Jones Day - The Inside View

These big-shots of BigLaw bring both prestige and “personable people” to the table.

MANY would consider Jones Day the embodiment of BigLaw: prestige, global reach, huge clients. From the outside looking in, it seems there's nothing that Jones Day associates could want for. So, from the inside looking out, juniors explained that beyond the draws of its reputation, associates also “felt fully valued and recognized as a human being and not just another law student.” This theme was consistent across the board: where hopefuls thought they'd find competition and a “cut-throat atmosphere,” instead they found “community-oriented people who enjoy being at their job.” As such, it became a “no-brainer” for interviewees choosing this Cleveland-born titan.

This reputation wasn't pulled out of thin air. On top of over a hundred years of history (culminating in over 40 offices worldwide and well over 3,000 attorneys), the firm racks up several impressive rankings in Chambers USA – we'd be here all day if we tried to list them all, but a sample includes antitrust, construction, labor & employment, retail, and of course, political law. As the legal press has noted, the firm has had a number of attorneys appointed to work for the Trump administration, but juniors maintained that “there are people from all across the political spectrum here.” JD also welcomed several attorneys from the outgoing Obama administration.

The Work

Juniors were split pretty evenly across offices including Cleveland, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, and DC. Smaller groups could also be found in Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Irvine, LA, Miami, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. All first-years start in the firm's New Lawyer Group, which gives associates “around a year to sample the different practices, then decide on a group after that.” Sources described work assignment as “free market with guard rails.” One elaborated: “In NLG there were partners in charge of making sure everyone had work and didn't fall through the cracks, but the firm encourages people to work out the attorneys they want to work with and the groups they want to try. You're expected to take a proactive approach in guiding your career.”

“On smaller matters I felt I could really take ownership of what I was doing and provide substantive input.”

In life beyond the New Lawyers Group, a large portion of juniors took to the firm's business and tort litigation practice (BATL for short). Within the group's wide remit, juniors had sampled matters including commercial disputes, class actions, government investigations, product liability matters and international torts. Juniors admitted “there's definitely a lot of doc review” but added “they're also good about giving you other opportunities – I've been able to draft motions too.” Recently, one source mentioned doing “the entire first draft of a motion for summary judgment.”  Other common tasks included conducting discovery, preparing deposition outlines and other legal research. As one might expect, the level of responsibility comes in waves: “On smaller matters I felt I could really take ownership of what I was doing and provide substantive input. With bigger cases there's more junior associates who do a lot more of the grunt work. But I think it's a good split.”

BATL clients: IBM, Peabody Energy, and Union Pacific Railroad Company. Recently represented Parker Hannifin Corporation, a manufacturer of aviation ground fuel filtration products, in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the US Department of Justice challenging its $4.3 billion acquisition of CLARCOR.

The mergers and acquisitions group was also a popular destination for juniors. The group's expertise has led it to do more M&A deals than any other law firm in the world. On top of standard M&A work, the group handles private equity work and joint ventures, with “some corporate governance.” Juniors are usually tasked with due diligence and contract review, as well as drafting ancillary documents. “I also have a client-facing role as well: I'll be on calls with clients and lead things when it comes to checklists and resolutions.” Interviewees reckoned their level of responsibility “depends on the associate or partner you're working with. One associate really pushes me to get client-facing interaction and pushes me to push my boundaries. In other cases, clients would prefer not to deal with the most junior person on the case.” Although the practice is spread across most of the firm's offices, sources highlighted Atlanta, New York and Cleveland as M&A hotspots.

Since 2000, Jones Day has done more M&A deals than any other law firm worldwide… so who better to give us the score on what it takes to become a top M&A lawyer? Read on >>

M&A clients: Procter & Gamble, The Carlyle Group and NRG Energy. Recently advised Patrón Spirits International in connection with its acquisition by Bacardi.

“It's a steeper learning curve.”

The banking, finance and securities group was formerly two separate groups: banking & finance, and capital markets. As a result of the merging of two groups, some associates lean more towards one side than the other. However, a New York source enjoyed “being able to work with both sides of the aisle.” From leveraged finance to equity offerings to FCC compliance work – sources had had the chance to work on it all. “The one drawback is that it's a steeper learning curve, but I appreciate the challenge.” Tasks included “standard junior tasks like putting signature pages together and preparing ancillary documents,” as well as “reviewing and commenting on 10-ks and 10-qs.” Sources reflected “the junior-level tasks come with being at a large law firm, but there's also the opportunity to take leadership roles.”

Banking, finance and securities clients: Hyatt Hotels, EagleTree Capital and Conagra Brands. Recently represented Flower Foods on an amendment and extension of its existing $500 million revolving credit facility.

