Covington & Burling LLP at a Glance


  • “Relatively tolerable hours”
  • “Sophisticated work”
  • “People here are intelligent, patient, and kind”


  • “Hours are unpredictable”
  • “People are bit too introverted”
  • “Many internal policies”

The Buzz

  • “Eric Holder”
  • “Best of DC”
  • “Snobby”
  • "Bookish”

About Covington & Burling LLP

This "brain trust" law firm is known for quietly (and smartly) going about its business-that business being antitrust, litigation, corporate, IP, and regulatory work, with particular strengths in the sports, insurance, life science/pharma, export controls, data privacy, energy, tech, and media/entertainment industries.

Counsel of Record

Judge J. Harry Covington and Edward B. Burling founded their firm in Washington, DC, in 1919, with a (then unique) concept of a firm focused on regulatory issues. Since that founding, it would be hard to find many members of the Fortune 200 that have not worked with Covington. The firm played significant roles in many of the leading legal matters that arose from the New Deal. Later, in the 1950s, Covington lawyers wrote the key briefs in the Steel Seizure cases. As the federal government expanded, so did Covington, with a particular emphasis on issues involving FDA, the IRS, the FAA, the FCC and any number of other multi-lettered agencies.

This unique mix of work attracted an astonishingly talented array of young lawyers to the firm, many of whom have gone on to senior positions in the government. Both Eric Holder, former U.S. Attorney General, and Lanny Breuer, former Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division, were Covington partners before they worked for the Obama administration. Lanny Breuer returned to the firm in 2013 and Eric Holder rejoined the firm in 2015. And Covington's lawyers are bi-partisan. Mike Chertoff, the first head of the Department of Homeland Security, joined Covington after leaving the Bush Administration. John Dugan, who was the Comptroller of the Currency during the financial meltdown of 2008, was a partner before his service as Comptroller, and has since returned to the firm. Retired Republican Senator Jon Kyl and Democratic Representative Howard Berman are also at the firm.

The strong team of lawyers assembled by Covington continues to attract some of the largest companies in the world as clients. These days the firm's clients include JPMorgan Chase, Microsoft, Samsung, Hewlett Packard, Wells Fargo, Merck, Eli Lilly & Company, AstraZeneca, ExxonMobil, GlaxoSmithKline, Procter & Gamble, Abbott Laboratories, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, to name just a few. The practice has moved far beyond government regulation, and the firm's lawyers now focus broadly on litigation, white collar, corporate transactions, intellectual property, antitrust, international trade, and regulatory issues.

Formerly Local, Now Global

Early on, Covington eschewed typical BigLaw expansionist tendencies, maintaining just one office in Washington, DC. In 1988, the firm opened its doors in London-a strategic move followed two years later by the establishment of a branch in Brussels to focus on EU competition, regulatory, and litigation work. The firm grew its domestic presence in 1999 with the addition of offices in San Francisco and New York, and in 2008, Covington set up shop in Beijing, San Diego, and Silicon Valley. Offices in Shanghai and Seoul opened during 2012 and 2013. The firm opened an office in Los Angeles in early 2015 and closed San Diego to reorient its focus in Southern California. And the firm does work elsewhere around the globe, including in Latin America, India, Africa, and the Middle East.

Worldwide White Collar

Lanny Breuer, the former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, successfully represented Hyperdynamics Corporation in an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice into potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act related to its business activities in the Republic of Guinea. The Justice Department completed its investigation in May 2015 without bringing any charges against the company. The Justice Department noted the value of the Houston-based company's full cooperation in its declination letter. Mr. Breuer's successor as head of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division, Mythili Raman, joined Covington in 2014. Its team of over 115 white-collar lawyers represents clients globally, and is one of the few firms with lawyers who recently held senior positions in both the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.K. Serious Fraud Office.

Check the Scoreboard

With over 50 years of experience, Covington's sports law department is an all-star team in and of itself. The group, which includes former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, has represented dozens of teams, leagues, and sponsors in transactions, litigation, media rights, antitrust, contract, labor, and tax law matters. The firm represented the NFL before the Supreme Court in the American Needle case, and advised the NFL throughout the media tumult provoked by Michael Vick's arrest and eventual suspension. Covington knows its way around the baseball diamond too-the firm counseled retired pitcher Roger Clemens as he dealt with allegations of steroid use and a federal indictment for perjury and represented Major League Baseball in the development of its proprietary television channel. Not surprisingly, Covington alums Jeff Pash and Rick Buchanan are currently general counsel to the NFL and NBA, respectively. The firm has also counseled college sports leagues on a variety of matters, and advised both the pros and colleges on their broadcast contracts.

