Goodwin - The Inside View

Do the good thing and sign up for Goodwin if tech, life sciences and private equity work appeals. 

When it comes to areas like tech, life sciences and private equity, Boston-based Goodwin is among the best of the best. Chambers USA, for example, recognizes the firm in 75 areas across eight different regions, with 17 of those accolades positioning the firm at the very top of its field. Talking numbers, Goodwin’s revenue more than doubled to over $1.5 billion between 2010 and 2020, and a year later, in 2021, the firm’s gross revenue was just shy of $2 billion. Even in the recent boom market, this growth is nothing short of impressive and has seen the firm charge up the AmLaw rankings, where it now sits in the top 20. 

TOP READ: Becoming a technology lawyer: the view from Goodwin

The firm’s catch-all business law department took on a hefty chunk of the juniors on our list, but there’s plenty on offer for aspiring litigators, as managing partner Mark Bettencourt explains: “Litigation has been a big part of our history, it is a big part of our present, and will be a big and important part of our future.” While Boston is home to Goodwin’s roots, most juniors in our sample were in New York, which is now the firm’s largest office by headcount. Those two offices accounted for over half of the juniors on our list, with the rest dotted between LA, San Francisco, Santa Monica, Silicon Valley, and DC. Interestingly, over 6% were listed under ‘Goodwin Remote,’ which refers to the over 200 people on the firm’s books who work remotely all the time.  

“The firm wants our thoughts and opinions, rather than a machine inputting the comments.” 

While the firm’s reputation for its work was a key reason for joining, the firm’s culture was a near-unanimous attraction for our interviewees. “Goodwin stood out for being one of the most relaxed and personable firms I met with,” recalled one source of their OCI experience. “Everyone else was so buttoned up. Goodwin were the only ones who asked, ‘What do you do outside of law school?’ That really resonated with me.” One lateral noted: “Goodwin lawyers work hard, and take work seriously, but it’s not their whole life. It’s not like other firms that I’ve worked with. Goodwin is more laid-back, and there’s not as much hierarchy.” Sources also liked that “as a junior, our input is valued. The firm wants our thoughts and opinions, rather than a machine inputting the comments.” 

Strategy & Future 

Such rapid growth has come at a cost, as the broader downturn in the market led to Goodwin reducing its workforce (including associates, paralegals, and operations staff) by 5% in early 2023. The RIF (reduction in force) was handled well, our interviewees felt. “I think the firm did a good job of communicating it to us,” said one, and juniors generally “appreciated that Goodwin was transparent about it. They owned it.” Sources also appreciated that it was “a RIF rather than a performance-based cut, which will help those who were let go to get jobs.”  

When we ask about the RIF, managing partner Mark Bettencourt tells us: “Our decision was based on how to best extend professional development opportunities to our people. As a firm, we create outcomes for our clients, and it is imperative that we enable our talent to develop to their maximum potential, so that each lawyer has the opportunity to become the best they can be.” 

Moving forward, Bettencourt feels that Goodwin is “incredibly well positioned from an opportunity perspective. The entire global economy is dealing with the consequences of the pandemic, supply chain issues, the war in Ukraine, and inflation. But we are strategically focused on the 21st century’s most prominent areas – that intersection between technology, life sciences, healthcare, real estate, financial services, and private equity.”  

The Work  

The juniors on our list were divided between two overarching departments, business law and litigation. In the former, associates were split into several subgroups, the biggest of which were tech and private equity, followed by life sciences and REI [real estate industry]. The rest were dotted around groups like tax, ERISA and executive compensation, and global trade. Most litigators join as generalists, but a few on our list were assigned as dedicated IP litigators. Work coordinators called attorney development managers (ADMs) were available to distribute assignments, but we also heard that alongside that avenue an organic, “free-market system in the corridor” was operational. Some sources felt ADMs were useful if they were thinking, “Please help! I don’t want to do this type of work,” while others commented that “the good stuff gets staffed on a free-market basis.” The firm tells us that there is now a push to make sure that all assignments go through the ADMs.

“...there are a lot of numbers, which I appreciate!” 

