Jones Day - The Inside View

Juniors at jumbo Jones Day reap the rewards of working with colleagues across the country.

IT was 1893 when Edward J. Blandin and William Rice joined forces to create Blandin & Rice in Cleveland, Ohio – the first iteration of what would become the jumbo firm that is today known as Jones Day. Blandin and Rice’s auspicious start to business was briefly hampered in 1910 when Rice was murdered in mysterious circumstances… But we’re sure he’d be consoled by the fact that 110 years on (and many name changes later), the firm sits comfortably in the upper echelons of BigLaw with global revenue in the billions and 42 offices around the world (24 of which are outside the US).

TOP READ: Becoming a corporate/M&A lawyer: Got an urge for mergers but only know a fraction about transactions? No big deal, we got the experts at Jones Day to paint a portrait of corporate law.

At the firm’s HQ in Cleveland, junior associates were quick to declare the firm as “the biggest and best of all the law firms in the city.” A bold statement – a glance at Chambers USA shows the firm has seven top rankings in Ohio in areas including commercial litigation, IP and healthcare, as well as transactional practices like banking and finance and corporate/M&A. It also racks up a huge list of other high regional rankings in California, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, and the District of Columbia (DC is the firm’s largest office). Nationally, it’s recognized as a leader in bankruptcy, construction, retail and labor & employment work – for a full breakdown, visit

The Work

Jones Day is a giant, there’s no doubt about that. But while there may be over 200 associates on the summer program, they’re spread across all 18 of the firm’s US offices, so juniors assured us “you’re not lost in a wave of 100 people.” New York took in the largest group of juniors, with summer classes of just under 40. The Cleveland, DC, Chicago, and Atlanta offices also took in a substantial chunk of juniors each, while smaller groups could be found in Boston, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Irvine, LA, Miami, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, San Diego, San Francisco and Silicon Valley.

“You can take work from whatever group you’re interested in for around the first nine months.”

According to our interviewees, the firm’s “bestselling feature” is the New Lawyer Group, which all juniors join when they start at the firm. It’s a “complete free-market system of work assignment from day one,” juniors explained. “You can take work from whatever group you’re interested in for around the first nine months.” One New York junior shared their experience: “I split my time between M&A and banking and finance but also sampled work from the general litigation group and IP.” Another source pointed out that “if you want to commit to one group early on you can, but the firm encourages you to sample work from multiple areas.”

In life after the New Lawyer Group, a large portion of juniors took to the firm's business and tort litigation practice (BATL for short). “It’s a catch-all group,” explained juniors, who’d sampled everything from commercial disputes, class actions and government investigations work to global arbitration, product liability matters and international torts. One source recalled their time working on a “breach of judiciary duty case representing a group of board members. My role included a lot of deposition preparation, assembling binders, reviewing materials, and then attending the depositions.” Ona summary judgment hearing, “I worked with the partners to prepare the statement of uncontested material facts as well as provide other research support.” Plenty of writing opportunities were also available for juniors, as one San Francisco source told us: “I just finished writing a motion in limine and a motion to exclude evidence.”

BATL clients: Chevron, Walmart Stores and Deutsche Bank. Secured a victory for pharmaceutical company Merck, Sharp & Dohme before the Supreme Court in a product liability case involving Merck's prescription medicine Fosamax.

“It took over a month and a half to write and ended up going out to all the shareholders.”

Transactional associates had their hands equally full, particularly M&A associates who collectively retained their record of handling more M&A deals than any other law firm in the world. “There’s obviously a lot of due diligence,” one junior admitted, “but on a recent sell-side public deal I was also doing contract review, taking the lead on the disclosure schedule, and drafting discrete parts of the merger agreement and various ancillaries.” One interviewee had worked on a proxy statement (a document that a firm has to provide when soliciting shareholder votes). “It ended up being 180 pages! It took over a month and a half to write and ended up going out to all the shareholders.” Those with experience in bankruptcy and restructuring observed: “It’s a lot more court-based than M&A.” One Chicago junior told us: “I’m drafting documents, motions, and objections in the lead up to a case. I also spent a lot of time analyzing financings.”

