Goodwin - The Inside View

This Boston native is as Good as gold for tech, life sciences and private equity work.

A leading name in all things tech, life sciences and private equity, it’s safe to say that Boston-based Goodwin has set up shop on the cutting edge. Among its many ranked departments in Chambers USA, the firm boasts top nationwide rankings across corporate crime & investigations, financial services regulation, life sciences, private equity buyouts, REITs and startups & emerging companies. Predictably then, it was the firm’s expertise in these areas that was the main draw for a lot of associates. “If you’re learning the business side - working with emerging companies is a specialty for Goodwin,” one associate told us, “but it's also a big firm able to take them on early, right up until they go public, and then represent them after the fact.” These opportunities a bit further down the line apply to associates too, with a number of the firm’s litigious juniors ending up at the DOJ.

“…working with emerging companies is a specialty for Goodwin, but they’re also a big firm able to take them on early, right up until they go public…”

Strategy & Future 

Following a relatively turbulent start to 2023, when the firm had to cut down its workforce by 5%, Goodwin’s prospects are looking up. As managing partner Mark Bettencourt tells us, the firm’s expertise across life sciences, technology, real estate, financial institutions, and private equity has been, and will continue to be, critical to Goodwin’s future: “We are helping our clients capitalize on the disruption that is ongoing across these industries,” Bettencourt tells us, and that has resulted in the firm attracting “a lot” of activity over the past twelve months. One example has been in the rapid development in the AI space: “It is a classic example of recent times in that it is disrupting the way everyone does business.” Bettencourt notes that beyond opening opportunities for clients, it will also give lawyers the ability to work more efficiently: “It is not going to replace us in the next five years, but it is a step along the continuum.”

We were told that the firm’s key practices “are undergoing a transformation” from a regulatory perspective. This again ties to one of Goodwin’s core strategic tenets, ‘attacking disruption’, as new regulation opens up new approaches to practice. Bettencourt emphasizes that PE interest in regulatory changes, and indeed financial transactions that cut across the global economy, are a key priority for the firm going forward: “With financial transactions, things are going to change when it comes to the manner in which they are executed, particularly with decreasing friction with fees.”

The Work  

As juniors, associates are split into two broad groups, business law and litigation, within which there are various possible subgroups. Litigation is separated into IP and then more general litigation. The business side of the firm is split into seven different subgroups, the biggest of which is private equity, followed by tech and life sciences. Across each of the groups, attorney development managers (ADMs) play a key role in ensuring that work is allocated fairly. While some associates felt the system could limit autonomy and a juniors’ ability to build their own practice, on the whole those we spoke to were positive about the firm’s efforts “to crack down on partner’s reaching out. So, things get allocated at a better rate and it’s not the same people being asked to work on stuff.” Juniors told us the system is a “valuable tool” to balance voicing interests and managing workflows, but once associates get to third year, hallway staffing starts to get a little more prominent.   

“The ADM takes care of my portfolio, making sure I get a mix of public and private work.”

In life sciences, ADMs play a particularly important role in ensuring that juniors do a wide range of work, especially since newbies start off as generalists: “The ADM takes care of my portfolio,” one associate told us, “hey make sure I get a mix of public and private work.” While certain practices are a certain way inclined when it comes to location – “a lot of the life sciences work is based out of Boston!” – juniors found themselves working between East and West Coast offices and beyond, with some associates even working with UK based teams. Clients range from local names to internationally recognised ones: “I got pulled into working for Moderna early on, negotiating with governments and the UN while at the same time arguing over $1000 with a small client!” The practice covers the full life cycle of a deal, taking clients from the early stage to an exit, whether that’s M&A or an IPO, with a significant number of biotech or medical device companies. “With respect to venture financings, you’re the first to do due diligence starting out,” one told us. As juniors develop into second years, they’re then “taking first cuts at ancillaries and working on signature packets and trackers.” On the public side: “There generally isn’t a lot of diligence, because it’s all available online,” so while ancillaries and signature packets are also a key portion of the work for public offerings, associates will do a mixture. We heard that client contact was also on the cards, with juniors sometimes handling communication.

Life Sciences clients: KBP Biosciences, Globus Medical, Biomea Fusion. Advised biotech company, argenx, on the closing of its $1.27 billion global offering.

“…having to talk to the client directly did scare me a bit, but the supervisors are there to help you out!”

