Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP - The Inside View

Check out New York banking and finance powerhouse Cahill, the firm where neither associate nor client truly feels the pinch.

They say that money makes the world go round – and for Wall Street local Cahill, we can bet your bottom dollar it gets something spinning. After all, being nestled within New York’s financial district is a sure indication that Wall Street and Fortune 500 companies will, no doubt, be knocking at the door – and knock they do! Over at Chambers USA, Cahill picks up top billing for its banking and finance and capital markets work. But beyond its transactional base, Cahill also picks up recognition for litigious work in environment, white collar, and first amendment. Associates at the firm had clearly taken note of this too. One junior shared that “what drew me to Cahill was its banking and finance prowess within New York, specifically their leveraged finance work.” They added that “even as a student, I was aware of their market position and just how well regarded they are generally.”

“I was looking for that tight-knit community feel where you know everyone. Cahill certainly gave that vibe.”

But despite the big-hitting clients and reputation, the firm remains on the smaller side in comparison to others in the market - something that was quite attractive to our associates. “I really liked the fact it was a smaller firm,” quipped one source: “I was looking for that tight-knit community feel where you know everyone. Cahill certainly gave that vibe.”

The Work

Cahill associates are split up between corporate and litigation. In corporate, the work covers things like leveraged finance, credit agreements, and bond deals. Litigation on the other hand usually covers securities, antitrust, and white-collar crime investigations. Work allocation is generally a casual affair for associates, and they are “free to find work and build relationships, working your way into things and finding yourself a steady stream of work.” Those in their first year in the corporate group can make use of the staffing group for work assignment, before being moved to the free market system in their second year. Though, associates in this group noted that you can request particular work in the staffing group. One source shared that “even though I was on the staffing group in the first year, I requested specific work and got it – you can certainly ask if there’s something you really want to do!”

Unsurprisingly, corporate associates saw a lot of work with Wall Street’s major banks. “Generally speaking, our client base are all banks, large investment banks,” confirmed one source. The work covered everything from leveraged finance, credit agreements, bond yields, private equity deals, to advising underwriters. On a day-to-day, associates got up to a range of tasks such as “working on credit facilities, lots of leveraged buyouts, issuing notes, and mezzanine deals,” as well as “coordinating between banks on diligence and being the liaison for this.” Associates told us that within all the multiple working groups in this team, they all have ‘trees’, which represent a different bank working on different deals. As one junior told us: “I like to think of myself as a secretary overseeing the whole thing, we have to make sure everyone is organized, managing checklists etc.” Juniors were very satisfied with the quality of matters in the team, one insider shared that “we work on some of the largest things, and we received these news articles of the biggest LBOs – you do a lot of sophisticated work here!”

“Wherever litigation arises with banks – we’re involved!”

Corporate clients: Citigroup, JP Morgan, BNP Paribas. Cahill also represented Morgan Stanley in a high-yield financing of over $2bn for Hub International Limited.

Over in litigation, the team oversees the firm’s core areas of banking and finance. Just like their corporate colleagues, sources told us that “most of our clients are banks, though we do have a couple of institutional clients too.” But sources stressed that “wherever litigation arises with banks – we’re involved!” Daily tasks included things like “suing, patent work, white collar defence, working on cases with individuals who’ve been charged with white collar penalties, conducting investigations, and cases relating to the Securities and Exchange Commission.” Insiders had the chance to work on cases relating to securities work, general commercial litigation, bankruptcy, insurance, FINRA-related work, and “any lawsuit a bank finds itself in.” Cahill also has a strong reputation for First Amendment work too, and others highlighted the group’s “strongly emerging crypto side.” In terms of typical tasks, associates said this varies from person to person, some said to be heavy on doc reviews, as well as preparing deposition outlines and some brief drafting, though mainly legal research side. Simply put: “the firm is very good at escalating your work as you prove you are ready for it,” quipped one interviewee. They added that “you can move up faster than you years suggest. But there is also no penalty for doing what a typical first-year does!”

Litigation clients: Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, UBS. The firm represented a former footballer and his wife in their allegations of domestic violence against a former USMNT head coach.

Career Development

Associates receive official training through the Cahill Academy, where newbies can meet twice a week in their first year as the firm gets them up to speed with the “nitty-gritty” of legal life. One insider shared that this system is “super helpful as when you first come in you know absolutely nothing!”

“There really are no taboo conversations.”

