Associates are Levin’ la vida loca at this mid-sized Massachusetts mover and shaker.
“I’ll give you some of the philosophy I learnt as a young associate at a big Wall Street firm,”says Mintz’s managing partner Bob Bodian, when we ask him about the impact of COVID-19. “A crisis presents both challenges and opportunities. We’ve taken 2020 as an opportunity to improve the firm in strategic areas." Mintz added 21 partners over the course in 2020, in insurance, private equity, securities litigation and real estate. Bodian tells us that the firm has fared well during the pandemic because it came into it off the back of “five consecutive record years for revenue and profits. We were able to budget with the pandemic in mind."
So, what are the areas of strength that have put Mintz in this secure position? Well, in its home state of Massachusetts, Mintz picks up a raft of accolades that include top-notch Chambers USA rankings in public finance; bankruptcy & restructuring; construction; and environment. It also comes highly recommended for its general commercial litigation, healthcare and insurance expertise. On a nationwide scale, Mintz is known for its work in the healthcare and retail sectors – its expertise in the former is also recognized in its DCand New Yorkoffices.
The associates on our list were spread between six offices: just over half were in the Boston HQ, while a fair number were in the New York, DC and San Diego bases. Just a couple were in LA and San Francisco. Corporate was the most populated practice group, followed by litigation. Juniors could also be found in smaller numbers across Mintz’s IP, TechComm, employment and antitrustpractices. “Mintz is one of the best firms in Boston,” replied one junior when discussing their reasons for joining the firm. The firm’s Boston HQ proved to be an excellent base for juniors looking to escape the perceived intensity of the New York market, but sources in Mintz’s Big Apple office were quick to highlight that “we’re small and collegial.” No matter where juniors were based, they felt the benefits of “being part of a national firm.”
Strategy & Future
Mintz isn’t the sort of firm that tries to be all things to all people. “Our plan is to continue to build upon our strength in life sciences, financial services, and healthcare, among other areas," managing partner Bob Bodian explains. “Our corporate practice has had an unbelievably strong year, and we will continue to expand our capabilities in that space with regard to mergers and acquisitions, securities and capital markets, and venture capital, within a variety of industries including life sciences, energy, and technology." He adds that the firm has "no present plans to expand our geographic footprint, though we review strategic opportunities. We philosophically like having offices in hubs where we can come together to collaborate." Read the full interview at the Bonus Features tab.
Work allocationsystems vary by group. Corporatefolks have traditionally found work within a free-market system “but during COVID-19, our leadership realized that the system wasn’t helpful for workload distribution, so now we fill out a workload report so management can make things more even.” Over in litigation, there’s a section manager in the Boston HQ as well as office-specific assignment managers: “Partners reach out to them for staffing and the managers allocate depending on workload. One you’ve worked with a certain person for a while they tend to just reach out to you directly.” Sources were glad that the system acted as a safety net if things got too busy: “The practice manager saw I’d billed some ungodly hours, so she asked if I wanted to be taken off some matters.”
“I’ve worked with a broader range of clients than I’d expected,” said one litigator. “I’ve been deeply involved with our insurance group, which is a growing area for the firm: they brought in four lateral partners this past year.” We heard that the NY office handles a fair amount of real estate and directors & officers litigation: “NY has a very large team currently working on the latter, which has stemmed from a major bankruptcy in the US.” This source explained that more leanly staffed cases bestow more responsibility on associates: “I’ve done an extraordinary number of things like drafting complaints and large portions of memoranda for motions to dismiss and summary judgment." This source was “shocked at the level of responsibility I have. A longtime client wanted a demand letter, and I was the one doing the interviews and drafting things directly.” Client contact depends on the matter and the way in which partners work: “On some cases I’m frequently in contact with the GC, but on others I’m strictly back of house.” Juniors also found that one-off research assignments had led to more advanced work: “I had to look up the answer to a specific question, which led to three more questions, which led to a memo, which led to me to helping file a motion for summary judgment.”
Litigation clients: Expedia Group, Alafi Capital, Keryx Biopharmaceuticals.
