Executive Q&A from Jenner & Block LLP
What type of lawyer is Jenner & Block looking for?
We are looking for lawyers who have exceptional oral and written communication skills, strong leadership ability, initiative, collegiality and a commitment to the firm's values. At Jenner & Block, there is no particular "type" of lawyer but rather an incredibly diverse array of professionals who share these characteristics and commitments.
What about associate compensation?
Incoming entry-level associates receive a base salary of $160,000 per year. In addition to base pay, Jenner & Block has a generous and competitive merit-based bonus system.
What technology does Jenner & Block provide its attorneys?
We maintain a highly mobile force of attorneys who, through technology, have the resources of our office at their fingertips no matter where they happen to be working. Our networking capabilities and technology services are second to none among law firms. In addition, Jenner & Block has an intranet for internal collaboration among attorneys and extranets to collaborate with clients and others outside the firm.
Why is Jenner & Block so popular with associates?
Jenner & Block associates enjoy a wide range of opportunities. Associates at Jenner & Block work with some of the country's most accomplished attorneys -- including prominent former U.S. Attorneys, Fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers and former U.S. Supreme Court law clerks. At Jenner & Block, we take great pride in fostering a collaborative learning environment between associates and partners. Our goal is to give our associates the resources to become great lawyers. Training opportunities include a wide range of in-house programs, on-the-job training, mentoring and more.
Why do law students speak so highly about Jenner & Block's summer program?
Our summer program allows the firm to get to know each summer associate but, more importantly, it allows each summer associate to learn about the firm and gain valuable insight into life as a Jenner & Block attorney.
Our summer program is designed to balance real-life professional experiences with networking and social events. Among other things, our summer associates attend court hearings and closings, observe depositions and participate in meetings and strategy sessions with firm lawyers and clients. We also offer extensive training programs on a wide range of subjects including legal writing, mergers & acquisitions and recent developments. Summer associates are encouraged to attend department meetings, firm-wide monthly associate lunches and weekly lunch-and-learn sessions.
In addition, we offer a wide range of cultural and social programs that take full advantage of the museums, theaters, parks and sports available in our four cities. Participating in our summer program is a truly memorable experience.
Does Jenner & Block promote a diverse workforce?
We are committed to hiring and promoting a diverse workforce. Our goal is to recruit the best lawyers and provide an environment that will allow each attorney the opportunity to succeed and achieve his/her fullest potential. To accomplish this, we hire and develop attorneys without reference to race, religion, national origin, gender, age, disability, or sexual orientation. Jenner & Block was ranked as one of the top 50 law firms on the Minority Law Journal's 2012 Diversity Scorecard and in Vault’s 2013 rankings, the Firm is ranked fifth for overall diversity. The firm was also named 2012 Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers “50 Best Law Firms for Women.”
Jenner & Block has a Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Committee comprised of partners from across the firm who meet monthly to create, implement, and monitor goals and initiatives to enhance diversity in the firm. During the summer, the D&I Committee hosts a firm-wide Diversity Dinner to celebrate diversity within the firm and to recognize Jenner & Block diversity scholars from law schools across the nation.
Our affinity groups continue to play an important role in helping us create an inclusive and supportive environment. We have five affinity groups: the African American Affinity Group, the Asian Forum, the Hispanic Lawyers Forum, the LGBT Forum and the Women’s Forum. We also have a Mother’s Circle which provides support to working mothers. These groups provide a forum for attorneys of color, LGBT attorneys and women attorneys to come together and discuss professional development, networking and mentoring. In 2012, we held a Diversity Retreat in conjunction with an annual Diversity Dinner. This event brought our attorneys of color and LGBT attorneys together for networking, professional development and affinity group meetings.
Our LGBT Forum has been very successful in strengthening our benefit policies as they pertain not only to LGBT employees, but to be inclusive of all firm employees. Our LGBT Forum is one of our most active and highly recognized affinity groups, and it has been responsible for internally and externally promoting opportunities for LGBT attorneys. In 2005, Jenner & Block was one of the first firms to be recognized by the Human Rights Campaign with a 100% rating and we have maintained the 100% rating for the past eight years in a row. In Vault’s 2012 rankings, the firm is ranked number one for LGBT diversity.
Jenner & Block’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is also reflected in our leadership. We have a woman Managing Partner. Women and LGBT partners serve on Policy and Management Committees and lead practice groups, and attorneys of color serve on the Management Committee and lead practice groups.
Does Jenner & Block have a global reach and a recognizable client base?
