Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP - The Inside View

Variety is the spice of life at full-service Philly native Morgan Lewis, which offers summer associates a spread of global practices.

I wanted a firm with big clients with big issues,” one of our interviewees declared. And this Philadelphian native did not disappoint. “Because Morgan Lewis is a full-service firm, we have clients coming to us from every possible sector and all over the world,” another interviewee beamed. “In the past month I’ve worked with folks in the fast food industry, banking, and the medical research sector.”

The firm’s rankings from Chambers USA provide a nice snapshot of the variety on offer. It gets top national accolades in capital markets (securitization), corporate crime and investigations, corporate/M&A, nuclear energy, international trade (sanctions), investment funds, labor and employment, retail, and tax. Labor and employment is something of a standout area, with additional top regional rankings in DC, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Texas. For one of our interviewees, “the reputation alone sold me!” 

The firm also bags top region-level rankings in environment in California, immigration in DC, antitrust and hedge funds in Massachusetts, life sciences in New Jersey, bankruptcy in New York, healthcare in Texas, and white-collar crime in Washington. This gives you an impression not only of the spread of practices, but of the firm’s geographical reach too. Incoming associates are housed across 13 of the firm’s 18 US offices, with Philadelphia, New York, DC, Boston, and San Francisco taking in the bulk. The firm has 13 offices overseas.

“I’m able to pick their brains on all things law and life.”

In addition to quality work, our associate interviewees wanted a “personable” firm. From the offset, one interviewee found “the firm cared about mental health. When I was interviewed, my interviewer asked about my wellbeing through COVID.” This sort of openness was encouraging to other sources too, with one pointing to “regular coffee meetings with people where I’m able to pick their brains on all things law and life.”

Morgan Lewis is a Top 25 firm for Associate Satisfaction and a Top 10 firm for career development and pro bono in our 2023 survey.

Strategy & Future 

Firm chair Jami McKeon emphasizes the firm’s commitment to its status as a full-service operation. As opposed to the alternative approach of investing in a handful of practices, she says, “we went the other way and said, ‘Our focus is on our relationship with our clients being broad and deep – serving them in all of the needs that they have.’” She continues: “We kept our 15 practice groups, but focused on making each of them a best-in-class practice. That approach means that we attract clients who come to us because of, for example, our employee benefits group, or because of our antitrust group, but who then work with many of our practices across the firm.” 

The Work 

During the summer program, “they cared about my interests early on and it was clear I could change my mind if I didn’t know exactly what I wanted,”one reflected. Incoming associates are hired into specific practice areas when they join, however. Once settled as a full-time junior, we heard that work is organized in two ways. Firstly, assigning partners in offices distribute work and manage juniors’ workloads. Others found that they also got “repeat business” from partners who’d reached out for support at an earlier point. 

The corporate group has a broad range, which allows great opportunities to expand my learning,” one commented. The practice covers areas like M&A, capital markets and public companies, private equity, real estate, tech, and life sciences. In DC, associates enjoyed “a lot of broad fintech work,” given that one of the group co-leaders (Andrew Ray) is based there. When it came to daily life, our interviewees enthused about their level of responsibility, “because there isn’t an abundance of juniors! When it’s busy, you get lots of responsibilities.” The spectrum of work could be anywhere from “drafting reviews and SEC filings,” to “purchase agreements and writing small closings, with overviewfrom senior colleagues. One of our interviewees put it simply: “I love working in corporate. I love the work, the people always give a helping hand, and I have made great connections with my teams.”

Corporate clients: Apollo Global Management, Light Speed, Oracle. Acted for American Electric Power in a $2.6 billion agreement to sell its Kentucky utility operations.

“I’m constantly on calls with prosecutors and government attorneys!”

The litigation department is split into antitrust, white-collar, commercial and environmental disputes, securities and class actions. In line with the firm’s full-service status, there are industry-focused groups including tech, finance and health, and associates highlighted go-to people for insurance, IP and restructuring cases. “Some of my work is driven from Philadelphia-based partners, but it’s not limited to the Northeast Corridor,” one associate told us. They enjoyed “a nice mix” between local litigation and work that “spans across geographies, which is exciting.” One associate recalled, “in the first year, I was doing lots of research and drafting initial briefs or memos, and then, depending on the case, helping prepare depositions and doing document review.” The latter was all-important: “You really are tasked with knowing the details and keeping things organized. In big cases, there are so many documents, so finding good methods in keeping organized” is a must. “It’s not formulaic,” sources clarified. “Since you’re in the trenches, you have a good idea of what support to arguments we can make.” As they progressed, associates moved on to “managing teams of document reviewers.” One also spent a lot of time on “internal calls, discussing my matters and clients. And I’m constantly on calls with prosecutors and government attorneys!” On the odd occasion, junior associates got the chance to go to court.

