2019 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#16
“I do not think a law firm could have a better culture than ours does”
“High-tech IP practice with great client roster”
“Compensation is far below competitor firms.”
“Could be more transparent”
Shook, Hardy & Bacon is an AmLaw 100 firm with nearly 500 attorneys who have helped build the firm’s reputation for trial strength in complex litigation. Shook is annually named Product Liability Defense Firm of the Year by Who’s Who Legal and has had success in this realm on behalf of pharmaceutical, medical device, technology, and automotive companies.
Founded in 1889 by attorney Frank Sebree, a former Missouri state legislator, Shook, Hardy & Bacon handled railroad work and went after local political corruption in the firm's early years. One of the firm’s early partners, Henry McDougal served as the special prosecutor in the murder trial against infamous outlaw Frank James, having previously helped a wealthy farmer win a civil suit against Frank and his brother Jesse James for stealing his horse at gunpoint during a bank robbery getaway.
Later, famed trial lawyer David Hardy joined the firm, tackling the first anti-smoking suit in Missouri as lead counsel for Philip Morris in 1962. Hardy's performance in that case attracted attention from the rest of the industry—five of the six largest tobacco companies eventually hired the firm to helm their litigation defense. The firm quickly gained a reputation for being incredibly thorough in pre-trial investigation and preparation and soon after was tapped by the pharmaceutical and medical device industry for its litigation expertise, which was followed by the automotive industry looking to Shook for litigation defense strategies.
Shook, Hardy & Bacon has since grown exponentially in the last few decades thanks in large part to its successes on behalf of tobacco, pharmaceutical, medical device, and automotive companies, but also for its expansion over the past 15 years into commercial litigation, intellectual property, environmental and toxic tort, public policy, and labor and employment litigation.
A Scientific Defense
With a robust scientific infrastructure in place, Shook’s litigation practice represents the likes of the Altria Group, Pfizer, Inc., Bausch + Lomb and E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company, as well as companies like Microsoft, The Coca-Cola Company, Toyota, and Ford Motor Company. Eli Lilly and Company hired the firm to handle litigation stemming from oral contraceptive and vaccine lawsuits, and Shook has also warded off class actions against Sanofi for alleged side effects of Ambien, a sleeping pill. One of the firm’s unique assets is its behind-the-scenes science team staffed by more than 100 research analysts and paraprofessionals, many with graduate degrees in specialized fields like biochemistry, neuroscience, engineering, genetics and physiology.
The firm has established a national intellectual property practice with more than 70 attorneys in that area, including the former Chief Patent Counsel from Microsoft.
National publications and organizations including The American Lawyer, U.S. News & World Report, BTI Consulting Group, and the Human Rights Campaign have given the firm accolades. Led by Chair Madeleine McDonough, the firm regularly earns diversity awards including appearing in Vault’s 2019 Best Law Firms for Diversity ranking. In 2018, The American Lawyer ranked Shook among the Top 25 law firms for women based on the percentage of women equity partners.
The firm is also known for its innovative fee structures and has been recognized for providing top-notch representation at a good value to clients. In 2015, the Association for Corporate Counsel named Shook a Value Champion for providing exceptional value to its clients. Having previously received this honor in 2012 and 2013, Shook is now the only law firm to become a three-time winner.
2555 Grand Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 474-6550
Employer Type: Private
Chairman and Managing Partner: Madeleine McDonough
Recruiting Chair: Carrie McAtee
Total No. Attorneys 2018: 465
Orange County and San Francisco
1st year: $145,000
Summer associate: $2,750/week
Kansas City, Tampa, & Seattle
1st year: $130,000
Summer associate: $2,500/week
1st year: $140,000
Summer associate: $2,700/week
1st year: $150,000
Summer associate: $2,850/week
1st year: $160,000
Summer associate: $3,050/week
1st year: $180,000
Summer associate: $3,450/week
15 out of 15 (2Ls only) (2018)
Kansas City, MO (HQ)
Orange County, CA
San Francisco, CA
: Pharmaceutical and Medical Device
Food, Beverage and Agribusiness
Insurance and Reinsurance
Life Sciences and Biotechnology
Banking and Financial Services
Cosmetics and Personal Care Products
Design and Construction
Fire Protection and Alarms
Technology and Telecommunications
Employment Litigation and Policy
Government and Regulatory
Data and Discovery Strategies