Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP - The Inside View

Associates were adamant: "You can't go wrong if you go to Simpson."

"WE'VE had a very good year, with solid activity in most areas of practice," chairman Bill Dougherty tells us. "Relative to 2014 there was probably a little more variability; things slowed down and picked up in certain sectors during the course of the year." The firm was founded in New York in 1884, and today its associates feel that “there are few firms that offer strength in such a number of different areas.” A glance at Chambers USA's rankings show there are no firms better than Simpson nationally for banking & finance, capital markets, M&A, private equity, insurance dispute resolution, and securities litigation work. 

Despite this daunting reputation for excellence, associates we chatted to weren't intimidated. “When I came to Simpson, everyone would chat with me casually, and say hello in the elevator,” one junior reported. “The people here are all very nice.” Bill Dougherty says this isn't accidental, that Simpson's culture is consciously created: "We discourage competition among our associates. We want them to share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues, as we do at partner level." He adds that "we're really pleased with how our talent pool has developed since that’s where we get the bulk of our partners from."

The Work



Corporate associates comprised 60% of our interviewee list, while just over a quarter were litigators. The remaining few were spread between real estate, tax, and ECEB (executive compensation and employee benefits). (One apiece worked in'personal plan', serving individual and family clients, and 'exempt organizations', working with tax-exempt entities like charities.) Work assignment is a fairly formal process: across the board workflow is monitored through a centralized system. “I do a weekly call with our staffing coordinator,” one NYC corporate junior told us. “We go through every single assignment that I'm on and discuss whether I have the capacity for something new. They're always really willing to talk through what you’re doing – that's one of my favorite things about working here.”

"The rotation system obliges you to get that varied experience."

In litigation, “all associates are generalists, so you're assigned to all different types of matters.” This includes providing analysis and advice on antitrust issues, a FCPA case on foreign bribery allegations, and “we ran an internal investigation relating to an SEC subpoena over the misuse of corporate funds.” Interviewees reported getting “managerial experience” of the cases, as well as a fair amount of drafting for court documents. The clients are as diverse as the work: “I've worked for a pharmaceutical company, done an internal investigation for a media corporation, and one client was a multinational telecommunications company.” When it comes to antitrust, “most of our clients are private equity and other financial players.”

Corporate juniors begin their time at Simpson in a more structured way, rotating through three of the department's groups. Associates pick which groups they try (subject to availability), and after the third rotation they select which practice area they'd like to join full-time. “The firm is pretty good about honoring the attorney's choice.” There are four main groups: “People generally pick a combination of banking and credit, securities and capital markets, M&A, and fund formation – which involves working directly with the private equity group.” Other areas that associates can rotate through include real estate, public company advisory practice group, and ECEB. Associates loved this system. “I now realize how valuable it is,” one enthused, “Simpson is strong in lots of areas, and the rotation system obliges you to get that varied experience.”

"I interfaced with clients very frequently and ran a closing by myself.”

In the banking and credit group, interviewees described mostly private equity clients, as well as the odd public company. “I've done work on the financing of leveraged buyouts, and a new practice is pursuing and creating credit facilities for existing funds.” This translates into a lot of drafting of ancillary documents, as well as “helping with main documents on credit and merger agreements.” Those who had tried capital markets described being given “the opportunity to do some more high-level work – I interfaced with clients very frequently and ran a closing by myself.”

Training & Development



Although there is continued training at all levels, “it's more intensive during your first nine months or so. There's some kind of training once or twice a month” at least. These sessions can be both substantive legal training or more generalized topics such as “how to get assignments, how to be an effective attorney, and the best way to get feedback.” Litigators have deposition workshops, as well as training on topics like discovery and pleadings, while corporate newbies are introduced to various transactions.

"Everyone I've worked with is really interested in my learning."

Associates are assigned partner and associate mentors, although because “people at Simpson are natural mentors,” many juniors spoke of building their own mentor relationships more organically. “There are a lot of educators here, and everyone I’ve worked with is really interested in my learning,” one source commented. “Even if it's not at that moment, the senior associate will explain to me what's going on and how it fits into the whole deal.”

