2021 Vault Rankings
- Pro Bono#7
At a Glance
“Intelligent and respectful colleagues.”
“Commitment to pro bono.”
“Unclear future prospects.”
“The hours—but that is to be expected.”
About Covington & Burling LLP
This “brain trust” law firm is known for quietly (and smartly) going about its business—that business being antitrust, litigation, white collar defense & investigations, corporate, IP, export controls, data privacy and cybersecurity, and regulatory work—with particular strengths in the sports, insurance, life science/pharma, energy, tech, and media/entertainment industries.
Judge J. Harry Covington and Edward B. Burling founded their firm in Washington, DC, in 1919, with a (then unique) concept of a firm focused on regulatory issues. Since that founding, it would be hard to find many members of the Fortune 200 that have not worked with Covington. The firm played significant roles in many of the leading legal matters that arose from the New Deal. Later, in the 1950s, Covington lawyers wrote the key briefs in the Steel Seizure cases. As the federal government expanded, so did Covington, with a focus on issues involving the FDA, the IRS, the FAA, the FCC, and any number of other multi-lettered agencies. With this Washington-focused practice, it’s no wonder that the firm has numerous former government officials among its ranks.
Covington counsels across myriad industries, including aerospace; consumer brands; digital health; energy; financial services; gaming; life sciences; media, internet, and technology; mining and metals; sports, and transportation.
The firm is well known for its white collar team, which boasts more than 100 lawyers—including former high-profile government lawyers—and sits comfortably within Vault’s top five firms for White Collar Defense & Internal Investigations. Clients regularly call on the firm to handle matters involving crisis management, False Claims Act, internal investigations, regulatory issues, shareholder litigation, whistleblower claims, and much more.
One simply can’t discuss Covington without mentioning its robust sports practice. With more than 50 years of experience, Covington’s sports law department is an all-star team in and of itself. The group has represented the likes of MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, USGA, and USTA, to name some. The firm has also counseled college sports leagues on a variety of matters and advised both the pros and colleges on their broadcast contracts. The sports practice is multi-faceted, but Covington lawyers meet the challenge, handling everything from antitrust and collective bargaining to financings and insurance to media rights and regulatory affairs to sponsorships and tax—plus much more.
Giving Associates a Voice
At Covington, when associates speak, people listen. The firm’s associate advisory committee includes both associates and partners and provides an outlet for associates to offer opinions on firm decisions. The firm also offers a confidential outlet for associates to request advice through the “associate ombudspersons.” The ombudsperson is a senior lawyer to whom associates can go for confidential advice.
News & Awards
Marlene Aquino joined Covington as its Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. She serves as the firm’s most senior administrative officer for diversity and inclusion and works closely with the leaders of the firm in setting and implementing the firm’s strategic plans and priorities for diversity and inclusion.
Former NFL Commissioner and longtime Covington lawyer Paul Tagliabue was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While at Covington from 1969 to 1989, Paul represented the NFL and expanded the firm’s Sports Practice Group, now consistently recognized among the best in the world. After his retirement from the League, Paul returned to Covington, where he continues to serve as senior counsel.
Covington partners unanimously elected Doug Gibson as chair of the firm’s Management Committee for a four-year term. The chair leads the Management Committee in setting the firm’s strategy, overseeing the firm’s operations, supporting the firm’s representation of clients, and working to foster and promote the firm’s culture of collaboration, teamwork, and service. Doug began his legal career as a summer associate at Covington in 1989, was hired as an associate at the firm in 1990, became a partner in 1998, and has served on Covington’s Management Committee since 2012.
Following a week-long hearing in The Hague, Covington secured a decisive win for Ukraine in proceedings against Russia before the International Court of Justice concerning violations by Russia of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism. This marks the first time Russia will have to answer for its violations of international law before the World Court.
- Supreme Court Preserves DACA: Covington represented the University of California Board of Regents pro bono in its efforts to protect DACA when the Trump Administration first sought to rescind the program, including wins at the Ninth Circuit and Supreme Court.
- NFL Wins Big at Supreme Court: Covington represented the NFL in a landmark case where the court held that federal labor laws protected the NFL from antitrust actions brought by their players.
- Merger Creates Largest U.S. Railroad: Covington represented Union Pacific railroad in its $5.4 billion merger with Southern Pacific. The merger was hotly contested by DOJ as well as many states and private parties.
- Win Ends Stop & Frisk in NYC: Covington successfully represented a group of plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the NYPD over its stop-and-frisk policies and practices.
- First in Pro Bono Hours per Lawyer, 2019 and 2020—The American Lawyer
- Most "Rising Stars" (top lawyers under 40) Among All Law Firms, 2020—Law360
- "Dealmakers of the Year," 2020—The American Lawyer
- "Firm of the Year," 2019—Law360
- "Litigation Department of the Year: Product Liability," 2019—The American Lawyer
850 Tenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 662-6000
Chair, Management and Executive Committees: Doug Gibson
Hiring Attorneys: Ben Block, Ranga Sudarshan (DC); Dan Shallman, Ashley Simonsen (LA); Jack Bodner, Arlo Devlin-Brown, Micaela McMurrough, Jenna Wallace, Amy Wollensack, Chris Yeung (NY); Suzanne Bell, Kurt Calia (Palo Alto); Ingrid Rechtin (SF); Tim Stratford (Beijing); Peter Bogaert (Brussels); Bruce Wilson (Dubai); Philipp Tamussino (Frankfurt); Ben Donovan (Johannesburg); Sarah Cowlishaw, Greg Lascelles, Daniel Pavin, Mark Young (London); William Park (Seoul); Eric Carlson (Shanghai)
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
1K - 1.5K
No. of Partners Named 2019:
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer Associate: $3,654/week
Sr. Manager of Legal Recruiting
Director of Legal Recruiting and Professional Development
Legal Recruiting Manager
Recruiting contacts for all offices may be found on the firm's website.
No. of U.S. Offices: 5
No. of International Offices: 8
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Palo Alto, CA
Washington, DC I Beijing
Advertising and Consumer Law
Antitrust & Competition Law
Appellate and Supreme Court
Communications & Media
Corporate/M&A & Capital Markets
International Trade/Export Controls
Litigation and International Arbitration
Privacy & Cybersecurity
White Collar Defense & Investigations
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.