2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The people are brilliant.”
“With independence/responsibility comes pressure/stress.”
“No formal training—sink or swim mentality.”
About Susman Godfrey LLP
Since its founding four decades ago, Susman Godfrey has established itself as one of the nation’s premiere litigation firms. Susman Godfrey 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 on both the plaintiff and defense sides. Susman Godfrey boasts blue chip clients such as Walmart, Chevron, and General Electric, and has also won historic plaintiffs’ verdicts for smaller entities, such as the $706 million counterclaim verdict that Susman Godfrey won for HouseCanary in 2018.
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 and other alternative fee arrangements. 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 United States. 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.
Lean Mean Litigation Machine
Susman punches far above its size, taking on huge disputes with leanly staffed teams. The firm has a 71:51 partner-to-associate ratio and deploys its resources efficiently. The firm covers most depositions and hearings with a single attorney, and many trial teams are comprised of only two to three lawyers. In terms of recruiting attorneys, the firm seeks candidates with stellar grades from top schools. Most Susman Godfrey attorneys were members of their schools’ law reviews and nearly all clerked for federal judges (including 11 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.
Stand-Up & Then Relax
Litigation associates at most firms wonder what they can do to gain standup experience; at Susman Godfrey, standup opportunities start on day one and are part of associates’ day-to-day lives. Associates regularly handle trial examinations, hearings, depositions, and client meetings. And the firm celebrates its victories with firmwide emails and dinner celebrations. To foster a collegial atmosphere, the firm also hosts annual retreats as well as “mini-retreats” to give its lawyers much-needed time to de-stress and bond over activities like skiing, scuba diving, hiking, rafting, and bicycling.
News & Awards
Two Susman Godfrey cases nabbed spots on National Law Journal’s Top 2018 Verdicts. Susman Godfrey’s $706 million HouseCanary win took the fourth highest spot, and a $25 million win against Beats ranked 91st.
Susman Godfrey won a major victory for its client Vitol in March 2019 when a federal court in Miami dismissed a lawsuit against Vitol and other trading firms for allegedly conspiring to cheat Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), out of billions of dollars.
In October 2018, Susman Godfrey expanded its parental leave policy for associates, offering unlimited paid parental leave to new parents, regardless of gender or caregiver status. During whatever parental leave period an associate chooses to take, his or her hours will be annualized for year-end bonus purposes, for up to 12 weeks for any associate and up to 18 weeks for delivering mothers.
Susman Godfrey represented Walmart in a significant constitutional case involving the regulatory system for the sale of liquor in Texas. Walmart challenged the constitutionality of certain provisions of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Code, including one that prohibits public corporations from selling liquor in Texas. After a trial, a federal district judge ruled in March 2018 that the challenged Texas laws are unconstitutional. The case is currently on appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
- SG is co-lead counsel for a class of plaintiffs who allege price-fixing and bid-rigging in the auto-parts industry. To date, the plaintiffs have secured settlements totaling over $1 billion.
- SG secured a jury verdict of $706.2 million for HouseCanary in a fraud, misappropriation of trade secrets, and breach of contract case. This was the fourth largest verdict in the U.S. in 2018.
- SG represents on a pro bono basis a class of indigent arrestees, challenging the money bail practices in Texas. In 2017, the court issued a landmark ruling overturning the Harris County bail system and ordering a broad preliminary injunction.
- A federal jury awarded $43.2 million in favor of Susman Godfrey client, Apache Deepwater in an oil and gas related breach of contract case against W&T Offshore.
- Susman Godfrey named a finalist among America’s Elite Trial Lawyers by the National Law Journal in antitrust and business Torts, 2019
- Associate Alejandra Salinas awarded the Future Leader – LGBT + Equality Award by Chambers USA, 2019
- Chambers USA Guide recognized 11 Susman Godfrey attorneys, with all offices ranked as leading firm locations, 2019
- Susman Godfrey Awarded with the National Impact Case of the Year Award by Benchmark Litigation for its representation of Uber in the Landmark Google Waymo v Uber case, 2019
- Above the Law again recognized Susman Godfrey as a Top Tier U.S. Law Firm, 2019
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: (713) 651-9366
Managing Partners: Stephen D. Susman & Neal Manne
Hiring Partner: Alex Kaplan
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
100 - 150
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: $3,750/week
No. of Summer Associates:
21 total (16 2Ls; 1 3L; 4 1Ls) (2019)
Attorney Development Manager
Houston, TX (HQ)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Class Action Litigation
Energy & Environmental
General Commercial Litigation
Shareholder & Securities
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.