Offices



The firm's New York headquarters unsurprisingly receives the vast majority of new associates, who described its location as “very convenient; we're right across the street from Grand Central.” Juniors raved about the cafeteria: “It's actually one of the biggest selling points of the firm!” It sells a selection of hot and cold food, and the chefs “can make you whatever you want.” Then there are the legendary Simpson cookies, made fresh every day, and apparently “the best chocolate chip cookies in the whole of New York.” The office itself is currently being renovated: “They've gone with a much more modern look, with glass doors and windows.” Although a few sources had reservations about a lack of privacy in the new glassy environment, “it's not quite as exposing as I thought it would be – although it takes some getting used to.”

"They've gone with a much more modern look."

Over in Palo Alto – the second largest domestic office – the building is “very open; there's a lot of light.” There is a cafe and an on-site gym, although “most people use outside gyms, because this one is fairly small.” Much of the work in this office is (unsurprisingly given its location) technology-focused, while Asian clients and litigation are other particular focal points, “especially for securities work.”

Culture



Most of our interviewees agreed that their initial impression of Simpson's amiable culture was a big draw, but did the reality match up? “Yes, absolutely. Every single person I've worked with I'd like to work with again.” They felt Simpson's lack of billing target removed any potential competitiveness between associates. “There's no feeling that if your group is slow, you need to panic because another group is super busy,” one junior remarked, “so it gets rid of those office rivalries.” Another added: “Everyone understands that we're on the same side internally.”

"Sometimes I think people are too nice!"

We heard repeatedly that “everyone is incredibly respectful – from junior associates to senior partners.” Many noted that the culture sweetens the pill of long working hours: “I would get emails from the people I was working for, just saying 'Thank you. I know you were working late last night, but we really appreciate it.'” Some found that this general politeness was at times a bit too polite. “It's nice because you don't get people yelling or being rude, but I'm a very direct person, and sometimes I think people are too nice! They shy away from giving that constructive criticism.”

“This isn't really the place where everyone goes and grabs a drink on Friday after work,” one junior told us. “It's more 'finish work, go home.'” That's not to say people are antisocial, though: “It's not aggressively social in that there's a lot of pressure to go out, but there's always somebody to get a coffee or lunch with.” And many of our interviewees echoed the finding that “I have met people here who I now count as real friends.”

Hours & Compensation



Sources assured us that “on multiple occasions we've been told by partners that we really don't have to worry about how many hours we bill.” That said, as one junior highlighted, “Simpson is not a charity, so it would be silly to say that no attention is paid to hours billed.” Another guessed: “I would bet that 90% of the firm is between 1,800 and 2,200 hours for the year,” and 2,000 hours is the usual ballpark figure for BigLaw firms. The centralized assignment system helps to keep associates busy, and also means that “if the staffing partner asks why I'm slow, it's a very self-indicting thing to do, because it's his responsibility to get me staffed! It's therefore more a focus on 'are you busy, and will you be busy?' rather than 'give me a number.'”

"It would be silly to say that no attention is paid to hours billed.”

Associates generally work around ten hours a day, with weekend and late-night work during busy periods. Simpson has a lockstep system for salaries and bonuses, which our sources appreciated, as "when you base bonuses on billable hours targets, you start to lose quality work over quantity.”

Pro Bono



“There are far more pro bono opportunities at Simpson than you can take advantage of!” corporate juniors in New York reported, after working on U visas for women who have been victims of domestic violence, and volunteering for The Door, an organization that provides a host of services to runaway LGBT youths. “Simpson is partnered with them, so we go down once a week, three weeks every month.” The Big Apple office also has a legal clinic based in various Brooklyn high schools, which “works with parents, largely on immigration issues.”

"People routinely go above 100 hours of pro bono."

