It’s a breath of Mintz-y fresh air to hear about a firm that’s balanced growth with being chill.
Mintz has been on a growth spurt in recent years, which has seen it jump ten places in AmLaw’s rankings and launch in Miami, where tech and finance work is thriving. The move makes sense for Bostonian Mintz, which is no stranger to advising a whole host of biotech and private equity clients. “We are a market leader in life sciences, with about 30% of our business being life sciences-related,” says managing partner Bob Bodian. Mintz is indeed placed in Chambers USA’s highest tier for life sciences work in Boston, alongside areas like healthcare, energy, construction, and bankruptcy and restructuring. In New York, the firm’s white-collar crime and government investigations expertise stands out, while in the California offices Mintz’s patent prosecution practice comes to the fore. All in all, Mintz has a good showing of domestic bases across the East and West Coasts.
“Mintz has a really solid reputation in Boston, which was evident in law school and in the professional community.”
As one junior explained: “Mintz offers the best of both worlds in that it’s a BigLaw firm with all the resources and opportunities you could imagine, but also a small-firm feel with a friendly culture.” Another flagged that “Mintz has a really solid reputation in Boston, which was evident in law school and in the professional community. It’s regarded as a place with great clients, interesting work, market compensation, and a relaxed culture.” Interviewees insisted that the emphasis on a relaxed environment wasn’t an empty one: “Firms sell themselves on their cultures and it’s hard to figure out the truth, but in Mintz’s case it actually is a chill firm!”
Most juniors had joined either the corporate or litigation departments, while Boston and New York were the most common destinations for associates to be based in. At the time of interviews, both of the aforementioned departments operated on a hybrid work-allocation system (between free market and formal allocation). But, sources noted, “it looks like they’re shifting to a centralized system in some practices and making an active push to make sure partners go to the work coordinator first – they want at least 70% of the work going through the coordinator.” Both corporate and litigation juniors start their careers as generalists, which was a popular set-up for our interviewees, who wanted freedom to explore different areas.
“I’m involved in trial strategy, exhibits, everything.”
This source gave us a handy overview of the litigation department: “It’s mostly commercial litigation, but there’s also a lot of white-collar work and some construction cases. We represent lots of life sciences, pharma, and biotech companies.” This interviewee added that “we’re big enough to have some really large clients, but not so big that we don’t have more humble shops on the books.” What about the tasks? “Don’t get me wrong, at first, you’ll pay your dues, and you’ll do doc review and discovery, but as a second year, it phases out.” More advanced responsibility “depends on the case: on one matter it’s just a partner and me, and I’m involved in trial strategy, exhibits, everything. But on larger cases I’m doing more research and the initial drafts on motions.” However, even on the bigger cases, interviewees felt “there are opportunities, and I would encourage juniors to take on as much as they can in their teams.”
Litigation clients: Boston University, Genzyme Corporation, Harvard BioSciences. Represented Genzyme Corporation in a product liability case that centered on the company’s osteoarthritis drug.
“...the big underwriters and tier one and two banks.”
“You can pick and choose what you want,” said one corporate associate who told us about the range of midmarket M&A, venture capital, and capital markets work up for grabs. “We doing everything from series A to E funding rounds to the point where a company is exiting with an IPO,” an interviewee told us, while another added that capital markets clients include “the big underwriters and tier one and two banks.” In the venture capital space, “there’s so much life sciences work, and one of the best things is that we don’t over-hire, which means you get to do higher-level tasks. You’ll do due diligence, but you’ll also be talking to clients and leading the projects on smaller VC deals.” Interviewees did feel that the best work they got was from “forming relationships with partners – that's where the substantive work is for me and where it feels like I’m practicing law, as opposed to doing mostly project management and sending emails.”
Corporate clients: eBay, PayPal, Myriad Genetics. Represented Azenta Life Sciences during the sale of its semiconductor solutions business to a private equity firm for $3 billion.