Alongside things like cyber-security and data privacy, Goodwin’s technology practice covers everything from capital markets, venture capital and private equity matters. As a junior “you’re mainly on deal support, so working on diligence for financings and M&As.” There are also opportunities to work on more specific matters within tech with groups like IP transactions, where associates get to work directly reviewing commercial contracts and registering IP portfolios. “Once you’re a third year, you’re also working on commercial licensing and drafting contracts specifically provided by company clients,” one junior told us, “deal support is hardest because the timelines vary and there are multiple people working on a single document with multiple deadlines.” Commercial licensing, we heard, tends to be little less stressful, as “you’re drafting the terms and conditions that no one reads!” When it comes to client contact, “starting as a first year you’re leading diligence calls with clients on financing – having to talk to the client directly did scare me a bit, but the supervisors are there to help you out!”

Technology clients: iRobot Corporation, Open AI and Rippling. Advised Qualtrics in its $12.5 billion sale to Silver Lake.

Outside of IP, almost all the contentious work is covered by the firm’s litigation practice group, where associates act as generalists for their first couple of years. “As you get more senior, there is the expectation that you’ll focus on a certain area, but as a junior you can bounce between commercial, securities, white collar investigations… so it’s a pretty broad group!” Juniors here can work with teams in any office, but Boston does tend to be a little more IP heavy and DC tends to hold most of the consumer work because of its proximity to regulators. On the consumer financial services side, juniors tended to get most of their work for major banks working on consumer litigation and class actions, as well as in federal investigations. Alongside DOJ, FCC, SEC, ERISA and white-collar investigations, juniors told us “data privacy is really taking off now – we’ve seen a lot of new and existing clients come to us for things like wiretapping laws, so that’s been really rewarding to help build up.”

For junior associates, typical tasks include “a lot of doc review and legal research – so what you’d expect coming in!” but we did hear from a number of insiders that drafting motions, discovery parcels and presentations for investigations were also part and parcel of the daily grind. “You’re leading client calls based on the research,” one junior grinned, explaining that “partners see you as master of the facts! I’ve had the opportunity to lead an associate team, coordinating with our data analyst to report to the client and strategize the story we’re going to tell the government.” Juniors also told us there are opportunities to sit in on depositions, and help experts prepare.

Litigation clients: BNP Paribas, New Balance Athletics, Zealand Pharma. Represented a syndicate including Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley in a series of US based securities litigations arising from the initial public offerings of China-based e-commerce/fintech companies.

Hours & Compensation  

Billable hours: 1,950 target 

“You don’t need to miss things, so long as you plan around them.”

Goodwin sets a 1,950 billable target for associates, which includes upwards of 75 hours for culture and innovation activities which include “investment time, mentoring summers, working with partners in firm leadership on literature and publications,” – and unlimited pro bono hours. Associates who unlock their bonuses get an additional $5,000 for a “recharge vacation.” Juniors did caution that over the last couple of years hitting 1,950 hours “wasn’t very reachable,” though, as “things dropped off from a business standpoint.” Fortunately, across the practices things have picked up.Associates also told us that “there is no expectation to work on weekends,” unless it’s for a very clear task, and one even mentioned that “when I’m online past like, seven, I constantly get pings on Teams with people telling me to go to sleep, asking why I’m online past hours on a Friday!” Juniors were unanimous on the point that, “they try and create that separation. You don’t need to miss things, so long as you plan around them.”

Pro Bono 

Unsurprisingly, juniors were very positive about the firm’s pro bono practice, which “is how Goodwin gets their juniors that stand-up experience. You get a long leash for managing matters on your own there.” Associates can put an unlimited number of hours into pro bono, so insiders typically do a fair bit, as it’s generally not challenging to get onto pro bono matters. One junior admitted that while “opportunities come quite often, it can be difficult getting work from popular pro bono. I’m a strong advocate of the Innocence Project, but there’s a line for that!” That being said, “I think that was the only time I experienced a delay!”

It's worth noting that the firm also does a lot of work with refugees, some housing law, and some veterans work. In DC especially, Goodwin does a lot of litigation work for organizations like KIND; “I’ve done a lot of running with an appellate argument, trial court appearances, and interactions with opposing counsel,” one source explained, “It’s pretty widespread, but we do a lot across the spectrum.” Juniors also told us of corporate pro bono matters like The Neighbourhood Business Initiative in Boston where “we help small business owners with little to no legal counsel. We host these clinics where they can come in with questions about contracts about four or five times a year.”

Pro bono hours 

For all (US) attorneys: 87,529

Average per (US) attorney: 70


“There aren’t partner clients, there are only firm clients.”

