Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP at a Glance


  • “Firm awards initiative”
  • “Pleasant people”
  • “Excellent clients”


  • “Firm politics”
  • “Pay is not competitive”
  • “We work a lot”

The Buzz

  • “Big name”
  • “Good culture”
  • “Still exists?”
  • “Small practice”

About Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

With a full name like Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, it's no surprise that this firm is the product of big mergers between well-established practices. The firms that created today's Pillsbury have long, proud heritages that go back to the 1800s.

Giants Combined

Pillsbury began on the west coast in 1874 as the practice of Evans S. Pillsbury, who represented a local banking and delivery service called Wells Fargo. In the 1880s, Pillsbury and his partners began a long relationship with the U.S. oil industry, working with the Pacific Coast Oil Company, which later evolved into Chevron. Frank Madison and Alfred Sutro joined in 1895 as associates, forming Pillsbury, Madison & Sutro. The early twentieth century posed a number of challenges (the firm's offices were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake), but Pillsbury et al. persevered, rebuilding the practice and representing area companies who were wrangling with their insurers. After World War II, Pillsbury developed its real estate practice, drafting the first condominium law in California and expanding to Washington, DC and other parts of the Golden State.

Meanwhile, a firm called Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts was establishing its own practice in New York. Winthrop Stimson's story inevitably focuses on Henry L. Stimson, a Harvard Law grad who got a job in 1891 at a firm called Root & Clark  (a venerable practice that dated to 1868). When the firm's founder, Elihu Root, left private practice for public service in 1899, Stimson took over the firm along with Bronson Winthrop. Stimson rose to the highest echelons of American politics: he served as President William Howard Taft's secretary of war, a WWI colonel, an emissary to Nicaragua, the governor general of the Philippines, President Hoover's secretary of state, and secretary of war under presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. He also created what is now known as "the Stimson doctrine," which asserts non-recognition of territorial gains taken by force, a principle he developed after studying Japan's aggressive tactics in 1930s Manchuria.

In 2001, Pillsbury Madison and Winthrop Stimson joined forces. Four years later, the combined firm merged with Washington, DC-based Shaw Pittman, which was well-known for global sourcing, energy, technology and communications law.

Changing with the Times

Given its pedigree, the Pillsbury of today can boast that it has had a hand in some of the most important matters in modern American history, from the creation of the Patent Act to the formation of Intel. More recently it has worked with Virgin America, WebEx, the National Retail Federation, Stanley Black & Decker, the California Public Employees' Retirement System and Citigroup.

Energy, real estate, technology and financial services remain the firm's bread and butter, although it has also developed region-specific practices aimed at clients in China, Japan and the Middle East. A handful of "emerging issues" practices are managed by multidisciplinary teams-these include water resources; crisis management; privacy, data security and information use; public-private partnerships; social media, entertainment and technology; and unmanned aircraft systems.


April 2015

Raising Funds in Asia

Asia Alternatives, one of the largest independent Asian private equity fund-of-funds, announced the final close of over $1.8 billion in new commitments across Asia Alternatives Capital Partners IV LP and its related fund vehicles, representing its largest fundraising, in a deal guided by Pillsbury. The Fund IV closings represent an approximately 20 percent increase over the last time fund closings were announced in August, 2012.

Forging New Paths

Pillsbury acted as legal counsel to JP Morgan Securities and Barclays Capital as underwriters in the tax-exempt private activity bonds (PABs) financing of the Portsmouth Bypass Project in Ohio. Procured by the Ohio Department of Transportation as a Public-Private Partnership (PPP), the project is Ohio's first transportation PPP project. The Portsmouth Bypass project comprises the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of a four-lane, divided, limited access highway around the City of Portsmouth in Scioto County.

March 2015

Energy in the Middle East

Pillsbury represented longstanding client Sumitomo Chemical in connection with the major expansion of the first phase of the multibillion dollar integrated refining and petrochemicals complex originally established by Sumitomo Chemical and joint venture partner, Saudi Aramco, via the joint stock company, Rabigh Refining and Petrochemical Company, in Rabigh, Saudi Arabia (Rabigh 2 Project).

Start-Up Success in SXSW

Two Pillsbury clients were honored as finalists at the 2015 SXSW Accelerator event in Austin, Texas. The Accelerator competition recognizes innovative technology startups in the categories of enterprise and smart data, entertainment and content, digital health and life sciences and innovative world technologies, social technologies and wearable technologies. Feetz, a "digital cobbler" that makes 3D-printed, custom-fit shoes, was a finalist in the wearable technologies category, while SLANTRANGE, which develops drone-based airborne crop sensors and data analytics that aim to improve farming productivity, was a finalist in the world technologies category.

February 2015

Keep Your Head in the Clouds

A team of Pillsbury lawyers advised San Ramon, California-based cloud services company Accela Inc. as it secured $143.5 million in a funding round that ended February 26. The company will use the funding to expand its flagship cloud offering and support a worldwide sales effort.

January 2015

Expanding IP

Pillsbury added a four-partner team to the firm's Intellectual Property practice in Austin. Edward Cavazos, Barry Shelton, Michael Chibib and Conor Civins joined Pillsbury from Bracewell & Giuliani and were accompanied by six associates. This 10-lawyer IP team marks a significant development for one of the firm's newest offices. "Bringing on talent like this demonstrates Pillsbury's deepening commitment to our technology practice, our technology clients and to growing in the Texas market," said Firm Chair Jim Rishwain.

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Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

1540 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 858-1000
Fax: (212) 858-1500


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: James M. Rishwain
  • Hiring Partner: Mariah Brandt (Firmwide Chair)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 688

  • Employment Contact
    Charles Curtis
    Firmwide Director of Attorney Recruiting and Partner Hiring and Integration
    Phone: (213) 488-7100
    E-mail: charles.curtis@pillsburylaw.com
    Recruiting contacts for all locations are included in the Contact Us section of www.pillsburylaw.com.

  • Base Salary
    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: $3,077/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    28 out of 34 (2014)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Aviation, Aerospace & Transportation
    Clean Technology
    Climate Change & Sustainability
    Consumer & Retail
    Corporate & Securities
    Crisis Management
    Emerging Growth
    Environment, Land Use & Natural Resources
    Estates, Trusts & Tax Planning
    Executive Compensation & Benefits
    Financial Services
    Global Sourcing
    Government Contracts & Disputes
    Health Care & Life Sciences
    Hospitality, Food & Beverage
    Indian Law (American)
    Insolvency & Restructuring
    Insurance Recovery & Advisory
    Intellectual Property
    International Trade
    Latin America
    Middle East
    Nonprofit Organizations
    Political Law
    Privacy, Data Security & Information Use
    Public Policy
    Real Estate
    Social Media, Entertainment & Technology
    Venture Capital

Major Office Locations

  • Austin, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • McLean, VA
  • Nashville, TN
  • New York, NY
  • Palm Beach, FL
  • Palo Alto, CA
  • Sacramento, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Diego, CA (North County)
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Abu Dhabi
  • Beijing
  • London
  • Shanghai
  • Tokyo
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