M&A clients: Conagra Brands, Cardinal Health and BBA Aviation. Advised Marathon Petroleum in its $23.3 billion acquisition of Andeavor.

Sources expressed surprise at the “completely seamless” ease of working across offices. "Around 50% of my projects are made up of attorneys from across the US,” one San Francisco junior explained. “I also work frequently with associates from Europe.” Another told us: “I’m one of the only people who does securities litigation in my office, but from day one I was put in contact with people in New York, Dallas and Atlanta, and have been working with them ever since.” This skeptic went on: “I hate to endorse the firm slogan, but it really is ‘one firm worldwide.’” How touching.

Culture & Diversity

Even so, it’s worth emphasizing here that the culture of the firm inevitably varies a bit among its 18 offices and the different practice areas within those. For example, just within the Cleveland office, sources pointed out that “the corporate group is a lot more casual than litigation,” with one elaborating that “although the formal policy is to wear a suit and tie to work, I haven’t worn a tie in three months.” But most sources across offices felt the firm was “somewhere in the middle” on the scale from ‘fratty extroverts’ to ‘bookish introverts,’ or leaning closer toward the latter. “We’re not expected to hang out with colleagues frequently after work,” but the firm isn’t without its fun. In New York, “there’s a happy hour once a month in a conference room and occasional happy hours with partners in a local bar.” And in Cleveland “there are happy hours most Fridays.”

One talking point among juniors was the level of transparency at the firm. “When group leaders or managers are replaced, there’s no explanation,” a DC junior observed. Others were unperturbed, like this source in San Francisco: “Any decisions are made with the help of a ton of committees and advisers." To provide some context, the firm’s management system gives the managing partner complete authority in all management decisions – including the designation of a successor. The firm’s website described this setup as ‘an important element of the firm’s success over the last century.’ Commercial success it may have bought, but it also meant that very few of our interviewees were clued up on the firm’s strategy and future, something that was reflected in our latest associate survey, where the firm scored poorly for its transparency. Ultimately though, most interviewees conceded that “the structure of the firm hasn’t had any impact on my life day to day.”

“We brought in the first openly gay judge to speak for pride month.”

We did hear frustrations from a minority attorney concerning diversity committee budgets: “They’re eitherapproved or rejected from the people in the sky without any dialogue about how important they are.” The same source felt the firm could “zone more into people of color and give them extra attention – that’s where I feel we’re losing out to other firms.” The firm has a black lawyers affinity group, as well as groups for Hispanic and LGBTQ+ attorneys. One source in Chicago told us: “We brought in the first openly gay judge to speak for pride month.”

Another pointed to the efforts of the firm’s women’s group, which puts on several events throughout the year “and gets women together to talk about retention.” Currently around 30% of the firm’s partnership are women, which edges on the side of good by the standards of BigLaw.

TOP READ: Mentors and sponsors play different roles in helping diverse lawyers thrive and climb the ranks. Five lawyers from Jones Day share their thoughts on how to make the most out of these crucial working relationships.

Career Development

Many at Jones Day felt it was too early to start considering partnership but generally agreed that “it doesn’t feel like a pie in the sky thing.” One junior in Chicago felt especially sure of their chances: “I sit down with my mentor once a month to discuss the work I’m doing and what experiences I need to reach the next step in my career.” However, we also spoke to others who felt more formal training sessions were needed, particularly in business development: “I’d like more training on how clients are brought into the firm.” Juniors felt the firm’s attrition rates were typical of BigLaw, with associates often going to work in-house at tech firms in San Francisco and to the government in DC.

Hours & Compensation

Billable hours: 2,000 target

There’s no billable hours requirement at the firm but unofficially attorneys aim to bill 2,000 hours – in line with many other BigLaw firms. “I’ve never worked more than 65 hours in a week,” one litigator in Chicago told us, though they did stress that “transactional lawyers definitely have it worse.” Another in Cleveland estimated their average day in the office ran from 8:30am to 6:30pm, before logging on back home in the evening “for an extra hour or two,” a reality most interviewees identified with. One source in an East Coast office expressed surprise “at the ease with which I've been able to raise a family. I leave religiously at 6:15pm and get home for a sacred hour with my family between 7pm and 8pm and that, for the most part, has remained a sacred hour.”