At the junior level, “you’re a generalist for two years” within a designated business law subgroup. For tech juniors, this meant having access to capital markets, venture capital, and private equity matters, which included early-stage financings and M&A deals. Others, meanwhile, had got stuck into cyber-security and data privacy work. M&A transactions typically involved bigger teams, we heard, which meant juniors were “managing the deal, running diligence on a company, and drafting ancillaries – but you’re not doing substantive changes.” Venture capital matters, meanwhile, are “more leanly staffed, because the clients can be more fee-sensitive.” As a result, interviewees found themselves “drafting all the docs, including the primary transaction ones.” Another plus here was that start-up work means “doing the company formation and then acting as general counsel throughout its life cycle.” 

TOP READ: Becoming a private equity lawyer: the view from Goodwin

TOP READ: Becoming a life sciences lawyer: the view from Goodwin 

The story was similar in private equity. As with those in the tech team, juniors had worked on a combo of venture capital and private equity deals. “I’m working with one mega fund that’s worth over $1 billion,” boasted one source, before adding: “But I also like to fill my time with venture capital because there’s more substantive work on that front.” On the big private equity deals, “you’re siloed into one or two functions, like reviewing subscription docs.” As you might expect, “it’s not very exciting, but you do get really good at that one skill.” On the flip side, “with smaller venture capital funds, you work as in-house counsel and do regulatory work, SEC examination tasks, and anything else that comes up.” Sources told us there’s a “significant amount of anti-money laundering work where we vet the investors as well.” And, for the numerically minded, “there are a lot of numbers, which I appreciate!” Those in life sciences told us that “there’s a decent amount of work on commercial contracts, like master services and clinical trial agreements and so on.” There’s also some IP and broader transaction support work up for grabs here.  

Technology clients: PsiQuantum, which is building the first commercially viable quantum computer; Hopin, a London-based online events platform; and FrontApp, a customer communications hub. Goodwin advised Citrix Systems, which provides a unified digital workspace, on its $16.5 billion sale. 

“You’re constantly learning something new.”  

Litigators are also generalists for the first couple of years. In this department we heard about plenty of cases tied to the tech, pharma and life sciences sectors, with sources also flagging that there was a lot of IP work around. General commercial disputes and investigations work were mentioned, too. With high-stakes litigation, are juniors doing a lot of doc review? “Yes and no,” mused one. “I did a good amount of doc review initially, but after I found my footing, I went on to managing the team on that front.” For those looking for a bit more excitement, there was plenty to go around: “I’ve done a ton of motions to compel, which have involved research and the first drafts – it's great to do that as a second year,” one happy litigator told us. Sources also mentioned drafting “letters to opposing counsel, which require a lot of research, as well as motions to dismiss, a lot of investigative memos, briefs, and expert reports – there are tons of drafting opportunities!” Given Goodwin’s sector priorities, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a PhD in biosciences might be required, but we were reassured that “you don’t need a science background! Although it might make you more comfortable.” What you do need is plenty of “curiosity and learning agility, as you’re constantly learning something new.”  

Litigation clients: John Stumpf, former Chairman & CEO of Wells Fargo Bank; Teva Pharmaceuticals; and Samsung. Defended the latter against a patent-related claim in the Eastern District of Texas brought against it by Manufacturing Resources. 

Hours & Compensation  

Billable hours: 1,950 target 

Associates can count an unlimited amount of pro bono towards their annual billing target, as well as a designated amount (up to 100 hours) of culture and innovation, training, recruiting, and DE&I time. In terms of salaries and bonuses, “the transparency around that is great,” enthused one source. “It’s clear that we’re getting market!” 

We heard mixed responses when it came to how realistic the target was. “Last year was really slow and I didn’t get to my target by quite a margin,” one business law source told us, while another in the same overarching department said: “I never slowed down until about ten days ago, which has been good for job security.” On the transactional side, the work “ebbs and flows, so the three months before Thanksgiving were really intense and I was on more than 20 deals.” For others, the workflow had been steadier but still required some weekend hours “about once a month; on transaction support matters there is an expectation to be available which varies by team, but I try to respond within 15 minutes during the week and within a couple of hours at the weekend. When there’s an active deal, you can’t just log off at 5pm!” 

“ bono is considered in its own category, which shows how important it is to the firm.” 

