2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“Great people; great work; great clients.”
“Emphasis on billable hours.”
About Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
Drinker Biddle is a national, full-service law firm providing litigation, regulatory, and business services to clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups. Founded and headquartered in Philadelphia in 1849, the firm has since branched out into major U.S. cities including New York, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Dallas.
Drinker Through the Ages
In 1849, John Christian Bullitt launched a firm named Bullitt and Fairthorne—which would later become Drinker Biddle. In 1871, the firm presided over the creation of Drexel, Morgan and Co.—an investment bank that would later become JP Morgan. Drinker Biddle also assisted Georg von Trapp (of the legendary von Trapp Family) in 1939 with visa issues at Ellis Island. Today, the firm continues to work with household names, as well as startups, nonprofits, and myriad other clients.
Big on Lit
Drinker Biddle provides a range of legal services in various industries, including construction, education, energy, financial services, health care, insurance, pharma and life sciences, real estate, and technology, among others. The firm’s health care practice takes an interdisciplinary approach to meet the needs of its diverse group of clients—including 700 health care organizations around the country. The firm counsels on health care matters relating to antitrust, restructuring, compliance, HIPAA and privacy, policy and lobbying, litigation, and much more.
Restructuring is another bustling practice for the firm, with much of the team located on the east coast. The firm handles bankruptcy proceedings, commercial workouts, debt restructurings, and refinancing.
On the litigation side, the firm boasts 300 lawyers across the country—more than half of the firm. The firm has experience in almost every area of litigation that you can think of, including antitrust, appellate, class actions, environmental, ERISA, False Claims Act/Qui Tam, IP, products liability, securities, and the list goes on.
Learn, Then Bill
In 2009, while some firms postponed associate start dates or rescinded offers, Drinker Biddle created a groundbreaking training program, now in its 11th year. For the first three months of their employment, incoming associates have no billable obligation—their only “job” is to learn. An interactive curriculum that addresses practical skills and practice-specific experience is followed by apprenticeship opportunities with experienced colleagues on client matters. Pro bono work is also a strong facet of the firm culture. Pro bono hours are credited the same as billable hours up to 6 percent of the lawyer’s actual billable hours. In practice, nearly all pro bono time above that threshold is approved. There is partner supervision on all matters, and approved pro bono time is equally as valuable as billable work when considering bonuses and advancement. The firm encourages its lawyers to fight for the causes that interest them and appeal to their sense of justice.
News & Awards
A team of highly experienced trial and class action lawyers led by veteran insurance and financial institutions lawyer James Jorden joined Drinker Biddle. The team boosted the firm’s nationally recognized litigation practice and expanded Drinker Biddle’s office count to 13 with the opening of a Hartford, Connecticut, location. As of June 2019, 25 lateral partners have joined the firm this year.
Last year was a landmark year for diversity and inclusion (D&I) at Drinker Biddle: the firm appointed Maria Lewis as the firm’s first Chief Diversity Officer. By creating this high-level post, the firm commits significant resources and support to advancing its D&I efforts for the long term and on a day-to-day basis.
Drinker Biddle built on their long-standing dedication to community service by formalizing firmwide efforts under one name: WeGETInvolved. It means they GET that there is no higher calling than being in service to others. It also means they understand that many people benefit when all GET involved, lending the firm’s time and talents to help make immediate and tangible differences in the communities where firm attorneys and staff live and work.
Drinker Biddle elected seven new partners to its Managing Partners Committee, which serves as the firm’s governing board, in a vote that brings representation by women on the committee to 50 percent. By comparison, the industry average is 25 percent. External benchmarks, including Yale University and McKinsey & Co., affirm Drinker Biddle’s record of routinely outperforming the industry in several key diversity metrics. And, according to the National Association of Women Lawyers, Drinker Biddle consistently outpaces its industry peers in programs that advance and promote women.
- Drinker Biddle won a significant trial victory before the ITC while defending long-term clients GC Corporation and GC America against a global competitor’s patent infringement allegations.
- In the $1.25 billion sale of a division of Cott Corporation, the firm handled financial matters and restructured ownership of a trademark portfolio spanning 170 countries.
- To guide regional Mission Health in a $1.5 billion merger with HCA Healthcare, 85 lawyers from 21 practices handled legal, licensure, and regulatory challenges.
- Drinker Biddle’s Government Contracts team won a bid protest for 2M Research against FEMA’s questionable award of a contract. Only one in five such challenges succeed. After two years, the court effectively granted 2M a directed award.
- Chambers USA 2019, 78 lawyers ranked and leader in 33 practice areas
- Legal 500, Leader in Mutual/Registered/Exchange-Traded Funds and Alternative/Hedge Funds, 2019
- Modern Healthcare, Named on the list of the Largest Law Firms, 2019
- Working Mother’s 60 Best Law Firms for Women, 2018
- Benchmark Litigation, 11 attorneys were recognized in the 2019 edition
One Logan Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Phone: (215) 988-2700
Chairman & CEO: Andrew C. Kassner
Executive Partners: William M. Connolly, Judith E. Reich, and Jane C. Koehl
Hiring Partner: Justin O. Kay
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
500 - 750
Chicago; Los Angeles; New York; San Francisco; and Washington, DC
1st year: $190,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week Philadelphia
1st year: $175,000
Summer associate: $3,365/week Other Offices
1st year: $165,000
Summer associate $3,173/week
Summer Associate Offers:
21 out of 21 (2Ls) (2019)
No. of Summer Associates:
24 total (21 2Ls; 3 1Ls) (2019)
Maryellen Wyville Altieri
Director of Professional Recruitment
Florham Park, NJ
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Philadelphia, PA (HQ)
San Francisco, CA
Corporate and Securities
Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation
Environment and Energy
Government and Regulatory Affairs
Labor and Employment
Trusts and Estates
White Collar Defense and Corporate Investigations
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.