Rapid growth is shaking things up at this Boston-based mid-sizer.
For our interviewees who found the pointy end of BigLaw a bit too cutthroat, Boston-based Mintz represented the perfect balance between “interesting work andassociate satisfaction.” One insider told us: “I wanted to be at a smaller firm where I could take on more responsibility and have a better lifestyle.” We'll get to the reality of that in a moment, but we should firstly clarify that Mintz is very much a BigLaw firm, with just under 30 Chambers USA rankings to its name. In its home state of Massachusetts, its bankruptcy & restructuring, construction, e-discovery & information governance, environment, healthcare, immigration, and public finance teams are all top-ranked. In New York, Mintz’s labor & employment and white-collar crime & government investigation teams are similarly top-ranked. For the full list, head to Chambers.com.
But while a network of offices spanning London, LA, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington cements those BigLaw credentials, Mintz has nevertheless historically had a reputation for sidestepping some of the industry’s more toxic traits and offering its juniors a semblance of a ‘normal’ work-life balance. Around half of the juniors on our list were based in the firm’s Boston office. New York was the next biggest (around a fifth of the list), with DC, LA, San Diego, and San Francisco each taking a handful.
The transactional groups take on just under half of the associates on our list in the catch-all corporate department. Litigation had around a quarter, with the rest dotted around IP litigation, IP prosecution, antitrust, banking, employment, real estate, health law, and TechComm. For those who had gone through the summer program, we heard that they “pick what they’re interested in and are then hired directly into that practice if successful.” Once at the firm, work allocation was described as “a combination of the efforts of a work coordinator, who will help you find people, and you reaching out to partners directly.” While corporate juniors in New York told us that “M&A tries to stay in New York to preserve the culture,” Boston litigators told us: “There’s a lot of cross-office work.” However, juniors can generally expect to work with attorneys from across the firm's network.
“On many of my deals I am opposite associates who have been practicing longer than I have."
The firm’s M&A practice “does a lot of midmarket deals that range from $5 million to $150 million.” The Big Apple, sources said, “has lots of new private equity clients,” while in Boston the firm does it all, with life sciences, healthcare, and technology clients rubbing shoulders with those in the retail, manufacturing, media, and financial services sectors. The Boston office’s clients include heavy hitters like eBay and PayPal, and while mid-market M&A is its sweet spot, the firm also mixes it with the big players, with plenty of mega deals on offer – see work examples below. Responsibility varied by location and seniority. For one experienced transactional associate outside the main offices, “on many of my deals I am opposite associates who have been practicing longer than I have and I believe that is indicative of the superior quality of experience I am afforded at Mintz.” However, we also heard plenty of reports of newbies “very in the weeds with the diligence.”
Corporate M&A: AVX Corporation, Hitachi America, Johnson & Johnson, Healthpoint. Acted as counsel to Viela Bio in the sale of all its outstanding and company issues shares worth over $3 billion to Horizon Therapeutics.
Over in litigation, the firm tackles patent prosecution, securities, white-collar crime, and general commercial litigation. Juniors we spoke to had worked on everything from “IP, trademark, insurance, and a fair amount of real estate disputes” to “cases relating to hospitals canceling contracts because of COVID.” One source told us: “Although I could do most things if I wanted, antitrust and labor employment cases are more difficult to get staffed on as they are pretty segregated. But if you did have an interest and there’s work available, you can always find a way to do it.” Alongside clients in the life sciences, consumer brands, pharmaceuticals, and financial sectors, sources highlighted that the firm also services “high-net-worth individuals with employment disputes.” The sources we spoke to were more than happy about the responsibilities they’d been offered. For example, one told us: “I’ve drafted an appeal, taken two depositions by myself, and done a couple of summary judgments.” They concluded that “there’s plenty of substantive stuff if you prove you can do it.”
General commercial litigation clients: Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Alafi Capital Trust, Citizens Bank. Represented a Massachusetts car-dealership mogul, Ernie Boch Jr., in a high-value estate trust dispute.
Hours & Compensation
So how good is the lifestyle on offer? On paper, attorneys are required to hit 1,850 in billables, which is certainly toward the lower end of BigLaw. However, some of the transactional attorneys we spoke to felt the firm’s reputation for a less demanding working culture fell short, with one lateral junior noting that “I’m working pretty much the same hours here as at my old firm.” Another told us: “If I’m busy, it’s very easy to work more than 200 hours a month.”
