Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP - The Inside View

Hunton’s got the energy to rebuild the US’ infrastructure, so you'd better bring plenty of it with you to this pro bono powerhouse.

“We’re a forward-leaning law firm and seen as a place that invests in its strategic plan and communities,” chief growth officer Wally Martinez announced when we caught up with him earlier in 2023. The firm’s devotion to pro bono was certainly highlighted by our associate sources (more on this later), but when it comes to the standard client billable work, Hunton has some clear strengths, as Martinez highlights: “We cover the full range of energy work, from oil and gas to renewables, and also focus on areas like consumer products and retail, and structured finance and financial services. We have a robust cybersecurity practice, which is one of the largest in the country, and we continue to invest in our PPP infrastructure practice – the infrastructure in the US is crumbling, and we can repair it by finding those partnerships between private and public entities.” 

An inspection of Hunton’s Chambers USA accolades reveals plenty of praise in these areas, including top-tier nationwide recognition for capital markets, climate change, energy, and environment expertise. Other highly respected practices span privacy and data security, and projects (especially when it comes to those involving renewables and alternative energy). Hunton has quite the foundation to support its rising star in BigLaw: a 2018 merger between Virginia’s Hunton & Williams and Texas’ Andrews Kurth produced the firm we see before us today, and both legacy outfits were already significant players in the US and internationally. Most of the associates on our list were based in the Mid-Atlantic region, in hotspots like New York, DC, and Richmond, but there were still a hefty number located across the firm’s Texan strongholds in Houston and Dallas

Strategy & Future 

The firm has grown a fair few areas recently. Wally Martinez tells us: “We focused on our fourth stool in the energy arena, which involved us investing in our nuclear practice. Another area we focused on was our PPP infrastructure practice, which has allowed us to move up the league tables.” Elsewhere, “M&A activity has fared well in the midst of this challenging time, and we’re expecting to see an increase in restructuring matters in the second half of this year.”

“2021 was a year where you couldn’t keep up with the demand unless you were very active in the lateral market, but the demand is lower now” Martinez notes, before qualifying: “But that doesn’t mean that there’s a significant slowdown – the profession continues to grow.” For Hunton, the emphasis remains on “including the future generation and focusing on new industries, while maintaining our existing industry priorities. We are thought leaders in the areas we focus on.”

The Work 

Most associates were working in either Hunton’s overarching corporate or litigation practices, but there were many in capital finance and real estate, too. Areas like energy and infrastructure, labor and employment, and tax took on fewer juniors. Associates can discuss what kind of work they want with the work coordinator, but “it’s really about the relationships you build” when it comes to repeat assignments. Initially juniors sample a variety of matters in their practice, but “after the first year, you start to pick more of a lane.” There’s plenty of work to go around, and, as one associate noted, “people ask if you have capacity before assigning work – no one is just dumping assignments on you!” 

“...because of the size and nature of Hunton, I never did doc review!” 

Corporate at Hunton covers a broad range of practice areas, such as capital markets; structured finance and securitization; oil & gas; M&A; global tech outsourcing; and private equity. “I get a lot of free rein,” beamed one interviewee. “They don’t really differentiate between junior and senior tasks – it's about what you’re ready to handle.” Others liked the repetitiveness of the deals that they worked on, “as it keeps things very stable – when you work on the same six or seven deal types, you know exactly what you need to do and who to reach out to.” Capital markets sources had worked on a number of mortgage-backed securities matters, especially in the residential space. “Our clients include large financial institutions, banks, and mortgage lenders,” one explained, while another was glad to tell us that “the expectation is not that you’ll have the knowledge straight away, but that you have those soft skills around responsiveness and communication. The more you show competency in those skills the more you’ll get advanced assignments, like work on offering memorandums and agreements.” 

Corporate clients: JPMorgan Securities, RBC Capital Markets. Represented Pacific Gas & Electric with its issuance of mortgage bonds totaling $8 billion. 

Under the litigation umbrella, there are subgroups in securities; energy; commercial; insurance; products and mass torts; and antitrust and consumer protection. One junior in the latter told us that “you can get involved with all types of litigation in this area. The team does privacy work and data breaches, and also offers guidance on regulations and smaller matters with individual clients.” Interviewees had gotten stuck into plenty of tasks and grabbed bucketloads of responsibility. They found “the team structure to be flatter than you’d expect – because of the size and nature of Hunton, I never did doc review!” Instead, tasks ranged from “overseeing discovery matters to having direct client interactions. By the third year, I was conducting direct witness evaluations in court, as well as depositions – all while managing and delegating to more junior associates.” 

