Jenner & Block LLP - The Inside View

This Chicago-based litigation giant is looking for a new Jenneration of attorneys, with core values in top pro bono work and promoting an inclusive environment.

Its name sounds familiar, right? For us here at Chambers Associate, it brings a certain early 2000s melody to our heads. And much in keeping with track’s narrative, Jenner really is still one of the biggest litigation firms on the block. Over in our sister guide, Chambers USA, J&B receives top marks for its commercial litigation work across the US, with nods to its telecom, satellite and broadband work in California, energy & natural resources and white-collar investigations in Illinois and media and entertainment work in New York. Some attorneys at the firm were particularly drawn in by the latter, one highlighted that “Jenner’s New York office has a strong focus on investigations. A lot of work is coming in and it is in the news, so it seemed like a no-brainer.” Generally, the associate cohort praised the firm’s forward-thinking approach, as another commented that “it’s somewhere where you get to see new technologies and new work unfold to be impactful to our clients.” 

“The legal field can be buttoned up, but Jenner was open to me and showed me a bit of their own humanity.”

Whilst the firm’s work was an important factor, it was Jenner’s culture that came out on top for other interviewees. “I felt like the people I interviewed with were genuine. It seemed like they take their work seriously but not themselves,” recalled one associate: “the legal field can be buttoned up, but Jenner was open to me and showed me a bit of their own humanity.” The firm’s Chief Talent and Strategy Officer Charlotte Wager highlights the firm’s core values as a big driver on Jenner’s culture: “we have created this environment where really talented lawyers know they can come and do work that will make a difference for our clients. This is a result of our core values, namely pro bono, diversity, equity and inclusion and career development.” 

Strategy & Future 



Wager tells us that the firm is focused on developing their core practices: “we are particularly tuned into changes in the world that affect energy, financial services, telecommunications and tech.” This is supported by the firm's recent office opening in Century City and expansion of lawyers in the San Francisco office. Wager explains that “we saw a demand for this work there, so the expansion made sense.” Not only that, but the firm has also been growing its DC office too. Wager notes that “as we go towards the election year, we have noted the interactions of policy, politics and law will have a big impact to our litigation strengths.” Therefore, as Wager adds: “we want to help our clients navigate the blind spots in the industry, that is how we become business partners.”

The Work 



The firm’s HQ in the Windy City houses the most of Jenner’s associates, but a large amount can be found in the New York and DC offices too. The firms' West Coast offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles also have a handful of juniors. Almost half of the associates on our list live within the firms overarching litigation group, while the remainder are assigned to aerospace and defence, appellate, bankruptcy & restructuring, corporate and government contracts with others specializing in media and entertainment, food and beverage, arbitration and business litigation. 

Associates get assigned work when they first join in a billable AND pro bono area of their interest. However, as they become more settled, they're able to find work more organically. “In my experience, you can always find work and it allows you to get work from somewhere you want,” noted one interviewee, “I came in wanting to do one thing but ended up enjoying work in another group, so it works.” Unassigned associates at the end of their second year rank the firm’s primary litigation teams that they would like specialize in. “I haven’t heard anybody not getting what they put first” recalled one newbie. 

Litigation is the heart of Jenner’s work, and matters include white collar; intellectual property; antitrust; class action; appellate; content, media & entertainment; international arbitration; national security & crisis; and business litigation.  Until they specialize, associates have a primary and secondary team from one of those teams. Common tasks in this group includes completing document review for investigations, writing summaries for tasks and emailing answers to queries to clients. In the popular media & entertainment team, an associate told us that “I have completed research for a claim against our client. I have also written memos around how to stay in line with copyright laws and other legislation.” Associates praised the amount of responsibility they can get in this group as “I am emailing teams with deadlines and timelines, filing and sending things across to keep things going. I am not saying I am a coordinator, but I enjoy the responsibility!” Alexa play BO$$ by Fifth Harmony. 

Litigation clients: McDonalds, Mondelēz International & Caesar Entertainment. The firm represented Kraft Heinz company on its alleged false and misleading advertising on its Capri Sun Kiwi Strawberry juice. 

The firm's transactional department includes corporate, finance, tax, M&A, and securities & capital markets. “The majority of our work is M&A focused, but we do a good deal of securities work as well,” identified one source. The case matters got a big thumbs up from interviewees as “the work is consistently great and sometimes even makes it to the news! It has lived up to my expectations.” A corporate junior can expect to manage the process for a transaction, draft ancillary documents and complete due diligence. Compared to its litigious counterpart, “the group is smaller, so you get to work close with seniors and you aren’t lost in the crowd.” The team covers a range industries including (but not limited to) aerospace and defence, energy, cannabis, and life sciences. 

Corporate clients: Aon, Xerox and Schnieder Electronic. The firm represented Albertsons on their $25 billion merger with Kroger.  

Pro Bono 



“...the opportunities reflect what is going on in the world right now.” 

