Williams & Connolly LLP at a Glance


  • “The firm's commitment to and care for its associates”
  • “Stellar colleagues”
  • “Flexibility in terms of work style and schedule”


  • “Drastically below-market compensation”
  • “The workload can be quite high”
  • “Lack of transparency”

About Williams & Connolly LLP

Relatively tiny Williams & Connolly has resisted globalization and continues to hold its own against firms ten times its size by following a basic mantra: keep it simple. The firm's 300 attorneys focus almost exclusively on litigation from a lone office in Washington, DC, positioning Williams & Connolly as a go-to firm for politicos, celebrities, professional athletes, and even other law firms.

A Short, Illustrious History

Legendary litigator-to-the-stars Edward Bennett Williams teamed with Paul Connolly, a former student of his at Georgetown Law, to open shop in 1967. The fledgling firm soon boasted a client list that included the biggest names in Hollywood, politics, and media-a pattern that has continued over time with representation of-among others-John Hinckley Jr., Oliver North, Bill and Hillary Clinton during the Whitewater and Lewinsky years, and Senator Ted Stevens in a case the firm famously succeeded in having thrown out for prosecutorial misconduct.

The personality cult built around Williams-Jimmy Hoffa's lawyer and one-time owner of the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Orioles-brought the firm attention and cemented its reputation as a Beltway go-to. But the firm isn't just about entertainment-it has political ties in high, high places: Elena Kagan, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, is a former associate of the firm. High-flying political connections aside, however, Williams & Connolly's bread-and-butter lies in its representation of such institutions as Google, Intel, UBS, Pfizer, General Electric, Bayer, Bank of America, Office Depot, Merck, 21st Century Fox, The Washington Post, Express Scripts, Mars, Samsung, AutoNation, CVS, Sony, Walt Disney, Eli Lilly, and Sprint.

Shoot for the Stars

Best known for handling high stakes, complex litigation, the firm has a thriving intellectual property practice ranging from pharmaceuticals to electronics, has presented oral argument to the Supreme Court nine times in the last five years and serves as national coordinating counsel and trial counsel for large product liability cases. The firm also represents numerous law firms and accounting firms in professional responsibility and other litigation, including over time almost half of the AmLaw 100 and three of the top five accounting firms, making Williams & Connolly the firm that lawyers and other professionals seek out when the going gets rough.

Keeping with its individualist ethos, Williams & Connolly operates without strict departmental boundaries, allowing attorneys to bounce among any number of litigation areas and, thus, creating great flexibility within the firm. That said, successful associates tend to gravitate toward specific focal areas as they become more experienced, as is exemplified by partner Robert Barnett. In addition to litigating for corporate clients such as Deutsche Bank and Toyota, Barnett is one of the foremost representatives of non-fiction and fiction literary and television talent in the nation. He has represented the Clintons, George W. Bush, Jordan's Queen Noor, Benazir Bhutto, Barack Obama, and Tony Blair on book deals. Barnett has also helped Brian Williams, Steve Doucey, Lesley Stahl and CNN's Sanjay Gupta remain handsomely paid.


Good Morning America

Williams & Connolly represents Disney subsidiary American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. and one of its journalists in a high-visibility defamation case involving "World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer" and "Good Morning America." The plaintiffs have asserted claims of libel and product disparagement arising out of news reports, and seek $5.7 billion in damages. Jury selection began in late May in South Dakota state court. Trial is expected to last through August 2017.

Bond Brawl

Williams & Connolly inherited this matter in 2015 after Jesse Litvak, a bond trader with Jefferies & Co., was convicted on all 15 counts of securities fraud and other offenses that he faced. It was the only criminal case brought against an individual in connection with TARP. Following Williams & Connolly's successful appeal of his conviction, Mr. Litvak retained the firm to represent him in his retrial on 10 securities fraud charges. In January 2017, a Connecticut federal jury acquitted Mr. Litvak of nine of the 10 counts. Williams & Connolly is handling the appeal of his lone conviction.

May 2017
Debt Decision

In a closely watched case, the United States Supreme Court concluded by a 5-3 vote that the filing in bankruptcy proceedings of a proof of claim that is time-barred "is not a false, deceptive, misleading, unfair, or unconscionable debt collection practice within the meaning of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act." As a result of the Court's decision, debt collectors such as Midland Funding that pursue older debts in bankruptcy proceedings do not run the risk of civil liability under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The decision overturned a previous Eleventh Circuit decision that held debt collectors liable.

December 2016
Insurance Win

After more than six years of litigation, Williams & Connolly obtained a complete defense verdict for client Coventry First, the founder and leading participant in the secondary life insurance market, in a bench trial before Judge Rakoff. The plaintiffs, two Irish special purpose vehicles, sought over $600 million in damages at trial for alleged breach of contract. In December 2016, the Second Circuit unanimously affirmed Judge Rakoff's decision in Coventry First's favor.

November 2016
Big Win for Big Pharma

Williams & Connolly obtained a complete defense verdict for AstraZeneca in what Bloomberg called a "landmark" class action antitrust litigation. Plaintiffs sought $60 billion in damages for an alleged antitrust conspiracy in the settlement of patent litigation concerning the blockbuster drug Nexium. In November 2016, the First Circuit affirmed the decision in AstraZeneca's favor.

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Williams & Connolly LLP

725 Twelfth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 434-5000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Executive Director: Jennifer Scott
  • Managing Partner: Kevin Hodges
  • Hiring Committee Chair: Ellen E. Oberwetter
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 348

  • Base Salary
    1st year: $200,000
    2nd year: $215,000
    3rd year: $230,000
    4th year: $250,000
    5th year: $270,000
    6th year: $290,000
    7th year: $310,000
    Summer associate: $3,845/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    The firm says: “Because nearly all of our summer associates obtain judicial clerkships, formal offers are only extended after the clerks receive permission from judges to request offers. Typically, all summer associates who request offers are welcomed for permanent employment.”

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Accountant Liability • Administrative Law • Antitrust • Arbitration • Bankruptcy Litigation • Business Acquisition and Consolidation • Civil Litigation and Trial Practice • Class Action • Commercial Litigation • Congressional Investigations • Contracts • Corporate Governance and Compliance • Counseling for Private Company Formation, Non-Profits, Joint Ventures, LLCs • Credit Facilities • Criminal Defense and Government Investigations • Directors and Officers Liability • Economic Sanctions • Employment Litigation and Counseling • Employment Relationships, Counseling and Advisory Services • Environmental • Executive Compensation • False Claims Act and Qui Tam • FDA Regulation • Federal Programs and Government Contracts • Financial Services and Banking • First Amendment and Media • Foreign Corrupt Practices Act • Health Care Fraud • International Arbitration • International Litigation • Lawyer Liability • Patent Litigation • Products Liability, Torts, and Medicine • Professional Liability • Public Corruption • Real Estate • Representation of Authors, Former Government Officials and Television Correspondents, Anchors, and Producers • Securities Enforcement • Securities Litigation • Sports • Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation • Tax Controversy • Tax Planning • Trade Secrets • Trademark and Copyright • Transactions and Business Counseling • Unfair Competition, Trade Secrets and Restrictive Covenants

Major Office Locations

  • Washington, DC