2019 Vault Rankings
“Make your own hours, get your own work, and build your own career.”
“The incredible people, who are all interesting, brilliant, and passionate about what they do”
“Unpredictable and sometimes intense hours.”
“Too much freedom at times”
“High expectations can lead to a lot of stress.”
A Southern California powerhouse for over 75 years, Irell & Manella matches or exceeds its multinational peers in salary, prestige, and high-stakes cases, serving clients worldwide from only two locations in Los Angeles and Newport Beach.
A Story of Tax, IP, Securities, and Entertainment
Irell harkens back to the glamour days of old Hollywood—1941, to be exact: the year in which Orson Welles released a little flick called Citizen Kane and two tax attorneys—Eugene Berger and Lawrence Irell—established what became one of the most prestigious law firms in Tinseltown. Arthur Manella joined the firm in 1944; within a year, Berger had passed away and Manella had become a partner. The tax practice started handling tax affairs for Hollywood stars including Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor and Lou Costello, trying to reduce their tax liability in an era when rates went as high as 91%.
The firm’s tax business has been eclipsed by powerhouse intellectual property, securities, litigation, transactions, white collar, and entertainment practices. Irell’s high-profile clients include: Tesla, City of Hope, Genentech, Gilead, eBay, PayPal, St. Jude Medical, Snapchat, Hulu, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., TiVo, Disney, and Skechers and almost a dozen universities have called on the firm.
Irell’s IP group has garnered top honors—including being named the IP Litigation Department of the Year in 2018 by The American Lawyer—with IP litigation partner Morgan Chu regarded as one of the best in his class. Chu dropped out of high school but had five university degrees by the age of 25—a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from UCLA, a LL.M. from Yale, and a J.D. from Harvard. Chu served as co-managing partner of Irell from 1997-2003, becoming one of the first Asian-Americans to run a large firm. The IP group also includes David Nimmer, the UCLA professor who has authored and updated Nimmer on Copyright since 1985, the standard reference treatise in the field that was first published by his father, Professor Melville B. Nimmer.
The firm’s ranks also include a number of high-profile securities, class actions, and entertainment practitioners. Irell’s transactional specialists, meanwhile, work in a wide variety of industries, including green tech and renewable energy, private equity, gaming, and entertainment-related deals. Recent deals have included the acquisition of Miramax by BeIn Media Group, Acano's acquisition by Cisco for $700M, and Dalian Wanda Group's $3.5B acquisition of Legendary Entertainment—which is now helmed by the Irell attorney who brokered the deal, Joshua Grode.
A Law Firm with a Graduate School?
In 1998 Irell began representing City of Hope—a research and treatment center—in a landmark IP lawsuit. The firm eventually won a jury verdict at trial on City of Hope’s behalf and the half billion dollar damage award was the largest ever affirmed on appeal by California courts. Irell and individuals at the firm also gave millions of dollars to City of Hope over the years, leading up the firm endowing the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences in 2009.
IN THE NEWS
Irell & Manella represented Accruent, a global physical resource management software company, in the acquisitions of EMS Software, a provider of room and resource scheduling software, and Maintenance Connection, a leading computerized maintenance management system provider.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal secured by Irell & Manella in the trial court of an antitrust and business tort lawsuit brought against its client United Talent Agency and another large talent agency. The case represented a challenge to the core business practice of the large agencies: “packaging fees” that are paid by studios and television networks, as opposed to the traditional manner of representing talent in the entertainment business for a percentage fee paid by talent.
Irell & Manella successfully represented TSA Caribe, a subsidiary of retail giant Sports Authority, as special counsel in connection with the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The plan was confirmed in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, and the firm continues to represent the company in the plan's implementation.
Ellisen Turner was elected as the firm's new managing partner, garnering headlines as one of the few black leaders at major U.S. law firms. He succeeded Andrei Iancu who completed the maximum two three-year terms and left Irell to head the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. Ellisen continues to practice in the firm’s litigation and intellectual property practice groups.
Irell & Manella handed ZOLL Medical Corp. a win when a federal jury in Massachusetts rejected Philips’s damages claim for $217 million and ordered the firm's client to pay a net verdict of $7.1 million to Philips for infringing defibrillator technology patents. Irell was retained for the damages phase after ZOLL was found to infringe in an earlier liability trial handled by another law firm. After deliberating for two days, the jury awarded Philips just three percent of the amount it sought and issued a verdict of no willful infringement.
Irell & Manella secured a $506-million judgment against Apple Inc. for infringing a computer microarchitecture patent owned by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF), an affiliate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The judgment included $234 million a jury awarded to WARF following a two-week trial in October 2015, which the court more than doubled post-trial by awarding $272 million in ongoing royalties, supplemental damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, and costs.
1800 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: (310) 277-1010
Employer Type: Private
Managing Partner: David Gindler
Hiring Partner: Keith Orso
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 114
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
18 out of 20 (2Ls) (2018)
Los Angeles, CA (HQ)
Newport Beach, CA
Bankruptcy Reorganization & Creditors’ Rights
Class Action Defense
Entertainment & Media Litigation
Entertainment & Media Transactions
Global Investigations and White Collar Defense
Intellectual Property Litigation
Intellectual Property Transactions
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patent, Copyright & Trademark
Patent Post-Grant Proceedings, including inter partes reviews (IPRs), and covered business method (CBM) reviews
Private Equity & Venture Capital
Professional Liability Defense
Public Offerings & Private Placements
Securities Law & Corporate Governance