Venture capital and M&A is the name of the game in the corporategroup, where life sciences clients dominate the roster. Where venture capital is concerned, rookies “handle everything except negotiating documents with counterparties.” M&A sees juniors take charge of the diligence process, so they’ll draft the ancillaries on larger transactions and draft the principal documents on smaller deals. There’s also capital markets, securities compliance and regulatory filings work available, plus bits of “outside general counsel-type work on matters like stock options.” Juniors can dip their toes into the corporate side of projects work, like the buying, selling and financing of solar energy projects. They can also help with a bit of overflow from commercial contracts work: “Fewer people work on those types of things, so the work is more advanced – I’ve drafted and revised contracts and assisted with the corporate side for deal closings.” This interviewee’s favorite part of the practice was “being surrounded by lots of smart people. The firm is small enough that I know people in different groups. I can get their input on things like IP and employment issues. It’s really nice to learn from them.”
Corporate clients:eBay, Myriad Genetics, PayPal. Represented the latter during its investment in SafeBreach, a breach-and-attack simulation platform.
Hours & Compensation
Billable hours: 1,850 target
Associates becomebonus-eligible at 2,000 hours and can use 150 hours of pro bono, diversity & inclusion, training and recruitment work to get them over the line. Juniors told us that they’re expected to hit 40 billable hours per week on average, with the findings from our data survey showing that associates had billed 47 hours on average in the preceding week. The base bonus was described as below market, but “high billers can get more” as the firm bumps up the amount paid out in 100-hour increments between 2,000 and 2,400 hours.We heard that there’s also a discretionary bonus: “If you’re a good employee then you can still get one!”The firm told us its compensation is under review, so watch this space...
Salaries are set at market rate for the first four years. After that we heard that amounts dip slightly below the Milbank scale (this is also under review)“but the firm doesn’t force you out and seniors know that although the pay is less, their quality of life is better.”There was a slight reduction in pay when the pandemic struck, but Mintz subsequently reimbursed attorneys and provided an additional “special payment.” The corporate group saw an uptick in their workload during the pandemic: “I had plenty of 70-hour weeks for a couple of months, but the firm hired more associates to help.” Those who saw a dip in their workload due to the impact of COVID-19 were told that “our hours were the last thing to worry about – we have a great culture in that respect.”
“‘Transparent’ is the word that comes to mind when I think about the culture,”reflected this source. “For example, when the pandemic began, they told us that nobody would be laid off.”Sources agreed that the firm had handled the pandemic well: “They gave us a stipend to buy the tech we needed, and the head of my group called all of us to make sure we were doing okay: they encourage us to reach out if we’re struggling with things and they try to help us, which I appreciate.” To keep people connected, the firm randomly matched up employees to have lunch together, while one class year set up weekly happy hours: “There’s a lot of camaraderie. I’ve worked for people who have been significantly senior to me, but I didn’t really realize it because they didn’t act like it – they treated me like I was on the same level as them. This is a place where nothing is above you and nothing is beneath you.”
New Yorkers described their office as “pretty casual. Lots of the partners are very funny and I definitely feel comfortable going into their offices informally.”Over in the Boston HQ, “there’s a lot of respect for having a family and not being chained to your desk. Every partner I work for spends time with their family and they expect us to do the same.”Those in Caliappreciated “the high level of autonomy and support,”while DCassociates were glad to report “that partners are genuinely interested in making sure you grow.”
There are three formal avenues for mentorship. First, every attorney is assigned a mentor who they can grab a firm-sponsored lunch with. (We’ll have the oysters to start, thanks). These mentors are “usually people you don’t work with so you can be franker. The firm sends us a topic to discuss each month.” Second, there’s the writing mentorship program, which enables associates to “go through a piece of writing with someone who didn’t assign it to you.” However, sources hadn’t used this program too often “because the work moves too fast to explain the subject matter to someone who isn’t working on it.”
Third, there’s the manager of attorney development and coaching,who offers group and one-to-one training: “I have standing 30-minute appointments with her and they’ve been great,”testified one satisfied junior. “She’s a sounding board for navigating the realities of law firm life.”Naturally, there are informal mentorship opportunities too, which we heard are plentiful in the corporate department: “Because everyone in the corporate group starts as a generalist, you develop relationships with partners in the areas you like working in.”
Attorneys of color also get a sponsor-mentor “who is typically someone in a leadership position in the firm. They generally advocate for and look out for us. Mine isn’t diverse in the same way as me, which is good because otherwise we could just end up with an echo chamber. This way, my mentor can be an ally and has a different perspective.” In true Mintz fashion, these mentor-mentee pairings get a lunch budget as well. We’ll have the crème brûlée for dessert.
