Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - The Inside View

Sullivan & Cromwell's perfectionist zeal rewards associates willing to give it their all.

CONFUCIUS once said: “Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” Sullivan & Cromwell thinks differently. “We have the saying here that perfection is not the enemy of good, and people take it seriously.” 200 years have seen S&C brew up a reputation for having the crème-de-la-crème of legal work and a painstaking approach to satisfying the client, where only the best will do. Its Chambers USA rankings are stacked high, with top marks for areas including white collar crime, securities litigation, capital markets, real estate, tax, plus of course the M&A practice, which recently advised on the gargantuan acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T, among other headline-grabbing deals. Chairman Joe Shenker is happy to report that “we have been very busy with really trailblazing work,” including work that will “redefine the sports and media landscape.”

Associates found that “the focus is on intellectual growth, on training – it's intellectual with a practical focus.” Add in exposure to stellar work, plus a generalist approach, and associates felt enabled to “become the best lawyer you can be.” But the pursuit of perfection had juniors advising that job candidates here carefully consider their “work ethic.”

The Work



Litigation and the general practice group (which includes corporate and other transactional practices) take the bulk of new associates. Before settling down, GP associates “can get work from any of the groups within general practice during the first 18 months.” A formal assignment system dishes out work, but associates also “independently reach out to partners, or get recommended by them.” Of the two, “developing work on your own” seemed “the way to get really interesting work.”  And that, associates felt, gave the firm an edge: “You wouldn't have that opportunity at other firms. I've appreciated having the flexibility to try different things and to figure out what I'm interested in.”

“I've appreciated having the flexibility to try different things.”

Sources in the corporate department painted a pretty picture: typical splashes of low-level work, some due diligence here and there, but “if anything it errs on the side of more responsibility rather than less.” Responsibility progressed quickly; one associate had “worked with mid levels to draft documentation for a senior debt program. I took the first stab at drafting that from precedent. They weren't just giving me the busywork – it's very hands on.” Others drafted letters and transactional documents, took part in negotiations and even ran the process for a securities offering. Close contact with partners was commonplace and responsibility soon came by the bucket-load. “There have been times I've been out of my comfort zone, but it gives you the opportunity to expand your skills as an attorney.” One junior revealed that “sometimes I have to remind them I've only been here for two years! It's nice that they trust me to do good work though.”

It's down to a staffer and associate development coordinator to sort associates' work in litigation.  Associates stressed: “It's not free market. You can always speak to the staffer – they'll have a list of the available work and they can help you with it. Often your work follows on from what they give you.” Of the work, associates said: “It's New York, so it's generally related to complex financial products and derivatives” but we should point out that many clients are in industries other than financial services. Securities litigation, white collar and regulation work feature heavily. Associates described “getting doc review starting out. It's pretty hierarchical so you do a lot of administrative tasks. Once you show initiative and that you can manage your workload in a timely manner, and with precision, you will get leadership tasks.” Upon climbing the ladder associates worked on “a lot of legal research” and drafted witness depositions, motions and expert opinions.

Pro Bono



Most associates had done pro bono of some sort, but between those in general practice and litigation, there was a noticeable difference in the volume and variety. Some GP associates were even “busy enough so that I haven't felt like taking any on would be a good idea.” The problem for those focused on corporate law is “there's no real transferral of skills.” Since most pro bono on offer is litigation-based, it was “hard to see any overlap.” But corporate associates could still work on things like transgender name changes:  “Quick, easy, and the firm is very invested in it.” In general, the pro bono picture is rosy: “Not just good on paper, but really promoted and encouraged. There's no limit on hours, and plenty of opportunities.” Associates had worked on housing, child support and asylum matters, drafted appellate briefs, and told us about an opportunity to “argue in court in the Bronx.”

“There's no limit on hours and plenty of opportunities.”