Hours & Compensation
Billable hours: 2,000 target
Associates must hit the 2,000 billables mark to get an hours-based bonus: 1,850 must be from standard client billable work and up to 150 can be comprised of pro bono, DE&I, mentoring, and recruiting activities. “I would say about half of associates hit their bonus target,” a source estimated. “The firm doesn’t pay market rate bonuses and people aren’t here to make a bunch of money.” Another agreed that “Mintz is an ideal place for someone who wants to maintain a life and doesn’t want to feel that constant sense of pressure. Mintz might not have the bonus compensation of bigger firms, but you’re losing $10K and gaining so much more in terms of lifestyle.” What’s more, Mintz does pay market rate base compensation and offers discretionary bonuses that aren’t hours-related and are based on an associate’s overall performance.
“...you can take vacation if you want to and no one is going to make you feel bad!”
As a result, Mintz is a firm where “the hours are a bit lower and you can take vacation if you want to and no one is going to make you feel bad!” This source did emphasize that Mintz shouldn’t be seen as a “lifestyle firm, but it’s also the kind of firm where people don’t have your cellphone number and there’s a clear distinction between work and your personal life. If you work late, people will check in with you to make sure you’re okay. It’s woven into the culture and I love it.”
On that note, interviewees went on to add that Mintz’s culture is marked by “a lot of respect – people show respect and expect to be treated in the same way. It’s a not a competitive, cutthroat environment, and there’s an emphasis on lifting each other up.” Some sources mentioned needing to take time off at certain points for personal reasons: “They told me to take as much time as I needed. If you need more time, the senior associates will help you out, unless there’s a really inflexible deadline.” Another interviewee commented that “in my old firm you needed a really good excuse to get a day off. Here they respected it and told me, ‘You don’t need to tell us all this detail.’” In 2022, the firm expanded its compassionate leave policy to include time off for non-medical reasons and losses, such as miscarriages and failed adoptions. “This is a prime example of caring for our colleagues in the workplace. The dollar cost of having this policy in place isn’t material, but having happy, satisfied colleagues is. You can’t really measure that,” managing partner Bob Bodian tells us.
“...people are genuinely friends with their co-workers.”
“It’s a PG-13 firm,” a source joked, “in that there’s no pressure to go out and drink and it’s not really what the firm is about. It’s not a party firm.” Their colleague agreed and highlighted that “people are genuinely friends with their co-workers, but it’s not the case that we spend lots of time together outside of work, which is nice!” As a result, associates can expect more lunch events than nights out, we heard.
“Social justice is in our firm’s DNA and is echoed in our very active pro bono practice,” managing partner Bob Bodian explains. An associate added: “We have a very active pro bono practice and Sue Finegan [Mintz’s chair of the pro bono committee] is very well respected.” Check out Sue Finegan’s bio on the Mintz website for more details of her work, but a couple of examples include helping to defeat Trump’s first immigration travel ban and getting a restraining order law for sexual assault survivors passed.
“There’s a social obligation and Mintz is sincere about it.”
In 2023, Mintz launched an abortion hotline in partnership with several other firms and organizations to provide legal advice and resources to callers in response to the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision last year. Asylum and immigration cases were common among our interviewees, who spoke highly of the firm’s approach to pro bono. “It feels really valuable,” one junior explained. “There’s a social obligation and Mintz is sincere about it.” Another underlined that “everyone here does it and there are some really cool cases.”
Pro bono hours
- For all (US) attorneys: undisclosed
- Average per (US) attorney: undisclosed
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
“Our associate classes are extremely diverse, but like anyone you have to be skeptical until that translates to the upper echelons,” a source pointed out. Others were quick to tell us that “they’re making a big push with diversity initiatives and I would say we’re a bit more diverse than other firms out there.” Mintz’s MIATTY affinity group for minority attorneys came in for particular praise: “It’s one of my favorite things about the firm and we have a retreat for attorneys of color every year, usually on the East Coast.” The firm has made a pledge to achieve a 50% increase in its representation of Black attorneys and is also participating in the Mansfield Certification process for the first time in the 2022-2023 period.
“I have a great mentor and we meet once a month.”
