There's a strong life sciences, healthcare and biotech bent at this Boston-based midsizer.
“MINTZ is Boston-based and I'm from Massachusetts – so that was a major plus," one associate explained when giving their reasons for joining the firm. “The firm is known for its intellectual property work, so it seemed like a natural choice given my interests,” explained another. “The healthcare group has an excellent reputation,” a third noted. Given Mintz has been around in Boston since 1933, and has a strong focus on the life sciences, tech, and healthcare industries, it's hardly a surprise we got these responses.
Across Chambers USA Mintz nabs accolades for its healthcare and life sciences practices. In Massachusetts it boasts a more extensive list of rankings, including ones for healthcare, corporate, litigation, and banking. Sources noted that besides the opportunity on offer to do more niche work, the firm's less traditional clients are often more laid-back than those typically served in BigLaw, leading to a more relaxed atmosphere at the firm.
At the time of our research, around two-thirds of juniors were in Boston, with the rest split evenly between New York, DC, and San Diego; a third of juniors were in corporate, a third in either litigation or IP, and a third in the smaller groups like labor & employment, healthcare, public finance, and real estate. In the larger teams work coordinators officially organize and delegate tasks, but partners regularly hand out jobs directly to associates (as happens in the smaller groups). As a consequence, some felt “it's pretty key to develop relationships with the senior lawyers – the way to succeed here is to take an initial assignment and knock it out of the park.”
"There were some really interesting research questions and underdetermined case law."
The firm's litigation clients include private equity, life sciences, retail, and engineering businesses. Day to day juniors spend lots of time plowing through documents in the discovery process, diving into Westlaw for legal research, and “plugging your research into a motion of some kind.” Document review is kept to a minimum thanks to the help of an in-house litigation technology group which conducts an automated sift of the paperwork in a case. This left associates with more time to do things like "poke into the weeds of the Uniform Commercial Code – there were some really interesting research questions and underdetermined case law. It was fun to have to apply all my critical thinking skills."
Litigation clients: Comcast, Crescendo Biosciences, and Blackstone. Defended adidas against a class action claiming its Springblade running shoes were defective.
Corporate handles M&A and some venture capital; Boston and New York have a similar mix of clients to litigation, but we heard that the small team in DC does quite a bit of renewable energy work, while San Diego takes on work for startups on things like crowdfunding regulations. Rookies start out “conducting due diligence and dealing with ancillaries, then later on you actually get to work on the main documents.” One junior pointed out the difference this step up means: “Ancillary documents remain the same across every deal. You just refer to a different agreement, so you don't have to know anything about the deal to draft them. However when you are doing the main documents you have to have substantial knowledge of the actual industry the deal relates to and the facts of the matter.” A third year told us eagerly: “I ran a deal myself, which was very exciting. A senior associate would review things, but I drafted all the documents and negotiated with the other side.”
Corporate clients: Denham Capital Management, Time Inc, and biotech company Synlogic. Advised fintech firm T Rex on gaining venture capital backing.
The IP practice handles both prosecution and litigation, acting for clients from the life sciences and tech sectors, as well as Harvard University, Hyundai, and Shopify. We heard associates can get involved in everything from “actions in front of the International Trade Commission to District Court cases.” The healthcare practice “works a lot with health insurers, pharmacy managers, hospitals, and other large entities in the field.” The department handles chiefly regulatory matters alongside litigation related to government investigations and transactional work. On one transaction a junior reported “doing all the research into what state laws are on licensing requirements, reimbursements, and other regulatory issues. As well as doing the research, I was writing memos and occasionally interacting with the client.”
Healthcare clients: hospital network Northwell Health, Philips North America, and CVS Health. Defended Indiana biotech company Roche Diagnostics in a False Claims Act case brought by a former employee over allegedly illegal managed care arrangements.
“Laid-back CEOs don't want an uptight attorney.”
