Greenberg Traurig, PA - The Inside View

Green(berg) means go: with 30 offices in the US alone, this cross-country GT likes to move fast.

Having reached the ten largest law firms in the US by headcount, Greenberg Traurig’s growth seemed unstoppable. In 2019, the firm set up shop in Minneapolis and Milan, and more than 300 attorneys came on board firmwide in just 12 months. Then came 2020, the great ruiner of everyone’s plans… The pandemic has forced them to put on the brakes,” junior associates confirmed, but they were confident that “the firm is posited to resume growth once things are back to normal.” GT hasn’t been sitting still for a year, having lured in a number of partners to round out its corporate restructuring groups in Boston and Denver; and within the first month of 2021, the firm made around 30 lateral hires in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, LA, Miami, New Jersey, New York, Phoenix, Sacramento,Tallahassee andWest Palm Beach (not to mention a handful of overseas offices). The results are clearly paying off. The firm’s executive chairman Richard Rosenbaum tells us that the firm “recorded revenues of $1.73 billion for FY 2020, the seventh consecutive year of record revenue, and a 5.48% increase over the previous year.”

A network of ten overseas offices “gives Greenberg access to bigger matters outside of the US.” Insiders were roundly impressed: “Maybe I’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid, but having so many offices is invaluable if we have a question about law in a different state or jurisdiction – it's a great resource for our clients.” It’s also helped the firm to a lengthy list of Chambers USArankings, not least in its home state of Florida – the firm sits top in areas including banking and finance, litigation, M&A, environment, tax and real estate.

“The firm is posited to resume growth once things are back to normal.”

Several of our interviewees identified the last of those as a particular standout strength. “Looking out across the Miami skyline, nine out of ten of the buildings have links to our clients,” one mused. “That covers everything from zoning and permits to constructions and selling condominium units.” Greenberg may have been born in (and helped build much of) Florida, but New York is now its largest office. Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles also take sizable first-year associate classes each year; other offices recruit in smaller numbers.

The Work



Corporate and litigation are two of the most common practice area destinations for newbies, followed by real estate. Smaller groups like IP, healthcare, labor and employment and tax also regularly house juniors. Though work assignment varies between groups and offices, most of our interviewees described a free market. “As a first-year corporate associate, I can do a little bit of everything,” one in Miami declared. “If things are slow tomorrow I could pick up work in bankruptcy if I wanted – it’s just a case of walking down the hall and asking.” A litigation junior in New York told a similar tale: “It’s a total free market. I was hired for general litigation with no specific practice group, and the idea is we try all different parts of litigation.” Our interviewees also agreed Greenberg was a place where “you can learn hard and fast so as to become independent quickly and develop client relationships.”

If they use their freedom to its fullest extent, litigators can sample general commercial and white-collar cases as well as employment disputes and arbitration. Depending on which office they're based in, juniors might also get experience working on class actions, cross-border disputes, and product liability cases. “This year there has been a lot of product liability work – at one point I had 21 different cases to manage,” a source recalled. New York insiders outlined a structured approach to matters: “Typically there’s a senior associate who’s on calls with the shareholder and manages the associates; a midlevel associate who does most of the drafting; and a junior associate who is assigned discrete pieces of research to do and takes the first draft of some of the subpoenas and motions.” They concluded that the totem pole approach is “good for learning, it’s great to clearly see work progress down the line.” Associates were relatively unlikely to receive regular client contact (as is typical of a litigation seat), but those we spoke to were happy with their interaction with shareholders (Greenberg’s title for partners).

Litigation clients: Floyd Mayweather, HSBC, Monarch Casino & Resort. Defended Beach Boys singer Mike Love in $10 million+ proceedings brought by his former lawyers for breach of contract and related claims.

“I’m very happy about my opportunities to proactively work with partners in the practice areas I’m interested in.”

There’s also plenty to explore in corporate, whether that’s M&A, restructuring, private equity or capital markets. It was the first of those that really piqued the interests of our sources, who saw themselves gravitating toward it as a combined result of client contact and interesting substantive work. “I’m very happy about my opportunities to proactively work with partners in the practice areas I’m interested in,” one declared. “The biggest drawback is the workload.” Juniors certainly had a lot to be getting on with, including due diligence, coordinating with counsel and drafting ancillary documents. Private equity and healthcare-related transactions are growing specialties in New York, but there’s still a variety of work on offer; Latin American and Israeli clients are easy to find in the Florida offices, and the Chambers USAtop-ranked Phoenix base has proven its worth to companies in the energy, healthcare, financial services and technology industries.

