Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P. at a Glance


  • “Work/life balance”
  • “Great people”
  • “Significant autonomy/responsibility early on”


  • “Lack of transparency”
  • “Sub-par compensation”
  • “High billable hours requirement for bonus”

About Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon is a top litigation practice where big names turn for representation in bet-the-company cases.

Founded in 1889 by attorney Frank Sebree, a former Missouri state legislator, Shook, Hardy & Bacon handled railroad work and went after local political corruption in the firm's early years. One of the firm's early partners, Henry McDougal served as the special prosecutor in the murder trial against infamous outlaw Frank James, having previously helped a wealthy farmer win a civil suit against Frank and his brother Jesse James for stealing his horse at gunpoint during a bank robbery getaway.

Later, famed trial lawyer David Hardy joined the firm, tackling the first anti-smoking suit in Missouri as lead counsel for Philip Morris in 1962. Hardy's performance in that case attracted attention from the rest of the industry-five of the six largest tobacco companies eventually hired the firm to helm their litigation defense. The firm quickly gained a reputation for being incredibly thorough in pre-trial investigation and preparation and soon after was tapped by the pharmaceutical and medical device industry for its litigation expertise, which was followed by the automotive industry looking to Shook for litigation defense strategies.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon has since grown exponentially in the last few decades thanks in large part to its successes on behalf of tobacco, pharmaceutical, medical device, and automotive companies, but also for its expansion over the past 15 years into commercial litigation, intellectual property, environmental and toxic tort, public policy, and labor and employment litigation. The firm has grown from 155 attorneys in 1990 to nearly 500 today-with more than 70 attorneys devoting their practice to intellectual property. Although it now has offices in Illinois, Texas, California, Florida, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, and abroad in England, Shook, Hardy & Bacon's largest location is still in Kansas City. National publications and organizations including The American Lawyer, U.S. News & World Report, BTI Consulting Group, and the Human Rights Campaign have given accolades to the firm.

The firm is also known for its innovative fee structures and has been recognized for providing top-notch representation at a good value to clients. In 2015, the Association for Corporate Counsel named Shook a Value Champion for providing exceptional value to its clients.  Having previously received this honor in 2012 and 2013, Shook is now the only law firm to become a three-time winner.

A Scientific Defense

With a robust scientific infrastructure in place, Shook's litigation practice represents the likes of the Altria Group, Pfizer, Inc., Bausch + Lomb and E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company, as well as companies like Microsoft, The Coca-Cola Company, Toyota, and Ford Motor Company. Eli Lilly and Company hired the firm to handle litigation stemming from oral contraceptive and vaccine lawsuits, and Shook has also warded off class actions against Sanofi for alleged side effects of Ambien, a sleeping pill.

One of the firm's most unique assets is its sturdy behind-the-scenes science team staffed by more than 100 research analysts and paraprofessionals, many of whom have graduate degrees in specialized fields like biochemistry, neuroscience, engineering, genetics and physiology.

Branching Out

Shook, Hardy & Bacon's litigation successes go beyond the tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. The firm has established a national intellectual property practice, which includes the former Chief Patent Counsel from Microsoft and has a significant Seattle presence, and counts The Coca-Cola Company and Tyson Foods among its high-profile food and beverage clients.  And with the 2015 addition of a Chicago office, Shook has added substantial commercial litigation capabilities to the firm, as well as significant experience representing insurance companies in litigation matters.

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Shook, Hardy & Bacon L.L.P.

2555 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 474-6550


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman and Managing Partner: Madeleine McDonough
  • Recruiting Chair: Carrie McAtee
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 470

  • Base Salary

    Orange County and San Francisco
    1st year: $145,000
    Summer associate: $2,750/week

    Kansas City, Tampa, & Seattle
    1st year: $130,000
    Summer associate: $2,500/week

    1st year: $140,000
    Summer associate: $2,700/week

    Washington, DC
    1st year: $150,000
    Summer associate: $2,850/week

    1st year:  $160,000
    Summer associate: $3,050/week

    1st year:  $180,000
    Summer associate: $3,450/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    18 out of 19 (2Ls only) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Industries: Pharmaceutical and Medical Device • Food, Beverage and Agribusiness • Energy • Insurance and Reinsurance • Life Sciences and Biotechnology • Banking and Financial Services • Retail • Cosmetics and Personal Care Products • Design and Construction • Fire Protection and Alarms • Technology and Telecommunications • Sports

    Practices: Product Liability • Intellectual Property • Business Disputes • Environmental • Litigation • International • Employment Litigation and Policy • Public Policy • Government and Regulatory • Data and Discovery Strategies • Business Transactions

Major Office Locations

  • Kansas City, MO (HQ) • Chicago, IL • Denver, CO • Houston, TX • Miami, FL • Orange County, CA • Philadelphia, PA • San Francisco, CA • Seattle, WA • Tampa, FL • Washington, DC London