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 36,406
  • Average per US attorney: 56

Hours & Compensation



While there's no specific pro bono requirement or official cap, and while there's no billable hours target either, associates advised that “it's easy to take on too much with so many opportunities for responsibility. People need to keep themselves in check and learn to say no.” Associates work a hefty shift, with several telling us they regularly left the office at 8pm, often with more work at home. When needed, associates could work “periods of 18-hour days,” with one telling us that “last month I worked every day until 11 at night.” Weekends weren't sacred, though associates were thankful for the advance notice they usually got. However, one associate went so far as to say that “from Monday to Friday, they own you.”

“I do like that I don't have a billable minimum. People elsewhere are stressed and concerned about it... [it] gives you the flexibility to manage your life."

Interviewees repeatedly highlighted the positive side of their deal, telling us: “I do like that I don't have a billable minimum. People elsewhere are stressed and concerned about it, but I can use the quieter times to catch up on CLE credit or other matters. It gives you the flexibility to manage your life. I feel less stressed and not at all guilty about leaving around 5.30pm at quiet times.” The firm also “offers equipment to work from home and, in my experience, as long as you communicate it's not a problem.” It seemed “people are understanding about your hours and about when you take vacation. People told me to go ahead and take mine.” Besides, “since salaries were increased” – in line with Cravath –  “there's no stress about that.”

Training & Development



Several associates told us good training was one of the things that drew them to Sullivan, which offers an impressive 400 formal programs a year. “Starting from the summer, associates get informal and formal training. There are practice group lunches once a month; we discuss technical issues and the legal market. They might talk about work volume and what clients have been up to – it's great both educationally and for career development.” More formally there are seminars and occasional bootcamps: “Two days' intensive training on a mix of hard and soft skills.” In line with the firm's generalist aims, associates can attend any practice group's training. However, litigation juniors told us it still could still come down to “learning by doing.” They clarified that “when you get on a new case people explain to you and tell you what to do. Your senior always explains, so you're not doing things on the fly.”

Once associates are assigned to a practice group, they can express a preference about who their formal mentor should be. Before that stage, though, “you technically have a formal mentor, but my go-to guy has been informal. People are friendly.”  Associates do also get the supernatural help of so-called “floor wizards.” They're junior associates too, who “advise first years, and help them navigate the firm.” S&C has also recently bolstered its support for departing associates. “They want to keep people as long as they can but they're also realistic that everyone won't be partner. So the firm launched a development plan for associates.” It links associates with the firm's contacts, matching them to possible jobs.

Culture



Associates described their surroundings as “a culture of excellence,” where they noticed “partners thinking a few steps ahead about every aspect of the matter” and an emphasis on immaculate work and client service. But what does this mean for associates? It applies “not to just to the big things but the little.” On the smallest scale, one associate found that subsequent reviews of their work would see “commas and words repeatedly switched around,” finding their seniors to be “interventionists” and “very detail-orientated. This is not pejorative, but I'd call them control freaks. They like it done their way.” Living up to this “higher scrutiny” meant there was an “adjustment curve,” but associates found that “people are patient in pointing things out.” Juniors leaned on helpful mid-levels who they found especially helpful in “explaining the background of a matter, so that you can see the bigger picture.” 

The culture has “an intellectual tinge to it. People are very intellectually curious.”

The culture has “an intellectual tinge to it. People are very intellectually curious.” They “like what they are doing, they enjoy law, they enjoy working hard and figuring out complex issues. I've met some of the smartest people I've ever met here!” The mask does slip every so often, though, as “you can have great conversations about the election or about a legal matter one day and then you can be talking about Justin Bieber the next.” Amid the pursuit of perfection the atmosphere was still “personable” and associates assured us that “it's not mean or cold.”  But neither is the social life overly zealous; there's certainly “no pressure to go to events or to have a drink, people are mature about it.”