Litigation clients: Exxon Mobil, HP, Toyota. Represented Johnson & Johnson in civil action brought by the Washington State Attorney General's Office alleging the pharma giant violated the Consumer Protection Act. 

Labor and employment newbies told us “as long as something involves employers and employees, we do it!” The labor side deals with union matters, while employment matters cover litigation such as ERISA matters, class actions (e.g. pension plan disputes), and single-plaintiff discrimination claims, covering “everything from sexual harassment, disability, age and race.” There’s also advisory work on compliance. For juniors, “the day-to-day is generally split between short-term research assignments and longer-term memoranda drafting or document review.” One recalled their own experience: “The firm needed somebody to draft 16 different forms that all employers needed to fill out” to comply with new rules in their state. Associates also got to “write emails for in-house HR clients on best practice in their situation.” On this note, “there are a handful of clients who email me directly,” one shared. “One client comes directly to me instead of partners, which is great!” As associates progressed, they saw “a lot more drafting” of documents likeposition statements.Incomers can expect to work across the firm’s network: “I’ve even travelled for work.” It’s not always go, go, go, as this source admitted: “I’m not doing as much if a senior associate is around – maybe less significant pleadings, discovery requests, and answers to complaints.” But all in all, “I love labor and employment!” one beamed. “The work is interesting as it’s always developing in the legal industry... it doesn’t stop!

Labor and employment clients: Amazon, Banana Republic, Swarovski, Boeing. 

Pro Bono 

With a 20-hour minimum requirement for all attorneys and no limit on the number of hours that can count toward the billable target, it was no surprise that everyone we spoke to had been involved in some kind of pro bono. “I don’t think Morgan Lewis emphasize their pro bono opportunities enough!” One declared, while another said, “there are loads of initiatives available and it's all heavy-impact stuff.”

Typical work for litigators includes immigration and asylum matters, workshops to help individuals with tax, or landlord disputes. Pro bono opportunities for those in more transactional groups can often be thinner on the ground in the world of BigLaw, but at Morgan Lewis, corporate associates reported aiding nonprofits with things like leases and drafting agreements. “The work is great for having the opportunity to run deals and get experience alongside billable work,” associates said.

Pro bono hours 

  • For all US attorneys: 91,135
  • Average per US attorney: 55

Hours & Compensation 

Billable hours: 1,900 target for bonus eligibility

There isn’t a billable requirement at Morgan Lewis, but if associates want to be bonus-eligible, they should aim for 1,900 hours. That said, our interviewees said they were encouraged to get to 2,000 hours, and reckoned billing around 2,100 was the average. Our interviewees agreed that their compensation and bonus matched the work they were doing.  

“People are encouraged to set boundaries that work for them.”

Our sources estimated they were working between seven and nine hours a day. “Sometimes work-life balance is sidelined when matters get busy,” they admitted, “but people are encouraged to set boundaries that work for them.” Our survey data showed that associates’ weekly hours were on par with the market.


Finding the right environment was the key to a great work life for this group. “It was incredibly important to me to look forward to doing my job with people I enjoy seeing every day, so it is so gratifying I chose right!” admitted one. Another pointed to the firm’s collaborative nature: “There's been many occasions where a few of us associates talk about challenges at work and how to support each other.” Associates highlighted Morgan Lewis’ focus on mental health, with one interviewee telling us that they “recently attended a mental health talk with professionals who focus on things like stress and anxiety.” 

The social aspect of the firm was another talking point. Our sources told us that “there are regular breakfast and lunch huddles,” while “the DC office has a great cafeteria for people to meet – and the food is really good!” We also heard the firm threw an ugly Christmas jumper party. “I was so impressed at how many people turned up and took it seriously!” Clearly, “the opportunities are there to be social and network,” but one associate confirmed “you aren’t expected to go to the bar every day.” The firm is “more social and less ‘party’ than others.” 

Career Development 

The firm’s formal mentorship program pairs new associates with an associate and partner mentor. According to associates, “the role for mentors is to have an active interest in making sure you’re getting the work you need and are hitting milestones.” Our interviewees reported “regular coffee meetings and check-ins” with their mentors. Before newcomers are matched up, everybody (including laterals) attends the New Lawyers Academy to get an introduction to firm life. Junior associates also get formal training relevant to their practice group, usually in the form of a one-hour session where a partner comes in to discuss things like trends in the marketplace. 