One of the things associates were quick to highlight was what sources described as: “Very conscious decisions in the hiring process. The firm spends a lot of time reviewing candidates to makes sure they fit Goodwin’s culture, which is one of collaboration.” This, insiders felt, was reflected from the leadership down: “There aren’t partner clients, there are only firm clients. There are relationships partners bring into the business, but we use all the firm’s resources for a client, and that trickles down to the social aspect too!” This sense of collaboration manifested itself in more ways than one: “There is the freedom to pop into anyone’s office – through that I’ve developed some very good friendships!” The general consensus was that the firm’s work with early-stage venture companies too reflected something of an “entrepreneurial spirit.” Event-wise, Goodwin’s offices have the typical Christmas and summer holiday parties alongside fairly regular happy hours and more informal socials, depending on the team. The summer associate program, we heard, was the time “you feel the Goodwin culture most. Especially with senior associates taking on positions on internal committees around things like diversity.”

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

Speaking of which, the sources we spoke to were positive about the firm’s efforts on DE&I within the context of Biglaw, especially from a gender perspective: “I really enjoy the events with Women at Goodwin – the firm provides a lot of opportunities to get together with funding!” We also heard that once a month all the affinity groups in Boston get together for coffee “to share our experiences, and I really like that visibility,” one associate shared, “we also recently elected a new chair who showed up to the coffee. Having a leader for the firm come to that and open himself up to questions about diversity really spoke to me.” The firm also places associates in mentoring pods, which can be a good way for juniors to connect: “I was in a pod with one partner and multiple associates involved in different diversity groups. We’d meet together and discuss opportunities.” One junior we spoke with was particularly enamored with the life sciences team: “One of the comforting factors of the team is that there are a lot more people of color and women of color; there are a lot of folks who’ve had similar journeys, so people understand your background without you needing to explain it.” This was also true of religious commitments – “they don’t hesitate to let you take the time off for religious commitments, so you have the leverage and courage to do that.”

Career Development 

The current crop were clear that the firm is committed to associate development. While one did add that “they genuinely care, but meeting client needs supersedes development.” As another put it: “Associates sometimes feel that there’s this curtain between partnership,” so, “they’re trying to pull that back with a new program where partners have meetings with fourth and fifth years to talk about personal roles at the firm.” This, in part with Goodwin’s general transparency on opportunities, helped the current cohort to feel like partnership “isn’t an unattainable goal – as long as you do work, stay busy and people like working with you!” Across practices and offices, the overall feeling was that “the senior associates and partners take it upon themselves to mentor you. They’re really engaged in my learning and development, and tolerant of me not knowing anything!”

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

OCI applicants interviewed: 1155

Interviewees outside OCI: 311

Goodwin’s recruitment scope spans the United States and around the world, with both on-campus interview programs and job fairs on the firm's radar. Typically,  interviews are conducted virtually by partners and members of the firm’s local hiring committees.

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: 566

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: 101

Acceptances: 75

Goodwin’s summer program runs for ten weeks. Students have the freedom to try any assignment within either the business law or litigation department.  This allows summers to 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 the assignment system 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 path in the 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: Our Technology team is strategically positioned at the intersection of new technology, investors, and emerging markets to help companies secure funding, protect their intellectual property, and navigate a challenging regulatory environment. We work with our technology clients from the earliest stages of development and commercialization through maturity to differentiate their products in the marketplace and scale their businesses accordingly.

Life Sciences: Our Life Sciences team serves innovators and investors who work collaboratively across the life sciences ecosystem to improve the lives of patients across the globe. 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 Private Equity team focuses on the middle-market private equity sector. We advise founders, buyers, sellers, investors, boards and special committees on five main areas: buyouts, growth equity, private investment funds, debt finance, and portfolio company representations in the technology, healthcare, financial and business services, consumer and manufacturing sectors.

Real Estate: Our Real Estate team takes a practical approach based on deep market insights to help private and public clients make the most of every investment decision. We specialize in structuring, raising, and deploying capital across transactions including 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 Services team provides clients with a full-service platform across transactional, compliance, regulatory and advisory, enforcement, and litigation matters. We understand the market forces shaping the industry and offer extensive experience in the investment management, banking, insurance, fintech, consumer finance, commodities, broker-dealer and investment bank sectors.

Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution: Our Complex Litigation & Dispute Resolution team is committed to meeting our clients’ most pressing needs, whether they require quick and discrete resolutions, courtroom victories, or other outcomes. Our litigators are savvy negotiators and zealous advocates who serve clients across jurisdictions and practice areas, including our IP litigation practice which 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 at the convergence of and within the life sciences, private equity, real estate, technology, and financial industries. 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; Columbia University Law School; Cornell Law School; Duke University School of Law; Emory University School of Law; Fordham University 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 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; Southeastern Law School Consortium; 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; 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. Our summer associates have the opportunity to work on challenging cases and experience 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 avenues to network and collaborate with not only firm lawyers but also our global operations professionals, who work diligently to help you succeed both personally and professionally.

Social media:
Twitter: @goodwinlaw

Additional resources:


Take the Unprecedented Path with Goodwin:

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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