Diversity & Inclusion
The big news here is that Narges Kakalia was appointed the firm’s first ever director of diversity, equity and inclusion in October 2020. One junior felt that “between the firm’s hiring initiatives, pro bono work and broader discussions that take place, it seems like Mintz is committed. It’s been trying really hard in the wake of everything that has happened in the US.”On the hiring side, managing partner Bob Bodian tells us that the firm has recently “partnered with Howard University Law School to bring in one student to work with us in the DC office during the academic year. We’ve also started programs for diverse 1Ls, who work with us and our clients. I sent out a memo on Juneteenth, which laid out ten points – one is that we’ll be increasing the number of Black attorneys by 50% by the end of June 2022. We’ve also taken on work from three nonprofits that focus on social and diversity issues – we give them each $150,000 too.”In the latest partner promotions round, seven out of nine attorneys were women, and three were diverse.
“...we’ll be increasing the number of Black attorneys by 50% by the end of June 2022.”
These efforts didn’t go unnoticed by our interviewees. One praised the firm for “sending round communications that were very compassionate and understanding of what was at stake” following the social unrest triggered by the killing of George Floyd. “The minority attorney group is tight-knit and provides a safe space,”another interviewee commented. The group in each office hosts virtual monthly Zoom calls and there’s a two-day annual retreat for minorities “which really facilitates bonding: we get to make real connections, rather than just working with people on a one-off assignment." Sources were also impressed by “the effort made to highlight the stories of attorneys with diverse backgrounds and the challenges they’ve faced. It’s strictly internal, which proves the firm isn’t just doing it for show.”
Our interviewees agreed that pro bono is “definitely encouraged” at Mintz. Projects could be found in two main ways: the first involved reaching out to the attorney in charge of pro bono and the second saw juniors signing up for projects that the firm had circulated more broadly. Some juniors had also brought in their own projects that had been approved. We heard of associates getting involved in expungement matters on behalf of sex trafficking victims and helping to secure bond arrangements for juvenile detainees who were in immigration custody.
Asylum cases are reportedly common, and one source noted that “we’ve been working with a domestic violence charity for decades.” In addition, there are “loads of opportunities to work on amicus briefs, especially in Boston,” with associates even getting to work on ones that were filed in the national Supreme Court. Our interviewees didn’t feel pressure from partners to turn down pro bono and unanimously agreed that these projects helped to build their skill set. Those in Boston highlighted the firm’s longtime partnership with Lawyers for Civil Rights, while New Yorkers had partnered up with the local Legal Outreach group, which runs mentorship and education programs for high schoolers interested in the law, especially those from a diverse background.
Pro bono hours
- For all (US) attorneys: 18,165
- Average per (US) attorney: 32
The first stage: recruitment on and off campus
OCI applicants interviewed: 126
Interviewees outside OCI: 57
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: 18
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!”
Interview with managing partner Bob Bodian
Chambers Associate: How has the firm mitigated any disruption to firm life during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I’ll give you some philosophy I learned as a young associate at a big Wall Street firm: a crisis presents both challenges and opportunities. We’ve taken 2020 as an opportunity to improve the firm in strategic areas by adding 21 lateral partners across pretty much every office both on the East and West Coast, in litigation, securities litigation, insurance and reinsurance, deal-side private equity, real estate, and energy and infrastructure. In some ways it was actually easier for us to recruit during the pandemic, as the crisis strained the financial well-being of many law firms, and gave many lawyers more time to evaluate whether their current firm was the right fit for their practice and long-term goals.
As a firm, we have a culture of teamwork and collaboration and strive to foster an atmosphere of collegiality with each other and with our clients, and so working remotely was inherently a challenge. We navigated that by hosting firm wide, regional and practice area-specific social and professional events. We’ve made an effort to keep up morale among associates in particular, because the hope is that some of them will lead the firm eventually. I met with all of our associates in a group setting three times in the past four months, and I’ve done the same with attorneys at other levels in the firm. We like to stay in touch with our professional staff, too, because they’re also an integral part of our success, so I held town hall discussions with non-legal personnel a few times to take questions from them and address their concerns about telework, our financial well-being, and more.
CA: How has the pandemic affected the firm financially?