Impact pro bono work is what drives me and makes me do my best work. This is why I chose to come to Jenner!” enthused one rookie. This comes as no surprise, as Jenner’s pro bono work is extensive to say the least. The work is split into two: impact and non-impact work; both of which our interviewees were very proud of. One stated that “this is where there are big policy implications that make headlines, and the opportunities reflect what is going on in the world right now.” A recent example includes the firm's victory for the Cherokee Nation, Morongo Band of Mission Indians, and Oneida Nation tribes in a Supreme Court ruling relating to the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Other community impact work includes asylum work, innocence projects and housing matters such as landlord disputes. Though, transactional pro bono work isn’t an afterthought here: “we do a lot of work with startup companies which is great for us transactional folk.” Pro bono work is ingrained into associate life as “you get staffed on pro bono cases early on,” noted one junior. And from there, another source suggested that “there are more cases to go around than billable a lot of the time.” Experiences from this work gave our interviewees “substantive responsibility,” particularly when given the opportunity to work one on one with a partner. One associate shared that “sometimes it feels like the partner is there to make sure nothing goes wrong, I am handling most of it!”

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 80,176
  • Average per US attorney: 168

Hours & Compensation, and Culture



Billable hours: 1,950 target

Speaking of pro bono, J&B attorneys can do up to 100 hours of it (or professional and business development hours) on top of the 1,850 hours of billable, to reach their bonus. If any pro bono work goes beyond this, the extra hours go towards a super bonus (given that the 1,950 target has been met). How Jenner-ous! When asked about the salary and bonus, which is market, interviewees were pretty positive: “you get paid a lot to work hard,” quipped one junior. According to our survey, the firm’s average weekly hours sit below average at 46.7 hours, and work life balance was said to be good compared to others in the market. One associate told us that “in your first year, everything you do counts towards the 1950 target, so you don’t have to worry when things are ramping up.” When the market slows, sources reassured us that “you aren’t let go or blacklisted. The firm will chat with you in your yearly evaluation and talk about what you have done and what can be done to improve the next year.” They added that, “it is just a conversation, they aren’t accusing you or there to upset you.”  

It’s that sort of approach that helped earn glowing reviews about the firm’s culture. “People describe Jenner as nice and nerdy, and this has really held true” beamed one associate. Our interviewees lauded the good vibe at Jenner. Why? “The way people speak to me is polite and deferential. If someone sends an email at 6pm on a weekday, there is a lot of recognition that we are people with other things going on.” Another factor is the firm’s “no jerk policy” as “no one tolerates being mean on any level and if people are acting like a jerk, people will say something.” Socialising is not a forced affair as “many people have families and outside lives so that lends itself to a chill atmosphere.” 

Career Development 



Jenner associates' development journey starts from day one, where all new attorneys go to a firmwide orientation. The first week begins in the local office and then juniors are flown out to the firm’s HQ. After this, newbies can expect training sessions on Monday and Friday (which are highly encouraged) on bitesize topics. Litigation associates spoke about being flown out to in-person deposition training, which was highly praised. “It was two days and people flew in from many offices. We did simulated depositions and were able to talk and get feedback, which was so helpful, as partners walk you through it,” stated one source. On the transactional side, one source told us that “we receive training on things like how to draft documents and do due diligence. We have access to videos and live meetings, which is great for first years.” 

There are also a range of mentorship programmes across the firm. In the beginning, newbies are matched with a buddy mentor (who tends to be a year ahead of them) and a mid-level associate. “We go for coffee and most of the time, we talk about workload and who to reach out to if I need it,” explained one source. As time goes on, more senior associates get matched with partner mentors, “this mentorship focuses more on career thinking and work development.” Beyond formal mentorship opportunities, one junior also told us that “we have a large culture for informal mentorships. The senior associates I work with are very welcoming of questions.” 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 



“Jenner walks the walk when it comes to DEI.” 

Jenner walks the walk when it comes to DEI,” beamed one source. Interviewees felt the cohort was diverse, another junior told us that “it is clear that there is a real commitment to diversity as associates and partnership are pretty diverse from all backgrounds.” Female representation got the thumbs up in particular, with one source noting “it seems we have more female juniors than male!” One corporate associate reflected that “we have female partners which is nice to see in corporate, as the industry tends to be more male heavy.” Some did say that ethnic minority representation has “room for improvement,” but sources did note that it’s “better than most Big Law firms.”

J&B’s inclusion efforts were described by sources as “extremely proactive.” One insider shared that “the firm recognizes LGBTQ+, female and ethnic attorneys and get them leading matters and promoting them to partners. I really feel like everyone has a voice here.” Indeed, according to our survey, a whopping 91% of respondents felt like they are comfortable being themselves at work. On top of this, the firm has eleven affinity groups that meet regularly. These were lauded by our sources, one highlighted that “it is a great resource to get work and hear how seniors deal with challenges in the market. These conversations are active, not just a one off.” For example, the women's group held a diversity talk on becoming a parent in the workplace and making the path for this easier. In fact, at J&B, our survey shows that 85% of respondents felt that the firm makes partnership achievable for attorneys with children.  

