Jones Day - The Inside View

Worldwide working at Jones Day means “the whole world feels smaller and cozier” according to associates.  So why, oh why, oh why, oh don’t you go to Ohio? 

William McKinley High’s New Directions called Ohio home – the setting for all those glee club practices, half-time shows and experiences of getting slushied in the hallway. Jones Day also spent its formative years in Ohio (let’s hope no one got slushied), but has since made it from sectionals to regionals, nationals and beyond. Yes, this Cleveland-founded firm, whose roots can be traced back to 1893, has grown into a Biglaw Big Quench that spans 42 offices (24 of which are outside of the US). 

“...we’re a hive mind, calling on each other’s expertise...” 

Though it’s spread across the world, Jones Day, in true glee club fashion, sees itself as one big happy family. “Our motto is ‘One Firm Worldwide’,” an interviewee pointed out, “and we’re always staffed on matters across offices – everyone’s one email away.” As a result, working at Jones Day means “the whole world feels smaller and cozier,” according to this particularly well-connected source. Another junior added that the international network is so integrated that it’s like “we’re a hive mind, calling on each other’s expertise and having international group-wide meetings to share trends and updates with each other.” And the expertise to be drawn upon is vast: Chambers Global recognizes Jones Day in ten global-wide categories including antitrust and IP. Nationwide, the firm picks up 25 Chambers USA nods in areas including construction, product liability, labor & employment and retail. To see the full rankings picture – including Jones Day’s dozens of regional highlights – check out the firm’s profile here

>>TOP READ: Mentorship and sponsorship: Ensuring diverse talent can succeed, by Jones Day.

The Work 

The New Lawyer Group, which all first-year associates join, gives newbies “the flexibility to find work from any practice group that you’re interested in.” This source explained that “on a given day, I can be working on litigation, IP, M&A, or anything else I'd like to try.” This total free-market system across practice groups was rated as “better than a practice group rotation system, as there are more opportunities to forge a unique career path.” Once they settle into a practice group (usually by the second year), work assignment stays pretty informal, with juniors reaching out to partners and partners also contacting associates for work: “They always ask if I have time and if I’m interested – I can say no without worrying about being rude.”  

BTL or ‘Battle’ – as some people call it – is Jones Day’s business and tort litigation practice. The group covers a broad array of commercial litigation, but sources we spoke with had also picked up work within the distinct antitrust, criminal, white-collar and securities groups at the firm. Associates liked working on internal investigations, as “they can combine regulatory and criminal law.” Juniors get their hands on a lot of fact-development work, which involves “looking through documents and piecing together what happened – it gives you the groundwork for being a good litigator.” Interviewees also liked having the chance to “help fit fact findings into case strategy and present on them.” Associates also help to put witness outlines together and manage doc review contract attorney teams. 

BTL clients: Boeing, IBM, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. Recently defended Fox Corporation and Fox News against a complaint made by a Washington state nonprofit, WashLITE, which accused Fox News hosts and guests of falsely describing COVID-19 as a hoax and downplaying the threat of the virus. 

“You’re down into the basis of the law – it’s very high-profile, stimulating and rewarding.” 

IP at Jones Day covers “the whole IP gamut,” including patent prosecution, International Trade Commission cases, Federal Circuit appeals, district court cases, and inter partes review proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board. As well as the technical side of patent work, the team covers ‘soft’ IP matters like trademark, copyright, brand protection and trade secret issues. The team also helps transactional colleagues with the IP components of mergers, acquisitions and divestitures. “There aren’t many places that offer you the ability to do transactional, litigation and prosecution work at the same time,” a junior enthused. “It keeps your doors open.” Interviewees liked doing Federal Circuit appeals as “you’re down into the basis of the law – it’s very high-profile, stimulating and rewarding.” IP juniors working on transactional matters develop portfolios and file applications, while those working on trademark cases write a lot of cease-and-desist letters. Those working on appellate patent litigation conduct research, draft motions, prepare experts and take depositions.