Due to the timing of our fiscal year, we were able to budget with the pandemic in mind. The uncertainty of the pandemic led us to manage the firm proactively and conservatively. We were able to cut expenses largely resulting from travel and events being put on hold. It was important to us that we weather this situation together and do everything possible to avoid layoffs and furloughs. With respect to budgeting, our equity partners bore the greatest share of the risk based on forecasted profitability. After consulting with our associates and staff, we implemented temporary pay cuts across the firm. Nearly a year later, we’re amazed at how the firm came together and how exceptionally active our practices have been. None of our 1,200 employees were laid off of furloughed. We not only restored pay, but also provided back pay to make all of our associates and professional staff whole. Going into the pandemic, we had just experienced our fifth consecutive year of record-setting revenue — revenue and profits were up 50% between 2015 and 2020. Our active practices, addition of 21 lateral partners, and the collaborative approach of all of our attorneys and staff have put us on track to have another record year. I could not be more proud of the extraordinary effort of our whole team this year.
CA: What initiatives does the firm have to address D&I?
For many companies and law firms, including Mintz, 2020 has been a year that forced employers to look inward and address longstanding racial inequities, and make meaningful changes. On Juneteenth, I sent out a firm wide memo to share our comprehensive, multi-step plan to increase diversity and inclusion within the firm and the legal community. The plan includes actions such as increasing the percentage of Black attorneys at the firm by 50% by 2022, and continuing to undertake social justice reform work on a pro bono basis. To further these efforts, we appointed Litigation Member Narges Kakalia as our first-ever Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and added an automatic seat on the firm’s Policy Committee for the Chair of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee. We also strengthened our partnerships with and donated $150,000 between three non-profits focused on civil rights.
Last year, we began enabling attorneys to credit time spent on diversity efforts and we launched a program for 1Ls to work with us and select clients. We also have partnered with Howard University Law School to create legal internships for their students in our Washington, D.C. office during the academic year.
We are focused on nurturing and promoting attorneys from diverse backgrounds, including women. Notably, seven of the nine new Members promoted in 2020 were women, and three are otherwise diverse. Our 2021 summer class is predominantly diverse as well, and we are committed to providing the necessary support and mentorship to help all of these attorneys thrive.
CA: What is the firm’s business strategy for the next couple of years?
Our plan is to continue to build upon our strength in life sciences, financial services, and health care, among other areas. Our corporate practice has had an unbelievably strong year, and we will continue to expand our capabilities in that space with regards to mergers and acquisitions, securities and capital markets, and venture capital, within a variety of industries including life sciences, energy, and technology.
CA: Is the firm planning to open any new offices?
We have no present plans to expand our geographic footprint, though we review strategic opportunities. We philosophically like having offices in hubs where we can come together to collaborate. We focus on providing great service our current and prospective clients and we ensure that we have strength in geographic locations that impact their business. COVID has put a lot into perspective this past year, and I am grateful for the support of our clients and the hard work of our attorneys and professional staff to get through this period relatively unscathed, and be able to look towards the future.
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
One Financial Center,
- Head office: Boston MA
- Number of domestic offices: 6
- : Number of international offices1
- Worldwide revenue: $ 502,100,000
- Partners US: 245
- Associates US: 235
- Main recruitment contact: Lauren A. Maloney email@example.com
- Recruitment website: www.mintz.com/careers
- Diversity officer: Tyrone Thomas
- Recruitment details
- Number of entry-level associates starting in 2021: 17
- Clerking policy: Yes, case by case
- Number of summers joining/anticipated 2021: 1Ls 3, 2Ls 14
- Number of summers joining/anticipated 2021 split by office: Boston: 17
- Summer salary 2021:
- 1Ls: $3,653 2Ls: $3,653
- 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, Howard University School of Law, Northeastern University School of Law, Suffolk University Law School, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, UConn School of Law (Boston area program)
Recruitment outside OCIs:
Resume Drops: New England Law (NEIP), University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law
Job Fairs: BLG (Boston Lawyers Group), Loyola Patent Law Interview Program
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, 2021
California: San Diego
- Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
District of Columbia
- Healthcare (Band 2)
- Insurance: Insurer (Band 3)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
- Construction (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
- E-Discovery & Information Governance (Band 1)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
- Energy & Natural Resources (Band 2)
- Environment (Band 1)
- Healthcare (Band 1)
- Immigration (Band 1)
- Insurance (Band 2)
- Intellectual Property (Band 4)
- Litigation: General Commercial (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)
- Healthcare (Band 3)
- Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 4)
- Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
USA - Nationwide
- Healthcare: The Elite (Band 4)
- Retail (Band 4)