“The firm is always looking for more attorneys, but there’s still a lot of room for upward movement.”

In terms of progression, one interviewee was playing the long game: “I was looking for a place I can last long-term.” They described Morgan Lewis as a firm “that’s focused on lawyers with families and on developing and retaining their associates to spend a large part if not all of their career here.” McKeon underlines that “we want associates to feel that, whoever they are, they have an opportunity to succeed in our class of rising partners.” Most recently that was a group of 47 – “our largest we've ever had, and 55% of that class were diverse.” 

Associates were encouraged that “in the past, Morgan Lewis doesn’t lose people” in times of wider economic strife: “The firm is always looking for more attorneys, but there’s still a lot of room for upward movement.” About a third of the current junior cohort said they intended to make partner.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

When asked about efforts to promote inclusivity, sources felt that “Morgan Lewis is at the forefront in encouraging and pushing for diversity and inclusion.” One major factor behind this feeling was Jami McKeon’s leadership: “She has voiced that diversity and inclusivity is not optional – it is who we are, and it will only benefit us and the clients we work with.” 

Many of our interviewees were involved in one of the firm’s 12 affinity groups. These include: Asian American/Asian, Black, disability awareness, first generation, Hispanic/Latino, LBGTQ+, Middle Eastern/North African, parents, and veterans. One of the most talked about initiatives from our research was ML Women: “We have a lot of women, for sure,” an interviewee enthused, “so this group is important.

Get Hired

The First Stage: Recruitment On and Off Campus

  • OCI applicants interviewed in 2022: 1,491
  • Interviewees outside 2022 OCI: 132

Morgan Lewis takes part in on-campus interviews (OCI) at 45 law schools and numerous job fairs across the United States. We have valuable relationships with law schools that have exceptional and diverse student bodies and an abundant alumni presence at the firm.

Initial interviews are conducted by a partner and associate team that collectively represent the various offices and practices. These teams show potential recruits the relationship dynamic - both instructive and collegiate - between our partners and associates. Questions are aimed at identifying behaviors that align with the culture and values of Morgan Lewis. We are looking for students who exemplify exceptional client service, on-the-spot problem-solving, collaboration, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Insider Advice

“We know OCI can be stressful, and you meet with many firms! Do your research, show your interest, and be yourself to make a connection with the interviewers.” –Partner Jennifer Breen

The Second Stage: Callbacks

  • Applicants invited to second-stage interviews in 2022: 479

Successful candidates can expect to meet with a combination of partners, associates, and hiring committee members. If a student has expressed specific practice group interests prior to their meeting, we aim to select interviewers who can speak to that interest or practice, and we work to align our candidates’ interests with our hiring needs.

At this point, the meetings include behavioral interview questions based around core competencies used in our annual associate evaluations. This allows us to evaluate students’ future performance at the firm, while giving the students insight into what makes a successful Morgan Lewis associate. We also consider prior work experience and extracurricular, community, or volunteer activities as insight into what has driven a student to succeed, or their particular accomplishments or challenges.

Insider Advice

“Candidates stand out when they have concrete examples of instances throughout their education, and perhaps in previous careers, where they have demonstrated their ability to collaborate with others, a drive to succeed, and engage with their communities. It’s also nice to see candidates who are genuinely eager and enthusiastic about the prospect of working at our firm.” –Partner Jennifer Breen

Summer Associate Program

  • Offers made following 2022 program: 198 (2L)
  • Offers accepted in 2022: 82 (2L)

Morgan Lewis’ summer program runs for 10 weeks and kicks off with a firm-wide, multi-day gathering of summer associates, hiring partners, firm leaders, and select lawyers. Our program gives summer associates a clear sense of our firm’s culture, market-leading practices, and commitment to well-being, diversity and inclusion, mentorship, and pro bono.

In addition to providing interesting and challenging work assignments throughout the program, our Summer Academy curriculum includes a balance of practice training and broader professional skills and development training. We also build in many fun and engaging social activities so that summer associates can interact with our lawyers and with one another - relationships are key at Morgan Lewis.

Insider Advice

“Take advantage of the opportunities that come your way and be engaged. Try different assignments, and connect with attorneys and your fellow summer associates. The relationships you make and experiences you have will be invaluable as you start your legal career.” –Partner Jennifer Breen

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

1701 Market Street,
PA 19103-2921

Main areas of work

 We provide a dynamic range of services that fall into four broad categories: corporate, finance and investment management; intellectual property; labor, employment and benefits; and litigation, regulation and investigations. Our teams support clients across a range of industries, including energy, banking, investment funds, insurance, healthcare, life sciences, retail and ecommerce, sports, technology, education and transportation.

