Brown Rudnick LLP - The Inside View

If you want a firm that “isn’t afraid to back down” and has a longstanding reputation in bankruptcy and litigation, then you certainly can’t miss out on Brown Rudnick.

“Brown Rudnick isn’t afraid to back down or shake things up,” an associate happily explained when asked to describe the firm. “It’s always had a type of grit attitude that I really like.” It’s a reputation that has certainly seen Brown Rudnick earn its fair share of screentime, as one associate summarized: “we’ve had a lot of publicity because of the Johnny Depp trial, but I’ve always viewed the firm in the context of bankruptcy as an elite firm.” CEO Vince Guglielmotti was also pleased to add that “we had another remarkable year,” highlighting how “we won two dismissals of the Johnson & Johnson two-step bankruptcy filings on behalf of tens and thousands of cancer victims.” Our colleagues at Chambers USA also have a thing or two to say on BR’s reputation in the practice, consistently awarding the firm top-of-the-field rankings for bankruptcy & restructuring in its Massachusetts hometown. BR even picks up an entry in the Chambers Global guide for its bankruptcy work nationwide. The firm is also recognized in Connecticut for its expertise in environment

“… associates get more opportunities. You show up to do the work and you get the work!” 

When it comes to the associate experience, interviewees pointed out that “Brown Rudnick is a sophisticated BigLaw firm, but it is smaller. So, by design, associates get more opportunities. You show up to do the work and you get the work!” Juniors were happy to report that the smaller headcount meant that they “get face-time, without having to go through someone else to interact with partners.” Even as a smaller firm, insiders were keen to point out that it is still mighty in scope, balancing a tight-knit culture with a global reach. Specifically, its largest offices are in Boston and New York, but BR has four other offices in the US and another base across the pond in London.  

Strategy & Future 



Brown Rudnick celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, and Guglielmotti was pleased to tell us, “our position is strong financially, and we just had another record year on top of our previous record year. We feel very confident in our market position and our key pillars.” As Guglielmotti details, these “pillars” are crisis management (including restructuring and investigations), global litigation, life sciences, technology and brand and reputation management. When it comes to growth, Guglielmotti explains that “we’re very disciplined in making sure that we hire in those areas to continue to gain market share. This strategy balances us well for whatever the market will bring, as the strength of our bankruptcy group means we’re extremely well-positioned in a market downturn.” 

BR has also been building out its life sciences offering, and Guglielmotti let us in on the firm’s recently launched ‘BR Bio Advisory Services’, “which provides strategic guidance to life sciences companies” in anything from business development to academic support and intelligence.Guglielmotti elaborates: “We’re really invested in the life sciences industry as whole, trying to provide guidance to companies at all stages of their development, not just on the legal front.” 

Read more from Vince Guglielmotti under the 'Get Hired' tab.

The Work 



Most of the associates on our list were based in New York and Boston, with a few more in DC. Although some juniors are hired directly into a specific group, others enter as generalists in their first year and try out different practices before eventually settling in a practice group.Juniors were almost evenly split between the umbrella dispute resolution & restructuring and corporate & capital markets departments. Within these, the groups capturing the most associates were white-collar defense, investigations & compliance, bankruptcy & corporate restructuring, and corporate. 

Work allocation comes in two ways at BR. There’s a formal route where the associate development managers assign work, yet associates regularly get work organically from partners. The choice of two options was seen as a positive: “The associate team is really good with helping us get work, so I got assignments through them when I first started. My relationships with partners have since developed so now I get a lot of my work from them directly.” 

“You’re not just on the side of corporate America.” 

The disputes resolution & restructuring offering spans white-collar defense, investigations & compliance, bankruptcy & corporate restructuring, brand and reputation management, and litigation. Sources told us that bankruptcy & restructuring is the bread and butter of the firm’s disputes practice, with key clients including creditor and bondholder committees. That being said, an associate enthusiastically emphasized: “You’re not just on the side of corporate America. Clients can be anyone from people in finance to tort victims and prisoners. Representing those clients is so rewarding.” Overall, interviewees explained how the practice covers the full life cycle of a matter, and juniors can get involved right from the get-go. Meanwhile, on the white-collar side of things, “partners generally bring in interesting cases with colorful clients and complex legal issues that we need to solve.” Hence, matters can range from security fraud and internal investigations to insider trading and money laundering. 

