Polsinelli PC - The Inside View

This firm oozes Midwestern charm and will send pulse(nelli)s racing for aspiring attorneys with interests in healthcare, real estate, or financial services work.  

“We’re among the largest US-only law firms,” Polsinelli’s CEO Chase Simmons beams when we call him to check in. To get to this point, Polsinelli has completed quite a growth trajectory since its inception in Kansas City in the 70s: it now has 22 offices ‘coast to coast’ (as the website proclaims) and everywhere in between, from St. Louis to Dallas to Salt Lake City. You name a key US city, and Polsinelli will have a base there. Simmons goes on to explain that “our priorities are the healthcare, real estate, financial services and private equity sectors. We’ve built the firm around those areas and our lawyers work to further them.”  

“...it really is national and touches upon so many areas.” 

Kansas City remains the firm’s largest office and “having a Midwestern hub gives the firm a certain mindset that provides a work/life balance that the coastal firms just don’t have,” a junior told us. Another highlighted that “there are a few big firms in Kansas City, but Polsinelli is definitely the top one.”  Sources were drawn to “the firm’s wide breadth in the healthcare practice – it really is national and touches upon so many areas,” as well as Polsinelli’s “really special real estate department in Kansas City – I was aware of them in the market.” Interviewees also picked up on how that Midwestern appreciation of balance had impacted the firm’s attorneys: “When I met members of the team, no one had the Monday blues. They were all energetic and excited to meet and talk to people – no one was burned out!” With a collection of Chambers USA rankings across 13 states and nationwide recognition for its elite healthcare know-how, there’s plenty on offer for new associates to potentially explore. Polsinelli’s Midwestern bases in Kansas City and Chicago were home to the most associates on our list, but many of the firm’s other offices were also represented, so potential new starters have access to all corners of the USA! 

Strategy & Future  



“We’ve been ascendant over the last five to ten years,” says CEO Chase Simmons, “in terms of scale, profitability and the services that we provide. That’s a part of our identity and we’ll continue to be entrepreneurial – we won’t be resting on our laurels.” Simmons adds that “over the foreseeable future, we’re not going to decide that one of those industries that we’ve so heavily invested in is a bad bet – we're not going to undertake a huge strategic course correction.”

“We’ve had really nice increases in profitability this year,” adds Simmons, “and that has allowed us to continue opening new offices and to prepare for an upcoming recession. If you’re thinking about joining a firm, you want to join one that has the wherewithal to not be distracted from its business plan if the economy wobbles a bit.”

IP associate, Blake Ronnebaum adds, "Part of our continued success has been our willingness and ability to adapt, and the intellectual property department is a perfect example. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and with the more recent rise in the prevalence of artificial intelligence, our clients have been constantly innovating to overcome today’s challenges and those we may see in the near future. We rose with them to meet those challenges." In anticipation of client needs, the firm recently launched an ITC Section 337 litigation and trade remedies practice group.

The Work  



The following practice groups held the most juniors on our list: real estate; healthcare; technology transactions & data privacy; corporate and transactional; and commercial litigation. When it comes to work assignment, most practices require associates to fill out a weekly report to flag their availability. “A lot of the time we get our work through a combination of the shareholders [Polsinelli’s term for partners] reaching out to us, and if we’re slow, we can reach back out to them,” an associate told us. Many also found that “much of the work comes quite organically through the people who you typically work with.” 

Healthcare is one of Polsinelli's star practice groups, and like a star, it has five points of interest: healthcare alignment and organization; healthcare operations; public policy; healthcare litigation and disputes; and FDA law. Those in the litigation subgroup did note that “there’s a lot of overlap work with the other areas.” We were told that the practice overall has seen an increase in demand from the pandemic onwards, which was appreciated by our sources: “I love the work we did and continue to do after the pandemic, as it’s very rewarding.” Another explained that “we typically work with healthcare systems as opposed to pharmaceutical companies. In litigation we handle a lot of false claims and fraud cases, but we also have a big reimbursement practice and oversee investigations.” Those in healthcare operations highlighted how they were “doing the due diligence to make sure a client’s policies and procedures were all in place before a transaction went through.” Other tasks for healthcare associates included overseeing the collection and production of documents in a litigation; assisting with depositions; and conducting research for motions. 

Healthcare clients: Physician Partners, Foresight Mental Health, Georgia Hospital Association. Represented Physician Partners as healthcare regulatory counsel during its process to secure a $500 million private equity investment from Kinderhook.

Another huge player for Polsinelli is real estate. Sources had worked for developers of restaurants and student housing blocks, as well as for clients in the healthcare space. “There’s a large range of retail work here, too,” an interviewee pointed out. “We do a lot of leasing work, which requires you to do quite a bit of drafting, as well as liaising between the two sides, issue spotting, and alerting the client to any issues found,” another junior spelled out for us. “This job can be really fun, as the firm lets you build those relationships with clients and have direct contact with them!” Chambers USA especially praises the department’s work for both lenders and developers, and in areas such as finance, land use, and acquisitions. Our interviewees believed that “the experience we have in so many different real estate markets makes us valuable to our clients and allows us to go deeper in the services we offer.”  