IP clients: Google, Johnson & Johnson, Tektronix. Acted as lead counsel for Qualcomm in ongoing patent disputes with Apple and Intel over processor technology used in devices such as smartphones. 

The financial markets team was formed in January 2020 via a merging of Jones Day’s capital markets, banking and finance and financial litigation groups. “It’s interesting being in a practice group with both transactional lawyers and litigators,” one junior commented. “Merging has helped a lot as we have a more open dialogue.” Most people work mainly in their designated subgroup, though there’s “collaboration and flexibility.” The banking and finance arm works on lender and borrower agreements; litigation covers a lot of financial regulation matters as well as failed financings; and capital markets folks do a mix of IPOs, note offerings and debt and equity offerings. New York tends to work on the underwriter side more, while other offices represent issuers too. Litigators had got started on standard junior tasks such as conducting research, writing research notes and drafting parts of motions. On transactional matters, juniors were responsible for monitoring checklists, keeping track of documents and communicating with the underwriters and the other side. Second and third-years are responsible for showing first-years the ropes: “Overseeing more junior lawyers forces you to understand what you’re doing from a bird's-eye view and explain it. It really helps with the transition to midlevel.” 

Financial markets clients: Wells Fargo, Macy’s, JPMorgan Chase Bank, SunPower Corp. Recently represented KeyBank National Association in connection with a credit facility totaling over $2 billion. 


Jones Day is a giant, there’s no doubt about that. There were over 250 associates on our list spread across the firm’s US offices. New York took in the largest group of juniors – around 40. The ClevelandDCChicago, and Atlanta offices also had a substantial chunk of juniors each, while smaller groups could also be found in DallasLAPittsburgh and Minneapolis. The shift to homeworking as a result of the global pandemic may have strengthened virtual connections with colleagues, but at Jones Day these links were already strong, according to sources: “I would blindly reach out to people I’ve never spoken to before across the country and it’d feel like they were down the hall.” This means that the social life at Jones Day has continued to thrive in various lockdowns: “We’ve had regular happy hours via Zoom. Everyone gets a drink and shares jokes – it makes lockdown easier.” The only negative is that “there’s no free food or drinks!” 

“Everyone has always been polite and respectful. That doesn’t mean we don’t disagree or have to work on solutions, but it’s always respectful.” 

Despite the global dimensions and connections at Jones Day, juniors still felt that the firm’s Cleveland origins played an important part in shaping the firm’s culture. One source highlighted the prevalence of “very Midwest, ‘salt of the earth’ values, which are team-oriented and emphasize frugality.” Another mentioned how they “appreciated the Midwestern nature” of the firm, which others characterized as “easygoing and respectful.” Overall, this cultural bent made for a global firm that is “prestigious while also not being cutthroat.”  This Cleveland source gave a good example of what this culture is like in practice: “Everyone has always been polite and respectful. That doesn’t mean we don’t disagree or have to work on solutions, but it’s always respectful.” 

Diversity & Inclusion 

Diversity awareness is incorporated into the firm’s main training program and there are follow-up events hosted by affinity groups throughout the year – “especially during summer.” The Chicago base in particular was highlighted for its diverse make-up: “Whenever I go to meetings on other floors, I meet people of color, of different ages and genders. Even just from walking through the office you can see it’s not just halls of the same people.” 

We heard that both the incoming associate class and the most recent partner promotion round was “very diverse with people from different walks of life, a good gender balance, people of color and people of differing backgrounds and ages.” In terms of gender, 24 of the 50 new partners elected globally were women. In our survey, the highest average rating went to Jones Day’s role in making partnership achievable for attorneys with children, while the lowest went to the firm’s proactivity in addressing mental health.  

