Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP - The Inside View

One New York classic please – extra toppings of real estate and a generous side of finance.

Offering clients an intimate boutique service with a BigLaw flair... here’s Stroock. An interviewee echoed the feelings of many: “Stroock is a smaller law firm with big-law-firm work – you get the ability to work with top clients while experiencing a cozy, close-knit culture.” These top clients are some of the biggest financial players in the field, including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs, to name a few. The firm has four offices across the US, in New York, LA, Miami and DC. With over 140 years of industry experience, the firm picks up numerous rankings in Chambers USA: practices such as bankruptcy/restructuring, insurance dispute resolution, labor & employment, and real estate are highlighted in New York, with real estate also standing out in DC and California.

“Stroock is very open about plans and aspirations to grow.”

Beyond its practice expertise, Stroock has also been focusing on its D&I initiatives. Diane Cohen, senior director of legal personnel & recruiting, noted: “The pandemic really made us all look at inclusion and mental wellbeing in a different light; we’ve been developing our programs, particularly in this space." As of late, the firm established a firmwide Anti-Racist Ideas and Actions (ARIA) program, which works to combat racism through community action, research and policy reform projects, and litigation.

Strategy & Future



Stroock has been in growth mode as of late, according to co-managing partner Jeff Keitelman: “Over the last year, we’ve brought in 36 laterals – 12 of those were partners in varying offices and practice areas. Some joined corporate, real estate, some have a focus on renewable energy and so forth.” Geographically, the firm has been growing in Miami with a new litigation partner while DC has seen new partners in hospitality and white-collar litigation. The firm states it’s been able to hire so many newcomers due to its increase in profits: “Our hiring in 2021 was successful in meeting client demand. In fact, we are already seeing positive trends –billable hours were 15% higher than 2020 and based on the current pace of work, we will be even busier in 2022,” Keitelman elaborates.

Associates appreciated that partnership kept them in the loop with the firm's future plans: “Stroock is very open about plans and aspirations to grow which is insightful even as someone so new.” For the years ahead, Stroock looks to continue its focus on its “five business lines”: corporate, restructuring & bankruptcy, litigation, real estate and government affairs and regulatory.

The Work



The majority of associates on this year's list were split between New York and LA, with one junior located in Miami. Litigation, corporate and financial restructuring were the most popular departments for juniors, with a small handful dotted in real estate, IP, and tax. The assignment coordinators filter projects down to associates depending on their workloads and hours, and according to our survey, over 50% of associates felt they had autonomy over their work allocation. An attorney explained: “Every few weeks we send the coordinator any deadlines we have coming up and we always have the opportunity to say no if we don’t have capacity. It works well for me.” However, a source in litigation felt the assignment system didn’t give associates the necessary breathing space to flourish: “The administrative partner has all assignments go through him. This is a great system for shy or new juniors but for proactive associates it can hinder our ability to develop meaningful relationships with partners.”

“The bread and butter of our work is middle market M&A and private funds.”

The litigation team advises financial institutions on their disputes, concerning matters like fraud, data security, loan serving and debt collection. One associate explained: “We tackle matters that arise under laws that are designed to assist the consumer, like the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The consumer feels something has been wrongly reported, they then come to us with an FCRA statute and we go from there.” The team also helps consumers with TCPA [Telephone Consumer Protection Act] regulations: “The regulations go over how financial regulations can contact consumers about their accounts and the tools they can use to stop contact.” A solid majority of survey respondents felt that they received good levels of responsibility in the practice area. One detailed: “It’s granted for some cases to be a little formulaic but a good chunk of the matters are really interesting with a lot of moving parts, like when you’re dealing with complex procedural history which involves a lot of analysis.” Associates are also trusted with tasks such as working on motions, asset purchase agreements, drafting memos, doc review and preparing for depositions.

Litigation clients: JP Morgan, American Express and Verizon Wireless. Represented Citibank in class action claims concerning the bank's disclosures in connection with deposit accounts.

Over in corporate, the practice has three informal sub-groups: M&A, private funds and commodities derivatives and energy transactions. There's also a separate debt finance group. Associates can pick up work from any of the three areas. On the CDE side, the team represent several oil and gas clients: “We recently represented an energy producer that needed to raise capital; I was in charge of compiling comments and managed checklists.” In New York, associates regularly represent real estate developers on private equity deals: “The bread and butter of our work is middle market M&A and private funds.” On such matters, associates stay on top of emails, prepare checklists, draft ancillary documents, work on proxy filings and take board meeting minutes.

Corporate clients: Castleton Commodities International, Freepoint, and Merrill Lynch Commodities. Advised Freepoint on the closing of a $2.63 billion revolving bank facility, with BNP Paribas as agent for the lenders.

Culture



“Stroock is a place where people stay – we get BigLaw work with the small firm culture.”

