Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP at a Glance


  • “Diversity of work”
  • “Leanly staffed teams”
  • “Truly amazing people”


  • “Opaque assigning system”
  • “The hours”
  • “Lack of partnership prospects”

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-three 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, telecoms, baseball teams, and oil heiresses. 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. In the fall of 2014, Willkie opened an office in Houston, Texas.

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, NBC Universal, BlackRock, Alcatel-Lucent, Comcast Corporation, General Electric, Level 3 Communications, Major League Baseball, MasterCard, and Mount Sinai School of Medicine.


December 2016
Allied Acquisition

Willkie represented Allied World Assurance Company Holdings, AG in its agreement to be acquired by Fairfax Financial for $4.9 billion in cash and stock, creating a world leader in property and casualty insurance, reinsurance, and investments.

October 2016
Leveling Up

Willkie represented longtime client Level 3 Communications in its $34 billion acquisition by CenturyLink, forming the second-largest domestic communications provider serving global enterprise customers.

September 2016
So You Think You Can Reorganize

Willkie successfully represented independent content and management company CORE Media Group, a joint venture owned by 21st Century Fox and Apollo Global Management, and 47 of its affiliates, in confirmation of their prenegotiated chapter 11 plan of reorganization less than five months after its chapter 11 filing. The company has produced, through its 19 Entertainment affiliate, award-winning reality programming including American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

July 2016
Trans Win

Willkie secured a landmark victory on behalf of transgender Medicaid recipients in the pro bono case Cruz v. Zucker.Under the ruling, New York will be one of very few states where transgender individuals can obtain Medicaid funding for treatments that will bring their physical appearance in line with their gender.

May 2016
Going Private

In a case of first impression, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that the business judgment standard of review, not entire fairness, applies to going-private transactions involving controlling shareholders in the Kenneth Cole Productions shareholder litigation. This case establishes important precedent for future corporate transactions, and provides a roadmap to corporate attorneys structuring going-private transactions involving controlling shareholders under New York law. 

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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairmen: Tom Cerabino & Steve Gartner
  • Recruiting Chairs: Elizabeth Bower (DC); David Drewes (Chair); Rajab S. Abbassi, Sameer Advani, Amelia A. Cottrell, Matthew J.Guercio, Benjamin P. McCallen, Carly Glover Saviano, Danielle Scalzo (NY); Angela Olivarez (TX)
  • Total No. Attorneys 2017: 561

  • Base Salary
    New York, NY
    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
    8th Year: $315,000
    Senior: $325,000
    Summer associate: $3,461/week

  • Summer Associate Offers
    63 out of 63 (2Ls) (2016)

  • Major Departments & Practices

    Antitrust & Competition • Asset Management • Business Reorganization & Restructuring • Communications, Media & Privacy (DC office) • Corporate & Financial Services • Energy & Commodities • Environmental, Health & Safety (DC office) • Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits • Government Relations (DC office) • Insurance & Reinsurance • Intellectual Property • Litigation • Mergers & Acquisitions • Private Clients • Private Equity • Real Estate • Tax

Major Office Locations

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