Firm profile

 Morgan Lewis is recognized for exceptional client service, legal innovation, and commitment to its communities. Our global depth reaches across North America, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East with the collaboration of over 2,000 lawyers and specialists, who provide elite legal services across industry sectors for multinational corporations and start-ups. A commitment to diversity and inclusion is one of our core values; it influences how we service clients, collaborate with colleagues, and recruit prospective lawyers. We are also committed to serving our communities through our award-winning pro bono practice. Every year, 100% of our lawyers record time to pro bono matters. And, for the past three years, 100% of attorneys have met our Pro Bono Challenge to record 20 or more hours to pro bono, however, our attorneys average closer to 60 pro bono hours a year. The firm also has both a Chief Engagement Office and Director of Well-being dedicated to the overall welfare of their employees and the legal industry.  


 Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2021:
American University, Boston College, Boston University, Catholic University, Columbia, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, George Washington, Harvard, Howard, Loyola-Chicago, New York University, Northeastern, Northwestern, Santa Clara, Stanford, Temple, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Hastings, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Houston, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of San Francisco, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Virginia, Villanova, Yale

Recruitment outside OCIs:
The firm participates in a number of diversity and practice-related job fairs.

Summer associate profile:
Highly motivated individuals from diverse backgrounds who have a record of outstanding academic achievement; superior writing and analytical skills; a commitment to community and client service; initiative; and an ability to succeed in a challenging, collaborative workplace.

Summer program components:
Our program provides summer associates a clear sense of our unique culture, market-leading practices and commitment to well-being, diversity and inclusion, pro bono and professional development through a variety of professional and social experiences. The program kicks off with a multiday gathering, bringing together summer associates from all offices with firm leaders, partners, and associates. Our Summer Academy training curriculum includes a balance of practice training as well as broader professional skills and development programming to hone skills, such as legal writing and presentation style. While at the firm, summer associates work on interesting and challenging client matters typically assigned to first-year associates. Amid the pandemic, the firm seamlessly pivoted to a virtual program, providing substantive training, challenging client work, and multiple social touchpoints with attorneys across all offices. A robust mentorship component of the summer program, including connections with partners on the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee and Affinity Groups, ensured summer associates felt linked to the firm while not being physically in the office. The training continues once associates join the firm full-time – we provide level-based, professional skills training series and multiday associate academies with a curriculum based on expectations for your class level. Associates can also expect benefits such as innovative flexible working arrangements, and a Return to Work program to provide support and hours assistance prior to and following an approved extended leave of absence.

Social media

Linkedin:Morgan Lewis
Facebook:Morgan Lewis
Instagram: @morganlewis_law

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 4)
    • Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 3)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 4)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory (Band 3)
    • Immigration (Band 1)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 1)
    • Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
    • Hedge & Mutual Funds (Band 1)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Life Sciences (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Life Sciences (Band 1)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
    • Outsourcing (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: ABS (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: RMBS (Band 1)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Derivatives (Band 4)
    • E-Discovery & Information Governance (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Energy Transition (Band 2)
    • Energy: Electricity (Finance) (Band 2)
    • Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 3)
    • Energy: Electricity (Transactional) (Band 3)
    • Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 1)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • ERISA Litigation (Band 1)
    • False Claims Act (Band 3)
    • FCPA (Band 5)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Banking (Compliance) (Band 5)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Broker Dealer (Compliance & Enforcement) (Band 2)
    • Healthcare: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Hedge Funds (Band 3)
    • Immigration (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 5)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337) (Band 5)
    • Investment Funds: Investor Representation (Band 1)
    • Investment Funds: Regulatory & Compliance (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Life Sciences: Regulatory/Compliance (Band 2)
    • Occupational Safety and Health (Band 1)
    • Outsourcing (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts: Mid-Market (Band 3)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Projects: Power (Band 2)
    • Projects: Power & Renewables: Transactional (Band 2)
    • Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy (Band 4)
    • Registered Funds (Band 2)
    • Retail (Band 1)
    • Retail: Corporate & Transactional (Band 2)
    • Securities: Litigation (Band 5)
    • Sports Law (Band 4)
    • Startups & Emerging Companies (Band 4)
    • Tax: Controversy (Band 2)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 3)
    • Technology (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)

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