As a result, this led some to conclude that compensation wasn’t as competitive as that offered by other BigLaw outfits. That said, this was far from being an overwhelming consensus, and in our latest survey, the average working week of Mintz’s associates was four hours less than the market average. One source added: “I’ve heard people complain about the compensation and I take issue with it. While it’s not quite where it would be at other firms, I think your life is better here.” After undergoing a review last year, associates also now receive a stepped bonus that goes up every 100 hours and is capped at 2,300 hours.
Strategy & Future
One explanation for the longer hours that were creeping into some associates' lives is simply that the firm is very busy. It’s something that’s evidenced by the firm’s steady climb of the AmLaw rankings, having gone from 87 in 2019, to 79 in 2021. In addition, this year over two-thirds of the juniors on our associate list were lateral hires. That compares to our previous research cycle when just under a third of juniors were laterals. Add this to the fact that the firm took on nearly 60% more new associates this year and it tells a story of a firm in the midst of rapid growth.
Whether this will result in a shift to a working model closer to that of your typical BigLaw outfit, only time will tell. “It feels like the firm is trying to maintain its ‘family-friendly’ roots while simultaneously attempting to become a typical large, New York law firm,” one source reflected. Whatever the case, our insiders certainly had confidence in the firm’s trajectory. As one source summarized: “The firm is extremely strong financially. We have a very keen management and we are conservative financially while simultaneously being very aggressive in investing in practices that are emerging – it’s very encouraging.” Another identified biotech, clean energy, private equity, and digital assets as areas targeted for growth.
The firm’s culture received a strong thumbs-up from our sources. One insider provided us with a particularly glowing review: “Everyone is willing to answer questions or help explain things further. Even in the busiest times, the other associates look out for each other and are willing to step up when someone else needs help.” While our research indicated that some felt the social scene was bit a lackluster, our interviewees reflected that “despite the pandemic, they have tried very hard to make sure to maintain the fun and collegial culture that existed prior to the virtual environment.”
"... that really shows how much they value junior associates like me.”
In keeping with West Coast style, we were told by one junior that “in LA, everything is much more laid back. My partners took me out to lunch the first week I joined even though they hadn't been to the office once since COVID. That really shows how much they value junior associates like me.”And while, in any big organization, sources reported“there are difficult people to work for,” most felt that “the partners are actually ‘human’ and have no issues with accommodating your personal life.” Our lateral sources also felt that Mintz’s culture compared favorably with their previous firms.
Tied to the firm's culture, one associate told us that “every single person I have spoken to has been incredibly kind and genuinely cares about my career development.” All incoming associates are given formal mentors upon joining, although not everyone agreed it was an effective setup. Several sources mentioned a lack of or strained communication with their formally assigned mentor. For example, one insider told us that “at times, I’ve had difficulty getting in contact with assigned mentor, so I’ve had to find that informal mentor.” However, for the most part, sources agreed that “Mintz does an excellent job of providing each of us with the balance of support and autonomy we feel is best for our practice and development.” Moreover, 25% of our survey respondents indicated they intended to make partner, which was greater than the market average.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
“In certain aspects, D&I is pretty good,” we heard. How so? “Overall, the firm has a good number of women working for it. Beyond that, I can definitely point out there are people who are not white working at the firm.” In fact, in terms of non-white partners, Mintz is in the top ten of the firms we collect diversity data for. The firm also falls above the market average for female partnership too. Moreover, in the latest partnership round at the time of writing, the firm promoted three women and two partners of color.One junior told us: “I am impressed at the number of associates elevated to partner after taking one or more instances of parental leave, even the same year that parental leave was taken.”
“I am impressed at the number of associates elevated to partner after taking one or more instances of parental leave..."
“I actually joined the firm for its pro bono work,” one of our interviewees shared, adding that “I think their work helping immigrants and victims of sexual assault is wonderful.” Indeed, since the early ’90s, Mintz has had a commitment to ending domestic violence.We were told that “there’s a pro bono partner, and if you say ‘I want X’ you’ll be given the opportunity to do that.” Associates can bill up to 150 hours toward their billable target, though an unlimited amount can be counted as credited non-billable time. Additionally, we were told that special pro bono projects that require a significant investment of associate time may, under unusual circumstances, be treated as billable hours..
Pro bono hours
- For all (US) attorneys: undisclosed
- Average per (US) attorney: undisclosed
The first stage: recruitment on and off campus
OCI applicants interviewed: 200
Interviewees outside OCI: 75
Mintz attends OCIs at nine universities, including a mix of top national law schools such as Harvard and Georgetown, and regionals such as Boston College Law School and Suffolk Law School. The firm also attends job fairs run by Boston Lawyers Group, Northeast BLSA, the Loyola Patent Law Intern Program and Lavender Law. Outside of this the firm participates in resume drops, and hopefuls can also send in applications directly to the firm.