Weekends were less sacred though, with associates revealing “it’s frequent to work a few hours” on a Saturday or Sunday. That said, it’s “rare to have weekends where you’re working more than relaxing,” and sources appreciated that “partners are generally very sympathetic.” Sources did highlight discrepancies in different groups’ approaches to flexible working. For example, one junior litigator pointed out that “my group doesn’t care if I work from home because it’s a group that travels a lot, whereas other groups such as tax are a lot stricter with facetime.”

“Our compensation isn’t published, so it’s not talked about. I think it removes a lot of internal politics.”

The next thing you should know about Jones Day is that they don’t give bonuses. But don’t panic! “It’s all built into your compensation,” juniors explained. “The argument is that the firm enjoys the freedom to pay people according to what they are worth.” But compensation at Jones Day is a notoriously tricky subject. Our interviewees had little insight into how it worked, but one figured it was based on “an extensive review system which goes up to the head of the office.” However it’s worked out, “our compensation isn’t published, so it’s not talked about.I think it removes a lot of internal politics.” Most of our interviewees were further placated that their overall compensation ended up “actually above market.” 

Pro Bono

The hallmark of Jones Day’s pro bono practice is the Laredo Project, “representing women and children from Central America at the border in their applications for asylum in the United States.” The firm has “a constant presence” down in Laredo, Texas.One junior we spoke to was in the midst of “helping a family of six from Honduras.” Sources explained that “there isn’t a limit to how many hours you can bill," highlighting that "some asylum and death penalty claims can take up 500 hours!” However, another interviewee reckoned that “after your first year, the firm prefers 1,900 of your annual 2,000 hours to be client billable.”

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 177,591
  • Average per US attorney: not given

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

OCI applicants interviewed: 2,636 

Interviewees outside OCI: 141 

Jones Day recruits on campus at about 47 law schools and 28 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:  767 

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: 443 

Acceptances: 161 

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

Becoming a corporate/M&A lawyer – the view from Jones Day

Jones Day's corporate lawyers help give an insight into their far-reaching practice.

Mentorshop and sponsorship

Ensuring diverse talent can succeed, with Jones Day.

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: 25
  • Partners (US): 610
  • Associates (US): 886
  • 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 2020: 165
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  •  Summers joining/anticipated 2020: 220 1Ls: 27; 2Ls: 184; SEOs: 9
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2020 split by office: Atlanta: 17; Boston: 9; Chicago: 21; Cleveland: 22; Columbus: 7; Dallas: 14.5; Detroit: 3; Houston: 9.5; Irvine: 9; Los Ángeles: 9; Miami: 2; Minneapolis: 4; New York: 39; Pittsburgh: 9.5; San Diego: 10.5; San Francisco: 9; Silicon Valley: 7; Washington 18 2020 interoffice summer splits: San Francisco/Washington: 1 New York/San Diego: 1 Houston/San Francisco: 1 Pittsburgh/Washington: 1 Dallas/New York: 1
  •  Split arrangements are made on a caseby- 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 2020:
American, Benjamin N. Cardozo, Boston College, Boston University, Case Western, Chicago, Cleveland – Marshall, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Florida, 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, 2020

Ranked Departments

    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • 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 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 5)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • 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 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • 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)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Insurance: Policyholder (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 1)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Insurance (Band 2)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 4)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Labor & Employment (Band 4)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Antitrust: Cartel (Band 3)
    • Appellate Law (Band 2)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Construction (Band 1)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 5)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 4)
    • FCPA (Band 5)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • 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)
    • Product Liability: Consumer Class Actions (Band 1)
    • Projects: Power & Renewables: Transactional (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Retail: Corporate & Transactional (Band 1)
    • Securities: Regulation (Band 4)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 4)