Associates in disputes emphasized that, once a junior has shown that they’re willing to get tasked with more substantive drafting, “partners won’t resist in giving you those opportunities.” Of course, tasks vary depending on the matter at hand, but insiders mentioned that first-years typically focus on “being creative about fact finding” and legal research, writing memos and drafting motions. With such lean staffing, we heard that juniors get involved in depositions and hearings early on, and “partners will involve you in government meetings, client calls, and openly solicit your input on things.” On that note, another insider added, “partners are happy to take ideas from associates, so I’m never afraid to suggest something.” 

Dispute resolution clients: Government of Kuwait, Revlon, US Bitcoin. Represented the Coalition of Abused Scouts for Justice and thousands of abuse victims in a bankruptcy case, securing a restructuring support agreement and a $2.7 billion victims compensation trust. 

Over in corporate & capital markets, the work encompasses a range of corporate, IP, real estate, energy and environment. “We do a pretty wide variety of things here, from securities work for public companies to venture capital financing for emerging companies, with fund formation, licensing and IP work,” a corporate associate outlined. Insiders in the group highlighted how junior tasks mostly include research, drafting and some due diligence. “There are definitely times when you get more menial doc review, but I’m not dragging and dropping like I thought I would be,” an insider reflected. “You do get the first go at drafting various documents!”  

Corporate clients: Wagamama, QT Imagine, EON. Advised Accelus in the $55 million asset sale of its robotic navigation system. 

Career Development 



“There’s no better place for junior associates!” a source proclaimed, attributing the bold statement to the fact that “you get a lot of substantive opportunities early on, so I’d be hard-pressed to leave.” Fresh-faced juniors get paired up with an associate and partner mentor, but sources expressed that mentorship extends beyond check-ins and progress updates. “There is an expectation for people to stay, and partnership is not out of reach for anyone at the firm, as long as you do what you’re supposed to,” a junior informed us. As such, this translates into an environment where “partners don’t hesitate to bring you in so you can learn,” and will do their best to give opportunities to associates when they express an interest in trying something out. 

“There are so many routes to partnership, and it’s nice to see the different paths to success that you can take here.” 

As networking is a core part of attorney development, BR reimburses associates when they join various bar associations and supports them if they want to attend external training bootcamps. Other modes of training include recently introduced in-person business development sessions where, “once a week, a partner is given the spotlight to tell us how they got to where are, from networking to the path they took.” Sources praised these sessions for showing how “there are so many routes to partnership, and it’s nice to see the different paths to success that you can take here.” In fact, according to our survey, most associate respondents aspired to partnership and felt it was a realistic goal at BR.  

Culture 



“This is a place where I can be the best team player, mentor, friend and colleague,” an associate beamed, while another added, “everyone here knows your name, skillset and interests.” Every month, the firm holds a connection day where partners, associates and support staff from across offices get together, which provides the opportunity “to meet people you wouldn’t get to ordinarily.” 

“We’re big on cheerleading. If another group wins a case or closes a big deal, everyone will raise their glass and cheer!” 

Interviewees were also grateful for the generosity of their colleagues, noting, “if we ever have a quick turnaround on a matters, people will offer to help out, even if it’s not their typical, bread-and-butter work. I’ve never felt that I couldn’t reach out to someone.” Sources appreciated how partners genuinely put the open-door policy into practice and make themselves available to associates. One detailed, “I was expecting it to be over-polite, but I’ve found that people are very much themselves, which is a function of partners being here a long time and dropping that formality.” However, an insider suggested that, although equal in work ethic, the Boston office might have a more relaxed culture than New York. All in all, associates emphasized a sense of unity coming from the shared goal of wanting to produce the best work product possible: “We’re big on cheerleading. If another group wins a case or closes a big deal, everyone will raise their glass and cheer!” 

Hours & Compensation 



Billable hours: 1,950 target

Most agreed that the 1,950 requirement was achievable, especially since 150 hours can be made up of pro bono, DEI leadership and business development. We heard that the firm “doesn’t fault anyone” who misses the target, taking into account the ramp-up period for first-years and any personal issues that can crop up for associates. However, when times are slow, juniors had been able to use the associate development managers as a source of support. Overall, our survey found that the firm’s weekly hours were slightly below the market average, yet associates explained that workload can ebb and flow. A corporate associate explained: “I get in at around 9 and go home around 6, or sometimes 7 or 8pm, depending on how the week is going,” and this experience was echoed by associates in disputes. 