Smooth Sailing on Troubled Seas

During the recent financial crisis, Covington was one of the few major law firms that had no layoffs of lawyers or staff. Instead, Covington promoted nine associates and counsel to partner in 2015, fifteen in 2014, nine in 2013, fifteen in 2012, ten in 2011, six in 2010, ten in 2009, and twelve in 2008.


May 2016
Bipartisan Support in Congress?

Covington's Public Policy and Government Affairs team spent more than two years building and working with a cross-industry coalition of companies in assisting in the development of legislative language and persuading Congress to pass the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016. The Senate unanimously passed the legislation 87-0, and the House of Representatives approved it 410-2. The team also worked closely with the firm's substantive trade secrets experts to help develop the proposal and to evaluate changes to the bill throughout the process.

Early 2016
AmLaw Favorites

In January 2016, The American Lawyer named Covington "Litigation Department of the Year: Product Liability," recognizing the firm for its "string of big victories in trial and appellate courts, major settlements, plus a creative strategic edge that sets it apart." In May 2016, AmLaw named partners Mark Plotkin and David Fagan as "Dealmakers of the Year," praising the pair's strategy that steered GlobalFoundries through its $1.5 billion acquisition of IBM's semiconductor unit in "one of the most complex reviews in memory by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States."

August 2015
1 Team, 2 Coasts, 3 Trials, 4 Weeks, All Wins

Using a single trial team, Covington won three separate jury trials, involving four plaintiffs, in less than a month, for Eli Lilly in hotly-contested product liability litigation involving the drug Cymbalta. The firm first tried two cases in Los Angeles, winning the first with a defense verdict and the second by directed verdict. It then obtained defense verdicts against two plaintiffs in the Eastern District of Virginia.

July 2015
Holder Homecoming

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric holder returned to Covington after more than six years of service as the nation's top law enforcement officer. Holder was the third-longest serving attorney general in U.S. history and had previously spent his entire private practice career as a Covington partner.

May 2015
Suddenly Linking

Covington advised European telecommunications company Altice S.A. in a $9.1 billion deal to acquire a controlling stake in Suddenlink, the seventh largest cable operator in the U.S.

March/April 2015
Bi-Coastal Expansion

In March 2015, Covington opened a new office in Los Angeles with more than a dozen lawyers focused on insurance coverage, media and content distribution, patent litigation, public policy and government affairs, and white collar defense. The firm has added a partner and several associates since its opening. In April 2015, the firm significantly expanded its government contracts practice with 20 lawyers from one of the nation's top government contracts groups, including its former chair and leaders in contractor tort liability, bid protests, procurement fraud, trade secrets, and employment. These expanded capabilities position the firm as a leading counsel to the aerospace and defense sector, and to the range of other industries that do business with the government.

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Covington & Burling LLP

One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Phone: (202) 662-6000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chair, Management and Executive Committees: Timothy C. Hester
  • Hiring Attorneys: Anna Engh(Washington); Jack Bodner, David L. Kornblau, Loretta Shaw-Lorello, Bert Wells (New York); Tammy Albarrán, Donald Brown (San Francisco); Dan Shallman (Los Angeles); Anupam Sharma (Silicon Valley); Simon Amies, Daniel Cooper, Natalie Walter (London); Peter Bogaert (Brussels); William Park (Seoul); Weishi Li (Shanghai); Timothy Stratford (Beijing)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 930

  • Base Salary
    U.S. Offices
    1st year: $180,000
    2nd year: $190,000
    3rd year: $210,000
    4th year: $235,000
    5th year: $260,000
    6th year: $280,000
    7th year: $300,000
    8th year: $315,000
    Summer associate: $3,465/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    94 out of 96 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Advertising & Consumer Law
    Aerospace, Defense & National Security
    Antitrust & Competition Law
    Communications & Media
    Electronics & Information Technology
    Election & Political Law
    Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
    Energy & Natural Resources
    Federal-State Programs
    Financial Institutions
    Food & Drug
    Government Contracts
    Health Care
    Insurance Coverage - Policyholders
    Intellectual Property
    International Arbitration
    Life Sciences
    Media, Internet & Technology
    Privacy & Data Security
    Public Policy & Government Affairs
    Research Universities, Museum & Cultural Institutions
    Securities/Derivatives Litigation & Enforcement
    Strategic Risk & Crisis Management
    White Collar Defense & Investigations

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Silicon Valley, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Beijing
  • Brussels
  • London
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai
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