Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP at a Glance


  • “Associates have a lot of responsibility”
  • “Wide variety of work”
  • “Relaxed, positive environment”


  • “Hours are not as flexible”
  • “Bonus system”
  • “Long hours on business development”

The Buzz

  • “Great results for clients”
  • “IP powerhouse”
  • “Big egos”
  • “Aggressive culture”

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, to the registration of the first dotcom trademark.

More recently it has worked with Facebook, ZTE, Chevron, Deutsche Bank, Medtronic, the ACLU of Northern California, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Wells Fargo, the California Public Employees' Retirement System, San Diego ComicCon, New York University, Delta Airlines, Jack in the Box, Duke Energy, Sony, Nubank, Costco ,and the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund.

The energy & natural resources, financial services, real estate & construction, and technology sectors remain the firm's bread and butter, although it has also developed region-specific practices aimed at clients in China, Japan, Latin America, and the Middle East. Pillsbury also maintains a unique "emerging issues" program. These focus teams-which are regularly reviewed and adjusted to reflect market trends-empower multidisciplinary teams to pioneer new and novel areas of the law. These currently encompass crisis management; digital currency and blockchain technology; privacy, data security and information use; public-private partnerships; unmanned aircraft systems; and water resources.

In recognition of its cutting-edge work, Pillsbury made The Financial Times' Innovative Law Firms list in 2015. The firm placed 39th on The American Lawyer's 2016 Diversity Scorecard out of 220 firms and has been a Working Mother magazine Top 100 Company for 10 years running.


May 2016
A Closing Worth Billions

A $1.9 billion deal for the iconic Manhattan building at 787 Seventh Ave. put a team of Pillsbury lawyers atop Law360's list of the 10 largest real estate deals in the first quarter of 2016.

April 2016
Delaware Ambassador 

Delaware governor Jack Markell announced the launch of the Delaware Blockchain Initiative, identifying Pillsbury and firm client Symbiont as the project's legal and technology ambassadors, respectively. The initiative is designed to encourage expanded use and development of distributed ledger and smart contract technologies by Delaware-incorporated businesses.

Drones After Dark

Pillsbury client Industrial Skyworks USA, which uses drones for industrial inspections, was granted the first exemption for commercial UAS flights at night. It took the company more than a year to convince the Federal Aviation Administration that it could safely operate them after dark.

March 2016
Dude, You're Getting a Dell!

Pillsbury advised Japan-based NTT Data Corp. in its $3.06 billion purchase of Dell Inc.'s IT services arm, Dell Systems. Bloomberg reports that the transaction is NTT Data's largest acquisition and that Dell is likely divesting some assets before its reported $67 billion acquisition of EMC Corp, a provider of software and storage systems.

December 2015 
How Patriotic!

Pillsbury counseled the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund in the $860 million sale of the bankrupt Patriot Coal Corp.'s assets. Patriot's assets were purchased in part by ERP Compliant Fuels LLC, a VCLF affiliate. ERP will acquire two of Patriot's West Virginia mines; will take on more than $400 million in workers' compensation, state black lung and environment obligations; and will assume or replace bonds financing reclamation and other liabilities. The innovative deal would pair subterranean coal mining with carbon credits generated by tree planting and other reclamation efforts.

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Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman: David Dekker
  • Hiring Partner: Mariah Brandt (Firmwide Chair)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2016: 700

  • 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
    Counsel: $315,000
    Summer associate: $3,461/week

  • Summer Associate Offers

    34 out of 34 (2Ls)  (2015)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Aviation, Aerospace & TransportationChinaClean TechnologyClimate Change & Sustainability • CommunicationsConsumer & RetailCorporate & SecuritiesCrisis Management • EducationEmerging GrowthEmploymentEnergyEnvironment, Land Use & Natural ResourcesEstates, Trusts & Tax PlanningExecutive Compensation & BenefitsFinanceFinancial ServicesGlobal SourcingGovernment Contracts & DisputesHealth Care & Life SciencesHospitality, Food & BeverageIndian Law (American)Insolvency & RestructuringInsurance Recovery & AdvisoryIntellectual PropertyInternational TradeJapanLatin AmericaLitigationMiddle EastNonprofit OrganizationsPolitical LawPrivacy, Data Security & Information UsePublic PolicyReal EstateRegulatorySocial Media, Entertainment & TechnologyTaxTechnologyVenture 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 • Hong Kong • London • Shanghai • Tokyo