Corporate clients: United Wholesale Mortgage, Hemacare, Lightship Capital. Represented office space titan WeWork in its acquisition of spatial analytics platform Euclid. 

Quiz time – which Am Law 100 firm has the most real estate attorneys in the United States? No prizes for guessing it’s Greenberg Traurig. Acquisitions, sales, financings and joint ventures alike fall in here and the firm aims to advise clients through full deal cycles. That requires close collaboration between the real estate, land use and government law and policy departments. “I do a lot of contract drafting and if clients do end up in litigation, I help prepare settlement documents,” a junior told us. “In only my third year I called opposing counsel and worked out issues with them, which felt pretty big – but if there’s a problem, a shareholder can step in.” They and others had additional early responsibilities, such as taking depositions. “It alsopresents a much more balanced and relaxed lifestyle than corporate work,” one smug real estate-r concluded.

Real estate clients: Invesco Real Estate, Square Mile Capital, SL Green. Represented the American Finance Trust in a $715 million real estate financing transaction with loan origination firm Column Financial.

Culture, Hours & Compensation



“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how not-miserable I’ve been,” a source with a seemingly low bar for law firm life told us. They did go on: “I was very hesitant about entering a BigLaw environment and thought I would be out of the door within a year, but now I’m a third-year associate and am not looking to leave immediately. I like the fact that I’m learning and being challenged in the best of ways.” Though many of our interviewees conceded that the firm was less prestigious than some rival firms in many US markets, they felt this came with some enviable benefits: “We are on a different level in terms of pressure and expectation,” encouraging many to stick around for longer. One went as far as to say they “feel lucky about not getting an offer from a ‘top’ firm!”

“Associates and shareholders at the firm made it clear that the ‘traditional’ style of work at a big law firm wasn't the goal.”

Here’s an example of those benefits: “For the most part, the firm has been very respectful of weekend time and you’re not expected to be online ready to respond immediately all evening. We work when we’re formally told to work.” Another chimed in: “I feel free talking to my fellow associates about billing – nobody is trying to hide or being competitive.” The vast majority of associates agreed that there’s little expectation to match up to peers, and that Greenberg promotes teamwork to make the dream work (no confirmation yet on if they have that emblazoned on any motivational posters in the office). A Boston-based insider suggested that upon their arrival, “associates and shareholders at the firm made it clear that the ‘traditional’ style of work at a big law firm wasn't the goal. The plan instead was to create an environment in which I could excel as an attorney – that includes having substantial contact with shareholders, associates and even management.”

Billable hours: no requirement

Associates found the merit-based bonus system to be something of “a black box,” given that there isn't an official billing target.A decent chunk of our respondents believed GT could handle bonuses and compensation better, particularly those who had “experienced periods of feeling overworked.” One junior disclosed “billing close to 300 hours a month for the past four months.” The strongest critiques came from long hour hotspot New York.

Diversity & Inclusion



As evidence that GT isn’t resting on its laurels, women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ attorneys made up more than half of the firm’s 2020 shareholder class. Anecdotal accounts from our junior sources suggested there’s still room for improvement. “Many women are elevated to counsel level, but then not shareholder,” one suggested. “It’s unclear if that’s because many have children, but to some extent it feels like women are still facing the same issues they had in previous generations.” An NYC junior confided: “I definitely feel I am a minority in New York – that’s not great.” In 2020 the firm appointed a wellness manager and mental health support line for all to access.

Women, ethnic minorities, and LGBTQ+ attorneys made up more than half of the firm’s 2020 Shareholder Class.

Pro Bono



“We’re highly encouraged to do at least 25 hours of pro bono annually,” interviewees explained, adding that “along with community involvement schemes you can bill up to 150 hours toward your billable target.” Greenberg Traurig counts more than 100 attorneys and staff identifying as veterans or active military personnel, and the firm does extensive pro bono work including military appeals, veteran benefit claims, family law issues and discharge upgrades. Other newsworthy stories include working to pass legislation restricting childhood marriage in Texas and Florida; and the Chicago office representing transgender women in a challenge to statutory restrictions on name changes in Illinois.

