Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP - The Inside View

When there’s a will, there’s Weil – a New York giant determined to solve the trickiest bankruptcies among other legal conundrums. 

What’s the deal at Weil? Well, it’s a global law firm headquartered in the Big Apple – attorneys-to-be flocked to the firm for its billion-dollar deals and glamorous clients. Most widely regarded for its bankruptcy and private equity expertise, the firm has household names like Starbucks, CBS, eBay and Facebook all lining up to hear this firm’s sage legal advice. Chambers USA applauds the firm’s work on a national level with top rankings forantitrust, banking & finance, bankruptcy/restructuring, corporate crime & investigations, corporate/M&A, environment, private equity, product liability, securities, SPACs and tax. The New York base also picks its own round of applause for its work in bankruptcy, corporate/M&A, IP, litigation, media & entertainment, private equity, tax and technology. Beyond its home state, Weil also earns further rankings across San Francisco, Silicon Valley, DC, Florida, Massachusetts and Texas. Phew!

“Weil is growing its influence in the life sciences space...” 

Aside from the prospect of mingling with the stars, applicants were swayed by the glowing reviews of the culture: “People are extremely smart and very good at what they do, but they are also laid-back and relaxed about being themselves. The office culture is one of people who genuinely enjoy working together but who also expect high performance from one another.” 

>>TOP READ: How effective leadership can power DEI efforts, by Weil.

Strategy & Future 

Going forward, one interviewee summarized: “Restructuring is Weil's bread and butter – there’s a great focus on it. But it seems like all of the associates I know across all departments are busy with work and that all of the different practice groups are thriving.”  In particular, associates noticed the firm making strides in its antitrust, corporate, bankruptcy, life sciences, restructuring and tax practices. Another noted: “Weil is growing its influence in the life sciences space, especially with recent wins in federal district and appellate court on the issue of patentable subject matter.”  

The Work 

Weil offers four broad practices open for newbies to join: litigation, corporate, restructuring, and tax. The first two are the largest and in turn split into various subdivisions. In each group, assigning partners are on hand to process juniors’ availability reports and dole out work. “I haven’t had a problem obtaining work; if I’ve been on a particular topic of work, like M&A, I’ll then continue to handle such topics.” Juniors also receive one-off assignments according to business need: “Partners come to me directly if they need me to help out with a particular case.” 

Under the corporateumbrella you’ll find groups including private equity, M&A, and banking & finance. The groups serve a range of financial and private equity institutions, with particular expertise in cross-border transactions. Generally, associates were over the moon with the work they received – one enthused: “I’m really happy with my workload; we have lean teams and get client contact early on. We are trusted to utilize our own judgment on matters.” When on private equity matters, associates worked on both buy-side and sell-side, taking up tasks such as due diligence and drafting key documents. Some felt the private equity sub-group was a little tougher than its corporate counterparts: “From speaking with my colleagues, private equity seems particularly prone to hard deadlines and tricky clients.” In the M&A space, the firm has been picking up a lot of SPAC [Special Purpose Acquisition Companies] work as of late. On such matters, juniors draft merger agreements and take on research tasks. Although a fair few of those surveyed stated they felt stressed, a hefty 83% felt genuinely happy within the corporate practice group, despite its periods of high intensity.  

Corporate clients: The Home Depot, American Securities and Black Knight. Advised holding company Cannae Holdings on its investment in QOMPLX, a cloud platform developer and provider.  

“Restructuring is a fascinating practice area... Our work has real-world effects.” 

Juniors in restructuringcouldn’t be happier... No really – 100% of survey respondents stated they were happy in the group and found the work interesting. And understandably so – the department has acted as chief debtors’ counsel in six of the seven largest bankruptcy filings in American history. One junior said: “Restructuring is a fascinating practice area with a great combination of litigation and transactional skills. Our work has real-world effects.” Associates see matters from both the debtor and creditor side, typically drafting motions, board minutes, and disclosure statements, and helping with court proceedings. The department represents a variety of clients, including banks, private equity funds and hedge funds. 

Restructuring clients: Crestline Hotels & Resorts, Chisholm Oil & Gas, and SoftBank Investment Advisors. Represented AMC Entertainment in capital raising efforts yielding $1.5 billion and the reduction of AMC’s debt load by over $550 million.  

Over in litigation, the team tackles the entire dispute resolution process, be it bankruptcies, government investigations, or product recalls. The department also handles matters including appellate, employment, IP, securities, and white-collar defense. An associate working on primarily patent litigation explained: “We take up proceedings from the international court to US Patent and Trademark Office proceedings – we really do it all!” When working on securities litigation, juniors work on three main files: “shareholder complaints, derivatives, and M&A.” Associates' responsibility increases in their second year: “I’ve been really happy with the work I’ve received; I’ve checked off a lot of boxes pretty early on in my career.” Associates in patent were particularly pleased with the abundance of opportunities to go to trial: “Unlike some other types of litigation, we actually go to trial relatively often, or, at a minimum, have Patent Trial and Appeal Board hearings. I feel like I've grown a lot as a lawyer in the past year and my practice group has helped me do that.” Typical tasks for associates include drafting motions, preparing for depositions, attending trial, working on briefs, and research.  