Career Development 

Jones Day has firmwide and practice group-specific training programs for associates, including a ‘transactional bootcamp’ and various mock trial and motion practice events for litigators. The former “covers a broad range of topics, including M&A and bankruptcy practice, which helps you to understand what other groups do and why you’re doing certain things on deals.” This associate added: “The top-quality training was important to me, as it showed their commitment to having associates stay with the firm long-term.” 

We were told that there are many “homegrown partners” at Jones Day, “so it’s clear if you want to become a partner at the firm, that’s a realistic option to pursue.” Others felt that partners “treat you as a potential future partner rather than someone to burn out.” Their willingness to grow junior talent was deemed hit and miss elsewhere, as this junior explained: “Some of the partners I work with keep most of their cards close to their chest, while others are very helpful in terms of giving guidance and unsolicited tips on areas like business development.”  The ten-year partner track means “you can stick around for that whole time and then they’ll let you know whether it’s a yes or a no. I’ve heard that if you’re not going to stay they will really help you to find something you’re looking for, like an in-house role etc. They want to maintain a relationship.” 

Hours & Compensation 

Billable hours: 2,000 target 

While there’s no billable hours requirement at the firm, it’s widely understood that 2,000 hours is the number to aim for each year. Most people hit that target but those who don’t “aren’t penalized in any way – most people don’t think about it too hard.” We did hear of attorneys working late a few times a week – meaning past 10pm or so – as well as on weekends for a few hours if needed. Our survey results showed that the average number of hours worked in the preceding week was 52. The average number of vacation days taken in the year was six. 

The next thing you should know is that Jones Day doesn’t give bonuses in the typical BigLaw way – instead the firm builds the additional amount into annual compensation. The firm told us that its merit-based salary calculations are determined by a number of factors including the likes of the number of hours billed, pro bono work, business development activities and other contributions to the firm. Recurring dissatisfaction over bonus transparency and fairness was registered in our associate data survey, while in our interviews sources described the firm's merit-based salarysystem as a “black box” approach: “Compensation decisions should be more explicit. Perhaps there are explanations for the compensation we received, but with very little communication on these matters it naturally leads to skepticism and a belief that we are lagging behind our contemporaries at other firms who do the same quality of work.”  

We heard that the firm reversed a decision to cut salary increases in December 2020, but the resulting increase was reportedly “still well below market.” At the same time, there were interviewees who noted that the firm is the highest paying in the Cleveland and Atlanta markets. 

Pro Bono 

Juniors were glad to do “complex, meaningful” pro bono work at Jones Day. Our sources spoke of attending legal aid clinics, but also working on a range of veteranasylum and immigrationcharity copyrighthuman trafficking; and custody issues. We heard that IP juniors in particular are encouraged to engage in the veterans matters as “they’re often appeals, so it’s a great way to get oral argument experience.” A few interviewees highlighted opportunities to write amicus briefs“which provide a great way to look at everything from 10,000 feet up – you learn a lot in the process.”  

“Pro bono is important and one of the cornerstones of our firm’s culture.” 

All pro bono hours count toward the billable target and additional compensation decisions. As one source summed up: “I think it might be frowned upon if you spent all your time on it, but pro bono is important and one of the cornerstones of our firm’s culture. They encourage people to do this work.” The results of this encouragement became clear in our interviews, with some juniors logging anywhere between a couple of dozen hours to 500!  

Pro bono hours 

•For all US attorneys: 170,705

•Average per US attorney: undisclosed

Jones Day came in as the fourth highest biller for total pro bono hours in our 2021 survey. And associates rated the work pretty highly too, falling in the top 25 for the experience >

Strategy & Future 

We’ve mentioned how Jones Day was described positively for being more frugal – a good thing to be in 2020. Juniors highlighted how they were initially drawn to the firm due to its handling of the 2009 financial crisis. “They didn’t lay people off and business stayed up. With all the complications of COVID-19, they’ve done exactly the same. I'm very happy I chose such a stable firm.” 