Offices



S&C owns its NY office, “a really lovely building in the financial district, near to the Staten Island ferry.” On the inside, a renovation is underway, with chairman Joe Shenker's critical eye “making sure we get a floor that tolerates wine stains.” Actually owning the building allows for habitual improvement; “after Hurricane Sandy they re-did the basement and the gym.” One gym-goer told us they'd “find it unbearable to be sitting here all day – it feels great to go downstairs for a class and a 30 minute workout.” A 4pm snack time sounded like the gym's raison d'être on offer are the standard “soda and chips” and occasionally posher fare like soft pretzels with a variety of dips, and cheese platters. “By 4.30 everything is gone!”

Diversity



As with many big firms, insiders acknowledge that “the firm makes a very real effort,” but thought that “they could do more,” particularly on racial diversity. “In terms of the resources it puts in, you can say that the affinity networks are well funded and do interesting programming. But like most firms, where the struggle comes in is recruitment and retention.” The firm has an active women's network and various affinity groups. “The women's initiative is my favorite,” said one female associate. “They now do office hours with partners and round table lunches for small groups.” The diversity figures are in line with the NYC norm, and hiring partner Sergio Galvis tells us that "we regularly partner with law school groups to establish connections with their members on campus, deliver substantive programs, and provide information about the work we do."

Strategy & Future



In the past year, “M&A  especially cross border work   has been extraordinary,” says chairman Joe Shenker. But he also draws our attention to "the emerging area of financial technology, or FinTech, working with virtual currency exchanges, blockchain and distributed ledger developers, payment providers, and online lenders.” Shenker believes the firm's generalist approach breeds innovation like this, ushering in what he titles “ground-breaking work." That, he says, “is what we strive for and recruit for.” And recruitment is at the heart of his strategy, believing the firm's “most important task is to recruit the best and the brightest from around the world.”

 

Chambers Associate interview with Sullivan & Cromwell chairman, Joe Shenker



Chambers Associate: Let’s start by talking about the acquisition by AT&T of Time Warner, you must be pretty happy about it – what can you tell us?

Joe Shenker: We’ve been counsel to AT&T for many years, advising on major transactions such as the Time Warner deal and the 2014 acquisition of DIRECTV. These two deals epitomize the broader industry trend of telecommunications companies expanding into the media sphere, acquiring or merging with content providers and modern content delivery systems, such as “over-the-top” streaming services.

We represent MLB Advanced Media, the technology services and digital video streaming business owned by the 30 franchise members in Major League Baseball (also a client), and advised in the spinoff of their digital streaming business into BAMTech, the subsequent $1 billion sale of a one-third interest in BAMTech to the Walt Disney Company and the formation of BAMTech Europe, a joint venture between BAMTech and Discovery Communications.

We also represent all three main phone companies in China and they are looking to augment their offering by owning and delivering their own content. These are the key transactions that are re-shaping the industry landscape, and it’s exciting to be at the forefront of this transformation.

CA: Are there any practice areas which have performed particularly well over the last year?

JS: M&A – especially cross-border work – has been extraordinary. We have been very active in the pharma, biotech and healthcare space. In technology, in addition to AT&T and MLB Advanced Media, we represented Telstra (Australia) in its sale of its interest in Autohome (China), Ruckus Wireless in its acquisition by Brocade, Alcatel-Lucent (France) in its acquisition by Nokia (Finland), and Cablevision Systems in its acquisition by Altice (France). In the financial industry we represented Scottrade in its acquisition by TD Ameritrade, and AIG in its sale of United Guarantee Corporation. Our energy team also had a big year, including advising Chevron and others in Kazakhstan on the second-largest project financing ever, representing Canada’s Enbridge on the largest-ever foreign purchase by a Canadian company, helping the world’s largest power utility, State Grid of China, to acquire the largest private utility in Brazil, as well as advising TerraForm Power and TerraForm Global, who are among the largest owners of solar and wind generation assets in the world, in its sale to a major energy and infrastructure fund. 

We’ve also seen increased activity in the emerging area of financial technology, or FinTech, working with virtual currency exchanges, blockchain and distributed ledger developers, payment providers, and online lenders. As tech startups as well as established financial services companies encounter a rapidly developing and uncertain regulatory environment, they increasingly are coming to us for our depth of regulatory expertise and multi-disciplinary approach that includes our financial services, intellectual property, M&A, AML, and cybersecurity practice groups.