While it was mentioned that BR hasn’t yet matched the new rate set by Cravath,one source did comment that “yes, it’s more work than a 9 to 5, but, for people just coming out of law school, our pay is pretty fair, or maybe almost too high.” Beyond this, sources emphasized that BR is transparent about its compensation structure. An insider explained that the firm introduced a new tiered bonus system earlier this year where, “to get the market bonus, you need to hit 1,950, which is fairly attainable. If you want to get a performance-based bonus, you’d need to bill 2,250.” There's also an achievement bonus for those who bill upwards of 2,450 hours.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 



“Brown Rudnick places an emphasis on diversity, and wants the best attorneys no matter where they come from,” an associate praised, and it’s an attitude that’s helped the firm earn a Mansfield certification for the fourth year in a row. Sources spoke highly of female representation at the firm in particular, but outlined that there’s still some room for improvement when it comes to representation across the board. That being said, there’s no shortage of initiatives and pipelines at BR for its current and prospective attorneys. For example, insiders highlighted BR’s 1L Social Mobility Diversity Fellowship is one of the ways in which the firm has opened up alternative recruitment paths to the firm. Associates can also make use of the firm’s Diverse Attorneys Working Network (DAWN) which has “a retreat that lots of people participate in and everybody is encouraged to join – it’s totally inclusive.” There’s also a women’s network, parents’ forum and Pride group, and participation is further encouraged through a new policy introduced last year, where “they started giving billable credit for DEI leadership as a way to help people so that they don’t get burdened in those roles.” 

Pro Bono 



“All first years get assigned a matter when they join,” a source detailed, adding, “the firm definitely encourages pro bono work.” Changes to policy have seen a 150-hour cap on creditable pro bono. Although one insider felt that this change “has taken from the pro bono morale,” others agreed that “150 is still a lot.” What’s more, we heard that the firm “sends around an email recognizing people who have made substantive contributions to pro bono.” 

“It was empowering and motivating.” 

Associates had taken part in a variety of matters, ranging from the likes of housing, domestic violence and veterans’ causes to nonprofit formations, chapter 7 bankruptcy matters and the Vote ID assistance project. An associate reflected on their own experience helping a client: “it was emotional and they were so grateful for our help. It was empowering and motivating.” 

Pro bono hours 

  • For all (US) attorneys: 7,930
  • Average per (US) attorney: 38.7

Get Hired



The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

Brown Rudnick hires 2L summer associates directly through the firm’s website when applications open in June each year.  

In 2018, Brown Rudnick established the 1L Social Mobility Diversity fellowship, aimed at first year law students who are the first in their family to graduate from baccalaureate college and/or the first in their family to join a professional school.  The application process opens in November of each year. 

Top tips: “Brown Rudnick summer associates are those who think outside of the box and bring new ideas to the firm. We are looking for game-changers who demonstrate a true commitment to community service. Applicants who can speak to their personal experience in driving change will be successful.” - Chair of Strategic Growth, Jeffrey Jonas 

Callbacks 

At this stage, applicants meet with one member of recruitment or DE&I, two partners or counsel and two associates. The panel interview includes the use of behavioral questions targeting specific competencies; partners may ask questions related to motivation and resilience, whilst associates may ask about the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion.  

Summer program 

Offers: 3 (2Ls), 1 (1Ls) 

During the ten-week summer program, the professional development team oversees work allocation to ensure summers are exposed to as many practice groups as possible. The pro bono team also assigns pro bono matters and organizes community events. 

Along with skills training, practice group leaders host “Strategic Pillar Overview” sessions, where summer associates learn how the firm serves clients in key practices areas and industries; and associates host “Ask Me Anything” sessions, focused on preparing summer associates as they transition from law student to lawyer.  The class is brought together for orientation in New York, and a midsummer retreat in Boston, to help build their cross-office and cross-practice networks within the firm. 

Several summer associates return as junior associates. The firm describes successful summers as those who are self-motivated, proactive, communicative and client-service oriented. Summers are encouraged to meet as many people as possible, whether through an assignment, coffee break or a social event: “Not only is this a great way to build their network, but they will be able to make a more informed decision on their practice preferences and career trajectory.” 

Top tips: "It’s almost impossible to be overly communicative as a summer associate. Take notes, ask questions, keep your assigning attorney up to date on progress, and follow-up as necessary. While some assignments may seem small, they could very well be an important piece in the larger picture.” - Chair of Strategic Growth, Jeffrey Jonas 

 

Interview with Vince Guglielmotti, CEO



Commercial strategy, market position and trends

Chambers Associate: How would you define your firm’s current position and identity in the legal market? What differentiates your firm from your peer firms in the market?  