We did register concerns over recent media coverage of Jones Day’s involvement in reviewing a Pennsylvania Supreme Court order to extend the absentee ballot deadline: “I wish the media portrayal of Jones Day was more accurate and not demonizing. The firm was trending for something that wasn’t true and I hope the media perception doesn’t ruin the pride I have working at this firm.” The firm issued a statement in November 2020 to clarify that it was not involved in any litigation relating to claims of voter fraud or contesting the election result. 

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: 2,063

Interviewees outside OCI: 162

Jones Day recruits on campus at about 44 law schools and 15 job fairs. The number of students seen varies depending on the size of the law school. “We cast a wide net to various law schools to capture the best and brightest students and find our future leaders from all regions and all backgrounds,” explains hiring partner Sharyl Reisman.

The interviews are conducted by teams of partners and associates from across the US offices. “There are no mandatory topics or questions, and questions are not based upon a particular formula,” Reisman explains. Rather, the firm is looking to gain an understanding of candidates, as well as “indications of leadership and commitment.” Reisman continues: “We use our interviews to try to identify those things, get a sense of the student’s passion and commitment to various activities, causes and organizations, and to really get a sense of the person as a person.”

Top tips at this stage:

“I always recommend that students try to learn as much about us – our culture, our programs, our structure, and specifically, why we are different. The Jones Day Careers website is a great start and rich with information.” – hiring partner, Sharyl Reisman.


Applicants invited to second stage interview:676

Successful candidates are invited to callbacks, which consist of individual interviews with a mix of partners and associates (usually four to six lawyers). The interviews generally last 20-30 minutes. At this stage, interviewers are looking to see whether candidates “share our commitment to our clients and client service,” as well as commitment to the firm and its culture. “Our questions combined with what we can see of the candidate's past experience are intended to elicit this information,” says Reisman. Naturally, the firm is also curious as to what it is about Jones Day that has attracted the candidate: “The answer is pretty revealing with respect to what the student has done to research the firm.”

Top tips at this stage:

“A candidate catches my attention during the callback interview when she demonstrates by her questions and comments that she has read (or listened to videos/podcasts) about what makes Jones Day different. If she articulates two or three of these differentiators, I’m inclined to think she has researched and understands our culture and is sincere in her interest in Jones Day.” – hiring partner Sharyl Reisman.

Summer program

Offers:  329Acceptances:  129The summer program at Jones Day ties into its famed New Lawyers Group: “Summer associates don’t rotate through practices; instead there are a variety of assignments available, and students can steer themselves to the areas they want to try.” There is usually a work assigner to offer assignments across the practices. The tasks summers get involved in allow them to hone their research and writing skills, while practical trainings cover things like how to take a deposition or how to prepare documents for transactions. Each summer associate is also assigned a partner and an associate mentor.

Top tips for this stage:

“Get yourself exposed to as much of the firm as you can and get involved in as much as you can. Don’t treat it as an eight or ten-week program, but as a process of getting to know the people and place.” – hiring partner Sharyl Reisman.

Jones Day

51 Louisiana Ave., N.W.,
Washington, DC,
D.C. 20001-2113

  • Head office: Washington
  • Number of domestic offices: 18
  • Number of international offices: 24
  • Partners (US): 604
  • Associates (US): 722
  • Contacts 
  • Main recruitment contact: Shari J. Friedman (212 326 3949,
  • Hiring partner: Sharyl A. Reisman (212 326 3405,
  • Diversity coordinator: Jennifer Shumaker (202 879 5430,
  • New address for DC: 
  • Jones Day 51 Louisiana Ave., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20001-2113 Website:
  • Recruitment details 
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2021: 157
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2021: 170 (1Ls: 23; 2Ls: 147; SEOs: 11)
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2020 split by office: Atlanta: 14; Boston: 6; Chicago: 18; Cleveland: 18; Columbus: 9; Dallas: 12; Detroit: 4; Houston: 10; Irvine: 6; Los Ángeles: 8; Miami: 2; Minneapolis: 3; New York: 18; Pittsburgh: 10; San Diego: 7; San Francisco: 7; Silicon Valley: 6; Washington 15

Firm profile
Jones Day is a global law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers in 42 offices across five continents. The Firm is distinguished by: a singular tradition of client service; the mutual commitment to, and the seamless collaboration of, a true partnership; formidable legal talent across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions; and shared professional values that focus on client needs.