Finally, our litigation group is extremely busy, especially in investigations, where we've had a couple of Supreme Court cases. We’re handling the Volkswagen emissions caseload, consisting of thousands of cases globally. The Volkswagen matter is the perfect example of how a company with an existential crisis looks to us to handle all aspects of its “bet the company” litigation.

Regardless of practice area, we have been very busy with really trailblazing work. It’s work that will redefine the sports and media landscape, reshape the drug and pharma industry, and guide the development of the emerging FinTech market. It’s ground-breaking work that requires intense focus, deep, multi-disciplinary expertise and experience, and creative, out-of-the-box thinking and problem solving. That is what we strive for and recruit for.

CA: Sergio Galvis talked quite a bit about training lawyers as generalists – why have you taken this approach?

JS: It’s always been the ethos of the Firm to train our attorneys as general counselors to individuals. Every one of our clients is an individual. Our dealings with corporations are through individual directors, CEOs or other executives and they are looking for a holistic approach to a problem. Everyone recognizes there are specialties and you have to bring them to bear, but we are looking for counselors to bring it all together in a cohesive way and present it cogently and coherently. The best adviser is going to be a well-rounded individual who can relate to people. They’re going to have a high IQ and EQ, and a broad range of experience.

It’s also important for the client and the Firm: we want a uniform level of activity. We don’t want pockets of activity and inactivity. That’s bad business; it could lead to layoffs and it’s not fun for the practicing lawyer. By adopting a generalist approach, our lawyers are able to seamlessly, consistently and constantly advise our clients across industries, including in new and emerging markets.

One of the most important things we do is recruiting. You can have a great brand name, own your skyscraper, and have a good balance sheet, but it is not as important as recruiting the bright minds that will fill your skyscraper, uphold and enhance your brand, and maintain and grow your balance sheet.

One challenge facing law firms is the growth of other legal service providers: non-law firms, accounting firms, outsourcing firms, and AI technology. For law firms that are too highly specialized, these other providers are, and will increasingly become, competitors. However, you cannot create a machine that is a well-rounded counselor—that cannot be replicated via AI. You can, however, create a machine that augments and helps that multi-disciplinary counselor. It would be something that reads and digests more information and helps the adviser to become even more well-rounded.

CA: Associates told us about the recent introduction of more careers advice and the facility to use alumni to get access to certain jobs – what exactly is it that you have introduced and what were your reasons behind introducing it?

JS: As I said before, our most important task is to recruit the best and the brightest from around the world. In one recent year, our incoming class had more lawyers who were born in China than were born in Brooklyn. We look for the brightest people no matter what their background, and are committed to providing them with the best training to give them the ability to excel, whether ultimately as lawyers here, at other firms, maybe in-house, maybe as a banker or a judge or as a business executive. As part of honoring that commitment, we created a Career & Alumni Services office which helps associates, and alumni, to find jobs or, for alumni and clients, also to recruit new hires – on an anonymous basis if needed. We also have career development plans to help associates identify longer-term career objectives as well as a number of developmental goals to pursue over the shorter term. We provide associates with a written, customizable tool to take charge of their careers and pursue their career goals, whatever those might be. We understand that associates might want to think about jobs elsewhere, and they might not be comfortable talking to partners.

In order to ensure the integrity of the process, the Director of Career & Alumni Services works on an administrative floor that has no S&C lawyers. Our Director maintains a database of available positions, which is comprised of referrals from partners, clients, our alumni, and other sources. She then works with interested associates to find a match without the prospect of our partners or other lawyers knowing about it. We just started this career service and I’m very excited. It helps fulfill our “bargain” with our recruits. We believe that by committing to our lawyers’ education, training and career prospects, we will continue to attract the best and the brightest.

