Lateral Look: Seward & Kissel

Seward has sailed steadily for over 130 years and offers associates a masterclass in investment management work, as well as broader financial services matters.

Seward & Kissel Lateral Profile 2023

The firm’s focus on financial services has paid off, as Chambers USA notes Seward’s capabilities in the hedge fund and capital markets spaces on a nationwide level. In its home city of New York, the firm is especially commended for its bankruptcy/restructuring and white-collar crime and government investigations expertise. The jewel in Seward’s nationwide crown, according to Chambers USA, is its shipping finance know-how. 

Seward has two offices – New York and DC – and most associates are based in the Big Apple. 

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…

“Because of its small size and caliber of work product. I also had a personal connection to the firm.”

“Strongest Investment Funds practice, firm punches above its weight, firm culture is professional but not stuffy, strong WFH policy, market pay, reasonable Partners.”

“For their investment management group practice and emphasis on firm culture/work-life balance.”


 Strategic Recruitment Focuses 2023

Corporate careers

Corporate clients: Tiedemann Advisors; Frontline; Growth Catalyst Partners

Recent highlight: Represented Marblegate Asset Management in relation to its partnership with Investcorp's Strategic Capital Group.


Litigation careers

Litigation clients: ING Bank; Commodities & Mineral Enterprise; Blue Wall Shipping

Recent highlight: Represented Commodities & Mineral Enterprise in arbitration proceedings against a Venezuelan government-owned company – FMO – over the latter’s default on agreements made to purchase and transport iron ore from the Orinoco River. 


Real estate, tax, and transportation & energy careers

Transportation clients: Hudson Structured Capital Management; Scorpio Tankers; Eagle Bulk Shipping

Recent highlight: Represented offshore wind farming company Eneti in relation to its acquisition of SeaJacks International and its assets valuing at approximately $600 million.


 Career Development & the Path to Partnership



1.6 : 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: Seward & Kissel provides a framework of firmwide core competencies that are essential for effective performance and success at the firm. Learning programs include CLE sessions on practice-specific knowledge as well as a curriculum of professional skills learning programs (delegation, time management, communication, etc.). There is also a structured mentorship initiative that provides career development support at all associate levels.


 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: The firm compensates associates on a market based lockstep compensation structure. A discretionary market level bonus was awarded to associates who obtained 1850 billable hours and 100 non-billable hours in 2022.  Associates who obtained 2150 billable hours also received an additional bonus.  Seward does not have a pro bono hours requirement. The firm has an extensive pro bono program and encourages all associates to work on these matters.  The firm currently has a hybrid work environment with Tuesday-Thursday in the office and Monday and Friday working remotely.  In 2022, and also planned for 2023, attorneys are able to work remotely during the week of Thanksgiving, the days between Christmas and New Years and the month of August.  There is also flexibility for additional remote work days for all associates.       


 Is Seward the right firm for you?




were happy in their current role

     agreed the work is interesting

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

“The associates and the partners here are super friendly and approachable. They respect each other's own schedule and trust the associates' ability to complete the work and manage their own schedules.”

“No red tape or bureaucracy.”

“The culture was described as "a small-to-medium firm doing big law work," and I think the experience bore that out. There is a personability that is positive and less corporatized than (what I hear) is true at larger firms.”


 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: Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund; Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts; Human Rights Watch; Human Rights First; HerJustice



Learn more about opportunities at the firm

Recruitment contact: Angela Eliane, recruiting manager,