Proskauer Rose LLP - The Inside View

Fancy tackling thorny legal issues for often-high-profile clients? Better sniff out what this Rose has to offer... 

U2. Daft Punk. Bob Marley. Put together a festival of Proskauer Rose’s clients and you’ll have a lineup to rival Coachella – but the firm’s practice is by no means confined to entertainment. PR has more Chambers USA rankings than Bono has sunglasses; it’s worth highlighting the strengths of the labor & employment practice, which scores a top nationwide ranking and earns plaudits in seven different states. “The labor department is well renowned,” junior associate sources agreed. “The level of clients… I don’t think I can get that anywhere else.” With the MLB, NHL and NFL on the books alongside Michael Bloomberg and MetLife, it’s easy to see where they’re coming from. 

The Proskauer Rose blooms in seven cities in the US and five overseas – most juniors can be found in the New York HQ, though BostonNew Orleans and Los Angeles also house a handful and a few work from Chicago or DC. Despite the firm’s niche specialisms, corporate is the most common destination for new arrivals – the department "hires more associates and tends to burn through them quicker than litigation.” Proskauer’s disputes group is another big chunk of the practice; labor, tax and real estate also regularly take juniors. Sources told us: “You rank the departments you want to be placed in before joining. Most people get their top choice.” (We heard that all incoming juniors get their first choice, so choose your top preference wisely...)

The Work  



Proskauer’s corporate practice encompasses asset management, bankruptcy, M&A, fundraising and debt work. Depending on the type of corporate subgroup and location, associates can slot into one client team which “handles anything that comes up for their assigned client.” Other juniors can get a more varied workload – there are staffing coordinators in New York and “if you’ve already worked with someone, they could reach back out to you.” Interviewees found that their days filled up with “due diligence, project management, drafting and handling client requests – there’s a lot of day to day management of funds regulatory compliance.” Fledgling attorneys felt comfortable spreading their wings: “I felt like I played a big part in deals. I was doing first drafts and no matter how much they were edited, they were used.” Basic filings make way for more advanced documents as associates build more experience. Sources in this department liked that “it’s more collaborative than other areas. You all want the documents to come through and the deal to happen and it’s great to see people come to the table with creative solutions.” 

Corporate clients: GIC, Empire State Realty Trust, Miami Marlins. Represented Discovery in a £300 million deal with the BBC to launch a global video streaming service. 

Labor & employment sources described their group as “a specialized litigation department covering human issues,” including a first draft pick sports practice. “Cases are relatable, enjoyable, exciting and even juicy – in an average day I might work for a huge, well-known client as well as smaller ones.” Once they’ve got comfortable, associates have some sway over what types of work they get to see. New Orleans is an anomaly as the team there acts exclusively on ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) litigation and transactional matters. Elsewhere, juniors got “different experiences depending on the clients that need our advice,” though there’s a staffing coordinator on hand to oversee associates’ availability. “Junior tasks are 60-70% research as well as contributing toward memos and submissions to the court, preparing for trial and helping draft motions,” we heard. “Even the partners don’t know all the answers – a lot of what we do doesn’t have an answer!” 

Labor clients: Emigrant Bank, National Hockey League, MetLife. Represented Major League Baseball in a discrimination case brought by umpire Angel Hernandez, who claimed he had not been promoted because he is Latino. 

“I felt like I played a big part in deals. I was doing first drafts and no matter how much they were edited, they were used.” 

Media and entertainment, antitrust, IP, white-collar, commercial disputes, product liability – the litigation department handles all this and more. Work in New York is dished out by a coordinator; in other offices it’s easier "to walk around and ask for tasks.” For juniors, “sitting at the bottom of the totem pole means having a little less control over your caseload. There’s some consideration of your interests but you can’t always get what you want.” Taking this Rolling Stones truism in their stride, sources threw themselves into substantive research assignments and cross-office deal management. “I've had to do document review but in the past year I've started doing more research, mostly dealing with the underlying issues of the case,” one told us. Another noted that they “hadn’t done much writing yet. I think that comes later” in associates’ careers. The firm's work for celebrity clients is largely litigation-based, but we rarely speak to juniors who are massively involved in it, so it probably shouldn't be top of your list as a reason for picking Proskauer Rose. 

Litigation clients: Johnson & Johnson, Sony Music, Hasbro. Acted for Daft Punk when singer Yasmin Mohamed brought a copyright infringement suit alleging the group’s collaboration with The Weeknd, ‘Starboy’, took her elements from her earlier track ‘Hooyo’. 

