Lateral Look: WilmerHale

If you’re looking for a firm with strong government ties, a powerhouse litigation group, and a historical commitment to pro bono, WilmerHale doesn’t fail!

WilmerHale Lateral Profile 2023

Sometimes it’s good to have a bit of background to see where a firm’s coming from. In WH’s pre-merger times, there was Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, with its extensive Supreme Court experience and a strong government presence in DC. Then there was Boston native Hale and Dorr, which carried 100 years of history and a long commitment to public service. Mix them together, and you know you’ve got the best of both worlds. Since the firms merged, WilmerHale has really made the best of both its co-HQs. The firm boasts an impressive number of ex-government officials in its DC office, resulting in some serious top-tier kudos for white-collar and government investigations work from Chambers USA. Over in Boston, WH thrives in the life sciences and IP spaces, and Chambers USA also recognizes the firm’s equally formidable corporate/M&Asecurities, and general commercial litigation practices.  

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings 

Read the firm's Inside View feature on junior associate life

Why did you join your firm? Associates say…

"WilmerHale's strong history of stellar legal talent, clients, and pro bono commitment."

"Great regulatory practice."

"Strength in white collar and investigations practice and generally in government-facing litigation work."


 Strategic Recruitment Focuses 2023

Corporate careers

The view from the firm: Our corporate practice provides practical, solutions-oriented advice on the most important issues faced by fast-growing companies in technology, life sciences and regulated industries. Leveraging our experience in the areas of emerging companies, venture capital, public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and strategic alliances, we help our clients achieve strategic advantage, navigate complex legal and business issues, and realize their long-term business objectives.  We represent more than 100 public companies and 1,000 private companies, investment banks, venture capital and growth equity firms, and individual entrepreneurs. Associates in the corporate group draft and negotiate numerous types of agreements, as well as play critical roles in the planning, structuring, negotiating and closing processes. They also advise on day to day matters directly with our clients, including corporate formation, commercial contracts, financings and strategic transactions, as well as securities, disclosure and corporate governance matters. Sample clients include Akamai, Blue Apron Holdings, Discovery, General Catalyst, Robinhood Financial and State Street Corporation.

Government and regulatory litigation careers

The view from the firm: WilmerHale’s government and regulatory litigation Group combines the firm’s substantive regulatory capabilities and its familiarity with litigation involving the government and regulatory organizations to handle disputes in which clients’ interests intersect with government, regulatory and public policy issues. Associates in this group research legal issues, draft and file pleadings, and engage in fact and expert discovery while working with senior lawyers to craft case strategy. Sample clients include the American Council of Life Insurers, Amtrak, the US Conference of Mayors and Innocence Project.

Trial careers

The view from the firm: WilmerHale’s trial practice, with more than 300 lawyers and support professionals across the US and Europe, has a history of trial victories stretching back many decades. Our trial practice has tried 175 cases and arbitration merit hearings in the past 10 years alone. We have more than 40 lawyers with first-chair trial and arbitration experience and seven fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers. This group cuts across our firm’s regulatory, commercial, intellectual property, criminal, antitrust, international arbitration and securities teams. This allows us to assemble trial teams that marry top-tier trial expertise with whatever substantive knowledge is necessary for the particular case. Associates in this group research legal issues, draft and file pleadings, and engage in fact and expert discovery while working with senior lawyers to craft case strategy. Sample clients include The Boeing Company, Comcast Corporation, Deutsche Telekom AG, Harvard University and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

IP, IP litigation and appellate careers

The view from the firm: With more than 200 general IP, IP litigation and appellate lawyers, we offer clients a deep pool of experience across all issues related to their intellectual property. Our lawyers have prevailed in notable disputes for many of today’s most significant companies in technology, pharmaceuticals and other industries. Areas of focus include: patent litigation; intellectual property appeals; post-grant proceedings; Hatch-Waxman and biologics litigation; international trade commission; intersection of antitrust and IP; trade secrets; copyright, trademark and trade secrets litigation; IP in international markets; and cases in front of the Unified Patent Court and in the Western District of Texas.  In addition to litigation-based projects, attorneys in this group  advise and counsel clients on various IP matters involving copyrights, patents, trademarks, and trade secrets as well as draft, file and prosecute patent applications before the USPTO and foreign counterparts. Sample clients include Intel, Apple, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Becton Dickinson.