Pro Bono 

Unlimited pro bono hours really meant unlimited, sources reassured us. Several juniors mentioned doing “a lot of pro bono hours toward the end of the fiscal year to try to get over the billable-hours target,” without any concerns from higher-ups. “During my annual review, pro bono is considered in its own category, which shows how important it is to the firm,” a source added. “That acknowledgement is really helpful and as a result, pro bono doesn’t feel like second-tier work.” 

“It’s so easy to get involved,” another junior noted. There’s a pro bono director in place to oversee assignments and “we get a bunch of emails, but more often than not I’ll just reach out and ask to do some!” We certainly heard about a vast collection of opportunities, which included “collaborative work with the ACLU; a large immigration offering; a lot of abortion rights work; some climate change carbonization work; transgender rights matters; and a lot of affordable housing stuff.”  

Pro bono hours 

  • For all (US) attorneys: 67,028
  • Average per (US) attorney: 42


Community spirit was evident among our interviewees, who tended to rave about Goodwin’s culture. “I think of my colleagues as friends and would want to hang out with them even if we didn’t work together,” explained one. Another common sentiment was that the firm is “family-focused.” How so? Well, one interviewee highlighted an occasion when a junior was deciding whether or not to join Goodwin and explained to the firm’s interviewers that it would be up to their family to make the final call. “The interviewers said, ‘If your family has a say in this, we want to talk to them.’” The junior’s family was subsequently invited to the firm “so we could show them around and give them ice cream – the firm put its money where its mouth is and showed that family matters.”  

“There’s a lot of trust and I’ve never had to cancel plans.” 

Associates at the firm’s two biggest offices – Boston and New York – felt the culture across both was similar, in that they felt respected and treated like adults. “If I had something that I would really like to go to, like a play, I can,” a source told us. “So long as I get the work done, they’re very understanding. There’s a lot of trust and I’ve never had to cancel plans.” The sense we got across the board was that Goodwin is “not a wild party place, but it’s not like we’re siloed out either – we have a good mix of people coming into the office and we’re expected to be in three days each week, which makes the atmosphere pretty vibrant and gives you the chance to make a few friends on your floor!” Another interviewee flagged that there are a variety of events scheduled throughout the year, including “a firm-wide retreat over the fall, as well as local office retreats – they're all in-person events, and I’ve been to all of them!” 

Career Development 

Another area that received high praise was “the mentorship provided, which is the best, bar none.” Incoming associates get a “junior, midlevel and partner mentor,” we heard, “and the firm encourages you to find unofficial mentors, too.” Associates are also able to bill their time with their mentor and vice versa, and it was possible to get an informal mentor assigned as a formal mentor, too: “I have more mentors than I can count!” a source exclaimed. “A lot of people here are invested in me, and the connections are friendships as much as mentorships.” 

“I know that we do inclusion really well.” 

On that note, “if you have a good attitude there are opportunities” for career development. While many of our sources were not necessarily thinking so much about partnership at this early stage of their careers, they nonetheless appreciated that “the firm has put information out there – we had a session where the partners presented on the route to partnership.”  

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

“This is always a fun thing to talk about in BigLaw,” quipped one interviewee. “But at Goodwin it’s okay. There’s a decent amount of diversity at associate level, but at partner level it drops off.” A common story across the market. Sources felt the firm was “good at highlighting diverse partners and how they got there,” which helped to cement the impression that Goodwin is serious about retention: “When talking to my diverse friends, they feel the firm is making an effort,” a junior told us. Others emphasized Goodwin’s selection of diversity events (which include discussion panels), as well as the firm’s Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (CRED): “I feel that the firm encourages participation by giving us up to 100 hours of billable credit that we can put towards diversity activities, like CRED events.”  

TOP READ: Putting 'equity' in DE&I: Goodwin representative explain what equity means in practice, and how it impacts every facet of law firm life.

A few interviewees underscored the lack of women represented at the most senior levels of the partnership, but Goodwin was praised for nailing the inclusion element of the equation: “I don’t know if we do diversity better than anyone else, but I know that we do inclusion really well. There’s a ‘let’s include everyone’ approach, and we do attend training that gives us a toolbox to ensure we speak in an inclusive way.” 

Get Hired

LATERAL RECRUITMENT: Find out more about lateral opportunities with Goodwin here.