Litigation clients: Google, Samsung. Represented the City of Richmond pro bono in the Virginia Supreme Court on the removal of confederate monuments.  

Over in capital finance and real estate, a source estimated that their time was split 20/80 between the two: “I work on lots of purchase and sale agreements, as well as ancillary documents. There’s also a range of loan agreements, leases, and easements to arrange, and plenty of due diligence!” We were told that clients include retail developers, as well as well-known tech companies that are looking to purchase warehouses. “There was one matter where it was just me and a senior associate,” a junior enthused. “I worked really closely with the client, drafted most of the documents, and learnt a ton about how real estate deals operate.” 

Real estate clients: American Horticultural Society, Beal Bank USA, Sonesta International Hotels. Represented Industrial Logistics Properties Trust in its $4 billion acquisition of Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corp.

Pro Bono 

“Where the firm truly shines is pro bono,” proclaimed one interviewee. Indeed, associates felt encouraged to “use pro bono work as an opportunity to grow as an attorney and gain experience with tasks you may not have been assigned yet on a billable matter.” Martinez explains that “we have 100% participation in pro bono across the firm. We’re not forcing people to do a certain type of pro bono, but we do expect them to get involved.” A source told us that non-participation is noted: “The firm keeps a ‘naughty list’ of attorneys who have not done pro bono work!” Not that our interviewees needed any convincing to do pro bono, as we registered a high level of enthusiasm for the activity. While the firm gives attorneys 100 pro bono hours towards their yearly billing target, associates “can apply for more if it makes sense with your caseload” and in other notable circumstances (such as working on death penalty cases). 

“The firm keeps a ‘naughty list’ of attorneys who have not done pro bono work!”

Juniors get involved in a wide array of pro bono issues: “For litigation-leaning matters, there are asylum and immigration cases, as well as disputes between small business owners.” Pro bono isn’t just for the litigators though, as “you’re able to access some transactional assignments too, like helping nonprofits with corporate documents, general advice and filing for bylaws.” Martinez affirms that “pro bono provides a great training opportunity to take you out of your comfort zone.” And one associate did just that and took advantage of what was on offer: “Through pro bono I got to directly examine a witness within my first year.”  

Pro bono hours

  • For all (US) attorneys: 51,798 
  • Average per (US) attorney: 61 


Despite its many offices across the country, common cultural themes arise at Hunton. “It’s not just about work, work, work,” as this associate assured us, adding that there’s plenty of room for happy hours, coffee mornings, and pizza nights. “There are regular firm gatherings,” another interviewee told us. “For example, we’ve had Thanksgiving and ‘welcome back to the office’ parties, and client meetings can end with cocktails. There are many snack days too, including cupcake Wednesdays!” Martinez puts the firm’s effort to encourage socializing into perspective: “There is a need for physical proximity, for career development and social reasons. This profession feeds on creativity, new ideas, and solving problems – to do those things we need proximity to each other.”  

This emphasis on sociability and development was bolstered by “willingness from more senior associates and partners to help juniors with questions on any issues.” In fact, from the very first interviews, this source found that “all the people seemed to know each other really well and the partners were attentive. They went above and beyond to make me feel they really wanted me. Among my law school friends, Hunton’s known as a kinder place to practice in BigLaw.” Once at the firm, juniors didn’t feel like “cogs in a machine,” particularly when they were working in smaller teams. “It’s easier to get to know everyone because of the smaller class sizes,” one concluded.  

Career Development 

“There’s a lot of formal training that the firm puts on,” a junior told us. “That includes lots of webinars, sponsorship to attend annual conferences in your practice area, and deposition sessions for litigators.” Juniors at Hunton get a sense of stability quickly as “you meet partners who were once associates here and have spent their entire career at the firm – there’s a well-trodden pathway.” And why not stay at Hunton? According to our survey responses, the firm’s associates intend to make partner at a higher rate than the market average we record. “They definitely invest in us. We’re hired with the intention for us to stay for the long run, and not as a resource to use up!”  

“There are partners who ask how they can help set you up with the types of clients you want to work with."