Our clients span the globe. Recently, Jenner & Block lawyers have engaged in matters in all 50 states, Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America. Although we work everywhere, our attorneys are based in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. We do not have branch offices. Instead, we enjoy a thriving referral business from lawyers and law firms around the world. We handle major litigation or transactional work for such well-known clients as General Dynamics, General Electric, General Motors, Exelon, Honeywell, Marriott, Viacom, Hertz, News Corporation, Groupon -- as well as large privately-held businesses, prominent trade associations, non-profit organizations, new ventures, and individuals.
How is Jenner & Block organized?
We have offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, DC. We have attorneys with substantial experience in a broad range of practice areas in each office.
The firm's business and financial transaction practice areas’ clients range from the top ranks of the Fortune 500, to middle-market and emerging companies, to closely held and family-run businesses. We also serve a large number of financial institutions, private equity and venture capital firms, nonprofit organizations, state and local governments, and individuals in a wide variety of areas. These areas include mergers and acquisitions, securities, finance, private equity, investment management, real estate, tax, environmental, climate and clean technology, insurance, commercial law, intellectual property, bankruptcy and reorganization, labor and employment, and executive compensation.
Our litigation department is organized into a variety of practice areas including Appellate and Supreme Court Practice, Bankruptcy Litigation, Complex Commercial Litigation, Content, Media and Entertainment Practice, Government Contracts, Government Controversies and Public Policy Litigation, Insurance and Reinsurance, Patent Litigation & Counseling, Privacy and Information Governance, Professional Responsibility, Securities Litigation, White Collar Criminal Defense & Investigations, and others. Attorneys in the litigation department have tried cases in a wide variety of areas for clients from a broad array of industries. We have represented clients in matters before the U.S. Supreme Court, all 13 U.S. Courts of Appeals, and other federal and state courts, and before arbitration panels and administrative tribunals throughout the country and abroad, including the American Arbitration Association, the International Chamber of Commerce, and the London Court of International Arbitration.
What does it take to become a partner? Are there different categories of partner?
Each associate at Jenner & Block is hired with the belief that he/she will become a partner. We have many programs and resources that help associates develop toward partnership. For example, we have a competency benchmark program that shows junior, mid and senior associates how they are progressing and identifies specific skills and experience that associates need to advance. The firm has a two-tiered partnership. Typically, an associate is eligible for promotion to stipend partner after seven and a half years of experience as a practicing attorney. After an additional three years, a stipend partner is eligible for promotion to equity partner.
Does Jenner & Block hire experienced attorneys?
We are always interested in hearing from excellent lateral associate candidates who are considering transitions. Laterals that join within a few years of graduation may be considered for partner with their law school class. Interested attorneys should apply online through our website (http://jenner.com/joinus/distinguish).
What kind of work can a first year associate expect?
A first year associate can expect to work on a variety of complex, cutting edge matters. In the Litigation Department, associates do a wide range of research and writing projects including drafting substantive and often case-dispositive briefs for matters pending in the trial and appellate courts. Associates participate in witness interviews, deposition and court hearings. Trial work comes at the junior level as well, in part through the extensive opportunities for pro bono work the firm sponsors and encourages. Junior associates in transactional departments routinely participate in negotiations and drafting sessions, and quickly become integral members of transactional teams.
Pro bono service is a core value at Jenner & Block and is a part of the firm's culture. We believe our pro bono program provides unmatched opportunities for associates to obtain additional hands-on training through significant courtroom and negotiating experience. Every associate, regardless of practice area, is encouraged to seek out and work on a variety of pro bono matters of their choice, under the supervision of a partner of their choice. The amount of pro bono work that the firm or our attorneys undertake is not limited. Pro bono is not only a way to give back to the community, but it also provides associates with experience handling motions and taking a significant role in trials. You never know where a pro bono case may take you. For example, Partner Lindsay Harrison, as an associate, was given the experience of a lifetime in January of 2009 -- she took her pro bono matter, an immigration case, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Does the firm encourage continuing education?
Attorneys at Jenner & Block are committed to continuing to develop new skills. We provide extensive resources to help all of our attorneys develop and learn. First, we have a firm-wide formal mentoring program for first, second and third year associates. The program is designed to help associates integrate into the firm, learn the firm's culture, and develop the skills needed to advance. Second, to help an associate target specific skills and assess his/her progress, the firm has created competency benchmarks for associates in each department. These competencies provide associates a clear understanding of the skills and experience needed to progress and develop at Jenner & Block. Third, we offer a broad range of internal and external CLE programs that include lectures, demonstrations and hands-on programs like our annual Deposition and Motion Practice programs. Finally, associates in their fourth year and above participate in the firm's Career Development Plan Program, which is designed to focus mid-level and senior associates on the importance of working on their own professional and career development.
How can I get more information about the firm?
If you are interested in a rewarding career at one of America's most preeminent law firms, please visit our website at www.jenner.com.