Main areas of work
Jones Day’s practices cover the spectrum of transactional, litigation, regulatory and tax matters. Core practice areas include corporate/M&A, litigation/trial practice, government regulation, real estate, energy, healthcare, cybersecurity, issues and appeals, banking/fi-nance, bankruptcy/restructuring, labor and employment, securities litigation, financial institutions, antitrust, tax and intellectual property.

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2021:
Benjamin N. Cardozo, Boston College, Boston University, Case Western, Chicago, Cleveland – Marshall, Columbia, Duke, Emory, Florida, Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, Georgia, Georgia State, Harvard, Houston, Howard, Illinois, Iowa, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, New York University, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pennsylvania, Penn State University Park, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Santa Clara, SMU, Stanford, Texas, UC Berkeley, UC Hastings, UC Irvine, UCLA, University of Southern California, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wayne State, Yale

Recruitment outside of OCIs in 2021:
Bay Area Diversity Career Fair, Boston College / Boston University Job Fair (NY), Boston Lawyers Group Diversity Job Fair, BYU Early Interview Program (Dallas), Columbia Overseas-Trained LL.M. Student Interview Program (January, 2022), U Conn. Off-Campus Interview Program (Boston), Cook County Bar Assn. Minority Law Student Job Fair, Cornell / NY Job Fair, Emory in NY Interview Program, George Washington Regional Interview Program (NY), Harvard BLSA 1L Job Fair (December), International Student Interview Program (NYU) (January, 2022), Lavender Law Career Fair, Loyola Patent Interview Program, Midwest-California-Georgia Consortium (Chicago), Minnesota Minority Recruitment Conference, New York Interview Program, Notre Dame in Dallas Interview Program, Penn Regional Interview Program (California), Penn Regional Interview Program (Chicago), Penn Regional Interview Program (Texas), Southeastern IP Job Fair, Southeastern Minority Job Fair, The Law Consortium Regional Interview Program (Chicago), UTexas On Tour NY Job Fair, Vanderbilt Walk Around Job Fair (Chicago), Vanderbilt Walk Around Job Fair (Dallas)

Summer associate profile
Jones Day provides unlimited opportunities for talented lawyers, not only within the Firm but in boardrooms and courtrooms worldwide. Participation as a summer associate is the best entryway to these opportunities. Our dedication to training and the relatively small size of the summer/new lawyer programs enable us to staff matters leanly, providing summer associates and junior lawyers with substantive and meaningful experiences on cutting-edge legal matters. Because of the Firm’s structure and supportive and collaborative environment, summer associates and junior lawyers also have vast resources at their disposal, not least of which is the Firm's deep and well-regarded bench of 2,500+ practitioners across the globe. In addition, summer associates join in pro bono projects and community service work with organizations both inside and outside the law to address pressing social issues, including social and racial injustice, human trafficking, asylum, clemency, domestic violence and veterans’ affairs, to name a few.

Social media:
Recruitment website:
Facebook: @JonesDayLawFirm
LinkedIn: jones-day
Twitter: @JonesDay
YouTube: Jones Day

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2021

Ranked Departments

    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Construction (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 5)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Antitrust: Cartel (Band 3)
    • Appellate Law (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Construction (Band 2)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 4)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 4)
    • Healthcare: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • International Arbitration: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Political Law (Band 4)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts: Mid-Market (Band 3)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Product Liability: Consumer Class Actions (Band 1)
    • Projects: PPP (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Retail: Corporate & Transactional (Band 1)
    • Securities: Regulation: Enforcement (Band 4)
    • Tax: Controversy (Band 5)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 4)