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McDermott Will & Emery LLP

At a Glance


“Really interesting and high-quality work”


“Office collegiality is fantastic.”


“The unpredictability of the hours”

“We are too leanly staffed.”

“Billable hours”

About McDermott Will & Emery LLP

A Chicago institution since the 1930s, McDermott Will & Emery has, in recent decades, broadened its gaze from the Windy City to new markets in the United States and abroad. The strategy has paid off in spades, with McDermott firmly ensconced among the world’s largest and most elite law firms.

A Little Tax Goes a Long Way

Emerging from the ashes of the Great Depression with Roosevelt’s New Deal, McDermott opened for business in 1934 as a tax firm run by Edward H. McDermott and William M. Emery. A mere seven years later, the third and final name partner was added in corporate specialist Howard A. Will. The firm’s name has remained the same ever since, a remarkable feat of continuity in the modern atmosphere of shortened firm names, legal mergers, and buyouts. McDermott added an estate planning division in 1941, and by 1944, the firm had burgeoned to 16 lawyers.

Over the course of the following four decades, McDermott grew consistently but quickly, reaching 100 attorneys in 1974, 150 in 1984, 500 in 1990, and 1,000 in time for its 70th anniversary in 2004. The firm’s geographic expansion followed a similar trajectory—in 1977, the firm ventured beyond the familiar confines of Chicago by planting a flag in Miami. Additional offices soon blossomed in the Northeast and California, and by the close of the millennium, McDermott had reached London. The 21st century has brought continued growth, with McDermott setting up offices in Düsseldorf, Munich, Brussels, Frankfurt, Houston, Paris, Seoul, and Dallas and establishing a strategic alliance in China.

Something Old, Something New

The firm has moved far beyond its tax and estate planning beginnings, growing its practice offerings to include emerging legal issues and services specific to particular geographic markets. For example, the firm counsels its clients on newer areas such as life sciences, renewable energy, and privacy law, which complement its more traditional practices like M&A, antitrust, intellectual property, litigation, real estate, and insurance. In addition, making clear that its practice is in fact international in scope, the firm offers numerous practices tailored to each foreign jurisdiction in which it practices, including five subspecialties in its Brussels office, 11 in London, and 15 in Germany.

Blogging About It

With nine blogs on its website—among which is an Antitrust Alert blog, Employee Benefits Blog, Energy Business Law Blog, FCA Update blog, Of Digital Interest blog, a Tax Controversy 360 blog, Inside SALT blog, and an Alcohol Law Advisor—McDermott shares the latest on a variety of legal topics with the blawgosphere. The firm also offers two regular podcasts: Governing Health and McDermott’s Reverse Engineered: Conversations on IP.


April 2018

McDermott was one of only four firms included on both Yale Law Women’s 2018 Top Ten Female & Family Friendly Firms lists. Consistently recognized for implementing comprehensive policies and programming that enable the firm to recruit, retain and promote women lawyers, McDermott was also selected by Working Mother and Flex-Time Lawyers as one of the “50 Best Law Firms for Women” for the fourth consecutive year. The firm’s commitment to gender diversity and women’s issues dates back to 1957, when McDermott became the second major U.S. law firm to elect a female partner.

April 2018

McDermott launched a stand-alone Employment Practice with the arrival of a new group of partners located across the U.S. The group joined McDermott’s team of labor lawyers and litigators to bolster capabilities in the areas of high-stakes employment litigation and overall protection of brand reputation through compliance. McDermott is positioned to address today’s most complex employment issues from conducting investigations to defending high-risk wage and hour class actions. McDermott also announced the expansion of the firm’s real estate finance capabilities with the arrival of partners in New York to focus on complex structured financial and real estate transactions.

January 2018

McDermott was named “Health Group of the Year” by Law360. This is the second time McDermott has been selected in this category, and it followed a year of health-related accolades including: “Healthcare and Life Sciences Deal of the Year” by The M&A Advisor; “MVP of the Year” for Health Industry by Law360; “Top Healthcare Transaction Lawyers of 2017” by The Ambulatory M&A Advisor; and “Healthcare Team of the Year” by Chambers USA 2017.

November 2017

For the twelfth consecutive year, McDermott has earned a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a national benchmarking survey and report on corporate policies and practices related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) workplace equality, administered by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation. CEI evaluates LGBT-related policies and practices including non-discrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs, and public engagement with the LGBT community. McDermott’s efforts in satisfying all of the CEI’s criteria resulted in a 100% ranking and the designation as a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality.”

November 2017

McDermott was named “Law Firm of the Year for Litigation – Tax,” by U.S. News in its “Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” 2018 rankings. This accolade reflects the first-class reputation that the Tax team has built up across the marketplace for their professional excellence and the recognition they enjoy as one of the premier legal Tax practices.

June 2017

McDermott received the “Pioneering Pro Bono Program of the Year” award from Chambers USA at the 2017 Chambers Women in Law Awards. The award recognizes dedication to promoting and increasing access to justice through pro bono services and bringing about positive changes to gender diversity and female groups. In bestowing the honor, Chambers made the following comment about McDermott’s commitment: “With over 90% of their female lawyers taking on pro bono work, they have … taken on a series of pro bono cases involving vulnerable or abused women, ensuring they have the safety and security they need.”

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

444 West Lake Street
Chicago, IL 60606
Phone: (312) 372-2000


Chair: Ira J. Coleman
National Hiring Partner: Eric Gilbert

Base Salary

All offices
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

Summer Program

Summer Associate Offers:
37 out of 37 (2Ls) (2017)

Major Office Locations

Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Dallas, TX
Houston, TX
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
New York, NY
Orange County (Irvine), CA
San Francisco, CA
Silicon Valley (Menlo Park), CA
Washington, DC
Shanghai (strategic alliance with MWE China Law Offices)

Major Departments & Practices

Corporate & Transactional
Employment Litigation
Food, Beverage & Agribusiness
Intellectual Property
Labor, Employment & Benefits
Life Sciences
Private Client & Wealth Management
Privacy & Cybersecurity
Private Equity
Real Estate
Regional Markets
Regulatory & Government Strategies
White Collar