Litigators meanwhile spoke of working with Public Counsel – the largest nonprofit law firm in the USA – as well as offering advice to veterans, and working on immigration and domestic violence cases. Pro bono hours are counted toward billables one-for-one, and there's no limit. Having no billing requirement also means associates felt a lot more comfortable doing a lot of pro bono: "I'm not stressed that people will look at that number and question my billables.” As a result, “people routinely go above 100 hours per year."

Pro bono hours 

  • For all attorneys across all US offices: 44,773
  • Average per US attorney: 60

Diversity



Overall, the consensus was that “the firm does not feel incredibly diverse, but they are taking huge steps to try to change that.” There is a diversity committee for ethnic minorities and LGBT attorneys, as well as a women's initiative, which has “lean-in meetings once a month. We also have more informal get-togethers like drinks or lunches.” As far as LGBT diversity goes, one second-year spoke positively: “When I was a summer associate I knew a couple of LGBT people at the firm. Now I can easily think of three times as many LGBT attorneys.” This has made a huge difference, as now “lots of people show up to events; you don't feel like you're one of very few people.”

"Lots of people show up to events."

Interviewees felt that racial diversity needed work, however. One junior pointed out the difficulties of this: “It's often a chicken and an egg situation. If people don't see a lot of diversity, it's quite hard to convince them that we are diverse. I was more cynical before approaching from a recruiting perspective, and now I realize that it definitely is a priority.”

Get Hired



The academic requirements at Simpson are unsurprisingly “stringent,” although candidates need to demonstrate more than just academic intelligence. “We want individuals who are practical, who are commercial,” hiring partner Greg Grogan informs us, adding: “We're business lawyers, and our clients want a heavy dose of common sense.” At interview, therefore, “you should be able to hold a conversation with a stranger about topics that aren't on your resume.” Read more from hiring partners Greg Grogan, Lori Lesser and Elizabeth Cooper in the Bonus Features.

"Our clients want a heavy dose of common sense."

Strategy & Future



"We've had great momentum now for the last three years or so," chairman Bill Dougherty tells us. Any big plans for 2016? "There'll be points of emphasis. Notwithstanding low oil and gas prices, we're a big believer in our energy practice. We're seeing a lot of activity in healthcare. Technology has remained a critical area of focus throughout all of our offices, including those in Asia. Real estate is another group where we've seen tremendous activity." 

He also pointed out that "2016 is an election year, and there tends to be a bit more caution in the deal environment as you get closer to the election, so we'll see how that plays out." In addition, low oil prices mean that "there will continue to be dislocation in the energy market, but that tends to generate different types of activity."


White-shoe: the term that law firms love to hate



It's a phrase that denotes tradition, prestige and good-standing, so why are firms these days shying away from being described as 'white-shoe'? To give an example, Milbank's old tagline, 'White-shoe, redefined', was removed a couple of years ago, and our research here at Chambers Associate has shown us that many BigLaw firms are keen to disassociate themselves with the term. “That's a phrase that you don't hear much, if ever, any more,” Simpson Thacher's chairman, Bill Dougherty tells us. “You do hear talk of more or less traditional New York firms. I think we're traditional in the sense of having a fixed compensation scheme for all of our associates."

If we look at its origins, we get a clearer understanding of why many BigLaw firms are so careful to avoid the label. In the Oxford Dictionary, white-shoe is defined as “denoting a company, especially a bank or law firm, owned and run by members of the WASP elite, generally regarded as cautious and conservative.” The shoe reference more specifically is a nod to the white buckskin footwear that was fashionable among Ivy League college students in the 1940s and 1950s, many of whom went on to become the stars of the most famous law firms. The clue is in the name, then: the white shoe of the white patriarch, member of the upper-class conservative elite who's social standing was once (and arguably still is) an easy ticket to a high-paid, well-regarded job at a reputed establishment.

