If, like Proskauer's client U2, you still haven't found what you're looking for, try this Big Apple-born firm where associates get a huge variety of clients.
PROSKAUER's star-studded client roster helped put the firm on several of our interviewees' radars. One admitted: “I was initially drawn in by the well-known sports practice.” The firm represents nearly every major sports league including the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB, and has also acted for well-known performers and stars like Madonna, Ariana Grande, Bon Jovi and U2.
“Unique legal problems come up.”
Once at the firm, associates came to value Proskauer for other reasons. For its “open and welcoming” working environment, for example. And also for the “unique legal problems that come up.” One told us: “Rather than always dealing with the same types of issues for large institutional clients over and over, there are more unique and diverse matters to work on here.” That includes the sports law work mentioned above, but also things like the forming of new private investment funds.
It's worth saying that work for sports and media clients is only a (relatively small) part of what Proskauer does. Beyond this glamorous clientele, this is a BigLaw firm with plenty of regular BigLaw banking and corporate clients. Besides the media and entertainment, advertising, sports, and labor and employment practices, Chambers USA also tips its hat to the firm's corporate/M&A, insurance disputes, commercial litigation and investment funds practices, along with a bunch of other areas.
Over half of juniors are to be found in New York with most of the rest in Boston or LA. The offices in Boca Raton, Chicago, New Orleans and DC were also home to a few juniors at the time of our research. At the same time around half of all juniors were in the corporate group, just over a quarter in litigation, and sizable portions of the rest in labor and employment, tax and private client. Most groups have an assignment coordinator to “make sure everyone is getting a fair distribution of work.” New York folk reckoned their coordinators were also “conscious of giving people the sort of work they'd like to try.” Others added that “certain partners will end up getting to know you and request your assistance.”
“I've been on two deals that were in the Wall Street Journal when they closed.”
Corporate has subgroups like general corporate, private investment funds, private credit and private equity M&A. Some sources had spent time in the general group before picking a more specific subgroup, and in that time had sampled a mix of bond offerings, private bond placements, IPOs and M&A deals. On the finance side, sources found they were “managing the closing process” and “drafting ancillary documents rather than the actual credit agreements,” but reckoned “that will probably be next year's jump up.” The corporate deals the firm works on are big, and this was important to one associate who said: “I've been on two deals that were in The Wall Street Journal when they closed, so it's good to know the things you're doing have an impact on the broader business community.”
Corporate clients: AccorHotels, the Miami Marlins, and the Empire City Casino. Advised GIC, the sovereign wealth fund of Singapore, on its $12.6 billion acquisition alongside The Carlyle Group of the Specialty Chemicals business of industry giant Akzo Nobel.
A fair portion of corporate folk work in the private investment funds team, many (but not all) of them based in Boston. “We work with private investment funds of all kinds,” a junior reported, “from large investors to small startup funds.” Lawyers advise on fund formation, “structuring them so that they are in compliance with SEC requirements” and “screening investors to make sure they are qualified to come into the fund.” The team also represents investors themselves, and sources told us: “We have an understanding of each side – if we represent you, we've already been on the other side so we know what to expect.” Juniors can expect to do tasks such as reviewing limited partnership agreements and “explaining what they mean to an investor,” as well as “coordinating all the files.” One source felt the tasks were “a good way to learn about the funds without being thrown in over our heads.”
“Known for its sexy sports practice.”
The labor and employment group tackles litigious work like class actions and individual discrimination cases and advises on things like collective bargaining agreements. Most labor juniors are in New York, where Proskauer is “known for its sexy sports practice.” One source estimated that “about 75% of my work has been for professional sports leagues.” Besides sports leagues, attorneys also work for retail clients and financial institutions, with juniors often “handling doc review and the discovery process” as well as completing research assignments. One admitted: “The research would be more fun if I knew where it fits in the larger scheme of things.”
Labor clients: the NHL, McDonald's, and the NFL. Represented New York University in a discrimination case brought by a former professor.
The litigation practice also covers areas including commercial, IP, antitrust, white-collar and asset management. Juniors with a more general practice valued being able to “learn something new every day – whether it's copyright and trademark matters or product liability or contract disputes.” Juniors we spoke to had been able to prepare and take depositions, write document requests and get significant drafting experience – including statements of fact, motions to dismiss and “portions of the actual argument.” One source told us: “I work with a partner who really tries to make sure we're developing skills that will make us better lawyers in the long term.”
Litigation clients: Johnson & Johnson, The Met, and FIFA. Represented U2 and Island Records in a copyright infringement action brought by guitarist Paul Rose over U2's song 'The Fly'.
The firm's work for celebrity clients is largely litigation-based – IP/copyright issues and labor and employment matters. The juniors we spoke to hadn't been massively involved in any of this kind of work, so it probably shouldn't be top of your list as a reason for picking the firm.