Real estate clients: Homefield, Platform Ventures, Flint Development. Acted for Sunflower Redevelopment in relation to a $4 billion battery production facility in Kansas that will meet the demand from the uptake of electric vehicles.  

For those with a penchant for techy work, Polsinelli’s technology transactions & data privacy practice will be the one for you. We were told that clients have longstanding relationships with the firm’s shareholders and reach out for support whenever incidents occur: “It could be that a box of papers that contains sensitive information has been blown away, or a large ransomware situation that threatens to shut down companies.” For associates, “the day-to-day involves helping clients in crisis: you can be coordinating the response effort and orchestrating all the teams and communications that need to be involved.” Juniors had been “drafting opinion letters to clients, conducting phone calls and keeping lots of plates spinning!” There was much love for this practice, with this interviewee enthusing that “they support your niche interests and don’t mold you into a template. Plus, the granularity here is incredible: we’re conducting 50 to 100-point analyses compared to a standard three-step analysis approach used elsewhere.” 

Technology clients: Motif FoodWorks, HuggingFace, Fishtech Group. Represented food tech company Motif FoodWorks during a variety of licensing, joint development, and tech transactions to develop and commercialize plant-based foods. 

Career Development  



The firm recently launched its ‘Polsinelli Path’ program, which has been designed to help junior associates navigate their careers alongside the complexities of real life. Chase Simmons gives us the lowdown: “It provides a combination of two things that I think are particularly important to people. One is compensation certainty, and the other is enhanced mentoring and career planning resources.” The program gives associates the chance to pair up with a senior figure at the firm and explore their expectations for the future (both in terms of career and life in general). Together, this charged duo come up with ‘Path Plans’ with feedback and suggestions to take associates to the next step. Our sources were optimistic that this “official tool will provide clear guidelines and allow shareholders to keep us on track – it’s scarily exciting!”  

“I’ve got so much out of being dropped onto deals and running them with shareholders.” 

The Polsinelli Path program kicks in during the fourth year, but there’s support on hand for more junior associates in the meantime. We were told that Polsinelli is hot on career development from year one: “From the get-go the firm flies you out to Kansas City, where they put you up in a nice hotel close to the office and spend time talking about the firm and what it stands for.” Newbies are also matched with mentors (ideally a shareholder); can complete CLEs (Continued Legal Education sessions); and purchase memberships for the likes of the American Bar Association along the way. Interactions with shareholders and clients were identified as the best accelerators for career development. “You can attend many formal training sessions, but I’ve got so much out of being dropped onto deals and running them with shareholders who are always open to help,” a junior commented.   

Culture  



“It's a large firm with a family feel,” a source noted, before shrewdly observing that “in a lot of families you have the stern parent figure, as well as a cool bro or sis who shows you the ropes and at Polsinelli it’s just the same!” (We should add that any stern figures were viewed as helpful instead of punitive!) A lot of the firm's cultural traits were felt to be derived from its Kansas City origins. “The Midwest in general is different from the East and West Coasts, as there’s just more of a neighborly focus on being supportive and building good relationships,” an interviewee felt. This influence was attributed to shoring up a good work/life balance at the firm: “I can be a parent and a lawyer at the same time. I don’t need to make any sacrifices,” a junior was pleased to say, adding: “Shareholders also have families, and they make it known that their evenings and weekends are for their personal lives.”  

“The firm prides itself on emitting an entrepreneurial spirit at all levels.” 

Polsinelli’s wholesome family feel doesn’t stop it from encouraging associates to step out of their comfort zones. “The firm prides itself on emitting an entrepreneurial spirit at all levels,” said one interviewee. Another appreciated the firm's encouragement of individual interests: “Polsinelli encourages experimentation. A shareholder noticed I had an interest in tech and instead of stifling me, they let me write an article on hacking straight away. That helped to make me a specialist who people come to for support.”  

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 



Interviewees were quick to tell us that Polsinelli is “very open about the steps it’s taking to provide an inclusive environment.” While inclusivity was praised, sources did want to see overall representation at the firm increase: “It’s good at associate level, but when you look at the senior ranks it hasn’t transferred, so the firm is focusing on retention.” Others did highlight that the representation of women (particularly in the healthcare group) was a positive shift in the right direction: “We have a decent number of female shareholders in my practice group, especially for Kansas City.”  

“...associates are paired up with a shareholder who provides guidance and is willing to bat for you.” 

Another factor that was spoken of fondly was Polsinelli’s affinity groups (or resource groups as the firm dubs them). “We have a women's empowerment committee, where associates are paired up with a shareholder who provides guidance and is willing to bat for you,” an interviewee enthused. Other resource groups mentioned were those devoted to LGBTQ+, African American, Asian Pacific American, and Latin attorneys. These groups “hold events and present on topics so we can learn,” an associate told us. There’s a lot of fun and celebration thrown into the mix, too. For example, “during Hispanic culture week, there was an event with Hispanic music and food where we all came together to celebrate. It was great!” an insider enthused, giving us a serious dose of FOMO.  