Although the new working from home model has put a strain on many firms' culture, juniors at Stroock felt “the firm has made a real effort to make things cohesive.” Adjectives like “friendly” and “welcoming” were regularly used to describe the atmosphere, both in the office, and remotely. One summarized: “Everyone is very familiar with each other, even partners are happy to chat or answer any of our questions.” As such, associates felt “Stroock is a place where people stay – we get BigLaw work with the small firm culture.” Some did feel the firm could do more to integrate the different practice areas, especially given the pandemic’s impact on firmwide socials: “Each practice area is a little siloed from each other and they all have their own cultures – I think the firm would benefit from more socials to get everyone to interact a bit more.”

Hours & Compensation



Billable hours: 2,000 target

Of the hours target, 1,850 should be composed of billable work (50 of which can be spent on firm-approved DE&I activities). The remaining 150 hours can be made up of non-billable work including pro bono and recruiting. Working from home has given attorneys plenty of flexibility, but as a rule of thumb associates are expected to be responsive and available from 9am-6pm. On busier days some worked up until midnight; however this wasn’t common. According to our survey, respondents estimated they worked around just under 49 a week - a few hours below the market average. “Stroock does a good job at making sure everyone’s workloads are manageable.” Around three quarters of those surveyed found their workload and hours reasonable, and similarly felt that the firm’s benefits made the workload worthwhile. This year Stroock handed out both end-of-year bonuses and special Covid bonuses.

Career Development



“The best training has come through working with clients and partners.”

Associates at Stroock were in the job for the long haul, with almost 80% of survey respondents intending to stay at the firm for a minimum of five years. To help them navigate themselves through associateship, the firm offers attorneys both a partner and an associate mentor. Still, most advice came more naturally while on the job: “The best training has come through working with clients and partners. I’ve been intimately involved in the deals I’ve worked on and felt like a core part of the team – this has been great for my development.” As a smaller firm, Stroock staffs its deals leanly: “As a junior you’re thrown into the deep end. I felt a bit of imposter syndrome at first but once I started asking questions, I saw how invested partners are in our learning.”

Aside from the mentorship, Stroock offers associates career development training sessions on general skills like marketing yourself and building a portfolio. The firm also offers practice area-specific sessions: “I’ve attended corporate training on how to handle key documents and how to use research tools.”

Pro Bono



“The firm's pro bono commitment is second to none, especially for a firm of our size.” Associates are encouraged to take part with their 150-hour allowance – this can also be comprised of DE&I efforts or writing articles if they wish. “I’ve done a ton of pro bono. When I need to push back billable work to complete pro bono projects, I’ve found senior staff to be really accepting and supportive.” The firm recently promoted Kerry Cooperman to position of pro bono director to dole out projects. Interviewees spoke of working on asylum cases, refugee rights, and suicide prevention matters. An associate involved in the latter explained: “We were helping suicidal awareness in the military – part of this was manufacturing a flag for awareness. I coordinated the necessary documents and helped file and prepare certificates.”

Pro bono hours

  • For all (US) attorneys: 18,228
  • Average per (US) attorney: 57.2

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion



“The firm does a good job with diversity, we have a number of committees, groups, events and resources for minorities,” an attorney enthused. Stroock has plenty of affinity groups, including Working Families, SWAG (women’s group), Sroock LGBTQ, Community Outreach, Health & Wellness and Attorneys of Color. The groups put on monthly events to raise awareness and discuss their personal experiences. Still, some felt the firm had a little way to go. One New York attorney felt “the firm needs to invest in having more black lawyers, especially in my office; recruiting from NYU, Fordham, and Penn is not enough.” Another felt the firm needed to do more in tackling diversity from the top down: “Partnership is still mostly made up of white men. That being said, this is more of a market-wide issue.” Nonetheless, 85% of the associates in our survey were pleased with the firm's efforts in recruiting diverse associates and 80% were happy with how the firm retained them. 

Get Hired



The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: 335

Between the New York and LA offices, Stroock participates in OCI at 12 schools, as well as the Loyola Patent Program, Lavender Law, SEMJF and NEBLSA.

The number of students interviewed outside of OCI varies from year to year. While most of our summer class is hired through OCI, the firm also accepts write-in applications from students. In addition, the firm participates in resume drops at several schools.

Students complete an online application and are asked to submit their resume and law school transcript. In addition, students can submit a writing sample.

OCI interviews are conducted by partners, special counsel or senior associates. Students interviewing for the New York office will meet with one attorney. Students interviewing for the LA office meet with two attorneys. We appreciate candidates that are genuine and not rehearsed.  Students should be able to articulate why they would be successful at Stroock.