Career Development

Most juniors agreed that “the firm is invested in my development, whether through formal training, or informally where people take the time to speak to me and make sure I'm learning.” Formally, training kicks off with a New Lawyers Academy where the firm flies all first-years to DC for a week: “You get to meet all the other new associates starting from all the other offices – you really feel part of the firm.” From then on, there's training on “topics that are generally important for juniors to master,” plus groups conduct training specific to their practices too. One litigator recalled going “to DC for three days for deposition training.” Sources also credited partners and associates they'd worked with who were “good at helping and making sure you don't feel you're out there on your own.” The firm told us that every office has a system in place that sees first-years paired up with mentors.

“Most people in the legal community recognize the Jones Day name, and recognize that you worked at a quality law firm.”

Going forward with their careers, juniors reckoned “if becoming partner was something I was interested in, I think there's a path to get there.” That said, sources agreed “at this point we're just supposed to do work well and get recognized.” From observing more senior associates, juniors explained “they feel they have realistic chances of making partner, so if they have that optimism, I should too.” The firm added that it promoted 46 attorneys to the partnership in 2019 and that it encourages its lawyers to stay at Jones Day and graduate to the partner ranks. If, for any reason, associates chose to move on from the firm, sources felt “most people in the legal community recognize the Jones Day name, and recognize that you worked at a quality law firm.” As such, it would be “helpful in searching for work beyond here.”

Pro Bono

“I would say the firm is very committed to pro bono with more than just words – there are concrete opportunities available to all of us that the firm encourages us to take advantage of.” Such opportunities include the firm's ongoing work in Laredo, Texas for asylum-seekers on the US-Mexico border. The firm has a “permanent set-up" there, and “every week Jones Day attorneys travel there and we screen potential asylees for representation.” All expenses are paid and the time all counts as billable. New Yorkers highlighted working with Her Justice, taking on “a variety of matters, whether that's contested divorces, custody issues, or immigration matters,” while DC juniors mentioned a lot of work surrounding legal aid for the homeless, as well as veteran clinics and the Children's Law Center. “There's more dedication to pro bono here than I expected from a large firm!”

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 152,072
  • Average per US attorney: undisclosed


Sources reckoned “it's not quite as trendy as other law firms – you see a lot of suits and ties around.” Despite this overarching sense of formality, most agreed that “it's a very good community. People very much try to help each other and work well together.” Juniors found the firm does in fact stay true to its 'One Firm Worldwide' motto as cross-staffing was seen as “part of Jones Day's philosophy for putting the best teams together regardless of location.” Juniors also described being “very close with everyone in my class year,” but this also extended past classes: “I think it speaks volumes when a fifth-year associate who isn't working on anything with me still checks in and asks how my stuff is going.”

“The partners usually win...”

Although the firm's culture leans towards the formal side, its social scene is quite the opposite: in both Cleveland and Chicago, attorneys reported having a weekly happy hour which is “not too formal,” and in DC the New Lawyers Group is “tasked with writing a funny invite” for their happy hours. New York sources mentioned happy hours too, but emphasized more informal gatherings between associates classes. Juniors also mentioned “a lot of social things focused on raising money for good causes.” One such event in Chicago was a 'partner vs. associate' basketball game, where apparently “the partners usually win...” We also heard that Jones Day competes in 'Battle of the Bands' contests in both New York and DC.

Hours & Compensation

Unofficially, attorneys aim for 2,000 hours. “It's definitely achievable for most people, but it's not a hard requirement. No one really knows what it means if you don't hit it.” As mentioned, pro bono hours can count towards billables too, which juniors appreciated. Day to day, an average day consisted of 9am to 6pm across all offices, with “a bit more at home after dinner.” One New Yorker explained “I've worked until 2am, but I've not been in the office later than 11pm.” Of course, late nights and some weekend work were “not something we're unfamiliar with,” but on the whole most felt they could “achieve some sort of work/life balance. But like any other large firm, it takes some effort.” The only improvement a Cleveland source posed was “I wish they would let us work from home more often.”

“It's essentially a merit-based system.”

Jones Day's compensation structure is notoriously unusual. Instead of bonuses, attorneys get annual black box raises, which comes with its pros and cons: “It's essentially a merit-based system, which goes towards the firm's 'people-first' focus.” Plus, another source argued that it stops people “getting trapped in a mentality of comparing numbers.” On the other hand, the inability to talk about compensation meant associates “don't know if my raise is above or below average – there's no way of knowing where I stand.” Another added “especially as a woman, we don't benefit as much from a closed system – having more transparency about what our male colleagues as well make would be better.” There were interviewees who felt 100% comfortable with the system, however, and pointed out that “it’s not a secret about the black-box comp structure. It’s something you're made aware of when you come in as a summer.”