Similarly, we are big believers in the “S&C family,” so we maintain strong contact with our alumni through bi-annual receptions in New York and other events throughout the world in Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, Panama City, Paris, Shanghai and Tokyo. The attendance is amazing and speaks to the strength of our alumni network.

CA: The job of a lawyer creates a certain amount of stress: what is the firm's approach to managing pressure, workload and stress?

JS: That’s a fantastic question and I worry about it a lot. With smartphone technology, clients expect you to be connected almost 24/7 and it’s stressful. People have come to expect instant reactions, but a quick response does not always yield the best or smartest advice.

I worry about the health of associates and partners as well as the quality of advice because the two are inextricably linked. We want it busy, but not too busy. We don’t monitor hours, but I do watch the levels of activity; we turn down business regularly if we think the practice is overextended. We want a uniform work flow. We talk to people who are working too hard; we want people “awake in the day and asleep at night”—we pride ourselves on providing the best possible service and product to our clients and that is only possible when an appropriate work/life balance is maintained.

The office itself can affect our lawyers’ quality of advice and their happiness at the Firm. It’s critical to have a collaborative and hospitable environment. We make sure there are breakout rooms, couches, snacks, TVs where you can watch baseball or soccer. We were one of the first firms to have an on-premise fitness center (since 1995) and, after Hurricane Sandy, we rebuilt it: it is a multi-million dollar fitness center which is heavily subsidized for associates. From the time we first bought an interest in the building (in 1995), we also built a childcare center. We wanted to make sure our lawyers have that freedom. If your caregiver doesn’t show up, we also have a service to send caregivers to your home and one on the premises for a sick child.

We are currently refitting two of the floors we occupy. I go to design meetings and have personally spent time with the interior designers and, because we own the building, we have the flexibility to ensure that the space is conducive to collegiality. We have comfortable chairs, more lighting, and a place to kick back.

It’s not always going to work out perfectly; there will inevitably be times of too much stress and too little sleep. But when I greet associates, I encourage them to take regular vacations and to be sure to take advantage of any down time in their work. Everyone, including me, needs to take some time to disengage from the work and recharge our batteries—this is a hard and intense job, but I strongly believe that spending quality time away from the office is critical to each lawyer’s long term happiness and success.

Interview with Sullivan & Cromwell's global head of recruiting Sergio Galvis



Chambers Associate: What's the scope of your recruiting drive?

SG: We devote an incredible amount of resources to recruiting each year. Our partners, associates, and recruiting staff across our offices work on this effort. For more than 130 years, we’ve been focused on bringing to S&C the most talented and promising students. This approach explains our success in the past and will be a key to our future success. Unlike most other law firms, we rarely hire laterally, so the majority of our lawyers launch their careers at S&C.

We go on campus at 25 to 30 law schools and we participate in several job fairs. We draw broadly from schools across the country and we also consider write-in applications from top candidates. Our goal is to find and hire great lawyers, and to accomplish that, we have to look at candidates from a wide-range of schools.

CA: What does the firm do to encourage diversity in recruiting?

SG: This is a major focus of ours and we work on it throughout the year. We look to hire and develop lawyers with a wide range of skills and perspectives—a broad outlook is vital to our approach to the profession, and to effectively meet the needs of our clients. Diversity is one of our core values. We work closely with our diversity committee, which is comprised of partners and associates, to further that mission.

One of the ways in which we approach this is through our relationships with law school affinity groups. We regularly partner with law school groups to establish connections with their members on campus, deliver substantive programs, and provide information about the work we do and our generalist approach to practice.

Law schools have done a good job in recent years recruiting and fostering a more diverse student body. They have wisely drawn from a broader pool of applicants, and firms like ours have benefitted from this approach. Things are moving in the right direction and the result of these important efforts is that firms have greater recruiting opportunities. That said, there is still much work to be done, and we will encourage and support schools in their continued efforts on this front.

CA: Who conducts OCI and callback interviews?