Little wonder that firms are trying to disassociate themselves from such connotations. White-shoe has, for many, come to mean the precise opposite of diverse, fresh, and lively – and all those other buzzwords that legal marketing teams love – and rather more synonymous with a dull, conservative attitude. But not all aspects of the term are negative; in many (often recent) cases, it has been used to categorize a firm of longstanding quality and prestige. “I do think that the phrase still gets used – but I don't think that people know what it means any more,” Milbank's chairman Scott Edelman explains. “I read an article recently which referred to Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as a white shoe firm – in the 80s it was anything but! It was known as the upstart across the tracks. People do still use the term, but it doesn't have a common meaning. The bottom line is that Milbank is not white shoe. We are an established, preeminent brand, but we are at the same time a youthful and energetic firm.”

A tricky phrase to define, then, and even more problematic to use. Firms want to be associated with prestige and quality, but not the stuffy 'old white man' image that white-shoe has come to signify – particularly when encouraging diversity is still one of the biggest challenges facing BigLaw today. Perhaps it's time to kick this misunderstood expression to the curb.

Interview with chairman Bill Dougherty



Chambers Associate: Are there any deals or cases from 2015 that really stand out for Simpson?

Bill Dougherty: We've had a very good year, with solid activity in most areas of practice. Relative to 2014 there was probably a little more variability; things slowed down and picked up in certain sectors during the course of the year. But it was a terrific year generally across all of our practice areas.

In corporate, we have had a huge number of important deals recently, such as representing Dell in its acquisition of EMC, a very large, complicated deal involving many different offices and practice areas. Our real estate practice has been incredibly busy; their biggest deal was representing Blackstone in its acquisition of $23 billion in assets from GE Capital. There's also been solid activity from many of our existing and new private equity clients; for example we represented Vista Equity Partners in connection with its $6.5 billion acquisition of Solera. And our fund formation practice had another stellar year.

Litigation remained very active. One highlight was a landmark decision in the New York Appellate Division dismissing claims relating to residential mortgage-backed securities.

In terms of our non-US offices, Asia's been solid, and London has grown meaningfully in the last number of years. We have a relatively small office in Sao Paulo, and while Brazil's had a difficult economic environment recently, we're very happy to be on the ground there.

CA: What's your vision for Simpson in 2016? Are there any areas you're looking to grow?

BD: We've had great momentum now for the last three years or so. Demand is obviously influenced by the macro economic environment and we can't control that, but we're pretty happy with the breadth of our practice and our geographic footprint, so I don't think we foresee any dramatic changes. There will be points of emphasis. Notwithstanding low oil and gas prices, we're a big believer in our energy practice. We're seeing a lot of activity in healthcare. Technology has remained a critical area of focus throughout all of our offices, including those in Asia. Real estate is another group where we've seen tremendous activity. So there won't be a dramatic shift in strategy; we just want to keep evolving and improving.

The increased activity we've seen over the last three years has really paid dividends in terms of developing our associate talent. They've gained great experience and we're really pleased with how our talent pool has developed since that’s where we get the bulk of our partners from.

CA: Any plans to open new offices? 

BD: I think we're comfortable at the moment. I never say never, but right now we're pretty pleased with the activity levels, and comfortable with our footprint.

CA: Are there any external events that have taken place during 2015 that have had an impact on Simpson's practice areas?

BD: M&A has been terrific, and it's been a record year industry-wide. We've garnered our share of that activity, so that's very fortunate. Our finance practice had a great year. Towards the end of the year there was a bit more choppiness in capital markets, but that seems to be stabilizing, and I hope that will continue. 2016 is an election year, and there tends to be a bit more caution in the deal environment as you get closer to the election, so we'll see how that plays out. There will continue to be dislocation in energy market, but that tends to generate different types of activity.

CA: All of the associates I spoke to were really happy with Simpson's non-aggressive working environment and generally nice people. How do you promote this friendly culture?