Career Development 



Of the 50 or so newcomers that join Proskauer each year, only a few will gun for a partnership spot, something the firm “is clear about. You’re told that the odds are you won’t make partner and won’t be here in X number of years.” That doesn’t mean partners take a defeatist attitude and juniors were pleased to see "they're looking to help everyone to improve. A rising tide raises all boats.” Extending a helping hand to associates with wanderlust, Proskauer will “help you go in-house if you want to. There’s a lot of support for the non-partner career track – I’ve read stories about firms pushing people out, but I’ve never seen any of that here.” One of the most common exit opportunities is an in-house role at one of Proskauer’s many sports clients. 

"They're looking to help everyone to improve. A rising tide raises all boats.” 

Every department has its own training program, which our insiders described as “pretty good. There could be more ongoing training but so long as you’re being challenged and learning, things are going well.” We heard that there are additional practice area trainings within departments, plus sojourns to Columbia University's business school for third through to sixth-year associates regardless of practice. Sowing the seeds for long-term growth, the firm pairs first-year Rosers with an associate as part of its formal mentoring program. After the first year, all associates are then assigned a partner mentor.

Diversity & Inclusion 



Associates from a diverse background receive support via the firm’s Mentoring Circle Program. “Because there isn’t that much diversity at the top levels, it’s about trying to figure out the missing link to help diverse candidates succeed,” an associate explained. The firm’s expertise in labor law extends to its own working practices, and implicit bias is “something we’re really conscious of. If there was any bias the firm would be on top of it.” Many of the juniors we spoke to mentioned completing Proskauer's firmwide and mandatory implicit bias training. Other diversity initiatives include the Proskauer Women’s Alliance and Silver Scholar Program – a scholarship award for diverse 1Ls and 2Ls including a summer associate position and up to $30,000. Many acknowledged that “promoting women and ethnic minority attorneys is needed” heading into the future. “Proskauer makes active efforts to hire diverse candidates, and I think we’re moving to get people to recognize and mitigate against any bias.” The firm does have a Women's Sponsorship Program, which was designed to assist high-performing mid-level female associates on their path to the partnership.

Hours & Pro Bono 



Billable hours: no requirement 

“It’s BigLaw. It’s not 9 to 5.” So said the Captain Obvious among our associate interviewees; others clarified that roughly ten- or twelve-hour days plus “working weekends, maybe 20-30% of the time” are standard at PR. Corporate sources felt their department was more demanding than litigation: “on weekends you’re not required to respond unless it’s urgent but during the week there’s a general expectation that you’re available.”  

“...politely bully you at every event to do pro bono work.” 

All attorneys at Proskauer are strongly encouraged to complete a minimum 50 hours of pro bono a year; those we spoke to said the firm “walks the walk” to back up the talk. “We have a dedicated pro bono partner in New York who will politely bully you at every event to do pro bono work. No one is getting fired for missing the minimum, but it’s strongly encouraged and counts toward your billables.” In fact, every hour of pro bono counts toward the target, with some taking full advantage and logging 200+ hours. Proskauer’s pro bono clients include refugees, domestic violence victims, veterans, low-income tenants, LGBT individuals and Holocaust survivors. In Boston the firm “has a program working with veterans to apply for a discharge upgrade,” while down in New Orleans there’s been a flurry of immigration cases – "mostly helping unaccompanied minors to avoid getting deported.”

Pro bono hours

  • For all (US) attorneys: 43,956
  • Average per (US) attorney: 64.9

Compensation & Culture



The firm matches the market in New YorkBoston, DC, Chicago and Los Angeles. Other offices have their own pay scales, which prompted some grumbles – at $137,500 the New Orleans starting salary is the lowest of the lot, “a point of contention here to say the least.” We heard that the firm “doesn’t like people jumping offices unless you’ve got a really good reason to,” but the firm also highlighted that any moves are decided on a case-by-case basis and take into account an associate's reasons and business need. Cost of living may be higher in the Big Apple, but juniors there had fewer complaints: “Everyone gets a bonus unless they've done something really egregious.” Bostonians were similarly pleased, especially as their office has a “different culture. We’re under the same hours expectations, but there’s more flexibility.” 