Mintz is less interested in “if you are the smartest person in your class” than whether prospective hopefuls “fit in well with our culture.” What does this mean? Well, we heard that “it's very easy to go to lunch with people and if you walk down the hallway most people have their doors open.” Sounds swell. What else? Several interviewees felt the firm's less traditional client base also creates a more relaxed atmosphere. “We don't rely on just Goldman Sachs and private equity shops to keep the doors open,” said one source, elaborating that the tech and life sciences clients Mintz serves “lend themselves to a different type of lawyer.” As one attorney who worked with startups put it: “Laid-back CEOs don't want an uptight attorney.”
Career development at Mintz is “nothing super formal.” But most associates praised the willingness of their seniors to give them cases that matched their interests, so they could gain the skills and experience they wanted. “I told a senior associate in another office I was interested in startups and he's given me work with every startup client he's had since,” one source said.
“He's given me work with every startup client he's had since.”
Associates felt getting promoted to the senior ranks at Mintz was relatively attainable, particularly thanks to the fact it's a midsize firm and because counsel roles are available alongside the partnership track. For those who decide their ambitions lie elsewhere, we heard the firm “is very good at helping associates who want to depart for in-house opportunities.” On top of this there's an externship with the state's attorney's office for those thinking of government roles. Interviewees felt the firm's good reputation in Massachusetts would certainly help them if they decided to move elsewhere, but noted that “people who see someone from Mintz often think that person is interested in Boston and only Boston. If I were to go elsewhere in the country the firm's name might not have the same pull.”
Hours & Compensation
Associates are expected to bill 1,850 hours a year, with bonuses largely based on whether you then hit 2,000 hours. After the 1,850 target is reached, pro bono hours and a range of nonbillable work can be counted toward the 2,000-hour target. Across departments the target was thought of as “very attainable and reasonable, as it's always busy.” We even heard that in the healthcare group “everyone is going to blow past it real easy.”
“I get a week here and there when I'm here until 9:30pm or 10pm.”
Juniors said they arrive around 9am and leave between 6 and 7pm, with late stints in the office ranging up to 10pm or 11pm. One source shared: “I get a week here and there when I'm here until 9:30pm or 10pm – not every night, but maybe two or three nights. Those weeks require some weekend work too. In the past three months a week like that has happened two or three times.” Although late nights in the office are sometimes required, juniors noted that “it's very easy to work from home, as you can take your laptop home or log in from your own computer.”
Juniors were satisfied with their pay – salaries are lockstep, while there is some discretion for increased bonuses to be given to the highest performers. Mintz matched the Milbank scale in 2018, at least at the junior end.
Diversity & Inclusion
Commenting on the fact that half of Mintz's associates are female while a quarter of partners are, one interviewee said: “It has a lot to do with the age at which people start families and want a better work/life balance. I think Mintz strives to be somewhere you can get that balance, but in practice I don't know how attainable it is.” The firm has a minority and women's network, mentoring programs, and recently ran mandatory unconscious bias training which “really got you to think critically about things.”
Pro bono typically takes a back seat to paid work at Mintz, with associates saying it's “encouraged when you are slow as one of the options alongside training and writing blog posts – but if you don’t do it it's no dig against you.” Despite this most found they could squeeze in some pro bono cases, though corporate insiders reported their erratic deal schedules made this tricky. IP juniors also found it harder to do pro bono as “there’s not a lot of IP pro bono work.” Getting pro bono involves reaching out to the pro bono coordinator or directly to the attorneys leading a matter.
“Encouraged when you are slow as one of the options alongside training and writing blog posts.”
Opportunities on offer include immigration and domestic violence cases and appeals. There are also transactional pro bono opportunities including “working with a small business incubator in the Boston area to help individuals who have business ideas navigate the formation of creating an entity and come up with a business plan.” Sources felt there were more cases available to those in Boston, but the range of opportunities on offer is broadly similar across offices (although San Diego has more immigration work due to its proximity to the southern border).