Top tips for this stage from the firm:

  • Candidates should be able to articulate why they went to law school and why they want to practice in BigLaw.
  • Candidates do not have to have prior law firm experience, but should be able to demonstrate how their skills would translate to being an associate at a firm.
  • We look for students who display a real interest in the profession, the legal community and want to be part of a team.
  • Make connections before OCI. Reach out to attorneys; get to know the firm and our culture.

Callbacks

During callbacks, candidates typically interview with four attorneys – two associates and two partners and/or special counsel – as well as a member of the recruiting team. If candidates are interested in a particular practice area, we try to accommodate their preferences. We also encourage return visits for those who receive an offer and want to meet additional attorneys. 

Typically, callback interviews are in person. In 2022 we are planning to offer both in-person and virtual options.

Candidates should demonstrate a knowledge of the firm. A good way to do so is to research the firm before the interview and ask Stroock specific questions. 

Top tips for the stage from the firm:

  • If a candidate has a strong interest in a particular practice area then they should be able to discuss that interest and its origin.

Summer program

Anticipated summers 2022: 10

Stroock’s Summer Program offers students a ten-week introduction to the types of matters our attorneys routinely handle. Summer associates enjoy a highly personalized experience that involves working in practice areas that are of interest to them, handling real-world assignments and developing meaningful relationships with peers and the firm’s lawyers and business professionals. We go big on mentorship: each summer associate has four – a partner or senior mentor, a junior associate, a first year office-mate and a writing mentor. We also offer skills-based training programs on effective communication, legal writing, negotiations and other topics.  Summer associates also participate in a range of social events from intimate to large-scale so they get to know us socially. We want our summer associates to feel that Stroock is their professional home – a place where they get hands-on challenging work and build the skills that will fuel their career success.

Top Tips for this stage from the firm:

  • Embrace as many opportunities as you can. Ten weeks goes by quickly.
  • Summer associates should take advantage of the summer program and get to know as many people at the firm as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to grab coffee!
  • Our summer assignment system is flexible. If a summer associate is unsure of what they want to do, they should use the summer to try work in a variety of practice areas.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP

180 Maiden Lane,
New York,
NY 10038-4982
Website www.stroock.com

  • Head Office: New York, NY
  • Number of domestic offices: 4
  • Worldwide revenue: $274,000,000
  • Partners (US): 88 
  • Associates (US): 167
  • Contacts  
  • Main recruitment contacts: Diane Cohen and Claire DeCampo
  • Hiring partner: Dina Kolker
  • Diversity officer: Salila Yohn
  • Recruitment details  
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2022: 8
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2021:
  • 1Ls: 1, 2Ls: 9
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2022 split by office:
  • NY: 10
  • Summer salary 2022:
  • 1Ls: $4,134/week
  • 2Ls: $4,134/week
  • Split summers offered? Case-by-case
  • Can summers spend time in an overseas office? N/A

Main areas of work




Corporate
Our Corporate practice is at home in the fast-moving, high stakes world of corporate deal-making, and we go beyond solving legal problems. We are trusted business advisors whom leading hedge funds, multinational corporations, fund managers and startups call on for customized solutions that meet their unique challenges – across a wide range of industries and transactions.
Whether it’s a merger that embodies over a decade of advice to an erstwhile start-up, a highly complex restructuring of the world’s largest commingled real estate fund, or a first-of-its-kind transaction in the commodities and derivatives space, our experienced, multidisciplinary teams regularly lead and structure precedent-setting deals.

Our core strengths include corporate transactions; distressed M&A; commodities, derivatives and energy transactions; and finance.

Government Affairs & Regulatory Support
Stroock’s Government Affairs and Regulatory Group presents an inter-disciplinary approach to achieving successful resolution for our diverse set of public and private sector clients. We encompass a broad range of practice areas that are out-facing to the government. Our lawyers appear before local, state and federal agencies spanning today’s ever more complex network of statutes, rules and regulations. Our clients range from some of the nation’s largest public sector unions to multinational corporations to private entities and individuals in need of assistance in accomplishing tax-efficient results.
Our team has deep experience in compliance audits, internal investigations and responding to government inquiries related to corporate governance and operations matters. We assist our clients in securing regulatory approvals, establishing robust compliance programs and safeguards, and successfully navigating government contracting. Our lawyers advise on complex matters across practices and industries, including banking, insurance, tax, environmental issues, estate planning, employment law, executive compensation and ERISA. We are also equipped to represent both our individual and corporate clients aggressively when they face civil and criminal enforcement actions. Our white-collar team is comprised of sophisticated negotiators with significant government experience who are prepared to take cases to trial should that be needed.

Private Client Services
Our Private Client Services Group has built a national reputation on a foundation of technical expertise, trust, sensitivity and loyalty. We work closely with clients to help them identify goals and objectives and to provide innovative and pragmatic solutions tailored to their needs. We address a broad range of issues, including: estate planning and related tax work; estate and trust administration; estate and trust litigation; planning for family businesses; and charitable giving.

