Covington & Burling LLP at a Glance


  • “Humane hours”
  • “Culture of respect and consideration”
  • “Stunning new [Washington, DC] office”


  • “Lack of bonus transparency”
  • “Environment is somewhat formal”
  • “Perks are pretty bare-bones”

The Buzz

  • “Best in DC”
  • “Intellectual”
  • “Nice but boring”
  • “Future politicians”

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, and Lanny Breuer returned to the firm in 2013. 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, 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 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 fifteen associates and counsel to partner in 2014, nine in 2013, fifteen in 2012, ten in 2011, six in 2010, ten in 2009 and twelve in 2008.


December 2014

New DC Digs
Covington officially opened its new Washington, DC office in CityCenter, anchoring the landmark, mixed-use development in the heart of downtown DC. With more than 1,100 lawyers and staff in DC, the firm now occupies 420,000 square feet in two connected office towers on the 10-acre development. Built by Foster + Partners and designed by LSM, the interior space reflects a cutting-edge and functional architectural approach. The building is certified by the U.S. Building Council as LEED Gold.

November 2014

Crystal Display > Crystal Ball
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit rejected Motorola Mobility LLC's attempt to hold Samsung Electronics and several other of the world's largest liquid crystal display manufacturers liable under U.S. antitrust law for allegedly fixing prices of mobile phone displays sold to Motorola's foreign subsidiaries. The ruling affirms a district court order that threw out a $3.5 billion set of antitrust claims shortly before trial. Covington partner Rob Wick argued the appeal on behalf of all defendants.

Stop Right There!
In a win for Covington's clients, a federal appeals court on November 4, 2014 denied an effort by police unions to intervene in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the New York Police Department's stop-and-frisk tactics. The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Second Circuit clears the way for the implementation of court-ordered stop-and-frisk reforms.

October 2014

Merger Mavericks
Covington advised the Special Conflicts Committee of the Board of Directors of Atlas Pipeline Partners in its $5.8 billion merger with Targa Resources Partners.

September 2014

International Reach
The Stockholm District Court dismissed the Russian Federation's jurisdictional challenge to a previous arbitration ruling that ordered Russia to compensate a group of Spanish investors for the losses they suffered when the government expropriated the Yukos Oil Company, one of the largest oil and gas companies in the world.

May 2014

Covington & Burling advised Steve Ballmer on his agreement to purchase the Los Angeles Clippers from The Sterling Family Trust for $2 billion.

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Covington & Burling LLP

One CityCenter
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4956
Phone: (202) 662-6000
Fax: (202) 662-6291


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chair, Management and Executive Committees: Timothy C. Hester
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 900

  • Employment Contact
    Washington, DC
    Ellen Purvance
    Director, Legal Personnel Recruiting
    Phone: (202) 662-6200
    Email:   New York
    Nicole Carney
    Director of Legal Recruitment
    Phone: (212) 841-1066
    Email:   California
    Ayo Oliver
    Human Resources Manager
    Phone: (415) 955-6810

  • Base Salary
    U.S. Offices
    1st year: $160,000
    2nd year: $170,000
    3rd year: $185,000
    4th year: $210,000
    5th year: $230,000
    6th year: $250,000
    7th year: $265,000
    8th year: $280,000
    Summer associate: $3,080/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    71 out of 72 (2014)

  • 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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