Newbies are also assigned a partner and senior associate mentor to guide them through their initial steps into the firm. “Our mentorship program is really strong,” explained one associate. They continued: “my partner mentor is really good with goal setting when it comes to my mid-year review.” While the mentors are there to help with work related matters such as target-setting, work designation, and performance reviews, the goal of the program is also to provide associates with more informal help relating to well-being, as joining a new firm is never easy. “I have a very casual relationship with my partner mentor which is really nice,” mentioned one associate, before adding that “there really are no taboo conversations.”

In terms of partnership, some felt a clear and attainable path had been laid out before them, whereas others weren’t as sure. Associates on the corporate side represented the more optimistic bunch here: “the partnership track is very clear and much more realistic at this firm compared to some others,” noted one corporate junior. Another explained this was helped by the fact that “every partner is very accessible.” Over in litigation, some associates admitted that making partner feels like a challenge: “There’s less of an opportunity to become partner on the litigation side and I do have concerns over it." Though others did stress that “while the path to partnership on the litigation side is not totally clear, it is certainly not impossible.”

Hours & Compensation

Billable hours: no requirement

Cahill associates have no formal billable hours target, though the consensus among our sources seemed to be that “the unspoken requirement is around 1900 hours” each year. To be technical, we heard between a range of 1800 and 2000 were also talked about but you get the picture. For many associates, billable targets are often dictated by market activity. For instance, one associate in corporate explained that “things have been very slow for me recently and people are barely billing anything, but it comes in waves. I’ll be really busy for a month, then it’ll be dead.” This was echoed by others in the team: “when I first came in, the market was super crazy – it was like gangbusters!” On the other hand, one junior explained “it can at times take a while for the work to get going.”

Things fluctuated in terms of daily hours amongst associates too, but eight to twelve hours seemed to be the consensus, with most associates starting their day at around 8-9am. One our sources highlighted that the firm is conscious of its associates taking on too much: “I’ve been wildly busy recently – which isn’t normal – but if your billable hours get too high, they will tell you to stop!” Whatever you think of 40-60 billable hours per week, the reality remains that Cahill associates are incredibly well-compensated for their efforts. “You really can’t complain at the salary,” admitted one associate, a sentiment echoed by all of our interviewees. After all, Cahill’s compensation package is above market. Not only that, we heard of above-market bonuses too for those associates going above and beyond.

Pro Bono

Like their billables, associates at Cahill are not given specific targets for pro bono work: "There’s no minimum or maximum on this, you can do as much as you want," explained one associate. Sure, if half (or more) of your 2000 billable hours consist of pro bono, then that may be an issue. This led one associate to point to an 80-20 rule approach to pro bono matters.

Pro bono work at the firm covered sensitive matters like family, domestic violence, custody battles, CJA initiatives, and other criminal justice work. A number of associates also mentioned The Door – a social program in New York City aimed at supporting youngsters from lower Manhattan and South Bronx, who experience housing instability or have been involved in the child welfare system. Associates saw this as a real chance to make a genuine difference to people's lives. As one source surmised, “it is pretty special.”

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: undisclosed
  • Average per US attorney: undisclosed

Culture and Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

Culture was a standout for many juniors, even as early as the interview stages. One newbie noted: “Even before I actually joined the firm, everyone I spoke to from Cahill, as a student at events, was unbelievably gracious and generous.” For one proud newbie, the decision to come to the firm was simple: “I chose Cahill for the people, and I stay here for the people.” This is something that clearly resonates with other sources too, as others commented on a “great sense of camaraderie” and a “we’re all in this together” feel throughout the firm, much of which is thanks to the firm’s smaller size. Transferring to the social side of things, we heard that teams go out for drinks semi-regularly with each other after work. The firm also hosts events from quizzes to visiting dessert bars.

In terms of diversity, our interviewees agreed that more could be done to boost this across the firm, though it was pointed out that associate classes are fairly diverse: “They’re not working on it a lot, but it is definitely there, with the newer classes, it’s more diverse.” Though female partner retention was a concern for some, associates did give a particular shout-out to the efforts of the women’s groups. One junior explained: “We have a lot of initiatives and committees, such as a pretty active women’s committee which celebrates women and their achievements.”

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus  

OCI applicants interviewed: undisclosed   

Interviewees outside OCI: undisclosed   

Cahill partners conduct OCIs as well as interviews at job fairs. “Every resume we receive is reviewed thoughtfully,” says chair of the hiring committee Sheila Ramesh. “A hallmark of our process is the amount of time and energy we put into this – after all, this is all about identifying the best possible future for everyone involved.”   