Vince Guglielmotti: Our position is strong financially, and we just had another record year on top of a previous record year. We feel very confident in our market position and our key pillars: crisis management (which includes restructuring, investigations and special situations), global litigation, life sciences, technology, and brand and reputation management. We bring experience and a large market share in those sectors, so we’re very happy about what we’re doing delivering top service to our clients.  

Internally, we’ve just embarked on a firmwide cultural initiative to understand who we are and who we want to be and, as a result, we identified five core values: enterprising, respectful, inclusive, insightful and tenacious. We’re not just focusing on what we do but how we do it, which is a differentiator in the marketplace. We offer a place where both partners and associates have more opportunities, and you’ll be able to work on top-level clients without some of the bureaucracy that is found at larger firms. Moreover, we offer a place where associates will know their partners and have opportunities much earlier in their career, and that is very different to some of the large juggernaut firms you’ll find out here.  

CA: Are there any domestic or international events/trends that are affecting any of the firm’s practices at the moment? Are there any trends that you think are affecting the business of law firms more generally, and how is that playing out with your firm? 

Guglielmotti: We’ve seen tremendous growth over the past few years. It is a testament to how balanced we are in both the crisis and traditional corporate spaces. We’re seeing an uptick in bankruptcies, especially mass tort bankruptcies. Even in a downturn we were involved in some of the largest mass tort bankruptcies and most of the crypto bankruptcies. So, we’re very disciplined in making sure that we hire in those areas to continue to gain market share. This strategy balances us well for whatever the market will bring, as the strength of our bankruptcy group means we’re extremely well-positioned in a downturned market. 

When it comes to AI and other such tools, we’re invested heavily in making sure that our attorneys and business professionals have the best and most cutting-edge technology. We’ve invested in the technology surge and updating many of our systems internally to compete for and retain the best talent. That has to be the focus of any law firm over the next few years, and we’re in tune with that. We have committees actively investigating and thinking about how to properly and safely deploy AI, and we’ve been demoing several software applications in that area. How we deploy that technology is going to be transformative over the next few years.  

CA: Have there been any developments at the firm over the past year that you’d like law students to know about? 

Guglielmotti: We had another remarkable year. In terms of successes, we won two dismissals of the Johnson & Johnson two-step bankruptcy filings on behalf of tens of thousands of cancer victims. We also launched BR Bio Advisory Services, which provides strategic guidance to life science companies. That includes business development, investor support services, competitive intelligence and academic support services. So, we’re really invested in the life science industry as a whole, trying to provide guidance to companies at all stages of their development, not just on the legal front.  

Another big development is that we just underwent a complete renovation in our New York HQ, and we’re wrapping it up just now. We overhauled all our individual offices, added an internal staircase and improved our employee lounge. This renovation makes our workplace more attractive to attorneys and business professionals at all levels. We’re really excited that we’re going to have our grand re-opening event in a couple of weeks. 

Inside the Firm

CA: Could you tell us more about the recently introduced business development sessions presented by partners, and how those will help junior associates? 

Guglielmotti: I’ve just concluded my second fiscal year in this role as the managing partner CEO, and training was high on the list as a priority for both attorneys and business professionals. We’re very lucky that we have knowledgeable and successful attorneys who are willing to share their time with associates to talk about how to grow a client base and how to provide top-level service. These weekly discussions are smaller interactive sessions delivered by partners. And so, by being able to hear those different perspectives from partners at different stages in their careers and practices, associates can learn and choose what will work for them. Also, it provides a smaller group setting for associates to learn more about the partners, with the hope that informal mentoring will come out of that. We do have more formal mentoring processes, but I find that very valuable relationships form when people can develop a connection on an informal basis, and we want to be able to nurture that.  

CA: How is the firm evolving to accommodate the needs/expectations of the next generation of lawyers? 

Guglielmotti: It is about communication. When we did our cultural assessment, we had several one-on-one interviews with attorneys and business professionals, discussion circles and a survey where we engaged with more than 85% of our community. It taught us that transparency and regular communication is important. As a result, I’m trying to have more regular town halls, and I travel to the offices more regularly to listen to people’s thoughts and suggestions on what they need to grow and be successful.  

We’re also trying to provide more stretch assignments for attorneys earlier in their career to ensure that everyone has equal advancement. After all, the only way you can advance as an associate is if you are challenged and put on harder projects incrementally. We take a really disciplined approach to making sure that we’re giving stretch assignments equitably across the firm so that everyone has the opportunity to move forward. 