Hours & Compensation  



Billable hours: 1,900 hours  

The 1,900-hour requirement for a merit-based bonus was viewed as “doable” and “at the sweet spot where it's just achievable enough to hit that number.” Sources were keen to tell us that “there’s no pressure to meet those hours or go above and beyond,” with “sustainability the key factor here – during the pandemic the firm did not cut associate pay and shareholders took a cut to ensure no one was suspended.” When it came to compensation, interviewees felt it was “generally comparable to surrounding firms and is pitched at a level that allows us to have some work/life balance.” 

“I don’t have shareholders emailing me at midnight!” 

Our sources had been routinely working from 8am to 6pm and looking to bill between seven and nine hours a day, “depending on what is going on and what you can get involved with.” Many found their hours to be “pretty steady – I don’t have shareholders emailing me at midnight! I work weekends very rarely, which is great because weekends allow me to rest and recharge.” One thing that is “consistent across the firm is this: if you do good work and hit your hours during the week, there’s no need to work at the weekend.” Polsinelli has a hybrid working setup, “but there’s no formal policy – you just discuss when you’re coming into the office with the individuals you’re working with.” We also heard that the firm does encourage people to come in to maintain a sense of community.

Pro Bono 



Associates can count up to 50 hours of pro bono toward their billing target. If juniors exceed this limit, “you can ask a practice group leader to sign off on it and I have never heard of that being denied before,” an interviewee confirmed. There is a pro bono coordinator in every office, who can supply associates with an array of opportunities. “There is a lot of community involvement,” a source noted, with the Kansas City and Chicago offices praised for providing local matters with healthcare and real estate elements. 

Other sources had partnered with local organizations to assist on family matters and conducted virtual advisory sessions for those seeking guidance through legal aid clinics. “We’ve also done some work with social justice organizations,” a proud source told us. We heard that the overall attitude to doing pro bono is positive, with those who undertake the most receiving “a show horse ribbon that you put outside your office – people are very proud of them!” That’s an excellent way to get people giddying up to take on pro bono work in our opinion. 

Pro bono hours  

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

Get Hired  



OCIs and Callbacks 

Polsinelli participates in OCIs at over 30 universities across the country. Members of the firm’s Strategic Recruiting and Hiring Committee and university alumni who practice at Polsinelli all conduct interviews; the number of interviews depends on how many applications the firm receives, ranging from one to 20 interviews per OCI event.  

The firm also attends a number of diversity-driven careers fairs, including the Southeastern Minority Job Fair, the Hispanic National Bar Association Job Fair and the Cook County Bar Association Minority Job Fair.  

Those who make it to the callback stage complete a 30-minute virtual interview with partners and associates.  

Clerks are hired on a case-by-case basis.  

Top tips: “Demonstrate superior academic credentials; strong work ethic; and exceptional writing and analytical skills,” an insider at the firm told us, adding: “We look for demonstrated leadership ability in prior work and academic experience, and well-rounded, personable individuals who are self-motivated and confident in their abilities.”  

Summer program 

Offers 2023: 89  

Summer associates will work alongside associates and partners for ten weeks across different practice areas. Students get involved in all sorts of tasks, like drafting motions, examining data to help formulate strategies for clients and analyzing the probable outcome of cases.  

There are multiple social events and training sessions to increase networking opportunities: “The goal of our summer associate program is to encourage students to drive initiatives, cultivate relationships and to provide first-hand law firm experience,” a representative of the firm told us. It’s worth noting that Polsinelli has a high return rate when it comes to summers joining as full-time associates. 

 

Polsinelli PC

Main areas of work:



  Finance Health Care Intellectual Property Labor & Employment Litigation Real Estate Corporate & Transactional

Firm profile:



  Polsinelli is an Am Law 100 firm with more than 1,000 attorneys in 22 offices nationwide. Recognized as one of the top firms for excellent client service and client relationships, Polsinelli is committed to meeting our clients’ expectations of what a law firm should be. Our attorneys provide value through practical legal counsel infused with business insight, offering comprehensive corporate, transactional, litigation and regulatory services with a focus on health care, real estate, finance, technology, private equity and life sciences.

Recruitment



 

Summer associate profile:



  Polsinelli’s summer associate program provides law students an opportunity to work alongside associates and shareholders for ten weeks. Roles and responsibilities of a summer associate include, but are not limited to, drafting a variety of legal documents such as motions, memos and organizational documents; interpreting laws, rulings, and regulations; examining legal and other data to determine strategies for clients; and analyzing the probable outcomes of cases, negotiations and other legal transactions. Summer associates will gain exposure to a variety of practice areas and will participate in training programs designed specifically for their integration and professional enrichment. Additionally, summer associates will have the opportunity to meet attorneys from throughout the firm at social events. https://www.polsinelli.com/careers/summer-programs

Summer program components:



 

Social Media:



 Twitter: https://twitter.com/polsinelli Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PolsinelliPC Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/polsinelli_law/?hl=en Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/polsinelli/mycompany/

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 5)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 4)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Insurance (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Franchising (Band 4)
    • Healthcare: The Elite (Band 4)
    • International Trade: Intellectual Property (Section 337) (Band 4)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)