McDermott Will & Emery LLP at a Glance


  • “The teams are incredible”
  • “Interesting matters”
  • “Real responsibility”


  • “Extremely late bonus”
  • “Unpredictable amounts of work”
  • “The compensation scheme”

The Buzz

  • “Big name”
  • “Good lawyers”
  • “Pay below market”
  • “Stuffy”

About McDermott Will & Emery LLP

A Chicago institution since the 1930s, McDermott Will & Emery has, in recent decades, broadened its gaze from the Windy City to new markets in the United States and abroad. The strategy has paid off in spades, with McDermott firmly ensconced among the world's largest and most elite law firms.

A Little Tax Goes a Long Way

Emerging from the ashes of the Great Depression with Roosevelt's New Deal, McDermott opened for business in 1934 as a tax firm run by Edward H. McDermott and William M. Emery. A mere seven years later, the third and final name partner was added in corporate specialist Howard A. Will. The firm's name has remained the same ever since, a remarkable feat of continuity in the modern atmosphere of shortened firm names, legal mergers and buyouts. McDermott added an estate planning division in 1941, and by 1944 the firm had burgeoned to 16 lawyers.

Over the course of the following four decades, McDermott grew consistently but quickly, reaching 100 attorneys in 1974, 150 in 1984, 500 in 1990, and 1000 in time for its 70th anniversary in 2004. The firm's geographic expansion followed a similar trajectory-in 1977, the firm ventured beyond the familiar confines of Chicago by planting a flag in Miami. Additional offices soon blossomed in the Northeast and California, and by the close of the millennium, McDermott had reached London. The 21st century has brought continued growth, with McDermott setting up offices in Düsseldorf, Munich, Rome, Brussels, Frankfurt, Houston, Paris, Seoul, and Dallas and establishing a strategic alliance in China.

Something Old, Something New

The firm has moved far beyond its tax and estate planning beginnings, growing its practice offerings to include emerging legal issues and services specific to particular geographic markets. For example, the firm counsels its clients on newer areas such as life sciences, renewable energy, and privacy law, which complement its more traditional practices like M&A, antitrust, intellectual property, litigation, real estate and insurance. In addition, making clear that its practice is in fact international in scope, the firm offers numerous practices tailored to each foreign jurisdiction in which it practices, including five subspecialties in its Brussels office, eleven in London, twelve in Rome, and fifteen in Germany.

Blogging About It

McDermott's history may span over 70 years, but the firm has embraced the new wave of communication. With ten blogs on its website-among which is an Employee Benefits Blog, Energy Business Law Blog, Health, Of Digital Interest blog, and an Alcohol Law Advisor-McDermott shares the latest on a variety of legal topics with the blawgosphere.


June 2016
London Calling

In June 2016, McDermott announced that leading transactions lawyer Michael Holter joined as a partner in its London office. Mr. Holter previously spent over 20 years at WilmerHale, including two years as Managing Partner in London. His arrival follows a string of other recent hires in that City. In May 2016, Simon Goldring joined as a partner in McDermott's Private Client Practice in London, following his role as a partner and head of the Private Wealth department at Trowers & Hamlins. In April, Piero Carbone, formerly of Duane Morris, joined McDermott's London office as a partner in its growing Corporate practice. Earlier that month, McDermott's international Private Client practice was top-ranked by Chambers Global 2016 guide, which placed the practice in its Band 1 category globally. McDermott was also named "International Law Firm of the Year-USA" at the annual Citywealth Magic Circle Awards held in London in May 2016. The Awards recognize the best wealth managers and advisors in the global private wealth industry.

May 2016
Shining in Chambers

The 2016 edition of Chambers USA ranks McDermott as a leading firm in 50 individual practice areas. The recognition includes practice rankings in 14 national and 36 state categories. The firm also preserved its three national Band 1 practice rankings in the categories of Healthcare (for the seventh consecutive year), Wealth Management (for the tenth consecutive year), and Food & Beverage (Alcohol), a distinction the practice has received since the category's inception ten years ago. McDermott remains the only law firm in the United States to hold this top tier honor in the area of healthcare. As one of only two firms to receive a Band 1 recognition in the Wealth Management practice area, Chambers referred to McDermott's Private Client practice as a "powerhouse…known for its unmatched strength in depth in the private wealth space." McDermott's Food & Beverage (Alcohol) practice remains one of only two firms to receive a Band 1 ranking.

