Executive Q&A from McKee Nelson LLP
According to insiders, what are some of the best aspects about working at McKee Nelson?
"The firm's culture since Day One has been one of openness regarding the decisions by partners and the partners generally treat the associates as valued colleagues rather than subordinates."
"An entrepreneurial attitude is admired and rewarded, as is a good sense of humor."
"It is definitely the place to be if you want to be compensated for your work. They don't skimp on salaries, benefits or lunches."
"I only work late when it is truly necessary."
"Senior partners [are] surprisingly friendly and approachable."
"At McKee, I don't feel like I am just working for a paycheck, but that I am helping to build an empire."
"Partners at McKee are friendly with associates, often socialize with associates at firm events and are concerned with their happiness."
What sort of candidate is McKee Nelson looking to recruit?
There are no official GPA cutoffs, but McKee obviously likes smarts - "in an academic way and a common sense way" - and looks for self-starting, mature folks who are "nice" and "enthusiastic," as well as those with "prior investment banking or structured finance experience" and laterals with diverse backgrounds, according to firm insiders. McKee also appreciates life experience between undergrad and law school, and attempts to be inclusive, "recognizing that there is room at the table for everyone." "I would like to think it's very competitive since I was just hired," jokes a second-year McKee Nelson associate. He can rest easy because the firm is indeed competitive, particularly in the tax practice, where they like Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and UVA, along with people "who have worked in the IRS National Office or DOJ Tax Division, or who have completed a Tax Court clerkship." Other firm darlings include Penn, Columbia, NYU and Duke.
What are some recent firm highlights and awards?
- In 2004, McKee Nelson was the No. 1 firm - by a sizable margin - when it came to representing securitization underwriters. In that area, McKee won a whopping 525 of 1,617 available assignments.
- McKee's tax litigation team is currently defending GlaxoSmithKline's transfer pricing in a Tax Court case file in 2005, the largest single tax case in U.S. history.
- The firm's White Collar/Investigations and Enforcement Group lawyers have been representing numerous high-ranking current and former Enron executives in connection with the multiple ongoing criminal and civil investigations of the demise of that company.
- Chambers made McKee the runner-up for "U.S. Law Firm of the Year," placed nine of the firm's attorneys (close to a quarter of its partners) on its 2005 list of "America's Leading Business Lawyers" and named McKee's D.C. tax practice one of the city's top three in 2004.
- World Tax named two McKee partners Leading Tax Lawyers, while four others made it into the International Who's Who of Corporate Tax Lawyers and another nine were listed in the Guide to the World's Leading Structured Finance and Securitization Lawyers.
- Defending Credit Suisse Securities in a multidistrict litigation arising from the collapse of National Century Financial Enterprises (NCFE) and its affiliates. In March 2008, five of NCFE's executives were convicted on 40 counts of securities and wire fraud, conspiracy to commit fraud and money laundering. The cases, which involve securities backed by healthcare receivables, are pending in Arizona, New Jersey, New York and Ohio.