Interviewees were pleased with the number of training opportunities on offer at Proskauer. Litigators praised the deposition training workshop in particular where “a professor from Berkeley comes in to run the program.” The only minor grumble was that juniors “wished they were more frequent.” Corporate folks mentioned “programs aimed at making associates more business-savvy,” including “weekly presentations by both associates and partners.” On a more informal level, sources were “shocked by the degree to which partners seem personally invested in developing associates and genuinely care about us on an individual and personal level.” For example, one reported: “There have been numerous instances where partners have asked if I'm getting the experiences I want. They make time to answer questions too – and do it in a way that doesn't make associates feel dumb for not knowing something.”
“Partners have asked if I'm getting the experiences I want.”
Thinking about their futures at the firm, juniors felt the path to partnership at Proskauer is “more on the opaque side.” Interviewees guessed that “if you last eight or nine years, most people seem to be promoted either to partner or counsel.” If you last, that is... Proskauer's annual incoming class is about five or six times the size of its typical annual partner class. Juniors did say that “people are open about discussing it if it's something you want to do,” and appreciated being “set up with a mentor early on, who you can meet with to discuss your career trajectory.”
Juniors said Proskauer is “very, very committed” to pro bono: everyone is expected to do at least 50 hours a year. “I did way beyond that in my first year, and no one suggested that I'd done too much,” one source said. “When there are significant pro bono victories, those are communicated to the whole firm so the associates involved get the much-deserved recognition.”
Juniors listed an array of opportunities, including immigration matters, social security benefits cases, employment matters for nonprofits, and criminal record expungements. LA juniors highlighted a large volume of work on veterans issues, such as discharge upgrades. The firm also works with organizations such as KIND, the ACLU, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts. New Yorkers highlighted the firm's work on issues such as Trump's travel ban, while Bostonians mentioned working with the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Pro bono hours
- For all US attorneys: 46,806
- Average per US attorney: 66
“I think humor is a big thing here,” one junior reflected. “A defining characteristic of a Proskauer associate is knowing when to be professional, but having the humor to maintain a friendly atmosphere and good working environment.” Our sources agreed that people at the firm are “friendly, respectful and appreciative of hard work.” One junior elaborated: “There's an effort to make sure associates are getting the work and training they want, but at the same time making sure we're not burnt out and miserable.”
“Each quarter one of our four floors hosts a happy hour.”
Interviewees noted that “one thing the firm could do a better job at is providing more informal opportunities for people to interact.” Some offices are better at socializing than others, such as Boston, where “each quarter one of our four floors hosts a happy hour with different themes.” New Yorkers found the social scene to be “on the formal side, with events usually focused around retirement gatherings or when someone is promoted to partner.” Other than that, sources noted “there are a fair few things centered around new hires to integrate first-years or laterals.”
Diversity & Inclusion
Proskauer ranked third for its diversity efforts out of all firms we surveyed in our most recent Associate Satisfaction Survey. On top of the usual affinity groups for diverse attorneys, there's a general 'Diverse Lawyer Network' as well, which “allows minorities to get together and talk about their experiences. Having a space for that has been really useful for a lot of people.” Sources also praised the various 'pipeline' initiatives, encouraging diverse students to consider law early on. This includes the Silver Scholar Program – a scholarship award for diverse 1Ls and 2Ls including a summer associate position and up to $30,000.
Most interviewees agreed that “it seems like there's a big push to develop female and minority associates,” with some noting that “it might even be majority women at the junior level.” (Pretty much half of US associates are women.) Sources mentioned the Proskauer Women's Alliance which holds various workshops and “interesting speaker series.” They also highlighted the 'Women's Sponsorship Program', which pairs associates with partners or seniors to provide guidance on anything from career development to working relationships. In addition, the firm has a 'Proskauer Prep' program, which has been designed for pre-law female students who are looking to gain some experience at the firm for a week in the summer before they begin their law school journey.
Hours & Compensation
There's no official billing target, but sources reported aiming for anywhere between 1,800 and 2,000 hours. “It's pretty nice when you're a junior because your hours aren't always up to you,” one source said. “We take a practical approach to billing, because some years are going to be better than others and the firm doesn't punish anyone for that.”
“The unpredictability of the hours is probably the worst part of this job.”
Juniors said the hours they work in a day can vary drastically. A typical day sees juniors get in for 9.30am and leave between 6.30pm and 7pm. But there are late stints – the latest we heard of was 2.30am. “The unpredictability of the hours is probably the worst part of this job,” one source admitted. That said, “people try to communicate what might be coming down the pipeline so you can plan accordingly.”