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 41,079
  • Average per US attorney: undisclosed

Career Development



We heard that mentoring is a big deal at Greenberg. Each office has a designated career development liaison to assist with training programs, and juniors typically pair up with an additional shareholder or counsel mentor too. An interviewee explained that “there is a formal program in place but all the shareholders I have worked with are very invested in me succeeding at the firm.” Another backed up their claims: “There are times when senior associates and shareholders have spent hours on the phone with me, explaining revisions and pointing out where I may have got something totally wrong – I find that extremely valuable.”

“There are times when senior associates and shareholders have spent hours on the phone with me… I find that extremely valuable.”

The hub of GT’s training regime is the Hoffman Professionalism Center, named after founding chairman Larry J. Hoffman and run by the firm's professional development department. Associates can make use of scheduled and on-demand legal, business and client-related programs to support their development. As with any firm as large as Greenberg, associate career motivations vary by location: interviewees observed some evidence of “people moving to a more prestigious firm,” but others were looking to commit to partner track. “Certain in-house roles might convince me to leave, but GT is a great firm and I’m happy here,” one declared.

Strategy & Future



Greenberg’s strategy in the immediate future remains focused on the pandemic. Rosenbaum tells us that “our Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force members have published hundreds of Alerts and Advisories – and continue to do so today – giving our clients a wide range of information related to doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“The firm is located in 14 out of 17 of the broadly acknowledged innovation centers of the future…”

Taking a longer view, he also highlights that the firm is “the firm is located in 14 out of 17 of the broadly acknowledged innovation centers of the future, including such diverse locations as Tel Aviv, Berlin, Seoul, Miami, Warsaw, Tokyo, Silicon Valley, Shanghai, and London.” He adds that “our bold vision is to be best in class in premier practices and dominate each sector or market in which we operate, because this ultimately benefits clients.” Our interviewees felt confident in the plan, one noting that “GT has a strategy and they will stick with it.” 

Get Hired



The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: 734

Greenberg Traurig interviews at schools that are nationally ranked or well represented with alumni in the current attorney population. It also attends job fairs and hires judicial clerks. In 2019 it interviewed at 38 law schools and had 28 resume collections.  

If students do not make the interview schedule because their school uses a random lottery system, “we encourage students to contact the recruiting manager for the office in which they are interested,” says co-president and global chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman. OCIs are conducted by shareholders (this is what Greenberg calls its partners) and sometimes another attorney. Interviewers look for top academic performance, and a balance of interests in and out of law school. Kaufman adds: “We look at why the candidate is interested in our firm and ask them about practice area interests, because that will determine who the candidate should meet if there is a callback interview.”  

Top tips for this stage:  

“Share something you’re passionate about, whether that’s at law school or an extracurricular activity. We really want to find that extra interesting reason for what drives someone.”  a first-year junior associate  

“It is critical that they show that they know the firm, the local office and the attorneys who are interviewing them. Today, this is easier than ever.” – co-president and global chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman 

Callbacks 

Candidates meet shareholders and associates throughout the callback. Each interview is 20 to 30 minutes long. Kaufman tells us: “We focus on whether the candidate can thrive in our firm culture,” so candidates should expect questions about working in smaller teams and showing initiative.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“People who do well are people who’re comfortable and capable of cracking a joke.”  a first-year junior associate  

“Make sure to read the biographies of the attorneys who will be interviewing you and try and show genuine interest in their practice.”  co-president and global chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman  

Summer program

Offers: 59

Summer associates’ projects are usually assigned by an associate. These projects are based on the firm’s needs, so summers will likely get exposure to different areas of law. The exception is patent prosecution as the firm hires summers directly into this group. Kaufman says: “You should have a few projects on your plate at any given time, but do not volunteer for every project so it spreads you thin and affects the quality of your work.” Associates are given a shareholder and an associate mentor to help navigate the program.  

“They do the great activities – baseball games, cocktail events – where you meet all the practice groups,” a first-year associate recalled. “That’s really fun and can be just as grueling as the work!”  

The firm makes offers to specific practice areas.  

Top tips for this stage:  

“Take the time to learn from key professional staff, including legal assistants/secretaries, as they are often critical to the workflows of the practices.” – co-president andglobal chair of professional development and integration Brad D. Kaufman

And finally….  

Kaufman adds: “We value diversity and individuality, so be yourself!”  