We received mixed feedback on the formal mentoring program at Mintz. Every associate is assigned a mentor (usually a mid-level associate to begin with), but the setup was described as a “choose your own adventure” approach. This worked for some interviewees, with one remarking: “I have a great mentor and we meet once a month.” For others, the overall assessment was that “mentoring is a weak spot, as the official mentors are quite loosely monitored. There’s too much pressure on us to initiate it and after a mentor has canceled a few times in a row, you stop reaching out.” This junior did say that “we’re given a budget and encouraged to meet once a month, but I think there are some people who aren’t happy because the onus is on the mentee to make it work – if you’re not as confident or proactive it can be more difficult.” However, an associate did raise the point that “we do have a business development team who give us presentations on how to build our network, as well as practice leaders who oversee everyone’s workloads, so there’s a lot of support out there.”
Strategy & Future
"We are always operating with a view to meet the needs of our clients and sometimes those needs begin to concentrate in a particular jurisdiction," managing partner Bob Bodian tells us. "This year, we are opening offices in both Toronto and Miami, hiring preeminent practitioners who align with our practice focus and who share our dedication to client service."
Commenting on the economic climate, Bodian says that “obviously, economic uncertainty is on everyone’s mind. The slowdown in the capital markets is impacting law firms and clients alike. We remain as trusted counsel to our clients and are focused on providing value to them as they are weathering some rough waters."
OCI applicants interviewed: 8
Interviewees outside OCI: 187
Mintz attends OCIs at five universities, including a mix of top national law schools such as Harvard, Georgetown, and UVA, and regionals such as Boston College Law School and Boston University School of Law. Outside of this the firm participates in resume drops, and hopefuls can also send in applications directly to the firm.
Hiring sources tell us that interviewers “look for curious, collaborative, collegial students.” Questions vary by interviewer, but overall “we aim to find prospective associates who share the same passion for the law as our lawyers do.”
Top tips for this stage:
“Someone who gave the sense that they were out for themselves would have a hard time getting a good rating!”– A junior associate
“Think about what you want to convey to an interviewer without scripting the answers. Take the time to learn about the firm – including our people and practice areas.”
Applicants invited to second stage interview: 116
Candidates invited to callbacks will interview with four lawyers – again, questions vary person to person. But hiring sources said that interviewers will be interested in a candidate’s interest in the law, their other interests, accomplishments and “how would you like to be challenged!”
A junior associated went into more detail: “At the end of each interview, there is an evaluation process with about five or six questions like, ‘Is the candidate a team leader? Would you feel comfortable having them meet with clients?’ Naturally, the questions we ask in interview help candidates provide answers to those questions.”
Top tips for this stage:
“Focus on being able to make a personal connection. Go beyond just answering questions on what’s on or not on your resume.” – A second-year junior associate
“Similarly, to OCI, students should be prepared. We aim to have an interactive discussion on your future at our firm.”
In Mintz’s nine-week program, summers choose a practice area of interest (Corporate, Litigation, or Intellectual Property) and are immersed in that practice area for the duration of the program. Training sessions throughout the summer include a Corporate “Nuts and Bolts” training, a moot court for Litigation Summers, and writing seminars and mentors for the full class. Social events are dotted throughout the program “so our lawyers and students have an opportunity to get to know each other outside of the office.” The firm tells us summers typically return as first-year associates in the practice area in which they worked during the summer.
Top tips for this stage:
“Be enthusiastic; do great work; get to know people; always carry a pen and notepad!”
Interview with Mintz’s Bob Bodian
Chambers Associate: The firm has been steadily climbing up the AmLaw rankings in the last few years and has announced plans to open a new office in Miami, how would you describe the firm’s current market position?
Bob Bodian: I would say that we’re a national firm, driven by collaboration and client service. We have a strong middle-market private equity practice. We are a market leader in life sciences, with about 30% of our business being life sciences-related. We are well-known in certain top-tier industries, such as energy, technology, healthcare and financial services.
CA: What are the plans for the future?