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

OCI applicants interviewed: 2,088

Interviewees outside OCI: N/A

Goodwin’s recruitment scope spans the US and around the world, with both on-campus interview programs and job fairs on the firm's radar. Typically, the interviews themselves are conducted by partners and members of the firm’s local hiring committees. Associates are usually on-site as well hosting hospitality suites, where candidates can ask questions about the early years of practice. 

During the interview, interviewers may ask “questions related to work and law school experience, what drew the candidate to law school, and what practice areas interest them.” Hiring partner Kevin Lam explains: “We aspire to hire students who are not only passionate about the law, but who are also passionate about practicing at the intersection of capital and innovation where some of the most dynamic areas of our global economy are situated.” In addition, the firm looks to hear “what students are looking for in a legal career, how their unique lived experiences have helped influence their education and career decisions, and why they believe Goodwin is a place where they can thrive.”

Top tips: 

“Asking thoughtful questions about our business and the person interviewing you is a great way to demonstrate that you have done your homework. Besides getting to know the firm and the team, it is just as important for us to get to know you; in other words, students should be their most authentic selves because, at Goodwin, we value different backgrounds and perspectives.” – Hiring partner Kevin Lam 

“Know the firm’s strengths and weaknesses. A lot of times, candidates just look at rankings but aren’t aware of the firm’s specialties.” – Third-year associate   


Applicants invited to second stage interview: 825 

During a standard callback interview, students should expect to meet between four and six attorneys of varying seniority. The interviews themselves are geared toward specific competencies including “interpersonal skills, drive and project management.” Interviewers use predetermined behavioral questions to evaluate a candidate’s potential for success at Goodwin. Students also have the option of attending ‘Super Interview Days,’ which include an office tour and reception in addition to the interviews. 

Top tips: 

“Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know various Goodwin personalities, whether in-person or over Zoom. Remember, if you are interviewing virtually, it is still critical to dress appropriately, make eye contact, and not read from prepared notes.” – Hiring partner Kevin Lam 

Summer program 

Offers: 356

Acceptances: 156 (2Ls)

Goodwin’s summer program runs for ten weeks. Students have the freedom to try any practice, rather than having to decide between corporate and litigation right away. Summers therefore gain exposure to Goodwin’s core practice areas in order to “discover what aspects of law interest them the most and the avenues available within the life sciences, private equity, real estate, technology and financial services industries — and where they converge,” says Lam. Assignments are received both from Goodwin attorneys directly and through assignment coordinators. Students also receive mentors from day one. “Our summer program provides summers with concrete, meaningful work assignments that help them gain a real-world perspective while giving them autonomy to navigate their own route to law,” Lam concludes. 

Top tips: 

“We foster strong relationships at the firm, so it is encouraged to participate in social events, mentorship programs, networking opportunities, and more. Part of being successful at Goodwin is embracing our collegial culture!”– Hiring partner Kevin Lam 


100 Northern Avenue,
MA 02210

Main areas of work
Technology: We help technology companies secure funding, protect their intellectual property, and navigate a challenging regulatory environment. We also help our technology clients differentiate their products in the marketplace and scale their businesses accordingly.

Life Sciences: Our life sciences team serves both innovator and investor clients who work collaboratively to improve patients’ lives. We advise companies from pure start-ups to commercial stage biopharmaceuticals, as well as the investors, banks and other entities who support those companies.

Private Equity: Our team focuses on middle-market private equity. We advise founders, buyers, sellers, investors, boards and special committees in matters across the corporate lifecycle. Our private equity work includes buyouts, growth equity deals, and growth company representations in the technology, healthcare, financial and business services, consumer and manufacturing sectors.

Real Estate: With a distinct emphasis on the capital markets, our real estate lawyers focus on transactions involving equity and debt financings, joint ventures, portfolio and REIT mergers and acquisitions, cross-border transactions, hospitality and leisure, and large-scale development work.

Financial Industry: Our financial industry practice provides clients a full-service platform across transactional, compliance, regulatory, enforcement and litigation matters. Our lawyers offer extensive experience in the investment management, banking, insurance, fintech, consumer finance, commodities, broker-dealer and investment bank sectors.

Litigation: Our litigators are savvy negotiators and zealous advocates who serve the needs of clients in high-stakes matters across jurisdictions. Our team possesses significant experience in cutting-edge industries, and our IP litigation practice has a long track record of success handling matters for emerging companies and well-established brands. 

