (MIATTY), which hosts an annual retreat in a different Mintz office each year: “All minorities firmwide are invited and it lasts for two days – we talk about how we're going to address issues and move forward.”
Interview with Boston-based hiring partner Bret Leone-Quick
At Mintz, each office handles its own recruiting. We spoke to the hiring partner at the Boston HQ, Bret Leone-Quick, to get the low-down on what Mintz's recruiters are looking for…
Chambers Associate: What's the scope of your recruitment drive?
Bret Leone-Quick: We do standard on-campus recruiting at several Boston-area law schools. We also branch out to Columbia, UPenn and Georgetown. We're broadening our footprint to meet students through a variety of channels. Top school candidates are interested in coming to Boston. There's a lot of biotech, life sciences and healthcare in this market.
CA: How many summers do you take on each year?
BLQ: It's an exciting time for us. We've had two consecutive years of great revenue, profit growth and work, so the firm is experiencing healthy growth! We're keeping the summer class the same size for now (traditionally that's been nine to 12 students a year here in Boston), but we're going to increase the channels that we use to fill that class. Our San Diego office also recruits two to three associates from schools in California.
It's part of our model: we hire a small class even though we're a big firm, and even though other firms our size have double or triple our class size. We're picking people that we want to be a partner here one day. We want them to spend their whole career here; we want to invest heavily in these young lawyers and move them along at Mintz. If they want to switch office or practice area, we're going to see if there is a way to accommodate that. We want to have them with us completely for their whole career.
CA: Can you tell us a bit about your diversity scholarship?
BLQ: It's called the Richard Mintz Summer Associate Diversity Scholarship – it's named in memory of a partner in the firm who was the son of one of our founders. He worked here for over 60 years and was a huge advocate for a lot of social causes, including diversity. He passed away a few years ago, and we named the scholarship after him. It goes to a 2L student from a diverse background, who also receives a scholarship toward their law school costs. It's a great way to build relationships with diverse candidates.
CA: What else do you do to encourage diversity in recruiting?
BLQ: It's something we always focus on. We are a founding member of the Boston Lawyers Group, an organization whose mission it is to identify, recruit, advance and retain attorneys of color in the Boston market. We also sponsor events for affinity groups at law schools, spend time with the students we meet, and try to build mentoring relationships with them. A lot of diverse attorneys come here because they formed a bond with a Mintz lawyer on campus through one of our outreach initiatives.
The pipeline of diverse candidates we've seen during callbacks has been more robust than ever. It's really encouraging, so we feel we're doing the right things to engage with candidates during the hiring process. When you have a healthy pipeline it’s encouraging. The most recent summer class was the most diverse one we've ever had, with 85% of the class being women and 64% of color. Our efforts have paid dividends and everyone is really happy with that. We're not taking that for granted though: we're doubling our efforts to get on campus and to form those connections early. That's the best way of ensuring that you have a diverse class.
CA: What makes someone stand out at interview?
BLQ: We're really looking for a cultural fit. Almost all the candidates that we see will already check the box in terms of grades. We then look for people who share our core values and have the ability to adapt to work with a wide group of people and clients.
We therefore like people who are well rounded. People here work hard, but they are also well balanced and not unnecessarily intense about things. People here have a healthy perspective on life and work. Consequently we like candidates who have something else to bring to the table; they might have worked in the nonprofit sector, for example, or have accrued other professional and life experiences between college and law school. It tells us that they are becoming a lawyer for the right reasons – they've tried other things and they've decided on law.
CA: Can you briefly outline your summer program?
BLQ: We try to have a balance and there's no specific formula. We want folks to do a decent amount of work, but also to spend their time getting to know us socially; summers can expect to socialize with us over lunch, over coffee and during evening events. We feel both things are important. They come in and they create bonds that last a long time.
I came here 15 years ago and I'm still close to several of my summer classmates. We want to create that sense of camaraderie within each new summer class. I created connections during my summer so that when I started doing the work full-time the transition was seamless. That's the benefit.