BD: Unsurprisingly, people here work very hard, particularly when there are periods of high deal activity like we've experienced recently. We have a strong teamwork ethic; we are a very collegial group, and we discourage competition amongst our associates. We want them to share their knowledge and experience with their colleagues, as we do at the partner level. I think that the teamwork and camaraderie amongst partners is visible to associates and permeates their ranks.

We're in a service business: particularly for associates, the hours are sometimes difficult, and being able to rely on their peers for help and advice has always been a core strength of this firm – even from when I joined. It makes the hard work easier, it makes our associates better lawyers, and ultimately that culture enables all of us to provide better service to our clients. Beyond that, in recent years we've tried to be more transparent to our associates about how the firm is doing and where it's going. We know the majority of associates won't be spending their entire careers here, but we want them to view their time here as well spent wherever they may pursue the rest of their careers.

CA: Does the lockstep compensation system and lack of billing target feed into this culture?

BD: Yes, absolutely. We demand excellent work from our associates, but we feel like a lockstep associate compensation structure serves them well at this stage, because it's one less stress on them. They see people around them working hard, and they want to be part of the team, so the hours take care of themselves. Our associates want to be productive and gain experience, so they seek work when they need it. It comes naturally because they're very high performing individuals. We think the lockstep compensation works well.

I also want to mention our pro bono commitment, which is also rooted in our culture. We aim to find opportunities for all of our lawyers to do at least a little something – that’s another point of emphasis that we'll maintain. This past year we've entered into a pro bono partnership with the legal team at Blackstone; it's in its early days but it's been very satisfying for all involved. We've also had some terrific wins, including having the conviction of a client on death row overturned after 20 years - that's generations of Simpson Thacher lawyers working on behalf of an individual pro bono client, and we're very proud of that type of commitment.

CA: Simpson is traditionally known for being a 'white-shoe' firm. Would you say that this has any impact on its culture or values today?

BD: That's a phrase that you don't hear much, if ever, any more. You do hear talk of more or less traditional New York firms. I think we're traditional in the sense of having a fixed compensation scheme for all of our associates, and I think that breeds the collegiality and teamwork that we value. We're traditional in that sense. But everyone sets very high standards in service of our clients and we're constantly trying to figure out how to do things better, faster, and more efficiently.

CA: Generally speaking, what would you say Simpson offers associates that is unique to the firm?

BD: I think we remain fairly traditional in the way we've done things because it works very well. Something that is a little unusual is that we employ a rotation system in our corporate department: associates usually rotate through our M&A, capital markets and the credit groups over their first two years. We think in the long term it develops much better corporate lawyers, wherever their careers may take them. It gives them a good grounding and better tools to adapt to a changing legal environment over the course of their careers. We do a similar thing in litigation; we expose our associates to a variety of different types of cases and disputes, and rotate them through different working teams. It's not only the matters themselves that are different, but it exposes them to the working styles of different colleagues, and enables them to develop their own style.

We emphasize teamwork to our associates – we recruit people who we believe will work well together, and who earn the respect and trust of their classmates and peers. That process continues into the senior associate ranks. High activity levels mean our associates are better trained from the outset. We're really pleased with the development of our senior associates and we think many are becoming terrific partner material. We aim to keep promoting the bulk of our partner talent from our ranks which should continue to serve us well.

CA: Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for our readers that are thinking of applying to Simpson?

BD: The people we tend to attract are obviously very hardworking, smart people, and we also look for people who will work well in teams, who are intellectually curious and generally pretty optimistic. We want and need a diverse workforce. We think the industry will have a lot of challenges over the next few years, but we want bright people who can adapt to those changes in the marketplace and the challenges presented – as Simpson Thacher historically has. I am very optimistic about the future of the firm, and we think we offer great opportunities for young lawyers, whether they stay for a few years or for their whole careers. Many of our former colleagues have become loyal clients of the firm, and that's a cycle we hope will continue into the future.

Interview with hiring partners Greg Grogan, Lori Lesser and Elizabeth Cooper



Chambers Associate: How do you pre-screen those who have bid on Simpson Thacher?