Juniors there described their office as “friendly and welcoming,” highlighting an annual family Halloween party “where everyone makes an effort to decorate their offices” as a highlight of the social calendar. Departments have their own trips out on the town, and the office itself hosts happy hours and “fairly frequent random pizza days.” Tasty. Associates in New Orleans, meanwhile, liked that “people here are probably a lot closer to each other than in some places. I feel like I’m involved in people’s lives here.” Hierarchy is kept as invisible as possible, leaving relationships “laid-back and professional. The partners are always there if you need them and PR New Orleans has a small firm feel with big firm resources.” Even in New York, the US capital city of scary lawyers, the mood at Proskauer is “really friendly. Everyone from partners to support staff chat in the elevators and there are always people there to support you if you have any questions.” 

“I have a suit and tie in my closet in case I need it, but I never wear it unless we’re with a client.” 

It all makes for a Rosey picture across Proskauer’s network, with a consensus view that the firm “tries to make sure that people are going to be happy here.” Associates also applauded the business-casual dress code and one told us they “have a suit and tie in my closet in case I need it, but I never wear it unless we’re with a client. There’s a genuinely laid-back atmosphere.” There's also a 'Casual for a Cause' Friday policy, which allows attorneys to get extra comfy with their attire if they've donated to a good cause that week. Relaxed dress rules aren’t the only morale booster: “People will check in on you if you’re feeling down, and I have great relationships with the partners. No one’s ever tried to put me down – when you make a mistake, they try to help in a constructive way.” Practicing law won’t be all smiles all the time, but the firm dishes out “cake once a month, which fixes a lot of ills!” 

Strategy & Future 



Chairman emeritus Joe Leccese tells us that Proskauer’s likely to grow within its existing territory rather than through office openings. “We’ll continue to develop in our four largest markets: New YorkBostonLos Angeles and London. In terms of practices, there’ll be further investment in the transactional side, especially in asset management, M&A, fundraising and debt work; and we’ll continue investing in our trial practice.” We asked Leccese for his vision for 2025; he suggests Proskauer will “look a lot like it does today. We try to make sure this is a human place to work and with the advance of tech and other competitive market forces, we want to invest in that human aspect.” New chairman Steven M. Ellis took the helm in early 2020.

“We’ll continue to develop in our four largest markets.” 

Get Hired



The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: Undisclosed

Interviewees outside OCI: Undisclosed

Proskauer Rose traditionally recruits from a wide range of OCIs and job fair, though write-in applications from outside the net are also accepted. While the firm does recruit from a wide range of schools, Proskauer’s hiring committee chair, Michael Mervis notes that “most of our summer class is drawn from schools that are ranked in the US News top 20.”

According to Mervis the firm interviews between 20 and 100 students per school, where interviews are “usually conducted by partners on the hiring committee and, whenever possible, alumni of the law school.” Mervis says interviewees should expect “questions that go beyond the resume. Our goal is to determine whether the person has characteristics and traits that have proven to be successful at the firm.”

Top tips for this stage:

“Let your personality show. On-campus interviews tend to be only 20 minutes long, so candidates who do well are those who convey a sense of who they are and why they are considering joining Proskauer.” – Michael Mervis, hiring committee chair.

Callbacks

Applicants invited to second stage interview: Undisclosed

If you make it back through to the callback phase, expect to do “a deeper dive into what was initially discussed at OCI,” Mervis says. Interviews are conducted by a combination of members of the hiring committee, partners, associates, and a member of the recruitment department. Mervis says that if a candidate “has expressed an interest in a specific department or practice area, we try and gauge the depth of her or his interest and learn about experiences she or he have had that might be helpful to the practice.”

Top tips for this stage:

“We recommend using the same approach for callbacks as we do for OCI interviews. Candidates should make sure they have done research on the firm and are prepared with thoughtful questions.” – Michael Mervis.

Summer program

Offers: Undisclosed

Acceptances: Undisclosed

Proskauer’s summer associates can “work in a number of departments and gain exposure through assignments, workshops and shadowing without the constraint of a formal rotation process,” Mervis says. Work is distributed either by the legal recruiting department or by one of Proskauer’s work coordinators.

Top tips for this stage:

“Treat the program like a real job (because it is). Be enthusiastic, on time and participate in the various aspects of the program. While the work is important, so are the other components. Participate in social events, be a good firm citizen and take every opportunity to get to know your colleagues.” – Michael Mervis.

And finally…

Mervis says “don’t wait until July/August to start getting to know firms. Your research should start in the spring semester of your 1L year. At the beginning of your job search, determine what firm characteristics are most important to you (e.g., practice, location, prestige, culture) and keep that in mind throughout the process, which we fully understand can be hectic and stressful.”