SG: Virtually every interview on campus is done by a partner or a partner and associate team. We have found at a number of schools that students prefer having a two-person interview team as it gives them exposure to more of our lawyers and they can see how our lawyers interact with one another. We operate in a very collaborative environment, and this comes across very clearly in our team interviews. One of the best parts of the job is being able each day to work alongside incredibly smart colleagues at all levels.

We are rigorous in our callback selection process; we have to be rigorous because we provide students with a personalized interview experience that takes their interests and goals into account from the very outset of the process. We want to ensure that everyone who interviews with us has the opportunity to learn about the depth and breadth of our practice and to really get to know our people.

During the callback interview, candidates usually meet with two partners, two associates, and a hiring partner. Depending on when the interviews take place, they may also have lunch with a group of our lawyers. Our interviews are substantive and they tend to focus on the students’ individual experiences, interests, and long-term career objectives. We want to understand who they are, what kinds of work experiences appeal to them, and what kind of law firm they are looking to join. We want to get to a place where everyone involved in the process is in a position to make an informed decision that leads to a good, sound match.

CA: What advice would you give for these interviews?

SG: It really varies by candidate—there is no exact formula. It is okay to not know exactly what you want to do. Learn as much as you can about the Firm, our practice, and the work that we do. Become familiar with the Firm’s commitment to training and development and our generalist philosophy. Our website can really help, spend some time on it. It has some great features, including profiles and interviews with our associates in which they share why they chose S&C, what they’re currently working on, what students can expect an average week at S&C to look like (and you’ll see that this varies tremendously), and how their career paths have evolved since joining the Firm. Spend some time taking it all in, but don’t worry about memorizing specific details.

I also advise students to talk with our former summer associates who are back on campus as 3Ls. Those conversations can be incredibly valuable in helping students figure out what makes us unique. You should be thinking: “It’s my career; I want to understand everything I can about this opportunity.”

CA: Should candidates assess their suitability to such a perfectionist environment?

SG: I think you are asking about commitment to the way that we practice. A focus on what kind of work you want to do is key; being commercial, getting it right, being service-oriented, and all of that flows from your interest in the work—so you should start there.

It is also worthwhile to give some thought to what it will be like to be a business lawyer who is trained as a generalist. In our case, we have a global practice so you want to think about whether you want to work on matters with a cross-border component. Some law firms have a business model that pigeon-holes their lawyers; my concern would be that this approach exposes them, as individual practitioners, to the ebb and flow of the world economy. In this day and age, change occurs incredibly fast. Our focus on developing our lawyers as generalists who are comfortable operating at a high level in a multi-disciplinary environment ensures that—as S&C lawyers and alumni—they always will be in demand and sought out as trusted advisers to their clients.

Sullivan & Cromwell – Headline Grabbing Work



Even a cursory glance at the papers, even a distracted perusal of your favorite ever-so-impartial and entirely factual online news outlet would probably throw up a mention of something Sullivan & Cromwell had worked on. The two most prime examples are S&C's work on the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, and the investigations into Volkswagen concerning the recent emissions scandal. Short of living under a rock, embracing backwoods Thoreau-style asceticism or prematurely battening down the hatches on your apocalypse-ready shelter (to be honest, who could blame you?), we'd struggle to think of how you might have missed these landmark matters. Nevertheless, here's a little summary of how S&C are getting their hands dirty.

AT&T and Time Warner: a match made in heaven?

$108.7 billion. That's the sum proposed by AT&T to acquire Time Warner. It's big money, but it's buying a multinational media and entertainment conglomerate with assets including HBO, Warner Bros, CNN, DC Comics and Hulu, so it's certainly justified. The purchaser, AT&T, is a multinational telecommunications conglomerate, ranking as the second largest provider of mobile telephone services in the US, and the largest in the US for fixed telephone services. It also owns Direct TV, a broadband subscription television service which it purchased in 2015. Sullivan & Cromwell represented AT&T in the agreement to acquire Time Warner, putting it well and truly at the midst of a mega-deal amid mega-deals.