Higher Ground

McDermott was ranked highly in the first quarter of 2016 by top tier league tables for its transactional capabilities. These results demonstrate the firm's leading position in mid-and small-cap transactions in mergers & acquisitions and private equity, both in the US and globally. Most notably, with the first quarter logging one of the slowest starts in private equity deal activity in recent years, McDermott had a banner Q1 2016, ranking 6th in deal count for both US and global buyouts and exits. In M&A, the firm ranked significantly higher for deal count year-over-year for US Midwest and Europe (climbing 44 spots to the number 5 and 90 spots to number 15, respectively). 

April 2016

McDermott Will & Emery announced the expansion of its Food and Drug Administration (FDA) practice with partners Vernessa Pollard and Veleka Peeples-Dyer named as co-leaders of the practice. Together, the two partners will execute a comprehensive strategy to expand the firm's FDA regulatory capabilities and services for pharmaceutical, medical device and technology companies. Before joining McDermott, Ms. Pollard was a partner at another AmLaw 100 firm and also served as Associate Chief Counsel for Enforcement in the Office of Chief Counsel at the FDA. Ms. Peeples-Dyer was previously Executive Director, Legal and Head of Corporate Compliance at a publicly-traded global biotechnology company. 

Sikh Soldiers

McDermott, working with pro bono partners at The Sikh Coalition and the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, convinced the US military to grant Captain Simratpal Singh a long-term religious accommodation allowing him to continue serving his country while maintaining his articles of faith. The landmark decision makes Captain Singh, a decorated combat veteran, the first active duty Sikh soldier to receive approval to maintain his articles of faith while actively serving in the US Army. And, just one week later, the US military granted three more observant Sikh soldiers long-term religious accommodations allowing them to serve their country without being forced to compromise their religious beliefs. McDermott Will & Emery pro bono clients Specialist Kanwar Singh, Specialist Harpal Singh, and Private Arjan Singh Ghotra began basic combat training with their various units while maintaining their religious articles of faith, including turbans, unshorn hair, and beards. 

February 2016
LA Law

Former Paul Hastings health care chair James F. Owens joined the firm as a partner in the Health Industry Advisory Practice Group in Los Angeles. Mr. Owens has practiced health care law for more than 25 years, serving as counsel to providers and suppliers, including multi-facility health systems, free-standing district and community hospitals, children's hospitals, California medical foundations, and large medical groups. A leading practitioner in California on physician/hospital integration matters, Mr. Owens has provided ongoing representation to various community hospitals throughout the state. He also has experience resolving disputes between medical practice foundations and the physician organizations with whom they contract. Mr. Owens is a past president of the Health Care Law Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association and former chair of the American Health Lawyers Association's (AHLA) Hospitals and Health Systems practice group.

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McDermott Will & Emery LLP

227 W. Monroe Street
Suite 4400
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 372-2000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Co-Chairs: Peter John Sacripanti and Jeffrey E. Stone
  • National Hiring Partner: Linda M. Doyle
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 1,080

  • Base Salary

    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
    Summer associate: $3,500/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    30 out of 30 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Corporate & Transactional
    Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
    Intellectual Property
    Labor, Employment & Benefits
    Life Sciences
    Private Client & Wealth Management
    Private Equity
    Real Estate
    Regional Markets
    Regulatory & Government Strategies

Major Office Locations

  • Boston, MA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Dallas, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Miami, FL
  • New York, NY
  • Orange County (Irvine), CA
  • Silicon Valley (Menlo Park), CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Brussels
  • Düsseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Milan
  • Munich
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Seoul
  • Shanghai (strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices)
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