CA: What’s the firm’s approach to bolstering diversity, equity, and inclusion?  

Guglielmotti: We remain deeply committed to DEI. Aside from those stretch assignments, we’re also focused on the recruiting front. We’ve appointed two new DEI partners, Sage Revell in our London office and Rod Moss in our DC office. In their roles, they assist in developing and implementing the firm’s strategy for DEI. I’m proud to say that we’ve got our Mansfield Certification for the fourth year in a row. 

Additionally, we’ve had strong feedback from our community about our internal learning opportunities, such as the speakers we have and the discussions we promote within the firm – it has been well received and is something we’ll continue to do. DEI and pro bono are also quite integrated at our firm, and we ensure that a lot of the cases we’re taking on have an equity component to it. For example, we have been very successful in the voting rights space, and that’s celebrated internally.  

The Fun Bit

CA: Is there any advice you’d give to your younger self starting out your career? 

Guglielmotti: My advice would be to try and learn about the law as early on as you can and observe as many partner interactions with clients as possible. Not everything is going to work for you, but the best way to learn is to see what works and what doesn’t. Right now, I think there is a lot lost when things are done remotely as younger attorneys miss out when they aren’t in the room with partners and clients, seeing how those interactions play out. So, try and get in the room as often as possible and take as many notes as you can.  

CA: The hours in BigLaw can be punishing. How do you unwind at the end of a long day/week? 

Guglielmotti: It is important to spend time with family and friends. I always make sure that I do everything I can to not miss one of my children’s sporting events. Being there for your family is essential – it helps you recharge and puts life in perspective. 

 

Brown Rudnick LLP

One Financial Center,
Boston,
MA 02111
Website www.brownrudnick.com

Main Areas of Work
Bankruptcy and corporate restructuring; brand and reputation management; commercial litigation; corporate, securities and M&A; finance; government contracts; government law and strategies; intellectual property; intellectual property litigation; real estate, energy and environment; special situations, credit and trading; tax; white collar defense, investigations and compliance.

Firm Profile
At Brown Rudnick, we combine ingenuity with experience to achieve great outcomes for our clients. We deliver partner-driven service; we incentivize our lawyers to collaborate in the client’s best interest; and we put excellence before scale, focusing on industry-driven, client-facing practices where we are recognized leaders. Our lawyers and government relations professionals work across the United States and in the United Kingdom, with offices in key financial centers. Beyond the United States in the United Kingdom, we serve clients in the Middle East, North Africa, the Caribbean, and Latin America.


Recruitment
Brown Rudnick recruits our 1L Social Mobility Diversity and 2L Summer Associate Program through direct write-in applications on our website. The application for 2L candidates opens in June, the application for 1L candidates opens in December.

More information, including the application links, can be found at www.brownrudnick.com/careers.


Summer associate profile:
Brown Rudnick recruits summer associates who are highly intelligent and creative, and also possess those personal qualities that define our firm’s core values: enterprising, respectful, inclusive, insightful and tenacious. We rely on these core values to serve every aspect of our business, including our interactions with clients, colleagues and the communities where we have a presence.

Summer program components:
The summer program is the first introduction to life as a Brown Rudnick attorney. During our 10-week program law students have the opportunity to sample a variety of practice areas, working across offices and disciplines. Our summer associates are an integral part of our client teams, and we expect them to be valuable contributors to Firm outcomes and successes.


Summer associates will be assigned a partner and associate advisor, each of whom will provide meaningful advice and feedback throughout the program. Our Professional Development team, composed of former practicing attorneys, also provide training and formal feedback opportunities.

The Firm believes that building strong workplace relationships is a critical factor in our success. Our summer associates start with a firmwide orientation, to begin networking with their peers, firm leadership, and new colleagues. During the program, we plan a mix of events to socialize with colleagues at cultural performances, casual receptions, outdoor activities, and sporting events.

Summer associates will get to know their home-office city and the Firm better alongside their advisors and colleagues. We recruit summer associates into our Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. offices.

We recruit summer associates into our Boston, New York, Orange County, and Washington, DC offices.  

Social Media:
Recruitment website: www.brownrudnick.com/careers
Linkedin: brown-rudnick
Twitter: @BrownRudnickLLP
Facebook: Brown-Rudnick-LLP
Instagram: @brownrudnickllp

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 3)