 

Proskauer Rose LLP

Eleven Times Square,
(Eighth Avenue & 41st Street),
New York,
NY 10036-8299
Website www.proskauer.com

  • Head Office: New York, NY
  • Number of domestic offices: 7
  • Number of international offices: 5
  • Worldwide revenue: $1,004,942,000
  • Partners (US): 226
  • Associates (US): 369
  • Contacts  
  • Main recruitment contact: Rachel L Kleiner
  • Hiring partner: Michael T Mervis & Frank A Saviano
  • Diversity officer: Peter Wilson, Jr.
  • Recruitment details 
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2020: 63
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  •  Summers joining/anticipated 2020: 1Ls: 7, 2Ls: 63, SEOs: 2
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2020 split by office: Boston: 17, Chicago: 2, LA: 7, New Orleans: 2, New York: 41 (not including 2 SEOs), Washington DC: 1
  • Summer salary 2020: 1Ls: $3,654/week (except Boca Raton and New Orleans)
  • 2Ls: $3,654/week (except Boca Raton and New Orleans)
  • Split summers offered? Case by case
  • Can summers spend time in an overseas office? No

Main areas of work



 Private equity; corporate finance and securities; mergers and acquisitions; capital markets; litigation, trials and dispute resolution; white collar defense and investigations; intellectual property; labor and employment; employee benefits and executive compensation; real estate; privacy and cybersecurity; bankruptcy and restructuring; and wealth management. The firm also has significant industry-focused experience across many fields, including asset management; health care; financial institutions; technology, media and telecommunications; private equity real estate; life sciences; sports; and media and entertainment.

Firm profile



 We are 725+ lawyers serving clients from 12 offices located in the leading financial and business centers in North and South America, Europe and Asia. The world’s leading organizations, companies and corporations choose us to be their representatives in their most critical situations. We work with alternative capital providers, major sports leagues, Fortune 500 companies, entertainment industry legends, many of the world’s most successful asset managers and other industry-redefining companies.

Recruitment



Law schools attending for OCIs in 2020:
Boston College, Boston University, Brooklyn, Cardozo, Columbia, Cornell, DePaul, Duke, Emory, Fordham, George Washington University, Georgetown, Harvard, Hofstra, Howard, Louisiana State, Loyola - Chicago, Loyola - New Orleans, New York University, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Stanford, Suffolk, Tulane, University of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles), University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Washington University in St Louis, Yale. If we do not visit your law school, or you are unable to participate in one of the many career fairs in which we participate, please submit your cover letter, resume and transcript directly to the recruiting mailbox of the office in which you are interested.

Summer associate profile:
We look for well-rounded students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership, community service, intellectual curiosity, maturity and strong motivation to succeed. Our environment is challenging, rewarding, entrepreneurial and inclusive. Associates receive early exposure to high levels of responsibility, so the people who thrive here are those who can engage with clients, have a sense of humor, and some worldliness.

Summer program components: Our summer program is designed to replicate, as closely as possible, the experience of being a lawyer at Proskauer. You will work on challenging matters alongside some of the top lawyers in the field while building relationships with your colleagues. You might find yourself attending a deposition, courtroom argument or administrative hearing. Or being at the table in a labor arbitration. You might help in the formation of companies or be part of a team handling a merger or acquisition. Every day of your time with us represents part of your training – as you work with experienced professionals on client matters and gain their real-time feedback and direction. You will also have the chance to up your game in key areas through partner-led, interactive training workshops throughout your summer. You will have many opportunities to join in social, cultural and recreational activities to get better acquainted with your fellow summers and lawyers at Proskauer.

Social media



Recruitment website: www.proskauer.com/careers/
Twitter: @proskauer
Facebook: proskauerlife
Instagram: @proskauer_rose
Linkedin: proskauer-rose-llp

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2020

Ranked Departments

    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 5)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Immigration (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 5)
    • Media & Entertainment: Corporate (Band 3)
    • Media & Entertainment: Litigation (Band 3)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 3)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 3)
    • Technology & Outsourcing (Band 2)
    • Advertising: Litigation (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • ERISA Litigation (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 4)
    • Investment Funds: Hedge Funds (Band 4)
    • Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 3)
    • Investment Funds: Registered Funds (Band 3)
    • Investment Funds: Venture Capital: Fund Formation (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Leisure & Hospitality (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • REITs (Band 4)
    • Sports Law (Band 1)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 5)