2019 Vault Rankings
“A huge amount of responsibility very early in your career”
“Being surrounded by brilliant and engaging lawyers”
“Pressure to work as many hours as humanly possible”
“The workload feels overwhelming at times because of the level of responsibility”
“It can be hard to adjust to the fact that you're doing everything yourself”
Since its inception over 40 years ago, Susman Godfrey has established itself as one of the country’s premiere litigation firms. The litigation star has more than 115 attorneys in four offices—its Houston headquarters and rapidly growing offices in Los Angeles, New York, and Seattle. With its legal firepower, the firm handles truly megawatt cases across the country for an equal number of plaintiffs and defendants. In fact, the firm has sued several companies—including Georgia-Pacific, Mead, and Nokia—that were so impressed by Susman’s advocacy that the companies later hired Susman attorneys to represent them in subsequent cases.
In 1980, Steve Susman formed a Houston firm following his success in the Corrugate Containers case, the largest verdict in antitrust history at the time. Susman was soon joined by Lee Godfrey in 1982. The two had a vision of trying commercial cases on contingency, a practice then largely confined to personal injury cases. The firm has reaped the benefits of this high-risk/high-return model by carefully selecting its cases and winning some of the largest jury verdicts in the country. In the 1990s, the firm’s contingency fee model transformed into an entire spectrum of alternative fees, from reverse contingent fees on the defense side, to flat fees and hybrids with both fixed and contingent components.
One of Susman’s largest victories came in 2013 when it settled claims it had brought against Toyota for $1.6 billion in a class action stemming from the unintended acceleration issue in Toyota, Lexus, and Scion vehicles. Susman has also secured more than $100 million in royalties for musicians from Sirius XM and Spotify in separate cases, $50 million for Comcast subscribers for its alleged antitrust actions, and $86 million for airline passengers from Korean Air and Asiana Airlines for alleged price-fixing.
Lean Mean Litigation Machine
Susman punches far above its size, taking on huge litigations with small teams. The firm maintains a 1.55:1 partner-to-associate ratio and must use its limited attorney resources efficiently. Susman limits document discovery and depositions to the essentials and a single attorney covers most depositions and hearings. Even trial teams rarely consist of more than three attorneys and a legal assistant. In recruiting attorneys, the firm focuses on hiring the best students coming out of the country’s best law schools: a majority of its attorneys were members of their schools’ law reviews and nearly all clerked for federal judges (including nine for justices of the U.S. Supreme Court). Associates that make partner at Susman Godfrey are fitted for a pair of genuine Texas cowboy boots, per firm tradition.
IN THE NEWS
The National Law Journal named Susman Godfrey to its 2018 Pro Bono Hot List, recognizing the firm for its pro bono work on a landmark case successfully challenging the constitutionality of the money bail system used in Harris County, Texas.
In March 2018, Susman Godfrey won a $706.2 Million Jury Verdict for client HouseCanary against Quicken Loans affiliate Title Source Inc. The jury found that Title Source, now known as Amrock, Inc., fraudulently misappropriated HouseCanary’s innovative technology for real estate valuation and appraisal analytics and had breached confidentiality and other prior agreements between the parties. At the conclusion of the seven-week trial, a 12-person jury found unanimously in favor of HouseCanary, awarding HouseCanary $706.2 million against Title Source on counterclaims in this high-stakes legal battle.
Susman Godfrey lawyers continue to be honored for their winning litigation work. New York’s Bill Carmody was named a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar” by Law360. Los Angeles’ Kalpana Ssrinivasan was named one of the “Top 100 Female Lawyers in California” for the third year in a row by the LA Daily Journal. New York’s Shawn Rabin was named a “Plaintiffs Lawyer Trailblazer” by the National Law Journal. Associate Davida Brook was named one of the “Top 40 Lawyers under 40” by the LA Daily Journal. Associate Alejandra Salinas was named one of “Houston’s Top Women in Law” by the National Diversity Council. Twelve partners were included on Benchmark Litigation’s “40 and Under Hot List.” And Managing Partner Neal Manne was named “Attorney of the Year” by Texas Lawyer.
Susman Godfrey announced in late 2017 that in recognition of its associates’ outstanding efforts and the firm’s extremely successful year, its associates would receive bonuses that far exceed what has become known as the “Cravath scale.” Erica Harris, Susman Godfrey’s current recruiting partner, said that “when you hire the very best associates, you get the very best performance, and just like Susman Godfrey partners, our associates are rewarded for performance.”
In a late 2017 profile titled “Don’t Mess with Texas,” Lawdragon said, “Pick your metric—money, U.S. Supreme Court clerks, bet-the-company cases, percentage of partners in trial annually—the firm runs circles around everyone else.” Lawdragon also called out the fact that “in 2016 alone, Susman Godfrey won more than $1 billion in verdicts and settlements for its clients and posted a remarkable ‘in-trial’ rate of 44%, meaning a staggering 44% of its partners and associates were in trial in 2016. In 2017, the firm’s in-trial rate jumped to 50%.”
Susman Godfrey announced in March 2018 that settlements in a landmark auto parts antitrust class action exceeded $1 billion. The history-making litigation arose out of price-fixing and bid rigging conspiracies among automotive parts manufacturers and the cumulative settlement figure in the case now stands as one of the largest amounts that the ultimate purchasers of a price-fixed product have ever recovered in a U.S. antitrust lawsuit. Also in March, Susman Godfrey inked a $240 million settlement with defendant Deutsche Bank in the long-running LIBOR financial products litigation. The agreement represents the third settlement resolving claims by investors that transacted directly with banks who sat on the panel to determine U.S. Dollar LIBOR and brings the cumulative settlements to more than half a billion dollars.
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 651-9366
Managing Partners: Stephen D. Susman & Neal Manne
Hiring Partner: Alex Kaplan
1st year: $195,000
2nd year: $205,000
3rd year: $225,000
4th year: $260,000
5th year: $285,000
6th year: $310,000
7th year: $330,000
Summer associate: $3,500/week
Summer Associate Offers:
5 of 9* (2Ls) (2017) *The New York office makes offers of permanent employment only after the start of a judicial clerkship, not at the conclusion of the summer associate program, so New York summer associates are not included here.
Houston, TX (HQ)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Class Action & Aggregate Litigation
Energy & Environmental
General Commercial Litigation
Shareholder & Securities