BB: We are always operating with a view to meet the needs of our clients and sometimes those needs begin to concentrate in particular jurisdiction. This year, we are opening offices in both Toronto and Miami, hiring preeminent practitioners who align with our practice focus and who share our dedication to client service.
CA: Do you think it will be possible to maintain the firm’s culture for work-life balance amid such growth?
BB: I think we are a good example of how law firms don’t have to sacrifice their culture for growth’s sake. In fact, I just spoke to our newly elevated partners and one of the main points that I made to them was that it’s very important for them to be aware of their mental health. I shared my own example of when I was coming up through my career that I pushed hard to balance my life inside the workplace and outside as a father to my kids. I encouraged them to coach little league and soccer teams (much like I did when I was a younger attorney). As a leader, it is very important to me that we all look after ourselves and each other.
One of our associates proposed our newly adopted compassionate leave policy. This is a prime example of caring for our colleagues in the workplace. The dollar cost of having this policy in place isn’t material, but having happy, satisfied colleagues is. You can’t really measure that.
CA: The firm has championed social justice issues long before it was a popular buzzphrase, and recently launched an abortion hotline, where does that drive come from? Any other projects planned in the future?
BB: The firm was started by a group of lawyers in 1933 who had social justice in mind from the very beginning. At the time, Jewish lawyers at White Shoe firms never stood a chance of making partner. Social justice is in our firm’s DNA and is echoed in our very active pro bono practice. We have blazed a trail in the legal market in many ways. Decades ago, we were the first firm to offer insurance for same-sex partners. We are also one of the first firms to offer compassionate leave to women who have lost a baby. We gave everyone a day off to vote during the 2020 Presidential election and plan to do so again in 2024. We have extensive diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives underway to continue building a better environment in our profession.
CA: What would you say is the greatest challenge facing the legal market generally?
BB: Obviously, economic uncertainty is on everyone’s mind. The slowdown in the capital markets is impacting law firms and clients alike. We remain as trusted counsel to our clients and are focused on providing value to them as they are weathering some rough waters.
One Financial Center,
Main areas of work
Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Georgetown University Law, Harvard Law School, University of Virginia School of Law
Recruitment outside OCIs:
Job Fairs: BLG (Boston Lawyers Group), Loyola Patent Law Interview Program
Summer associate profile:
Mintz hires students who seek a highly personalized summer experience for our Summer Associate program. Our Summer Associates select a practice area of interest (Corporate, Litigation, or Intellectual Property) and are immersed in that practice area for the duration of the program. In 2023, we will host first-year students in our Summer Associate program as Richard Mintz Diversity Fellows and Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 1L Scholars. All 1Ls in our program are paired with a Mintz client to gain exposure to in-house legal work.
Summer program components:
Summer Associates work on an array of matters, often staffed on cases or deal teams, where they can gain real, hands-on experience working side by side with our lawyers. Our small class size, coupled with our Member and Associate mentorship program, allows students a broad range of opportunities and experience, customized to their individual goals and interests. After spending nine weeks at the firm, our Summer Associates know our lawyers, understand what we do, and are ready to hit the ground running after law school.
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023
- Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 2)
California: San Diego
- Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
- Real Estate (Band 4)
District of Columbia
- Healthcare (Band 2)
- Insurance: Insurer (Band 2)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
- Capital Markets (Band 2)
- Construction (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
- Energy & Natural Resources (Band 1)
- Environment (Band 2)
- Healthcare (Band 1)
- Immigration (Band 1)
- Insurance (Band 1)
- Intellectual Property (Band 4)
- Life Sciences (Band 2)
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
- Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
- Public Finance (Band 1)
- Real Estate (Band 3)
- Technology (Band 3)
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
- Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 4)
- Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
- Litigation: Securities (Band 5)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
- Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 5)
USA - Nationwide
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
- E-Discovery & Information Governance (Band 4)
- Healthcare: The Elite (Band 4)
- Immigration (Band 4)
- Life Sciences (Band 4)
- Retail (Band 4)
- Sports Law (Band 4)
- Startups & Emerging Companies (Band 4)