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, 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, and fifteen in Germany.

Blogging About It

With nine blogs on its website-among which are an Antitrust Alert blog, Employee Benefits blog, Energy Business Law blog, FCA Update blog, Of Digital Interest blog, a Tax Controversy 360 blog, Inside SALT blog, and an Alcohol Law Advisor-McDermott shares the latest on a variety of legal topics with the blawgosphere. The firm also offers two regular podcasts: Governing Health and McDermott's Reverse Engineered: Conversations on IP.


April 2017
Sikh Soldier Suit

McDermott was named to the National Law Journal's "Pro Bono Hot List" for its advocacy on behalf of Sikh Americans looking to serve their country while remaining true to their faith. In 2016, McDermott and its pro bono partners filed two federal lawsuits against the United States Department of Defense on behalf of four observant Sikh American soldiers. The lawsuits resulted in religious accommodations for all four soldiers and a change in the Army's policy that represents the most significant step forward for religious accommodation in the US Armed Forces in more than 30 years.

January 2017
Who's the Boss

Ira Coleman became Chairman of McDermott on January 1, 2017. At that time Mr. Coleman had been with McDermott for 24 years and served as the global head of the firm's Corporate & Transactional Practice and as the partner-in-charge of the Miami office. "I am deeply honored for the opportunity to lead McDermott at this exciting time," said Mr. Coleman. "This is an extraordinary firm-from the excellence we deliver to our clients to the pride we have for our culture-and I have no doubt that our best days are still ahead."


For the fifth consecutive year, McDermott was recognized in the GCR100 "Global Elite" list among the world's Top 25 firms for competition. The Firm was noted as having a "respected merger control practice" and continued to be listed in the Global Elite: Mergers section, ranking in the Top 5 of the "hired gun" category with 21 deals in which the firm did not also serve as corporate or M&A counsel. The Firm was once again ranked in key US and European jurisdictions: Illinois, Texas, Washington DC, Brussels, France and Italy. Furthermore, 18 McDermott lawyers were recommended in the GCR editorial.

December 2016
Keeping it 100

For the eleventh consecutive year McDermott has earned a perfect score of 100 percent on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. CEI evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community. McDermott's efforts in satisfying all of the CEI's criteria resulted in a 100% ranking and the designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.

November 2016
Best Law Firm

McDermott was selected as "Healthcare Law Firm of the Year" in the 2017 "Best Law Firms" survey, published by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. Firms on the list were "…recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise."Once again, McDermott has received Tier 1 rankings for Health Law in all three of the most prominent US law firm directories and surveys that measure client satisfaction: U.S. News/Best Lawyers, Chambers USA, and Legal 500 USA.

August 2016
The Future is Female

McDermott was once again selected by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers as one of the "50 Best Law Firms for Women." This was the third consecutive year that McDermott earned a spot on the prestigious list that recognizes law firms that lead the industry in creating and implementing best practices to retain and promote women lawyers. The firm's commitment to gender diversity and women's issues dates back to 1957, when McDermott became the second major US law firm to elect a female partner. And McDermott is proud to note that in the Firm's most recent partner promotions, 47% were women.

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McDermott Will & Emery LLP

444 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 372-2000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chair: Ira J. Coleman
  • National Hiring Partner: Linda M. Doyle
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 977

  • 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
    32 out of 35 (2Ls) (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust • Corporate & Transactional • Energy • Food, Beverage & Agribusiness • Health • Intellectual Property • Labor, Employment & Benefits • Life Sciences • Litigation • Private Client & Wealth Management • Private Equity • Real Estate • Regional Markets • Regulatory & Government Strategies • Tax • Technology • White-Collar

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 • Seoul • Shanghai (strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices)