Lateral Look: Latham & Watkins

The freedom to find their feet at a “global superpower in BigLaw” was a sweet deal for associates at Latham & Watkins.

Sources describe Latham & Watkins as a 'superpower'. There are different definitions of what qualifies as a ‘superpower,’ but most experts would agree on the following criteria: scope, money and power. Starting with money, Latham & Watkins was one of just two giants to make over $4 billion in revenue last year. Next: scope. The firm’s international network sprawls across 29 bases – 11 of which are in the US – housing more than 3,000 attorneys. And then there’s power. Latham’s accolades are legion, with Chambers Global naming it among the best in the world in capital markets, banking & finance, climate change law, projects, corporate/M&A, and tax. On American soil, it picks up a total of 53 nationwide rankings from Chambers USA (alongside many state-specific accolades too), with top prizes in all of the above plus antitrust, energy, environment, IP, life sciences, REITs and several other practices.

View the firm's Chambers USA rankings here>>

Why did you join Latham? 

Prestige and culture.”

California roots with a global reach."

"Strong private equity/M&A practice.

"Because of its focus on training and investing in associates, with priority on partner-associate mentoring."

"It is a highly prestigious firm with wonderful people working here!"

 

Career development & the path to partnership

 

33

2.4 : 1

7%

partners made in 2021

associate : partner gearing

of junior associates intend to make partner

71%

92%

75%

felt partnership was achievable for attorneys with children strongly agreed the firm’s name adds value to their resume agreed partners
are nurturing
future leaders

 

The view from the firm: Latham offers world-class training, both on-demand and tailored to critical stages in associates’ careers, such as class year Academies, Diversity & Women’s Leadership Academies, and annual multi-day skills programs, including Deposition Training, Trial Advocacy, Contract Drafting, Persuasive Writing, Presentation Skills, and Negotiation Workshops. Associates also receive financial literacy and business development training. Additionally, laterals receive robust mentoring opportunities to facilitate a successful transition to practice at Latham. Laterals are paired with a formal attorney mentor for their first year and also become part of the informal lateral mentoring program, which provides additional practical guidance beyond their formal pairings.

 

Hours & compensation

 

1,900

8

55

billable hours
target

average number of vacation days associates took in one year

average number of hours associates worked in one week

71%

71%

94%

agreed they could take vacation on their own terms

said the benefits package makes the workload worthwhile

found the bonus allocation fair and transparent

 

Salaries

  • 1st year: $205,000
  • 2nd year: $215,000
  • 3rd year: $240,000
  • 4th year: $275,000
  • 5th year: $305,000
  • 6th year: $330,000
  • 7th year: $350,000
  • 8th year: $365,000

 

The view from the firm: Latham has a billable requirement of 1,900 hours, which includes unlimited pro bono and knowledge management as well as a certain number of hours dedicated to inclusion initiatives. The firm has a remarkably transparent environment with their Associates Committee - boasting an equal number of associates and partners - managing associate reviews, bonuses and promotion to partnership and counsel. Latham continuously pays at or above market for top performers.

 

Is Latham & Watkins the right firm for you?

 

98%

92%

91%

said they’d chosen the right firm

were happy in their current role

felt comfortable being themselves

The view from the firm: Latham seeks to hire bright and promising candidates who will enhance the firm’s merit-based culture and core values of transparency, respect, innovation, collaboration, and diversity. We have a range of competencies by which we assess talent that we balance with experience to get the full picture of a candidate. The firm looks for self-starters with a high degree of maturity, responsibility, and judgment, who have excelled in rigorous academic and professional environments. We also look for leadership achievements, and characteristics that enhance Latham’s unique and diverse culture.

What stands out about the firm's culture?

The firm seeks out and hires highly likable, collaborative individuals.

People are genuine and themselves. Everyone is also willing to give their time for mentoring and training. Everyone is supportive, positive, and nice. 

"The culture is very relaxed and comfortable; associates are trusted to work hard and be responsible and are not policed or patronized; people are genuinely friends and partners invest in associates both professionally and as human beings."
"There's a lot of emphasis on making sure junior associates feel comfortable and supported, and it sounds cheesy but there's a real sense of camaraderie!"

 

Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing

 

86%

78%

25.7%

31.6%

reported strong performance in inclusivity training

rated the firm for mentoring from diverse role models

of partners are women

identify as ethnically diverse

 

The view from the firm: As a global law firm, Latham & Watkins is uniquely positioned to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in our communities and in our profession. We accomplish this by supporting our colleagues from all backgrounds, fighting for social justice, educating ourselves to be better allies, and recruiting, retaining, and promoting top talent that represents a diversity of backgrounds. Latham’s Diversity Leadership Committee (DLC) spearheads our DEI strategy and works to strengthen and promote Latham as a workplace where the best and brightest attorneys — including those underrepresented in the legal industry — excel and find support to become leaders.

 

Pro bono

 

88

91%

average pro bono
hours 
per US attorney    

    found the pro bono
work interesting

 

The view from the firm: Pro bono is ingrained in Latham’s culture, and our lawyers feel privileged to be able to engage in what they do best on behalf of those most in need. The firm gives billable hour credit for pro bono work, and doesn’t cap the number of pro bono hours that can be applied toward the billable hour target. As with commercial work, lawyers are encouraged to bring on matters of interest to them in nearly every area of public interest law, including veterans’ rights, asylum and immigration, domestic violence, anti-human trafficking, microfinance, prisoners’ rights, and civil rights and equal justice.

 

Sustainability and CSR

The view from the firm: Our Sustainability program aims to conserve natural resources and energy, and to decrease our global carbon footprint. We released our inaugural environmental sustainability report on Earth Day 2021, detailing our efforts and accomplishments, including going carbon neutral for Scopes 1 and 2 emissions in 2020. More than 15 Latham offices hold a LEED or similar green certification, and six offices are powered by some form of renewable energy. In addition, we are proud to be a founding member of Lawyers for a Sustainable Economy, a first-of-its-kind initiative built on an unprecedented commitment to support sustainability through pro bono efforts

 

Contact

See opportunities at the firm here>>

Recruitment contacts here>>

Visit the firm's website here>>