>> Top Read: becoming a commercial litigator - the view from Weil, Gotshal & Manges

Litigation clients: ExxonMobil, General Electric and ViacomCBS. Represented Starbucks in the dismissal of a consumer class action where plaintiffs alleged that stores across Manhattan had been permeated with a toxic pesticide.  

Career Development 

Around 25% of respondents from our survey said they intend to stick around for partnership; the firm recently shortened its typical partnership timeline from nine years to roughly seven and a half. To get them ready for possible partnership, or to just aid in their development, associates can attend a plethora of training courses, like deposition workshops, patent lunches or just general skills development sessions. One detailed: “We have lots of mandatory trainings which I’ve found super helpful, we get to learn stuff we wouldn't typically come across. Still, a lot of the training comes organically through just giving things a go!” Associates also receive a little booklet full of ‘associate goals’ that they can check off and track their progress. Juniors were consistently impressed with the informal and formal mentorship on offer: “We are paired with a formal mentor who is a partner and informal who is an associate – I find the associates particularly helpful and friendly.” 

Hours & Compensation 

Billable hours: no requirement

On average, associates put in around 49 hours a week – a couple of hours under the market average. Interviewees reported logging on at around 9am and shutting their laptops at 6pm, with an extra hour or so in the evening if needed. “I’ll usually go to the gym, eat dinner and come back online for another hour before bed.” During busier periods, associates worked occasional 12-hour days, but interviewees understood that long nights were necessary in their line of work: “I don’t feel overburdened with work; it’s normal in BigLaw to have some late nights! My team are always close by working with me.” Weil has no billing target for its associates and sources felt “this helps to create a collaborative atmosphere and minimize stress.” 

“People go out of their way to make sure you are properly covered on vacation…” 

The firm maintains a market rate salary and hands out above-market bonuses. Over the previous year, the firm also provided COVID bonuses and a spring bonus.“I’ve been very pleased with the compensation; I have loads of student loans to pay off so it’s definitely a perk!” The large majority of survey respondents also felt that they could take vacation on their own terms, with one source highlighting that “people go out of their way to make sure you are properly covered on vacation, so you don't need to even worry about checking in.” 

Pro Bono 

“The pro bono opportunities are plentiful and top-notch,” one junior enthused. The firm even introduced a pro bono secondment program recently. There’s no cap on pro bono hours, plus the firm gifts all associates who reach 50 hours a little glass trophy at an annual ceremony for pro bono, which juniors felt was “a really nice touch.” A source echoed the opinion of many: “Weil is incredibly supportive of pro bono, and the quality of the opportunities is great. You’re making a real impact.” 

Senior management filters down assignments to associates via email.Associates spoke of working on the Innocence Project in New York: “We’re given a file on someone who has written to the project requesting help – we do the research and make a recommendation on whether we should take them on.” Associates also worked on housing eviction matters and immigration: “I saw a housing case from start to finish. I was really able to run with it as a junior – you'll typically do a lot of the research and writing on these projects as well.” 

Pro bono hours 

  • For all US attorneys: 68,168
  • Average per US attorney: 80


“The firm culture is a little bit different in each office - DC is very different from New York” one noticed. New York being the largest office was described as “hardworking yet friendly,” while DC was labeled as a little more laid-back. Down south, the Texas office was found to be particularly close-knit: “Our office is much smaller than New York – we tend to know everyone by name and greet everyone we see.” As for practices, associates typically stuck to their separate groups: “Unless you have matters with people in other departments everyone stays within their own group – culturally the firm is quite different depending on your practice.” For example, in patent litigation newcomers can expect casual-fun vibes, “because you have a bunch of engineers who became lawyers, so they're a little bit more casual – jeans are not an uncommon sight.”

“People who work at Weil are the type of people who get their coffee from the local cart and know the owner on a first-name basis.” 

Yet, associates all agreed that Weil houses good people – one interviewee poetically stated: “People who work at Weil are very normal and unpretentious – the type of people who get their coffee from the local cart and know the owner on a first-name basis.” One downside sources did note was a slight lack of a social scene to bring all levels of seniority together. Previously, Weil has put on happy hours, champagne tasting and wine and cheese nights. However, like many businesses, the pandemic hindered the firm’s social efforts. 