“The best investment we can make is in our homegrown talent,” Martinez tells us. 89% of the firm’s longstanding partners (who have been with the firm for 15 years or more) started out as associates, which didn’t go unnoticed by juniors: “I was interviewed by partners who’d summered here. I felt like they genuinely cared about my interests.” When it comes to business development and even future moves in-house, “there are partners who ask how they can help set you up with the types of clients you want to work with. The firm also supports those who want to make the jump to government positions – they view it as a success story, not a betrayal!” 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

“We ask for 100% participation in DE&I initiatives, just as we do with pro bono, because then it’s at the forefront of everyone’s mind,” Martinez flags. 25 hours of DE&I activities count towards associates’ billable hours target, which acts as healthy “incentive and encouragement,” as Martinez says. From an associate perspective, this source flagged that “the New York office does a great job of hiring a diverse class, but there is plenty more to do across all offices.” The firm has multiple affinity groups that associates can get involved in: “There are always people to lead the groups and they all have the passion to keep them going,” an interviewee noted. The affinity groups are part of a broader effort “to engage with both our staff and attorneys to celebrate them,” Martinez adds. “We aim to bring people together so we can learn from each other.” One junior told us about a recent firm-hosted “international food festival, with various tables for us to celebrate a range of cuisines and cultures.” 

Hours & Compensation 

Billable hours: 2,000 target 

“International matters can cause some odd hours!” a source exclaimed, highlighting a standard reality for any associate working in the major leagues of BigLaw. Despite this, associates were keen to affirm that “we do have a social life outside of work and there is a balance,” with one interviewee explaining that “a steady 48 hours a week sounds right – and I don’t work weekends unless it’s urgent!” When a deal or case heats up, late nights are par for the course, but “the firm does a good job of letting you know when you’re going to have to stay late – it doesn’t just pop up!”  

Hitting the target was felt to depend on factors like market activity in a certain practice area and location, but overall sources were optimistic that they would reach the coveted 2,000 hours: “You’re going to hit your bonus, especially with the 100 hours of pro bono and 25 of DE&I.” While hours are a staple component of bonus eligibility, we heard that other considerations are at play, and even those who fall short can still qualify for a discretionary amount.  

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: undisclosed

Interviewees outside OCI: undisclosed

Hunton Andrews Kurth conducts OCIs at 33 law schools, including top institutions and other regional schools. The firm also participates in job fairs including the Lavender Law Career Fair, Mid-Atlantic Black Law Students Association Job Fair, Northeast Black Law Students Association Job Fair, Sunbelt Minority Recruiting Program and the Southeastern Minority Job Fair. Beyond these, Hunton AK hosts 1L Diversity clerkship programs in five offices, which you can apply for during the fall directly through Hunton AK’s careers website or through the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity’s website. The firm also has a newly developed Pathfinders Fellowship program which is a ten-week paid summer clerkship for 2L students that aims to attract outstanding first-generation law students to the private practice of law while helping these students be successful in law school through both work and mentorship experiences afforded by the program. Recipients receive up to $25,000 payable after acceptance of a 2L offer, after acceptance of an entry-level offer and upon joining the firm full-time.

OCIs are typically 20 minutes long and with two attorneys (mostly senior attorneys, including senior associates.) Diversity of interviewers is also a focus for the firm to “better reflect the changing demographics of our law student body and the future of the practice,” according to firm-wide hiring partner Rudene Mercer Haynes.

Interviewers at this stage ask behavioral questions to “see how well the law students can think on their feet.” Here, the conclusions are less important than the analytical reasoning used to reach them. The firm is also looking for evidence of “resilience, passion and grit.” Hunton AK tends to focus on candidates’ successes, whether those are academic, professional or personal: “We want to recruit individuals who desire excellence in their professional pursuits, and our interviewing process is intended to glean as much as we can about the candidates’ potential for success by examining their academic records and personal and professional accomplishments.”

Top tips for this stage:

“It is impressive when candidates have done some research on the firm and the practices in which we specialize and can articulate, authentically and persuasively, a link between our firm’s strengths and their career aspirations. We are also impressed by those who ask thoughtful questions. The interview process is an opportunity to run intel on prospective employers, so using that time wisely reflects positively on a candidate.” – firm-wide hiring partner Rudene Mercer Haynes


Applicants invited to second-stage interview: undisclosed

At the callback stage, interviewers are typically members of the specific office’s recruiting committee and, where possible, from the practice area the candidate is interested in. “Typically, although it varies from office to office, each callback interview is scheduled for at least four and no more than six 30-minute interviews.” Offices generally provide lunch with a junior to mid-level associate, where “the callback interviewee gets the perspective of someone closer in their perspective who can answer questions about transitioning from the law school to law firm experience, finding housing and local cultural opportunities.” The questions at this stage are similar, though the candidate has the opportunity to “meet a wider range of individuals and get a better feel for the firm’s culture. It is also an opportunity to assess the candidates’ general preferences regarding their future practice.”