 

Get Hired 



The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

The scope of Jenner’s recruitment includes 16 of the top law schools across the country, as well as three job fairs: the Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, Cook County Bar Associate Minority Job Fair and Lavender Law. However, the firm also tells us that “applications for the Summer Program outside of the OCI process are welcomed.” 

“Candidates should be prepared to talk about anything listed on their resume,” with a particular premium placed on those who can demonstrate alignment with the firm’s core values of “excellence, collaboration, diversity and inclusion, and pro bono and public service. Interested candidates should be sure to highlight any areas in their backgrounds that point towards those ideals,” the firm emphasizes. 

Callbacks 

While the callback process varies slightly by office, “students can expect to meet with five to six lawyers during their callback interview,” the firm tells us, adding that “depending on the office, one to three of those interviewers are usually associates. At this point, we are interested in learning more about the candidate’s interests and experience. We are also evaluating their leadership ability and initiative.” 

Jenner & Block summer associates can work on both short-term and long-term projects during their summer experience. Assignments are tailored to individual practice area and pro bono interests, subject to client needs and availability. Summer associates have the flexibility to work with various practice teams during the program. The firm also offers a variety of specially designed training opportunities focusing on helping summer associates develop a broader range of skills, including legal writing courses and a communications workshop. 

Summer program 

While most of the firm’s summers return as first-year associates, the firm encourages summers who wish to clerk before joining the firm to do so. For example, in the DC office, the firm tells us that “many, but not all, of our summer associates clerk prior to re-joining us as second- or third-year associates.” Finally, the firm recommends hopefuls consult the website to read up on the firm’s annual ‘The Heart of the Matter’ pro bono and community service report and ‘Equal Time,’ its annual report on DEI.

Jenner & Block LLP

353 North Clark Street,
Chicago,
IL 60654-3456
Website www.jenner.com

Main areas of work
Jenner & Block’s lawyers are known for their advocacy, ability to navigate complex regulatory landscapes, and strategic vision as they guide our market-leading clients through their most challenging, interesting, and high-stakes matters. Jenner lawyers are at the top of the field—including Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, nationally recognized corporate dealmakers, and prominent former government officials, US attorneys, and Supreme Court Clerks. Long known as a litigation powerhouse and a thought leader at the forefront of legal issues, Jenner leads the way on many important issues of our time—whether through our task forces, pro bono, or client work—including LGBTQ rights, reproductive justice, AI, civil rights, and environmental issues.

Firm profile
Jenner & Block offers work that can satisfy intellectual needs while providing all the upsides of a BigLaw firm and a record of success in matters shaping the legal landscape. Jenner offers best-in-class lifecycle career development, an unrivaled commitment to pro bono, DEI, and values-driven work, and a firm culture that emphasizes excellence, ethics, camaraderie, and teamwork. Jenner’s focus on mentorship, collaboration, and commitment to others’ development, means that Jenner associates work alongside—and learn from—internationally recognized lawyers on the impact issues driving progress.

Recruitment
Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2024:
Chicago-Kent College of Law, Columbia University, Fordham, Georgetown, Harvard University, Northwestern University, Stanford University, University of California- Berkeley, University of California-Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Yale University  

Recruitment outside OCIs: Bay Area Diversity Job Fair; CCBA Minority Law Student Job Fair; Lavender Law; SEO Program, 1L LCLD Scholars Program. We also accept write-in applications.

Summer associate profile: We seek summer associates who have excelled in law school, and have exceptional oral and written presentation skills, leadership experience, and strong interpersonal skills.

Summer program components: Summer Associates bond at baseball games, comedy shows, and city-specific events, but the real value of the summer program comes from the opportunity to see first-hand what makes our firm so special. As an organization filled with smart people who take their work—but not themselves—seriously, we welcome our Summer Associates with handpicked assignments that are substantive, interesting, and engaging. You will have the chance to explore our different practices—from cybersecurity and blockchain to voting rights, antitrust, government investigations, and more. You will play an integral role across the firm by drafting briefs, preparing for depositions or trials, and doing the legal research and analysis we need to guide our clients. The summer associate experience at Jenner is one you’ll never forget.

Social media:
Recruitment website: www.jenner.com/joinus
LinkedIn: jenner-&-block
Twitter: @JennerBlockLLP

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 5)
    • Media & Entertainment: Litigation (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Media & Entertainment (Band 2)
    • Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 5)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Energy & Natural Resources (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Tax (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Media & Entertainment: Litigation (Band 1)
    • Appellate Law (Band 3)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Derivatives (Band 3)
    • Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 4)
    • Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 2)
    • Government Contracts: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 2)
    • Native American Law (Band 2)
    • Native American Law: Appellate (Band 1)
    • Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory (Band 3)