Greenberg Traurig, PA

  • Head Office: Global
  • Number of domestic offices: 30
  • Number of international offices: 10
  • Worldwide revenue: $1,743,000 FY 2020
  • Partners (US): 917
  • Associates (US): 839
  • Contacts  
  • Main recruitment contact: Michael Nguyen (nguyenmic@gtlaw.com)
  • Hiring partner: Brad Kaufman
  • Diversity officer: Nikki Lewis Simon
  • Recruitment details  
  • Entry-level associates accepted in 2020: 56
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joined 2020: 2Ls: 59
  • Split summers offered? Case-by-case
  • Can summers spend time in an overseas office? Case-by-case

Main areas of work
Banking and financial services; blockchain; corporate; cybersecurity and privacy; emerging technology; energy and natural resources; entertainment and media; environmental; food, beverage and agribusiness; franchise and distribution; gaming; government contracts; government law and policy; health care and FDA practice; hospitality; immigration and compliance; infrastructure; insurance; intellectual property and technology; international trade; labor and employment; Latin American and Iberian practice; life sciences and medical technology; litigation; marketing, advertising, sweepstakes and promotions law; pharmaceutical, medical device and health care; private wealth services; public finance; real estate; regulatory and compliance; restructuring and bankruptcy; retail; tax; technology, telecommunications; transportation and automotive.

Firm profile
Greenberg Traurig, LLP (GT) has more than 2,200 attorneys in 40 offices in the US, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. GT has been recognized for its philanthropic giving, diversity, and innovation, and is consistently among the largest firms in the US on the Law360 400 and among the Top 20 on the Am Law Global 100.~

Recruitment
HISTORIC LIST OF OCI Law Schools:
Law schools and programs at: Boston College; Boston U.; Brooklyn Law School; Chicago-Kent College of Law; Columbia Law School; Cornell Law School; Duke Law School; Emory Law School; Florida International University College of Law; Fordham Law School; George Washington University Law School; Georgetown University Law Center; Georgia State University; Howard University; Indiana University Walkaround Program; Loyola Law School, Los Angeles; New York University School of Law; Northeastern University; Northwestern University Law School; Notre Dame Law School; University of California, Davis School of Law; University of California, Los Angeles - School of Law; University of Chicago Law School; University of Florida - Levin College of Law; University of Georgia; University of Miami School of Law; University of Michigan Law School; University of Pacific, McGeorge; University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Southern California - Gould School of Law; University of Virginia; Vanderbilt Law School Walkaround Program

HISTORIC LIST OF Recruitment outside OCIs: Job Fairs: Boston Lawyers Group (BLG); Boston Fair for Law Students of Color”; Cook County Minority Job Fair; IP Job Fair; Lavender Law Fair; Midwest-California Consortium; SEMJF
Resume Collects: Law schools and programs at: Cornell; Duke; Emory; Florida International University; Fordham; Florida State University; George Washington University; Georgetown University; Harvard; New York University; Northwestern University; Pepperdine; St. Thomas; Stanford; Stetson; Thurgood Marshall; University of California, Berkeley; University of Chicago; University of Florida; University of Miami; University of Michigan; University of Pennsylvania; University of Texas; University of Virginia; Yale

Summer associate program profile: An important goal of the program is to help summer associates with the transition from law student to practicing lawyers and future leaders by including them on client matters. We look for attorneys who have an entrepreneurial spirit, initiative, willingness to assume responsibility, and leadership skills. Components of the program include: corporate deal simulation; exposure to innovative technology; conflict resolution training; litigation training, such as oral advocacy presentation; visit to appeals court and Q&A session with a judge; and firsthand exposure to in-house counsel and their interaction with law firms. We are proud that several firm leaders started their careers as a summer associate at the firm.

Social media:
Recruitment website: www.gtlaw.com/careers/
Linkedin: greenberg-traurig-llp
Twitter: @GT_Law
Facebook: GreenbergTraurigLLP
Instagram: @gt_law

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2021

Ranked Departments

    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Private Equity: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 5)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Immigration (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Appellate (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
    • Immigration (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Energy & Natural Resources (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Public Finance (Band 2)
    • Corporate/Commercial (Band 1)
    • Gaming & Licensing (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
    • Energy: State Regulatory & Wholesale Electric Market (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Immigration (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 5)
    • Litigation: Appellate (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 4)
    • Franchising (Band 4)
    • Gaming & Licensing (Band 1)
    • Healthcare: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Immigration (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Leisure & Hospitality (Band 2)
    • Native American Law (Band 2)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Product Liability: Consumer Class Actions (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)
    • Retail (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)