Firm profile
We are in the business of building authentic, long-term relationships with our clients, who are some of the world’s most successful and innovative investors, entrepreneurs and disruptors in the life sciences, private equity, real estate, technology and financial industries, and where they converge. Our immersive understanding of these industries – combined with our expertise across high-stakes litigation and dispute resolution, world-class regulatory compliance and advisory services, and complex transactions – sets us apart. To learn more about our global law firm, please visit

Recruitment Law Schools Attending for OCIs:
American University, Washington College of Law; Boston College Law School; Boston University School of Law; Brooklyn Law School; Cardozo School of Law; Catholic Law; Chapman University Fowler School of Law; Columbia University Law School; Cornell Law School; Duke University School of Law; Emory University School of Law; Fordham University School of Law; George Mason Antonin Scalia School of Law; George Washington University Law School; Georgetown University Law Center; Harvard Law School; Howard University School of Law; Loyola Law School - Los Angeles; McGill University Faculty of Law; New York University School of Law; Northeastern University School of Law; Northwestern University School of Law; Notre Dame Law School; Pepperdine Caruso School of Law; Santa Clara University School of Law; Stanford Law School; Suffolk University Law School; UCLA School of Law; University of California - Irvine School of Law; University of California at Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of California, San Francisco; University of Chicago Law School; University of Connecticut School of Law; University of Florida Levin College of Law; University of Miami School of Law; University of Michigan Law School; University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law; University of North Carolina School of Law; University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School; University of Southern California Gould School of Law; University of Texas School of Law; University of Virginia School of Law; Vanderbilt University Law School; Washington University School of Law; William & Mary Law School; Yale Law School.

Recruitment outside OCIs:
Bay Area Diversity Career Fair; The Boston Lawyers Group Job Fair; Lavender Law Career Fair; Loyola Patent Job Fair; NEBLSA Job Fair; South Eastern Minority Job Fair; Midwest California – Georgia Consortium.

Summer Associate Profile:
Candidates interviewing with Goodwin for summer associate positions should have excellent written and oral communication skills, as well as outstanding academic credentials.

Summer program components:
Boston; London; Los Angeles; New York; Philadelphia; San Francisco; Santa Monica; Silicon Valley; or Washington, DC. Gaining real-world experience is critical as you begin your journey as a lawyer. At Goodwin, we provide summer associates with the resources and tools necessary to provide best-in-class client service from day one. We provide you with a robust training and professional development program, while also giving you the opportunity to explore your personal career aspirations. Through various work assignments, pro bono projects and client interactions, Goodwin gives you the guidance necessary to bridge the gap between law school and the start of your legal career.

What sets Goodwin apart is our people. Summer associates have the opportunity to witness our unique culture firsthand through mentorship programs, social events, and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. In addition to helping you chart your course, we provide summer associates with the opportunity to network and collaborate with lawyers, as well as our Global Operations Team, who work diligently to help you succeed both personally and professionally.

Social media:
Recruitment website:
Twitter: @goodwinlaw

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Banking & Finance (Band 4)
    • Capital Markets: Debt & Equity (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 3)
    • Life Sciences (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 5)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 4)
    • Technology: Transactions (Band 4)
    • Venture Capital (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 3)
    • Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Litigation (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance: Corporate & Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Life Sciences (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 1)
    • Technology (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Appellate Law (Band 4)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Cannabis Law (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Convertible Debt (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Equity: Issuer Counsel (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Equity: Manager Counsel (Band 3)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 5)
    • E-Discovery & Information Governance (Band 4)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 5)
    • ERISA Litigation (Band 2)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Compliance) (Band 3)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Consumer Finance (Litigation) (Band 1)
    • Financial Services Regulation: Financial Institutions M&A (Band 4)
    • Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 2)
    • Healthcare: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Appellate (Band 2)
    • International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 3)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Leisure & Hospitality (Band 2)
    • Life Sciences (Band 1)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts: Mid-Market (Band 1)
    • Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 2)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Registered Funds (Band 3)
    • REITs (Band 1)
    • Securities: Litigation (Band 4)
    • SPACs (Band 3)
    • Startups & Emerging Companies (Band 1)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 4)
    • Technology (Band 3)

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