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion 

“Weil does a great job at preaching and practicing diversity... it’s a big part of the firm's culture,” a source noted. Most respondents agreed, with over 75% feeling that their intake is diverse and that the firm does a good job at retaining and promoting those diverse associates. The firm has a plethora of programs and groups which help it to achieve this. One appreciated that “the firm has a lot of active affinity groups and interesting events. It shows that Weil truly cares about diversity.” A few examples include affinity groups for Black, Asian, Latinx and LGBTQ+ attorneys. In particular, juniors in DC commented on the firm’s strong gender diversity: “Weil is a good place to be as a female lawyer – most junior associates are female, and many of the young partners ones are women. The affinity groups foster a legitimately strong community that supports its members and works to make the firm look outward into the real world.”  

Beyond affinity groups, others highlighted that the firm brings in speakers for regular diversity-focused talks too. An interviewee reflected on the firm's events: “We have a Zoom book club for women and happy hours – with so many newcomers lateraling over during the pandemic it’s been great to meet all the newbies!” Sources also spoke of attending unconscious bias training every year.

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus

OCI applicants interviewed: undisclosed

Interviewees outside OCI: undisclosed

Weil interviews at a myriad of law schools and job fairs, and participates in resume collection programs at many additional law schools throughout the U.S. and Canada. Initial screening interviews are conducted by members of the firm’s ‘hiring committee’ or an alum of the particular law school. “We’re looking to get to know the candidate and ascertain whether they have an interest in what we do. A key trait of a successful associate is having a level of intellectual curiosity about what we do,” our hiring source at the firm tells us.

Top tips for this stage:

“The best interviews tend to be those with a conversational tone. We want candidates to be prepared and ready to discuss their background, unique and informative experiences they’ve had, and motivation for the future, as well as ask questions that exhibit their interest in the industry and our firm in particular.” – Weil hiring source.


Applicants invited to second stage interview: undisclosed

Callback candidates interview with two partners and two associates. “Overall, the goal is to get a sense of each candidate, their motivations and their professional interests,” our hiring source tells us. Questions are geared toward gauging candidates’ “readiness to commit to, and qualifications for, a career that is both demanding and rewarding.” There is no one “type” of Weil lawyer our hiring source explains: “We’ve found that both introverts and extroverts can excel at the firm (and in interviews). When people are sincerely interested in a legal career at a top-notch firm, both for the intellectual challenge and the rewards, those interviews generally end up being fantastic.”

Top tips for this stage:

“If you’re a well-rounded, candidate you’ll do great. If you’re prepared and  serious about wanting to be a good lawyer, you’ll do well here.” – a junior associate.

“The most outstanding interviews tend to be with candidates who are comfortable with themselves and their resumes–those that come across as sincere, interested, and engaged.”  Weil hiring source.

Summer program

Offers: undisclosed

Acceptances: undisclosed

Our hiring source tells us that Weil’s summer program “is a great balance of real life, in terms of having a dose of life as a lawyer here, and a great introduction to networking and developing relationships that can last throughout a legal career.” Summer associates do “real work for clients in real-time, working closely with associates and partners throughout the firm. They get a sense of being on a team and being in the trenches on a matter.” Weil provides numerous opportunities to explore the firm’s culture through day-to-day interactions, casual lunches/dinners and planned social activities. There are shadowing engagements as well, where the summer is assigned to a partner in order to shadow their routine on calls and in meetings: “The program gives our participants a good sense of what life will be like as a full-time associate at Weil.”

Most summer associates return as juniors; they are hired into specific practice groups based upon their preferences expressed at the end of the summer associate program.

Top tips for this stage:

“Summer associates succeed most when they do not have preconceived notions about their summer experience. Those who are ‘all-in’; those who proactively explore many areas of the firm by working and interacting with our attorneys; those who become part of a team that shares the common goal of client service and a sense of community.” – our hiring source.

And finally…

Our hiring source tells us that in the end “talented individuals who want a seat at the table and an opportunity to tackle complex, challenging matters on behalf of world-class companies will find ample opportunities to shine.”

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

767 Fifth Avenue,
New York,
NY 10153-0119
Website www.weil.com

  • Head Office: New York, NY
  • Number of domestic offices: 8
  • Number of international offices: 7
  • Worldwide revenue: $1.857 billion
  • Partners (US): 207
  • Counsel (US): 115
  • Associates (US): 584
  • Contacts  
  • Main recruitment contact: Wesley Powell (wesley.powell@weil.com)
  • Hiring partners: Jared Friedmann
  • Diversity officer: Meredith Moore
  • Recruitment details 
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2022: 125
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2022: 131 1Ls 15, 2Ls 116  
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2022 split by office: Boston 7, Dallas 10, Miami 1, New York 99, Silicon Valley 8, Washington, DC 6
  • Summer salary 2021: 1Ls: $3,654 
  • 2Ls: $4,135
  • Split summers offered? Case by case
  • Can summers spend time in an overseas office? Case by case

Main areas of work

 The firm offers legal counsel in more than two dozen practices areas categorized by the following groups: restructuring, corporate, litigation and tax.