In terms of work, we don't do strict rotations. Everything is individualized – that's the beauty of having around ten summer associates each year. One partner is in charge of allocating work. That person talks to summer associates about what they want to try out, but we also encourage them to take on assignments beyond that range so they can fully confirm what it is they want to do.
More on offices & culture
Over in the New York office – which can be found opposite Grand Central Station – juniors noticed the contrast between Mintz and the native New York firms: “It's a little more laid back. Obviously it's still a law firm so it's not too laid back, but everyone is very respectful of your personal life – there's no face time requirement and I'm not chained to my desk!” However, those in the San Diego office won the 'who's most relaxed?' competition: “The East Coast is a little more prim and proper; they wear full suits every day, but here we wear jeans. Clients arrive in board shorts sometimes – one partner even surfs before coming into the office!”
Also of note is the firm's overarching minority affinity group (MIATTY), which hosts an annual retreat in a different Mintz office each year: “All minorities firm-wide are invited and it lasts for two days – we talk about how we're going to address issues and move forward.”
Life in Mintz's IP practice
In IP, juniors tend to specialize early and choose between litigation and patent prosecution work. On the litigation side, our sources had worked on cases involving “big domestic tech companies with patented tech that a foreign entity is infringing and importing into the US. You're usually assigned a portion of the case, and in that portion you'll review discovery documents, create summaries for the team and devise questions to get new information.” Cases being heard in the district court come with a lot of responsibility: “Because there are so few of us we get high-level work early – I've second-chaired depositions, I've been on the front table during trials and I've prepped witnesses for cross-examinations. It's a little nerve-racking!”
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
One Financial Center,
- Head Office: Boston, MA
- Number of domestic offices: 7
- Number of international offices: 2
- Worldwiderevenue: $400m
- Partners (US): 239
- Associates (US): 219
- Main recruitment contact: Jennifer Carrion, (email@example.com)
- Hiring partner: Bret Leone-Quick
- Diversity officer: Tyrone Thomas
- Recruitment details
- Entry-level associates starting in 2018: 14
- Clerking policy: Yes (depending on the situation)
- Summers joining/anticipated 2018: 1Ls: 4, 2Ls: 12
- Summers joining/anticipated 2018 split by office: New York: 2, Boston: 11, San Diego: 3.
- Summer salary 2018: 1Ls and 2Ls: $3,461 bi-weekly
- Split summers offered? No
- Can summers spend time in overseas office? No
Main areas of work
Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Georgetown Law School, Harvard Law School, University of California Los Angeles School of Law, University of San Diego School of Law, UCLA School of Law, USC Gould School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Suffolk University Law School.
Recruitment outside OCIs:
Northeastern University School of Law – resume drop, Northeast BLSA Job Fair, Lavender Law Job Fair, and Boston Lawyers Group Job Fair.
Summer associate profile:
Mintz Levin’s summer associate program is an eagerly anticipated and vital program. Summer associates are encouraged to work on assignments from a variety of practice areas. They attend trials, depositions and negotiations. They participate in legal writing workshops, a transactional case study, and a mock trial. Each summer associate is assigned an associate mentor, a member mentor and a writing mentor. Mentors are available for questions, and they facilitate informal feedback on work projects. Through work assignments and social events, our attorneys strive to provide each summer associate with an opportunity to get to know what a career at Mintz has to offer.
Summer program components:
Mintz offers a summer associate program in their Boston and San Diego office. Summer associates are exposed to a variety of practice areas. This provides them with the opportunity to explore new and current interest areas.
This Firm's Rankings in
Chambers USA Guide 2017
District of Columbia
- Healthcare (Band 2)
- Banking & Finance: Public Finance (Band 1)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
- Environment (Band 1)
- Healthcare (Band 2)
- Insurance (Band 2)
- Intellectual Property Recognised Practitioner
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
- Real Estate (Band 3)
- Technology Recognised Practitioner
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
- Healthcare (Band 3)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
USA - Nationwide
- Capital Markets: Debt & Equity Recognised Practitioner
- Government: Political Law Recognised Practitioner
- Healthcare (Band 4)
- Life Sciences (Band 4)
- Retail Recognised Practitioner