Greg Grogan: Where we're given resumes, after we've grouped them by schools, the first indicator is grades. Beyond that, we are looking for a mix of experiences, a combination of past work experience, or particular activities that look interesting. We want people that demonstrate they've gone after life, have tried things with passion and not necessarily just done the minimum requirements.

CA: More specifically, what can students be doing now, for instance in their 1L summers, that could increase their chances of impressing you?

GG: I usually tell people to try to take a 1L job that's going to give them something interesting to talk about and, therefore, something that interests them. We're not looking to see one particular experience; working at a law firm is not better than doing pro bono work or working for a professor, for instance. Candidates need experiences that demonstrate their capabilities – that's much better than working for a famous person or a big law firm.

Lori Lesser: We also recognize that after your first year you may not have the experience necessary to get hired at a law firm. There is no concept of an 'ideal job' because we understand you might not have the ability to get one at that point – it's pretty much any job or experience you can get that you can talk about. Also, it's always impressive to show some ownership of what you've done. We're genuinely impressed by students who found their work interesting and can talk about it, because in the end we're looking for candidates who show passion and enjoyment of the law.

CA: What other qualities are you looking for in a candidate?

GG: There are certain things we look for that are unique to Simpson. We want individuals who are practical, who are commercial. If you can only be smart in an academic setting, that can work in certain law firms, but we're business lawyers, and our clients want a heavy dose of common sense. How can you demonstrate that? You should be able to hold a conversation with a stranger about topics that aren't on your resume, and talk about past experiences where you've demonstrated teamwork. Our practice of law is about resolving issues, and we look for that in candidates. When you go on your lunch interview, we don't care which fork you use but are you respectful of the interviewer? Are you expressing an interest in what he or she is saying?

Elizabeth Cooper: One thing that Greg said which is important to us is the teamwork aspect; we pick candidates who talk about how they've led a group and worked together. We don't want the person out there in the front row, studying on their own, and doing their own thing. We're looking for the person who is working in groups with his or her classmates.

LL: As Greg said about the lunch, I should add that everyone gets an equal vote on who we hire. That means we expect everyone we hire to treat everyone – at all levels of the firm – with equal respect.

CA: What is Simpson doing to encourage diversity in recruiting?

GG: Like all firms, one of our efforts in recruiting – and a prime concern generally – is making sure that our lawyers reflect diversity in the profession and the law schools at which we interview. One of the things we've done recently is a 1L summer program, which we started last year, that is focused on candidates who bring diverse perspectives. This summer, we're hoping we will have five such summers. The 1Ls are brought in for the summer program, and they're given the same assignments and treated the same way as the other summer associates – it's very much a mainstream program. All three of our 1L summers in New York last year chose to come back and spend their 2L summer with us.

LL: It's been wonderful for us to have the 1L hires back on campus speaking to 2Ls about our firm. We speak to students about being a good potential fit for them, but when one of their classmates can go back and say, 'I can see myself at this firm long term', that carries a great deal more weight. It helps get our message out via the perfect messenger.

CA: More generally, how's your summer program looking next year compared to previous years?

GG: We have grown the summer program over the last three years, both in New York and firm wide. Next year it will be bigger again; I think there will be around eight or nine more people, at least in New York. We're seeing a modest growth in the profession generally and in the number of opportunities out there. It's difficult to know what our needs will be two years from now, but we always try to keep the class in line with that.

CA: Is there anything distinctive about Simpson's summer program?

LL: One thing we're particularly proud of is that we are very fluid in terms of the work we give out. Summers aren't confined to a particular assignment or area; they can take work from any of the groups. Assignments are put into a central database, and summers are asked to indicate interest in various groups – which they can change as the summer progresses – and we try to match that up to the work we give them, to make sure people get what they want. We're proud that we let associates experiment in that way, that they get a very broad-ranging experience, which means they’re more likely to pick something full-time that they really enjoy. When we hire people, we expect them to stay and make a career here, so it's also in our interest that our associates pick the right group and have all the information possible to be able to make that choice.