Pro bono hours
- For all US attorneys: 16,767
- Average per US attorney: 19.7
Strategy & Future
Managing partner Bob Bodian says he feels Mintz is “very strong” across sectors such as energy, tech, life sciences, and healthcare. He also highlights biotech and private equity as driving a lot of activity. These areas seem to be working well for the firm: in the three years to 2018 profits were up 35%, revenues were up 30% and revenue per lawyer was up 20%. Looking to the future Bodian expects to see an increasingly commoditized legal environment, “so you have to focus on certain core areas where you can offer expertise that differentiates the firm, not try to be everything to everybody.”
The first stage: recruitment on and off campus
OCI applicants interviewed: 185
Interviewees outside OCI: 43
Mintz attends OCIs at eleven universities, including a mix of top national law schools such as Harvard and Columbia, and regionals such as Boston College Law School and Suffolk Law School. The firm also job fairs run by Boston Lawyers Group, Northeast BLSA, 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:68
Candidates invited to callbacks will interview with four or five 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.”
On Mintz’s nine-week program, summers can work with lawyers across the firm’s practice areas. Training sessions are on offer including a writing program and a mock trial. 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, with their practice area assignment determined by their interests and the needs of the firm.
Top tips for this stage:
“Be enthusiastic; do great work; get to know people; always carry a pen and notepad!”
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC
One Financial Center,
- Head Office: Boston, MA
- Number of domestic offices: 7
- Number of international offices: 2
- Worldwiderevenue: $400m
- Partners (US): 239
- Associates (US): 219
- Main recruitment contact: Cathy Maiorana, (email@example.com)
- Diversity officer: Tyrone Thomas
- Recruitment details
- Entry-level associates starting in 2019: 14
- Clerking policy: Yes (depending on the situation)
- Summers joining/anticipated 2019: 1Ls: 1, 2Ls: 9
- Summers joining/anticipated 2019 split by office: Boston: 9, San Diego: 1.
- Summer salary 2019: 1Ls and 2Ls: $3,653/week
- Split summers offered? No
- Can summers spend time in overseas office? No
Main areas of work
Mintz is proud of its formal mentoring programs that complement the collegiality of our firm. The firm has an extensive associate mentoring program run by a firm-wide mentoring coordinator and on-site mentoring coordinators in each office.
Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Georgetown Law School, Harvard Law School, Howard University School of Law, University of Pennsylvania Law School, and Suffolk University Law School.
Recruitment outside OCIs:
Northeastern University School of Law – resume drop, Northeast BLSA Job Fair, Lavender Law Job Fair, and Boston Lawyers Group Job Fair.
Summer associate profile:
Mintz’s summer associate program is an eagerly anticipated and vital program. Summer associates are encouraged to work on assignments from a variety of practice areas. They attend trials, depositions and negotiations. They participate in legal writing workshops, a transactional case study, and a mock trial. Each summer associate is assigned an associate mentor, a member mentor and a writing mentor. Mentors are available for questions, and they facilitate informal feedback on work projects. Through work assignments and social events, our attorneys strive to provide each summer associate with an opportunity to get to know what a career at Mintz has to offer.
Summer program components:
Mintz offers a summer associate program in their Boston and San Diego office. Summer associates are exposed to a variety of practice areas. This provides them with the opportunity to explore new and current interest areas.
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2019
District of Columbia
- Healthcare (Band 2)
- Labor & Employment Recognised Practitioner
- Banking & Finance: Public Finance (Band 1)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 3)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
- Environment (Band 1)
- Healthcare (Band 2)
- Insurance (Band 2)
- Intellectual Property Recognised Practitioner
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
- Real Estate (Band 3)
- Technology Recognised Practitioner
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
- Healthcare (Band 3)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
USA - Nationwide
- Capital Markets: Equity: Issuer Representation Recognised Practitioner
- Healthcare (Band 4)
- Life Sciences (Band 4)
- Political Law Recognised Practitioner
- Retail Recognised Practitioner