Hiring sources tell us that interviewers “look for curious, collaborative, collegial students.” Questions vary by interviewer, but overall “we aim to find prospective associates who share the same passion for the law as our lawyers do.”
Top tips for this stage:
“Someone who gave the sense that they were out for themselves would have a hard time getting a good rating!”– A junior associate
“Think about what you want to convey to an interviewer without scripting the answers. Take the time to learn about the firm – including our people and practice areas.”
Applicants invited to second stage interview: 13
Candidates invited to callbacks will interview with four lawyers – again, questions vary person to person. But hiring sources said that interviewers will be interested in a candidate’s interest in the law, their other interests, accomplishments and “how would you like to be challenged!”
A junior associated went into more detail: “At the end of each interview, there is an evaluation process with about five or six questions like, ‘Is the candidate a team leader? Would you feel comfortable having them meet with clients?’ Naturally, the questions we ask in interview help candidates provide answers to those questions.”
Top tips for this stage:
“Focus on being able to make a personal connection. Go beyond just answering questions on what’s on or not on your resume.” – A second-year junior associate
“Similarly, to OCI, students should be prepared. We aim to have an interactive discussion on your future at our firm.”
In Mintz’s nine-week program, summers choose a practice area of interest (Corporate, Litigation, or Intellectual Property) and are immersed in that practice area for the duration of the program. Training sessions throughout the summer include a Corporate “Nuts and Bolts” training, a moot court for Litigation Summers, and writing seminars and mentors for the full class. Social events are dotted throughout the program “so our lawyers and students have an opportunity to get to know each other outside of the office.” The firm tells us summers typically return as first-year associates in the practice area in which they worked during the summer.
Top tips for this stage:
“Be enthusiastic; do great work; get to know people; always carry a pen and notepad!”
One Financial Center,
- Head office: Boston MA
- Number of domestic offices: 6
- Number of international offices: 1
- Worldwide revenue: $ 588,500,000
- Partners US: 273
- Associates US: 274
- Main recruitment contact: Lauren A. Maloney firstname.lastname@example.org
- Recruitment website: www.mintz.com/careers
- Diversity officer: Narges Kakalia, Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
- Recruitment details
- Number of entry-level associates starting in 2022: 24
- Clerking policy: Yes, case by case
- Number of summers joining/anticipated 2022: 1Ls 7, 2Ls 14
- Number of summers joining/anticipated 2022 split by office: Boston: 20; San Francisco: 1
- Summer salary 2022: 1Ls: $4,134.62/week 2Ls: $4,134.62/week
- Split summers offered? no
- Can summers spend time in an overseas office? no
Main areas of work
Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Georgetown University Law, Harvard Law School, Suffolk University Law School, University of Virginia School of Law
Recruitment outside OCIs:
Resume Drops: Duke University School of Law, Howard University School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School
Summer associate profile:
Mintz hires students who seek a highly personalized summer experience for our Summer Associate program. Our Summer Associates select a practice area of interest (Corporate, Litigation, or Intellectual Property) and are immersed in that practice area for the duration of the program. In 2021, we will host first-year students in our Summer Associate program as Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD) 1L Scholars.
Summer program components:
Summer Associates work on an array of matters, often staffed on cases or deal teams, where they can gain real, hands-on experience working side by side with our lawyers. Our small class size, coupled with our Member and Associate mentorship program, allows students a broad range of opportunities and experience, customized to their individual goals and interests. After spending nine weeks at the firm, our Summer Associates know our lawyers, understand what we do, and are ready to hit the ground running after law school.
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2022
- Intellectual Property: Patent Prosecution (Band 2)
California: San Diego
- Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
District of Columbia
- Healthcare (Band 2)
- Insurance: Insurer (Band 3)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
- Capital Markets (Band 2)
- Construction (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
- Energy & Natural Resources (Band 1)
- Environment (Band 1)
- Healthcare (Band 1)
- Immigration (Band 1)
- Insurance (Band 1)
- Intellectual Property (Band 4)
- Life Sciences (Band 1)
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
- Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
- Public Finance (Band 1)
- Real Estate (Band 3)
- Technology (Band 3)
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 5)
- Healthcare (Band 5)
- Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 4)
- Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
USA - Nationwide
- E-Discovery & Information Governance (Band 4)
- Healthcare: The Elite (Band 4)
- Immigration (Band 4)
- Life Sciences (Band 5)
- Retail (Band 4)
- Sports Law (Band 4)
- Startups & Emerging Companies (Band 4)