CA: How can someone really stand out as a summer associate?

LL: It’s very similar to what we look for on resumes. We hire extremely talented people and people who are very qualified. We expect them to – and they do – fulfill our expectation to do high-quality work, free of errors, that is delivered on time. Everyone is usually on board for that. When someone stands out is when they show ownership of their project and a passion for their material. Those are the people who take the work to that extra level and think about the questions not asked, or what the next issue or follow-up question will be. It's about having passion and ownership of the material, which means they do more than they were asked to do. We also want summers who show a talent for leadership, who right away will be the person who can lead a team and not just be part of the team.

GG: One thing that distinguishes a summer associate is when they have an appreciation and awareness for why we're doing the work. There's a client, so it's not simply a theoretical task – the work is done for a purpose. A client needs a draft, and needs research to be done to address their particular concerns. There's a client-serving gene that exists more so in some people. They need to understand that our clients can choose lawyers from anywhere in the world, but they've chosen us, so our summers have to take that responsibility seriously. Some people understand that right away, and they probably get the best work experiences early on, because we can trust them much more with the client's work.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

425 Lexington Avenue,
New York,
NY 10017-3954
Website www.simpsonthacher.com

  • Head Office: New York, NY  
  • Number of domestic offices: 5
  • Number of international offices: 6
  • Worldwide revenue: tbd
  • Partners (US): 154
  • Associates (US): 599
  • Summer Salary 2016  
  • 1Ls: $3,080/week
  • 2Ls: $3,080/week
  • Post 3Ls: $3,080/week
  • 1Ls hired? Yes
  • Split summers offered? Yes
  • Can summers spend time in overseas office? Yes, subject to need and relevant language skills
  • Summers 2016: 135
  • Offers/acceptances 2015: 122 offers, 102 acceptances; 11 open for 2015/2016

Main areas of work
Clients in a wide array of industries and in jurisdictions around the world turn to Simpson Thacher to help them address their evolving business challenges. The firm is consistently ranked as one of the world’s leading advisors for mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and banking activity, as well as private equity fund formation and investment management. The firm’s litigation practice encompasses every type of complex litigation and is recognized as one of the most comprehensive, trial-ready litigation practices in the country. Simpson Thacher also has leading innovative practices in the areas of antitrust, IP, tax, bankruptcy, real estate, executive compensation and employee benefits, exempt organizations and personal planning. Further, pro bono work is critical to the firm’s identity and its record in this area is unparalleled.

Firm profile
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is one of the world’s leading international law firms. The firm was established in 1884 and has more than 900 lawyers globally. Headquartered in New York City, the firm has offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, São Paulo, Seoul, Tokyo and Washington, DC. The firm provides coordinated legal advice and transactional capability to clients around the globe. Our focus on client needs is the hallmark of our practice and we value excellence in client service in all respects.

Recruitment details
• Number of 1st year associates: 106
• Number of 2nd year associates: 86
• Associate salaries: 1st year: $180,000
• 2nd year: $190,000
• Clerking policy: Yes

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2016:
Berkeley, Brooklyn, Cardozo, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Davis, Duke, Emory Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Michigan, NYU, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Pennsylvania, Santa Clara, St John’s, Seton Hall, Stanford, Texas, Tulane, UCLA, USC, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Washington University, Yale

Summer details
Summer associate profile:
The firm looks for candidates with distinguished records of achievement, demonstrated leadership potential, a commitment to excellence and the ability to work cooperatively with clients and colleagues.

Summer program components:
The Simpson Thacher Summer Program is both challenging and satisfying. Summer associates work on assignments from all practice areas side by side with partners and associates on client projects of substantial complexity. Summer associates participate in frequent formal training programs geared to their needs and are also invited to attend other firmwide training programs. Summer associates have partner and associate mentors and are given prompt and specific feedback. At the end of the summer program, summer associates will have a thorough understanding of the firm’s work and culture.