Such mega-deals inevitably draw attention, and with both companies controlling huge shares of their respective markets (and arguably the same markets) it was bound to raise concerns over competition and monopolization, especially since it's set to change the media landscape. In fact, being announced during the 2016 US presidential campaign, it drew comment from both sides. Both Trump and Sanders opposed the deal initially, and it's still subject to the approval of regulators, but the now-President's picks in the Department of Justice suggest a more lenient line on antitrust, so there's still hope.

Volkswagen emissions: what's the big stink?

After the Environmental Protection Agency found that many VW cars were installed with a so called “defeat device” to fool their emissions tests, allowing VW to claim that it's diesel cars had particularly low emissions, a whole stack of litigation unfolded. The scandal extended worldwide as  VW admitted that 11 million cars sold around the world had been fitted with said device. Essentially a huge number of people bought and drove cars which emitted nitrogen oxide at levels far above what had been advertised. Not good for VW. It resulted in the resignation of the group's chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, and the planned recall of millions of cars.

The firm recently pleaded guilty to all criminal charges in the US and is facing a class action law suit in the UK which has been joined by 35,000 motorists. Within this unfolding turmoil, Sullivan & Cromwell was doing its stuff, fighting Volkswagen's corner. The firm serves as national coordinating counsel for the company in multinational litigation and investigations, achieving settlements with the Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Trade Commission.

 

 

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

125 Broad Street,
New York,
NY 10004-2498
Website www.sullcrom.com

  • Head office: New York, NY 
  • Number of domestic office: 4
  • Number of international offices: 8
  • Partners (US): 137
  • Associates (US): 454
  • Summer Salary 2017 
  • 1Ls: $3,500/week
  • 2Ls: $3,500/week
  • Post 3Ls: $3,500/week
  • 1Ls hired? Yes
  • Split summers offered? Yes
  • Can summer spend time overseas? Yes
  • Summers 2017: 134

Main areas of work
Sullivan & Cromwell brings a multidisciplinary approach to providing the fullest and most comprehensive legal advice to our clients. Our global practice includes four main groups: General Practice (corporate), Litigation, Tax and Estates and Personal. Our lawyers are trained to be generalists through broad exposure to a wide range of challenging legal matters, many of which have a significant cross-border component. A substantial number of S&C’s clients are non-US commercial enterprises and government entities and many of our US clients retain us for international matters. Our lawyers serve our clients through a network of 12 offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Palo Alto, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing, Melbourne and Sydney.

Firm profile
S&C has the most broadly and deeply trained collection of lawyers in the world. They thrive in our working environment, which is characterized by commitment to clients, leadership, professional development, broad experience, teamwork and commitment to community. Associates at S&C typically acquire leadership skills as lawyers more quickly than they would at other law firms, as they are given early responsibility for managing transactions, counseling clients and representing their interests in dealings with other parties. To supplement this on-the-job experience, we provide comprehensive training programs for associates as well as formal mentoring programs.

Recruitment details
• Number of 1st year associates: 76
• Number of 2nd year associates: 91
• Associate salaries: 1st year: $180,000
• 2nd year: $190,000
• Clerking policy: Yes

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2017:
S&C interviews at top law schools around the country. Our lawyers are alumni of more than 135 law schools.

Summer details
Summer associate profile:

We are actively seeking people whose intellect, character, motivation and other attributes promise to make them outstanding lawyers.

Summer program components:
Training/Orientation:
All summer associates participate in a formal orientation program, as well as a wide variety of training programs and skills workshops.
Advising/Assigning/Evaluations: Summer associates are assigned a partner advisor and an associate advisor, from whom they receive assignments. They are also matched with a junior associate, who is there to help with day-to-day matters at the firm. In addition, each summer associate is assigned to an Associate Development Partner, who oversees the distribution of summer associate assignments.
Events: Every summer, S&C organizes a variety of events, including professional opportunities, social events and charitable events.