Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP at a Glance


  • “No billable hour requirement”
  • “Amazing people”
  • “Quality of work opportunities”


  • “Unpredictability of when you have to work”
  • “Too few associates”
  • “Technology could use an upgrade”

The Buzz

  • “Great people”
  • “Prestige”
  • “Well-known in New York”
  • “Associates party like summers”

About Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie has all the history you could ask for and then some. The firm's clients have ranged from inventors to industrial titans to elite financial institutions, and its attorneys have included presidential candidates, Supreme Court justices and governors. While the firm has just under 600 lawyers across the U.S. and Europe, it has established itself as a New York firm through and through.

Politics & Innovation

Tracing its ancestry to 1880s New York City, Willkie began as Hornblower & Byrne, founded in 1888 by two attorneys and two clerks. The elder of the two founding attorneys was William B. Hornblower, a Columbia law grad who attracted such luminaries as Thomas Edison and Ulysses S. Grant as clients.

Toward the end of the 19th century, the firm picked up a new name-partner who would shape the next 40 years: William W. Miller, who was primarily responsible for driving business into the 20th century. During the Miller years, the firm added attorneys of influence to its ranks (including future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter), worked landmark cases, and merged with Miller, Otis & Farr-another major New York firm. A young Iowan named Harold Gallagher joined as an associate in 1917, made partner in 1925, and continued as a member of the firm for 51 years-the longest any partner has served.

Quality, Not Quantity

In 1941-two years after the firm hired its first female associate-defeated presidential candidate Wendell Willkie came on as partner, pursuing a flurry of high-profile engagements. In the three and one-half years before his death in 1944, Willkie defended Hollywood against a Congressional communist witch hunt, penned a bestselling treatise on international peacekeeping that influenced the formation of the United Nations, and defeated the federal government in a civil liberties case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite his brief tenure with the firm, Willkie's accomplishments ensured that his name would remain etched at the top of the masthead for the rest of the 20th century and beyond. The firm became Willkie Farr & Gallagher in 1968.

A Solid Base from which to Grow

The firm evolved into a preeminent East Coast institution, known for representing railroad and insurance companies, blue-collar manufacturers and telecoms, baseball teams and oil heiresses, Kaisers and Trumps. The 1970s brought the arrival of the firm's first female partner, a merger with a New York municipal bond boutique, and the reopening of the Paris office. During the late 1980s, Willkie thrived as it handled hostile takeovers, expanded to London, and built up existing offices stateside and across the pond. Willkie rang in the new millennium by putting down roots in Milan, Rome and Frankfurt; a Brussels office followed two years later. The firm converted to a limited liability partnership in 2003 and formed a strategic alliance with U.K. boutique firm Dickson Minto W.S. in 2008. This move has allowed Willkie's European offices, particularly its London location, to increase services to corporate and commercial clients.

Willkie's impressive client list has included longtime client Bloomberg L.P., insurance giants Marsh and Zurich, TimeWarner, and a slew of other notable names such as Men's Warehouse, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Alcatel-Lucent, Comcast Corporation, General Electric, Level 3 Communications, Major League Baseball, MasterCard, Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Robert DeNiro.


June 2015

Shop til You Drop
Willkie represented Hudson's Bay Company, the Canadian owner of Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and other leading department stores, in its €2.82 billion cross-border deal to acquire German department store chain Galeria Kaufhof, Galeria Inno (Belgian subsidiary) and Sportarena from METRO AG. HBC is one of the foremost retail operators in North America and its longest continually operated company. The transaction is an extension of HBC's strategy to grow through mergers and acquisitions, and positions the company as a premier international retailer. The deal was handled by a multidisciplinary Willkie team from the firm's offices in Frankfurt, New York, Paris and Brussels.

March 2015

Challenging Lethal Injection
Willkie is serving as counsel (pro bono) for the Innocence Project as amicus curiae in the lethal injection case from the Tenth Circuit currently before the United States Supreme Court, Richard E. Glossip, et al. v. Kevin J. Gross, et al. The petitioners in the case are challenging Oklahoma's proposed three-drug lethal injection protocol, which they argue violates the Constitution's Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. The Innocence Project argues that scientific evidence should not be admitted unless it follows scientific principles of testing and validation. The court's decision could potentially impact countless cases where courts must determine whether expert scientific testimony is sufficiently reliable to be admitted into evidence.

February 2015

Would You Like Fries With That?
Willkie represented Select Equity Group, L.P., a major shareholder in Shake Shack, in connection with Shake Shack's initial public offering. Shake Shack Inc. announced the closing of its IPO of 5,750,000 shares of its Class A common stock at a public offering price of $21.00 per share. Shake Shack® is a modern day "roadside" burger stand known for serving high-quality food at a good value. The company seeks to create a fun and lively gathering place, and emphasizes the use of premium ingredients, progressive hiring practices, environmentally responsible designs and deep community investment.

November 2014

Making REIT History
The firm assisted long-time client Paramount Group, Inc., a prominent real estate investment trust (REIT), in its record-setting initial public offering of 131,000,000 shares of common stock at a price of $17.50 per share. The transaction was profiled in The Wall Street Journal as the largest REIT initial public offering in U.S. history. Upon completion of its IPO and related formation transactions, the company's portfolio includes 12 Class A office properties aggregating approximately 10.4 million square feet.

A Well-Heeled Representation
A New York appellate court dismissed an action against Willkie client Kenneth Cole in which minority shareholders challenged the fashion designer's going-private transaction. This is the first appellate decision under New York law to apply the business judgment rule (and reject the "entire fairness") standard to a going-private transaction where the transaction has the dual protections of a "majority of the minority" voting provision and the transaction is approved by a committee of independent directors.

March 2014

Put On Your Power Suit
In October 2013, Willkie represented Men's Wearhouse in its rejection of the $2.3 billion unsolicited buyout bid from Jos. A. Bank, which the company's board of directors determined to be an undervaluation of the men's retailer and not in the best interest of the company's shareholders. In January 2014, Men's Wearhouse proposed to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Jos. A. Bank common stock for approximately $1.6 billion, as well as nominated two independent directors for Jos. A. Bank's board. In February 2014, Men's Wearhouse raised its bid to approximately $1.78 billion and commenced a lawsuit, successfully handled by a Willkie litigation team, to block Jos. A. Bank from its pending deal to acquire Eddie Bauer. The deal ended a six-month merger battle, resulting in a combined company with more than 1,700 stores in the U.S. and approximately 23,000 employees.

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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019-6099
Phone: (212) 728-8000


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairmen: Tom Cerabino and Steve Gartner
  • Total No. Attorneys 2015: 580

  • Employment Contact
    New York, NY and Houston, TX
    Christie Bonasera
    Associate Director of Legal Recruiting
    Phone: (212) 728-3650
    Email: cbonasera@willkie.com Washington, DC
    Gail P. McGinley
    Associate Director of Legal Personnel and Recruiting
    Phone: (202) 303-1305
    Email: gmcginley@willkie.com

  • Base Salary
    New York, NY
    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
    56 out of 56 (2014)

  • Major Departments & Practices
    Antitrust & Competition
    Asset Management
    Business Reorganization & Restructuring
    Communications, Media & Privacy (Washington, DC office) 
    Corporate & Financial Services
    Environmental, Health & Safety (Washington, DC office)
    Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
    Government Relations (Washington, DC office)
    Insurance & Reinsurance
    Intellectual Property
    Private Clients
    Real Estate

Major Office Locations

  • New York, NY (HQ)
  • Houston, TX
  • Washington, DC
  • Brussels
  • Frankfurt
  • London
  • Milan
  • Paris
  • Rome
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