Top tips for this stage:

“The thing that drew me here at the beginning is the people. They’re extremely intelligent, quick on their feet and good-quality attorneys, but they’re also humble people from humble backgrounds and they’re easy to be around. It helps a lot in stressful situations and speaks to the teamwork aspects of the firm: whether it’s a team of two or twenty, the base-level teamwork is pretty special.” – a junior associate

“I would reiterate researching the firm and the practices/industries in which an individual office specializes. I would also recommend showing a familiarity with or having a nexus to the city in which the candidate is looking to summer.” – firm-wide hiring partner Rudene Mercer Haynes

Summer program

Offers: undisclosed

Acceptances: undisclosed

Summer associates “are active members of legal teams working on important projects and attending client conferences, depositions, trials, hearings and closings.” The matters they’re staffed on reflect the interests of each summer associate, and some offices do practice group rotations. Summers get matched to mentors and attend a “wide variety of social events to allow our summers to get to know our lawyers on a more personal basis.” There are also trainings, guidance on judicial clerkships and pro bono opportunities. The firm strives to recruit the “brightest and best summer associates — most of whom, we are happy to report, return as junior associates after graduation.” Summers are given an offer for a specific team and practice group based on their interests and team hiring needs. “One of our partners penned five 'Tips for Having a Successful Summer' which are posted on our intranet’s summer associate orientation page.” How very helpful! The five tips are:

1) Be diligent – do your very best work

2) Be professional – use your very best judgment

3) Be client service-oriented – the legal industry is a service industry

4) Be thoughtful in your communications – choose your mode of communication wisely

5) Be entrepreneurial – take every opportunity to get to know the firm, the lawyers and to be exposed to work that interests you.

Top tips for this stage:

“The summer program did nothing but reinforce my opinion that I’d picked a good place. When I got an offer at the end of summer I was excited to accept it.” – a junior associate

“If you are looking for a career that offers challenging work in a collegial setting, alongside lawyers who are supportive and eager to see you succeed, please let us know.” – firm-wide hiring partner Rudene Mercer Haynes

Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

2200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC,

Main areas of work
Hunton Andrews Kurth handles transactional, litigation and regulatory matters, with significant experience in retail and consumer products, energy, financial services, real estate, and privacy and cybersecurity.

Firm profile
Hunton Andrews Kurth blends more than a century of legal experience with a broad view of current business realities and a forward-looking perspective on emerging issues to provide advice that will carry its clients well into the 21st century. The firm is regularly named by legal and business publications as a top firm for client service and a great place to work.

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2023:

• Boston College
• Boston University
• Brooklyn Law School
• Columbia University
• Cornell University
• Duke University
• Fordham University
• George Mason University
• George Washington University
• Georgetown University
• Harvard University
• Howard University
• New York University
• Southern Methodist University
• South Texas College of Law
• The College of William and Mary
• University of California, Berkeley
• University of California, Los Angeles
• University of Chicago
• University of Florida
• University of Houston
• University of Miami
• University of Michigan
• University of North Carolina
• University of Pennsylvania
• University of Richmond
• University of Southern California
• University of Texas
• University of Virginia
• Vanderbilt University
• Washington and Lee University
• Washington University in St. Louis
• Yale University

Recruitment outside OCIs:
Hunton Andrews Kurth recruits at several diversity-related job fairs each year. Candidates also may apply via the firm’s website.

Summer associate profile:
Hunton Andrews Kurth seeks high performing, team-oriented and problem-solving law students. In addition to strong academic credentials and excellent communication skills, applicants should have a solid record of success and leadership. Prior work/professional experience and advanced degrees also are valued.

Summer program components:
Hunton Andrews Kurth’s Summer Program is a 10-week immersion in the real-world practice of law. Customized for each summer associate, it generally includes leadership, business development and client service training; career mentoring; client interaction; practical experience; pro bono opportunities; judicial clerkship counselling; and work projects in practice areas of interest.

Social media:
Recruitment website:
Twitter: @HuntonAK
Linkedin: hunton-andrews-kurth

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Immigration (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Technology & Outsourcing (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 5)
    • Insurance (Band 1)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 5)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 5)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: Debt & Equity (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Electricity) (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Investment Grade Debt: Issuer Counsel (Band 4)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: MSR (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: RMBS (Band 1)
    • Climate Change (Band 1)
    • Energy: Electricity (Finance) (Band 1)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 5)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Occupational Safety and Health (Band 3)
    • Outsourcing (Band 3)
    • Privacy & Data Security: The Elite (Band 1)
    • Product Liability: Toxic Torts (Band 1)
    • Projects: Power (Band 3)
    • Projects: PPP (Band 2)
    • Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy (Band 2)
    • Public Finance (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 5)
    • REITs (Band 3)
    • Retail (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Product Liability & Toxic Torts (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 1)

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