Diversity & Inclusion

In general, sources praised the firm's gender diversity: “In the incoming classes it's been pretty much 50/50.” Chicago sources also noted that their partner-in-charge is female – as are the partners-in-charge of Boston, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas and San Diego. The firm has a women's initiative which meets monthly and puts on “programming centered around a variety of things important to women in the work place.” However, on racial diversity, sources felt “we could do a much better job at making sure there is more racial diversity among partners. There's not a lot of non-white people here.” Most agreed that “there's work to be done, but the firm is on the right track.” The firm's diversity committee (alongside its affinity groups) hosts events with local law schools, plus in Cleveland sources heard “we're going to be marching in the local Pride parade.” The firm has strong history for supporting LGBTQ progress in the profession.

Strategy & Future

What could be next for this formidable legal stalwart then? Firm-wide hiring partner Sharyl Reisman informs us: "Our practice and office growth is client-driven, focused and deliberate. Although we don’t have current plans for expansion with the addition of new offices or practices, this can change as needs shift. We continue to grow in Australia, and in some of our newer markets such as Miami and Minneapolis."

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: 2,665

Interviewees outside OCI: 148

Jones Day recruits on campus at about 45 law schools and 34 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: 1,090

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: 485

Acceptances: 168

The 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 Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, DC,

  • Head office: Washington
  • Number of domestic offices: 18
  • Number of international offices: 25
  • Partners (US): 678
  • Associates (US): 866
  • Contacts 
  • Main recruitment contact: Jolie A. Blanchard (202 879 3788,
  • Hiring partner: Sharyl A. Reisman (212 326 3405,
  • Diversity coordinator: Jennifer Shumaker (202 879 5430,
  • Recruitment details 
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2019: 165
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2019: 228 1Ls 33; 2Ls 186; SEOs 9
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2019 split by office: Atlanta: 17; Boston: 6; Chicago: 27; Cleveland: 21; Columbus: 9; Dallas: 13.5; Detroit: 3; Houston: 10.5; Irvine: 8; Los Ángeles: 10; Miami: 5; Minneapolis: 6; New York: 27.5; Pittsburgh: 8; San Diego: 9; San Francisco: 11; Silicon Valley: 8; Washington 28.5
  • 2019 interoffice summer splits: Dallas/Washington: 1 San Francisco/Washington: 1 Atlanta/Houston: 1 New York/Washington: 1 San Francisco/New York: 1 Atlanta/Washington: 1
  • Split arrangements are made on a case-by-case basis.

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/finance, bankruptcy/restructuring, labor and employment, securities litigation, financial institutions, antitrust, tax and intellectual property.

Firm profile
The firm is a global legal institution based on a set of core principles and values – the most critical of which are integrity, dedication to the profession and a unity of purpose of and relentless focus on client service that transcends individual interests. Each lawyer is committed to the firm’s foundation principles and values, which have a social purpose and permanence and ensure the distinctive quality and value of the legal services they provide their clients. This is one important aspect of what makes Jones Day the client service organization that it is. They function seamlessly across the globe and are truly ‘One Firm Worldwide’.

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2019:
American, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Boston College, Boston University, Case Western, Chicago, Cleveland – Marshall, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Fordham, George Mason, 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, U of Southern California, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Wayne State, Yale Recruitment outside of OCIs: The firm participates in several city or regional job fairs and walk-around programs.

Summer associate profile:
Jones Day lawyers share certain fundamental principles: exemplary integrity, a selfless dedication to the firm and its clients and a sense of responsibility and initiative that leads one to take ownership of assignments and to complete them at the highest level of quality legal service. Summer associate candidates are evaluated on their fit with this culture.

Summer program components:
Summer associates do real client work in a variety of practice areas. Mentors are assigned to provide one-on-one guidance. Each summer associate will have formal, mid and endof- summer reviews. Jones Day’s dynamic culture and its global, multidisciplinary practice areas, provide the perfect training ground for summer associates and new lawyers.

Social media:
Recruitment website:
Linkedin: jones-day
Twitter: @jonesdaycareers
Facebook: JonesDayLawFirm

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2019

Ranked Departments

    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Life Sciences Recognised Practitioner
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity Recognised Practitioner
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Real Estate Recognised Practitioner
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 4)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 3)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial Recognised Practitioner
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 5)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 2)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Capital Markets: Debt & Equity (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Antitrust: Cartel (Band 3)
    • Appellate Law (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance Recognised Practitioner
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • FCPA (Band 5)
    • Healthcare (Band 4)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 1)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Political Law (Band 3)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts (Band 3)
    • Projects: Power & Renewables: Transactional (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Retail: Corporate & Transactional (Band 1)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 4)