With no official hours target, juniors explained that you need to be “an associate in good standing” in order to be bonus-eligible. “Things that would preclude you from getting a bonus include getting unsatisfactory reviews, but that's not a common issue. By the time you'd be getting an unsatisfactory review, you would have been warned ahead of time that something was wrong.” Sources estimated that “at least 95% of people get a bonus.” Proskauer also matched the 2018 salary increase, which unsurprisingly went down very well.
Strategy & Future
“I think we've had our best year so far – every practice was busy,” firm chair Joseph Leccese reflects. “From a societal standpoint, the MeToo movement has driven a lot of labor and employment activity, and [on the finance side] the evolution from traditional financial institutions to private equity has driven an enormous amount of our practice.”
Proskauer Rose LLP
Eleven Times Square,
(Eighth Avenue & 41st Street),
- Head Office: New York, NY
- Number of domestic offices: 8
- Number of international offices: 5
- Worldwide revenue: $977.9 million
- Partners (US): 237
- Associates (US): 468
- Main recruitment contact: Caroline K Menes
- Hiring partner: Michael T Mervis
- Diversity officer: Peter Wilson, Jr.
- Recruitment details
- Entry-level associates starting in 2019: 46
- Clerking policy: Yes
- Summers joining/anticipated 2019:
- 1Ls: 5, 2Ls: 60, SEOs: 2
- Summers joining/anticipated 2019 split by office: Boston: 16, Chicago: 2, LA: 6, New Orleans: 2, New York: 38(not including 2 SEOs), Newark: 3 Washington DC: 1
- Summer salary 2019:
- 1Ls: $3,654/week (except Boca Raton, New Orleans and Newark)
- 2Ls: $3,654/week (except Boca Raton, New Orleans and Newark)
- Split summers offered? Case by case
- Can summers spend time in an overseas office? No
Main areas of work
Boston College, Boston University, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Fordham, George Washington University, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, New York University, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Stanford, Suffolk, Tulane, University of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles), University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, University of Texas, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Washington University in St Louis, Yale.
If we do not visit your law school, or you are unable to participate in one of the many career fairs in which we participate, please submit your cover letter, resume and transcript directly to the recruiting mailbox of the office in which you are interested.
Summer associate profile:
We look for well-rounded students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership, community service, intellectual curiosity, maturity and strong motivation to succeed. Our environment is challenging, rewarding, entrepreneurial and inclusive. Associates receive early exposure to high levels of responsibility, so the people who thrive here are those who can engage with clients, have a sense of humor, and some worldliness.
Summer program components:
Our summer program is designed to replicate, as closely as possible, the experience of being a lawyer at Proskauer. You will work on challenging matters alongside some of the top lawyers in the field while building relationships with your colleagues. You might find yourself attending a deposition, courtroom argument or administrative hearing. Or being at the table in a labor arbitration. You might help in the formation of companies or be part of a team handling a merger or acquisition. Every day of your time with us represents part of your training – as you work with experienced professionals on client matters and gain their real-time feedback and direction. You will also have the chance to up your game in key areas through partner-led, interactive training workshops throughout your summer. You will have many opportunities to join in social, cultural and recreational activities to get better acquainted with your fellow summers and lawyers at Proskauer. In recent years our summer associates have joined in a an array of activities including Major League Baseball games, mixology events, the Tony Awards, scavenger hunts, private movie screenings and community service team projects, to name a few.
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2019
- Banking & Finance (Band 3)
- Labor & Employment (Band 3)
District of Columbia
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
- Labor & Employment (Band 3)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
- Healthcare (Band 4)
- Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 1)
- Labor & Employment (Band 5)
- Labor & Employment (Band 1)
- Banking & Finance (Band 1)
- Intellectual Property (Band 2)
- Labor & Employment (Band 2)
- Litigation: General Commercial Recognised Practitioner
- Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 1)
- Tax (Band 2)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 1)
- Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 3)
- Healthcare (Band 1)
- Immigration (Band 3)
- Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 2)
- Labor & Employment (Band 1)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 4)
- Media & Entertainment: Corporate (Band 3)
- Media & Entertainment: Litigation (Band 3)
- Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 3)
- Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 3)
- Tax (Band 3)
- Technology & Outsourcing (Band 3)
- Tax (Band 3)
USA - Nationwide
- Advertising: Litigation (Band 2)
- Banking & Finance (Band 4)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
- Capital Markets: High-Yield Products (Band 4)
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
- Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 2)
- ERISA Litigation (Band 2)
- Healthcare (Band 5)
- Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Policyholder (Band 4)
- Investment Funds: Hedge Funds (Band 4)
- Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 3)
- Investment Funds: Registered Funds (Band 3)
- Investment Funds: Venture Capital: Fund Formation (Band 2)
- Labor & Employment (Band 1)
- Leisure & Hospitality (Band 4)
- Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 4)
- Real Estate (Band 4)
- REITs (Band 4)
- Sports Law (Band 1)
- Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 5)