Transparency is key as far as Cahill is concerned. “It is such a fast process, and we focus on being as transparent as possible,” says Ramesh. “We are really looking for students to do the same so that the dialogue moves as quickly as the process.” Associates confirmed the firm wants “someone that can explain something on their resume – if you had a really bad class first semester but you’re willing to explain that upfront, that shows that you’ve taken it upon yourself to improve.”   

Top tips for this stage:   

“We are always looking to see excitement around our work and our culture.” –Sheila Ramesh, chair of hiring committee  


Applicants invited to second stage interview: undisclosed   

Candidates meet with two partners and two associates at the callback stage, with each interview lasting approximately 30 minutes. “We really work hard to create interview schedules that will allow each candidate to learn as much as possible about the firm,” Ramesh says. The panel could include junior associates, who say they look for “people who are entrepreneurial and seem to want to take control of their career.” Associates say candidates should “inquire about the firm’s culture and try and figure out if it’s something you like.”   

Top tips for this stage:   

“Don’t feel the need to do a ton of research about the people you’re interviewing with, but have an understanding of the firm and ask questions specific to the firm.” a third-year junior associate   

“Take your time, be thoughtful, and really work to determine where you think you will truly thrive as a new professional.” Ramesh

Summer program   

Offers: undisclosed 

Acceptances: 19 

Summer associates can sample work across Cahill’s practice groups, “and they will have the support of their mentors every step of the way to do so.” Associates said that this was their experience not only as a summer, but also after returning full time: “There have been a couple of times when partners have called me and said, ‘My mentee is interested in securities, I know you’re on this case, is there anything they can help out with?’” The majority of summers return to the firm: “They select their practice area of interest, and we honor that.”   

Top tips for this stage:   

“Because of the free-market system, you really have to show that you can put yourself out there both personally and in terms of work.” – a third-year junior associate   

“Carpe diem! There is so much to get involved in, and there are so many people who are so excited to share what they know and teach you how to be successful. Don’t hesitate to try new things, meet new people and ask questions.” Ramesh   

And finally….   

Cahill is a New York-based firm, so showing that you actually want to be in New York is important!” – a third-year junior associate   



Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP

32 Old Slip,
New York,
NY 10005-1702

Main areas of work
Widely recognized as the leading law firm in lending and capital markets, and with a nationally recognized litigation practice, our clients entrust us with the most sophisticated and challenging matters. Building on over a century of excellence, our corporate, corporate finance, litigation, and investigations practices continue to be market leaders with some of the most celebrated practices in the industry.

We also offer premier practices in antitrust, bankruptcy and restructuring, communications, corporate governance, crisis advisory, cryptocurrency & fintech, executive compensation and employee benefits, environmental, insurance, intellectual property, media, pro bono, and white collar and regulatory enforcement.

Firm profile
Cahill has thrived for nearly a century by focusing on the most significant opportunities and complex legal challenges facing leading financial institutions and global businesses. Cahill is a firm where you can shape your own legal career. We believe that lawyers who practice in diverse areas are happier and more productive. We do not require immediate specialization and do not have formal departments or rotation policies. While among the most profitable New York-based law firms, our size is conducive to regular interaction between partners and associates. Opportunities abound for interesting work and unparalleled on-the-job training.

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2024:
Boston College, Boston University, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Fordham, Georgetown, George Washington, Harvard, New York University, Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, The University of Virginia, and Yale (with job fairs and write-ins from a dozen more).

Recruitment outside OCIs:
As a complement to our campus interview process, we review all additional direct submissions. We encourage candidates interested in our firm to contact us with inquiries about our Summer Program and associate opportunities.

Summer associate profile:
The firm seeks academically strong candidates who display good judgment, self-confidence and enthusiasm for the practice of law.

Summer program components:
Summer associates at Cahill gain first-hand experience of what it would be like to be an associate at Cahill. With substantive assignments and opportunities to gain valuable public interest work experience and attend client meetings, negotiations, court appearances and networking events, Cahill’s summer associates develop a true understanding of the firm’s practice. Formal and informal training, personal mentoring and comprehensive evaluations are components of the firm’s summer program.

Cindy Hasson
Director of Legal Recruiting
Tel: 212.701.3908

Recruitment website:

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Media & Entertainment: First Amendment Litigation (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Equity: Manager Counsel (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: High-Yield Debt (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Investment Grade Debt: Manager Counsel (Band 2)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 3)
    • First Amendment Litigation (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 3)

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