2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The number of women in high-powered positions”
“Partners respect associates and value their opinions”
“The relatively low compensation”
“The billable-hour requirement”
“Lack of transparency for review, compensation, and career track”
About Holland & Knight LLP
A veritable global conglomerate, Holland & Knight complements its fleet of offices in the United States with locations in the UK and Latin America, including England, Colombia, and Mexico. With a political pedigree and strong Capitol Hill ties, the firm covers dozens of practice areas, from industry-specific teams to litigation, corporate law, intellectual property, and tax.
A Prime Pedigree
One of the nation’s largest law firms, today’s Holland & Knight hardly resembles either of its venerable predecessors. The firm came to be from the combination of the two firms built by Florida practitioners Peter O. Knight and Spessard Holland, with roots dating back to 1889 and 1929, respectively.
Holland’s life could have gone in a very different direction. As a young man with a strong pitching arm, he was recruited by the Philadelphia Athletics baseball team; he turned down the offer and went to Emory University, instead. From there, he went to the University of Florida Law School. World War I then interfered with his career. After completing overseas service, Holland returned to Florida and became a county judge. Then he opened a small firm with his partner W.F. Bevis. He ascended quickly through Florida’s political ranks, becoming the state’s governor in the early 1940s and then serving 24 years in the U.S. Senate.
Likewise, Peter Knight’s career combined law and politics. A Valparaiso Law grad, Knight became the mayor of Fort Myers, Florida at the tender age of 20. In 1889, he was elected to the Florida legislature and began practicing in Tampa—then a fledgling municipality. He was one of the city’s most prominent men, establishing a bank and an electric utility. As his law practice grew, Knight turned away from politics, declining President Warren G. Harding’s invitation to the U.S. Supreme Court bench.
Present-day Holland & Knight owes much of its success to Chesterfield Smith, who oversaw the combination of Holland and Knight’s practices in 1968 and was the new firm’s first managing partner. Before the tie-up, Smith had served as president of the Florida Bar Association. A decade later he became president of the American Bar Association. It was Smith, speaking on behalf of the ABA, who made one of the earliest public calls for an investigation of President Richard Nixon’s role in the Watergate scandal.
Besides keeping an eye on Washington power players, Smith worked to transform Holland & Knight from a regional practice to a global firm. One of his key ideas was decentralization: boundaries between local offices would be fluid, and lawyers would be matched to clients on the basis of skill and compatibility, not geography. Smith remained in charge until 1983.
From Palm Trees to Politicians
In the 1990s, Holland & Knight experienced a significant expansion, opening new offices across the U.S. and making its way overseas. While the firm still has eight offices in Florida, it now boasts 19 offices outside of the Sunshine state, from San Francisco to Bogota. On the east coast, the firm’s Washington, DC office has continued to gain strength and is the center of the firm’s lobbying activities. In fact, Holland & Knight is known as one of the top lobby shops inside the Beltway, having helped clients secure billions of dollars in funding for infrastructure, development, and research projects.
IN THE NEWS
Holland & Knight was recognized as one of the top 10 female-friendly law firms by Yale Law Women. It was also honored as one of the firms at which women make up at least 50 percent of associates.
Holland & Knight is representing the sister of Linda Carman, who allegedly was murdered by her son, Nathan Carman, on a fishing trip off the coast of Massachusetts in 2013. This high-profile case has garnered significant coverage in the national media.
Law360 honored Holland & Knight with two Practice Group of the Year awards—“Hospitality Group of the Year” and “Native American Group of the Year.” The awards recognize those practice groups that worked on the biggest deals or won the most important cases.
Holland & Knight advised Express Scripts on the healthcare regulatory and licensing aspects of its $3.6 billion acquisition of eviCore healthcare, an industry-leading medical benefit manager. The deal will help Express Scripts broaden its reach beyond prescription drugs into being a gatekeeper for insurance companies for a wide range of medical services.
A team of Holland & Knight lawyers successfully defended Norwegian Cruise Line against a $95 million defamation and breach-of-contract suit brought by the company’s former CEO. After a week of trial and one day of deliberation, a Miami jury returned a verdict rejecting all claims.
Holland & Knight was named “Law Firm of the Year” in admiralty & maritime law and transportation law by U.S. News-Best Lawyers in its annual ranking of law firms and their practice areas. The rigorous evaluation process included the collection of client and lawyer feedback and peer reviews from leading attorneys in the field. Only the firm with the most impressive overall performance was chosen for this honor.
701 Brickell Avenue
Miami, FL 33131
Phone: (305) 374-8500
Managing Partner: Steven Sonberg
Firmwide Professional Growth & Development Partners: Deborah Barnard & Tiffani Lee
Major Markets (including Boston; Chicago; Dallas; Los Angeles; New York; San Francisco; Tyson’s Corner; Washington, DC)
1st year: $180,000
Summer associate: $3,400/week
Starting salaries vary by market. Salaries after the second year are merit-based.
Summer Associate Offers:
20 out of 21 (2Ls) (2017)
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Tyson’s Corner, VA
West Palm Beach, FL