Working in Law Firms

More lawyers work in law firms than in any other sector of legal practice. According to the National Association for Law Placement’s national statistics (PDF), 50.9% of all law school graduates in 2014 began their legal careers in law firms. Law firm practice is also a very popular job choice at YLS. As is reflected in our employment statistics, many of our students work for law firms for the summer and after graduation.

Large law firms in major metropolitan areas have organized summer programs for which they will hire many second-year students and a handful of first-year students as “summer associates.” These firms typically make permanent job offers to their second-year summer associates in the hopes of having them return upon their graduation or upon completion of a judicial clerkship. Most second-year students interested in large law firm practice interview and secure offers through CDO’s August Fall Interview Program, otherwise known as FIP. Smaller and regional law firms tend to hire students on a later time frame, and often only when they have a particular need. First-year students seeking law firm employment should commence that outreach in December.

The best starting point for learning about law firms is CDO's Law Firm Practice Guide.

CDO Law Firm Resources

Law Firm Practice Guide
CDO Recruiting Policies
Assessing Law Firms: Culture, Clients, Compensation and Beyond
Critically Evaluating Pro Bono Policies and Programs
Firms Sponsoring Split Public Interest Summers 
The Law Firm Summer Associate Dance
Public Interest Law Firms
Sample Law Firm Evaluation Forms
Small Law Firm Employers of YLS Students (YLS version)
Tips for Maximizing Your Time in Big Law
The Truth about the Billable Hour
What are Firm Sponsored Split Public Interest Summers
What To Do When You Don't Get An Offer From Your Summer Employer

Selected Additional Law Firm Resources

(Visit our External Career Links Law Firm section for more resources)

ALM Legal Intelligence Surveys and Rankings [NOTE: you must be on the Yale Network or VPN to access site].
Chambers and Partners
International Finance Law Review 1000
Law Firm Practice Area Summary (YLS Version)
NALP Directory of Legal Employers
Vault Online Library (including the Vault Guide to the Top 100 Law Firms) [NOTE: you must be on the Yale Network or VPN to access site].

Selected Resources about Law Firm Practice Areas

10 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Practice Area, by Major, Lindsey & Africa's Areas of Practice section
Law Firm Practice Area Summary, by Major, Lindsey & Africa
Practice Area Summaries, by Chambers Associate
Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas (under the "Guides" tab)
Quick Reference Guide to Legal Practice Areas, by BCG
SLS Navigator, Curricula and Careers

Alumni & Student Profiles

LL.B. 1970

Robert Brown

Partner ESOP Plus, Rochester, NY