Litigation
Our litigators represent clients in a range of complex disputes, appearing in federal and state trial courts, appellate courts and before public agencies and arbitration tribunals throughout the country. We are focused on finding cost-effective solutions, including engaging in pre-litigation dispute resolution, and providing on-going counsel on minimizing transaction litigation risk and the evolving regulatory environment.

Real Estate
Our national Real Estate Group is a one-stop shop, drawing on extensive experience in virtually every aspect of commercial, residential, industrial and mixed-use property to ensure our clients meet all of their investment and operations goals. We work with developers, institutional investors, sovereign wealth funds, Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, REITs and operators on matters including investment, acquisitions and dispositions, joint ventures, financing and refinancing, development and redevelopment, property and portfolio management, fund and REIT formation and operation, compliance matters, land use and zoning, multifamily facilities, government real estate and dispute resolution.

Restructuring & Bankruptcy
Our team has extensive experience representing sophisticated financial institutions in as creditors, equity holders and new money investors/lenders in complex bankruptcy matters. We are especially active in the oil and gas, power, retail, health care, gaming, entertainment and for-profit education industries, and we are one of the few teams that advises on the interplay between insolvency and commodities and derivatives.

Pro Bono
The firm’s award-winning, national pro bono program, The Public Service Project, was established in 2001. This program is the cornerstone of Stroock’s longstanding commitment to social, economic, and racial justice. Through this initiative, we provide legal services to underserved populations through partnerships with public interest law firms and community organizations. We are known for our response to national disasters – both natural and economic. Our pro bono work encompasses a range of litigation and transactional matters, with special concentrations in anti-racism work, special education, housing support, charitable nonprofits and microenterprise assistance, family law and domestic violence, disability rights and immigration matters. The Public Service Project is fueled by a resourceful, motivated group of people at the firm who accomplish wonderful things through their passion and teamwork.

Firm profile



 Stroock is an Am Law 200 firm with a rich history stretching back over 145 years with offices in New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Miami. We provide strategic transactional, regulatory and litigation advice to advance the business objectives of leading financial institutions, multinational corporations and entrepreneurial businesses in the US and globally. At Stroock, we work with our clients to develop a deep understanding of their business and utilize a practical, results-oriented approach defined by our integrity, commitment to excellence and loyalty. Our clients seek out our guidance, as we have a passion for finding the most creative and effective solutions to their problems. Attorneys at Stroock enjoy the ample resources of a national law firm with the close-knit atmosphere typical of smaller firms, and our lawyers work in a collaborative and performance-driven environment enhanced by our culture of honesty, openness and teamwork extending to clients and colleagues alike. To build our close-knit culture, we operate with a commitment to diversity, empowerment, accountability and transparency. A critical component of the firm’s success is the maintenance of a diverse and inclusive workplace through the leadership of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, as well as the efforts of several engaged Affinity Groups and the best in holistic programming and events.

Recruitment



Law schools attending for OCIs in 2022:
New York Office:
• Cardozo
• Columbia
• Cornell
• Fordham
• Georgetown
• Howard
• New York Law School
• NYU
• Penn
Los Angeles Office:
• Loyola
• UCLA
• USC

Recruitment outside OCIs:
In addition to visiting a number of law schools in July and August, we participate in several job fairs, including NEBLSA, SEMJF, Lavender Law Career Fair and the Loyola Patent Law Interview Program. Students that we are not able to meet during OCI or at a job fair can apply directly to the firm. The firm also participates in several resume collections. In addition to our 2L hiring, Stroock is proud to participate in the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity 1L Scholars Program.

Summer associate profile:
Successful summer associates at Stroock are self-starters who quickly take ownership of their matters and are able to function at a high level early in their career. While not a prerequisite, those with prior work experience and those who have held leadership positions typically do very well with us.

Summer program components:
The firm’s program includes a flexible work assignment system, work across different practice areas, extensive training programs, pro bono opportunities, access to diversity/affinity group activities and numerous social events. In addition, each summer associate has four mentors - a partner or senior mentor, an associate mentor, a writing mentor, and a first-year officemate. This allows summer associates to quickly build relationships with our lawyers. Summer associates receive formal feedback at the mid-point and at the end of the summer, as well as when they complete assignments.

Social media



Recruitment website: www.stroock.com
Twitter: @Stroock
Twitter– Real Estate: @StroockRE
Twitter– ERISA: @StroockERISA
Linkedin: Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stroockstroocklavan/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stroockstroocklavan/?hl=en

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2022

Ranked Departments

    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 3)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 5)
    • Insurance: Dispute Resolution: Insurer (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent (Band 5)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 4)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Dirt (Band 3)
    • Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use (Band 2)
    • Tax (Band 5)
    • Derivatives (Band 3)
    • International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 3)