Firm profile

 Founded in 1931, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has been a preeminent provider of legal services for more than 90 years. With approximately 1,100 lawyers in offices on three continents, Weil has been a pioneer in establishing a geographic footprint that has allowed the firm to partner with clients wherever they do business. The firm’s four departments, corporate, litigation, restructuring, and tax, executive compensation and benefits, and more than two dozen practice groups are consistently recognized as leaders in their respective fields. Weil has become a highly visible leader among major law firms for its innovative diversity and pro bono initiatives, the product of a comprehensive and long-term commitment which has ingrained these values into our culture. Our proven, demonstrated experience allows the firm to provide clients with unmatched legal services. Please see www.weil.com for more information, including awards and rankings.


Law schools attending for OCIs in 2022:
Benjamin N. Cardozo, Boston College, Boston University, Brooklyn, Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Fordham, George Mason, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Lavender Law Job Fair, Loyola Patent Job Fair, NEBALSA Job Fair, New York Law School, New York University, Northwestern, Northeast Interview Program (Washington and Lee /William & Mary Law Job Fair), Notre Dame, On Tour Regional Program, Santa Clara, SMU, Stanford, St. John’s, Suffolk , Tulane /University of Washington New York Interview Program, UCLA, University of Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, UC Hastings, University of Miami, University of Michigan, University of San Francisco, University of Texas, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Yale

Recruitment outside OCIs: Weil has a diversified approach to its recruiting process. Firm-wide, Weil interviews at 40 law schools and job fairs and participates in resume collection programs at over 10 other law schools. For a complete list, please visit careers.weil.com.

Summer associate profile: Weil’s summer associate program provides an exceptional opportunity for outstanding law students from across the nation to explore a career in the practice of law. Weil seeks candidates with exceptional credentials, both in terms of qualifications and character.

Summer program components: Summer associates may work in a total of one to three departments of their choice. They are assigned to active transactional and litigation matters and attend client meetings, negotiations, depositions and court hearings. This enables them to gain a much clearer idea of their choice of future practice area and obtain a realistic view of what it is like to practice law at the firm. Weil organizes special seminars during the summer to discuss particular fields of specialization and topics of interest to law students and to provide training in such areas as negotiation, litigation and writing skills. The firm assigns both associate and partner mentors whose role is to guide the summer associate throughout his or her summer experience, both personally and professionally. Feedback is a critical element of the summer experience. Assigning attorneys regularly evaluate the summer associate’s performance and written product, in much the same way that a senior attorney reviews a junior attorney’s work. The summer associate’s performance is formally evaluated twice during the summer.

Diversity Fellowship:
One of the qualities distinguishing Weil from our peers is our culture. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have been core values since our founding. We created the Weil Diversity Fellowship Program to welcome the next generation of diverse attorneys who want to pursue careers at Weil. Weil Diversity Fellowships are available to students who are enrolled in an ABA-accredited law school and intend to practice law in a major city of the United States in which Weil has an office. For additional details, please visit (https://careers.weil.com/diversity-and-inclusion).

Social Media

Recruitment website: careers.weil.com
Twitter: @WeilGotshal
Facebook: WeilGotshal
Instagram: @weilgotshal
Linkedin: Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2022

Ranked Departments

    • Corporate/M&A: Private Equity: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 3)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Technology: Transactions (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 1)
    • Tax (Band 5)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 1)
    • Antitrust (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 2)
    • Labor & Employment: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Litigation: Securities (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Media & Entertainment: Corporate (Band 3)
    • Media & Entertainment: Litigation (Band 2)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts (Band 2)
    • Real Estate: Mainly Corporate & Finance (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 2)
    • Technology (Band 1)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 5)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 5)
    • Advertising: Litigation (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 2)
    • Antitrust: Cartel (Band 3)
    • Banking & Finance (Band 2)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 1)
    • Capital Markets: Equity: Issuer Counsel (Band 3)
    • Capital Markets: High-Yield Debt (Band 4)
    • Capital Markets: Securitization: ABS (Band 3)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional) (Band 4)
    • Environment: Mainly Transactional (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 4)
    • Life Sciences (Band 4)
    • Private Equity: Buyouts: High-end Capability (Band 3)
    • Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 2)
    • Product Liability & Mass Torts: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Product Liability: Consumer Class Actions (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 5)
    • Securities: Litigation (Band 3)
    • Securities: Regulation: Advisory (Band 1)
    • SPACs (Band 2)
    • Sports Law (Band 4)
    • Tax: Corporate & Finance (Band 2)
    • Technology (Band 3)