 International & Secondment Opportunities

The view from the firm: WilmerHale's international arbitration practice group provides a unique opportunity for lawyers from across the globe to experience the realities of a busy international arbitration practice and to learn from colleagues who are leaders in their field. Attorneys in this practice are exposed to a wide range of international commercial disputes and take on factual and legal assignments stemming from current cases.

Common secondment destinations: Switzerland; New York; San Francisco; Washington DC

Client secondment examples: Glencore; Barclays; Snap; Google; Meta; HSBC


Career Development & the Path to Partnership



2.5 : 1


partners made in 2022

associate : partner gearing

of associates intend to make partner




felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children felt partnership was achievable at the firm agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders


The view from the firm: Diversity, equity and inclusion are guiding principles of WilmerHale and key drivers of the value we provide our clients. The Executive Diversity and Inclusion Committee (EDIC) represents the establishment of a chain of accountability that starts at the top and sets goals that extend throughout our firm, covering objectives relating to recruiting, developing and retaining diverse lawyers; strengthening our culture of inclusion; tying partner compensation to demonstrated diversity efforts; revisiting evaluation, mentoring and benchmarking programs; and revamping work assignment process.  The EDIC is chaired by co-managing partners Susan Murley and Robert Novick and includes department chairs, and practice group leaders.


Hours & Compensation





billable hours

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week




agreed they had a good work-life balance

said the benefits package makes the workload worthwhile

found the bonus allocation fair and transparent



1st year: $215,000

2nd year: $225,000

3rd year: $250,000

4th year: $295,000

5th year: $345,000

6th year: $370,000

7th year: $400,000

8th year: $415,000


The view from the firm: WilmerHale has a lockstep compensation system. Associate and counsel salaries are based purely on their seniority level within the organization. The firm has part-time and flex-time policies and considers all requests for alternative workload arrangements to address family, personal, or professional circumstances or goals. In addition, in the wake of the pandemic, we have adopted a hybrid work model wherein attorneys are only required to be in the office three days per week. Finally, WilmerHale has recently moved to allow our DEI efforts to count for billable hours, outside of pro-bono work. 


 Is WilmerHale the right firm for you?




were happy in their current role

     agreed the work is interesting

The view from the firm: WilmerHale seeks to hire from a diverse array of backgrounds whose academic and personal record of achievement demonstrates a commitment to excellence and are at or near the top of their class.  In addition, we are looking for individuals whose character, intelligence, judgment, and training will inspire confidence their colleagues and clients. We focus on six competencies when selecting and evaluating candidates: commitment, confidence, oral communication, problem solving, teamwork and writing. Successful laterals are also lawyers that flourish in a collegial environment that emphasizes teamwork, collaboration and the spirited exchange of ideas in the pursuit of excellence. 

We asked survey respondents what stands out about the firm's culture?

"WilmerHale truly walks the walk when it comes to pro bono and caring about its employees. There seems to be a focus on hiring and retaining lawyers and staff with good EQ as well as IQ."

"We have an amazing DEI team who facilitates great events, fosters community spaces for different groups, and ensures that the overall culture of the firm is inclusive and promotes belonging."

"Openness regarding revolving door between private practice and government roles; early and significant opportunities for associate responsibility in matter management; fantastic parental leave policy, which is borne out in actual employee practices."


 Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing





reported strong performance in inclusivity training

of partners are women

of associates identify as ethnically diverse



 Pro Bono




average pro bono
per US attorney    

    agreed the firm is committed to pro bono


Pro bono highlights: Georgia Redistricting Litigation; Georgia Senate Bill 202 Litigation; Boston’s “Mass and Cass” Encampment Litigation; Fighting to Remove North Carolina Confederate Monuments; United Farm Workers Victory



Learn more about opportunities at the firm

Recruitment contact