Williams & Connolly LLP at a Glance


  • “Skill-building opportunities”
  • “Front-page cases”
  • “Great associate-partner relations”


  • “Subpar office space”
  • “No paternity leave”
  • “Real work = long hours”

The Buzz

  • “Gold standard”
  • “Best for getting litigation experience”
  • “The DC Wachtell”
  • “Arrogant”

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 250+ 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, Inc., 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 six 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 literary and television talent in the nation. He has represented the Clintons, Jordan's Queen Noor, Benazir Bhutto, Barack Obama and Tony Blair on book deals. Barnett has also helped Katie Couric, Sam Donaldson and CNN contributor Sanjay Gupta remain handsomely paid.

Big Base, No Bonus

As one might expect of a firm that plays by its own rules, Williams & Connolly's no-bonus compensation structure is a bit of an anomaly in the legal arena. The firm, however, endeavors to make up for the absence of stocking stuffers by routinely leading the pack in the race to pay first-year associates exorbitant sums of cash. In April 2015, Williams & Connolly increased its beginning salary again, this time to $200,000, a figure representing a $40,000 cushion over most other BigLaw firms around the nation, including New York.



Just Google It
Williams & Connolly represents Google in a lawsuit brought by a proposed nationwide class of individuals who purchased smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system. Plaintiffs allege that Google violated federal and California antitrust statutes by entering into contracts with some phone and tablet manufacturers whereby the manufacturer agreed to make Google the default, but not the exclusive, search provider on specific Android devices in exchange for the right to preinstall certain Google applications on those devices. The court granted Google's motion to dismiss the amended complaint.

March 2015

Reigning Supreme
Williams & Connolly represented Omnicare in this landmark securities case before the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a lower court ruling concerning opinion liability under Section 11 of the Securities Act. After briefing and argument, the Supreme Court vacated the decision of the Sixth Circuit under which a statement of opinion could be held to be false or misleading merely because it was objectively wrong. The Court also rejected the position advanced by the Government that statements of opinion necessarily imply that the speaker holds a reasonable basis for the opinion.

December 2014

Big Pharma, Big Win
Williams & Connolly was lead trial counsel for defendant AstraZeneca in a six-week jury trial seeking billions in damages for an alleged antitrust conspiracy in the settlement of patent litigation concerning the blockbuster drug Nexium®. After only two days of deliberations the jury returned a verdict in favor of AstraZeneca and its co-defendant, Ranbaxy Laboratories, on all counts. Plaintiffs have moved for a new trial.

September 2014

Patent Law Pros
Williams & Connolly represented Mirowski Family Ventures, LLC, in a complex breach of contract and patent licensing trial against Boston Scientific Corporation. MFV holds the patents of the inventors of the implantable cardioverter defibrillator. The complaint sought to recover royalties from sales of ICDs and to recapture MFV's share of the value of two significant patent infringement lawsuits that Boston Scientific had improperly traded away; Boston Scientific denied all liability. After almost three weeks of trial, a jury in Maryland returned a verdict fully in support of our client, awarding MFV $309.3 million. Boston Scientific is currently appealing the verdict.

August 2014

Paying Attention in Torts Pays Off
A jury returned a defense verdict in the case of Tersigni v. Wyeth, a products liability case involving the drug Pondimin® (part of the Fen/Phen combination), which was tried in Massachusetts federal court. Williams & Connolly handled the warnings part of the case, in which the jury sided with Wyeth that the warning accompanying the drug was adequate. It was the first defense verdict on the warnings issue ever in a Fen/Phen case alleging Primary Pulmonary Hypertension as the injury (and only the second defense verdict ever in a PPH case-the other being on causation).

June 2014

Williams & Connolly represented accounting firm Ernst & Young in an arbitration arising out of the multi-billion-dollar fraud at HealthSouth Corporation that was publicly revealed in 2003. The company sued Ernst & Young, its auditor, in a derivative action for malpractice and other claims. In December 2012, after more than two years of hearings, a panel of arbitrators entered a unanimous award in favor of Ernst & Young. In June 2014, following a series of appeals, the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the award dismissing all claims against Ernst & Young.

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Williams & Connolly LLP

725 Twelfth Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 434-5000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Executive Director: Jennifer Scott
  • Managing Partner: Kevin Hodges
  • Hiring Committee Chair: Daniel P. Shanahan
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 314

  • Employment Contact
    Natasha M. Zech, Esq.
    Director of Attorney Recruiting and Development
    Phone: (202) 434-5605
    Fax: (202) 434-5029
    E-mail: nzech@wc.com

  • Base Salary
    Washington, DC
    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
    Administrative Law
    Business Acquisition and Consolidation
    Civil Litigation and Trial Practice
    Class Action
    Commercial Litigation
    Congressional Investigations
    Corporate Governance and Compliance
    Counseling for Private Company Formation, Non-Profits, Joint Ventures, LLC’s
    Credit Facilities
    Criminal Defense and Government Investigations
    Directors and Officers Liability
    Economic Sanctions
    Employment and Labor
    Employment Relationships, Counseling and Advisory Services
    Executive Compensation
    False Claims Act and Qui Tam
    FDA Regulation
    Federal Programs, Aerospace and Defense, and Government Contracts
    Financial Services Litigation
    First Amendment and Media
    Foreign Corrupt Practices Act
    Health Care Fraud
    Intellectual Property Litigation
    International Arbitration
    International Litigation
    Product 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 Business
    Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation
    Tax Controversy
    Tax Planning
    Trade Secrets
    Trademark and Copyright
    Transactions and Business Counseling

Major Office Locations

  • Washington, DC

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