2021 Vault Rankings
- Firm Culture#10
At a Glance
“The down-to-earth people.”
“Willkie is a very collaborative place with great clients and interesting work.”
“The BigLaw hours are unpredictable, and I am always expected to be ‘on.’”
“It is very challenging to make partner.”
About Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP
One of the New York elites, Willkie is home to more than 750 attorneys. In addition to its home in the Big Apple, the firm has offices in Chicago, DC, Houston, Palo Alto, and San Francisco, plus six locations across Europe. The firm is known for its work in antitrust, insurance, M&A, private equity, restructuring, and securities litigation, among other areas.
In 1888, four lawyers planted roots on a little street called Broadway in New York City, naming the firm Hornblower & Byrne. Toward the end of the 19th century, the firm picked up a new name partner who would shape the next 40 years: William W. Miller. During the Miller years, the firm added attorneys of influence to its ranks (including future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter), worked on landmark cases, and merged with Miller, Otis & Farr—another major New York firm. A young Iowan named Harold Gallagher joined as an associate in 1917, made partner in 1925, and continued as a member of the firm for 51 years. In 1941, former presidential candidate Wendell Willkie came along, and while he was only at the firm for three years, he made his mark. The firm became Willkie Farr & Gallagher in 1968.
With an expansive list of practices, Willkie lawyers work across more than 20 industries, including energy, financial services, health care, infrastructure, insurance, manufacturing, REITs, and transportation, to name a few.
Willkie boasts a strong Corporate & Financial Services department. The firm’s M&A team handles contested takeovers, leveraged re-caps, management buyouts, and strategic alliances and also works hand-in-hand with the firm’s restructuring attorneys on acquisitions stemming from reorganization proceedings. The firm is also highly regarded for its private equity practice, which boasts more than 250 lawyers around the world. Its lawyers have deal experience in acquisition finance, growth capital, LBOs, MBOs, PIPEs, Public M&A, and venture capital and also counsel on fund formation, compliance, corporate governance, and restructuring.
Another bustling area for the firm is its Insurance and Reinsurance practice, which takes a multi-disciplinary approach, advising clients on everything from capital markets, M&A, litigation, regulatory issues, tax, and more. Willkie also boasts a top-notch litigation practice and is particularly well regarded for its securities litigation work. The firm has built a reputation for its experience in financial reporting issues, regularly handling audit committee investigations into fraudulent financial reporting.
Getting to Know You
Willkie is known for its social, amiable culture, and the firm helps boost camaraderie from the start. When first years arrive at the firm, they share an office with second-year associates, providing them with built-in mentors just one desk away. Attorneys at the firm will find plenty of opportunities to socialize with the firm’s famous daily cookie break at 3 p.m., its monthly informal gatherings (known around the firm as “IG”), and regular wellness programming that includes in-house yoga.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Willkie adopted a virtual summer program in 2020.The program was substantively similar to our in-person program. The summer associates were paid for the originally scheduled 10-week program but the Firm truncated the summer program to 6 weeks. The summer associates gained valuable hands-on experience working directly for, and with, our clients. The summer associates participated in a robust orientation, interactive trainings and department overviews.
News & Awards
Litigation Chair Tariq Mundiya was profiled in The American Lawyer Litigation Leaders Series. In the Q&A, he discussed his background and path to Willkie, the recent rapid growth of the Litigation department, and the deep bench strength of Willkie’s litigation team. In addressing his priorities for the department, he touched on staffing the firm’s recently opened San Francisco and Chicago offices, encouraging associate development by providing meaningful roles in litigation matters, and expanding diversity initiatives.
At the end of March 2020, Willkie announced the launch of a new Chicago office with the addition of a team of prominent lawyers. The office focuses on trials and appeals, major investigations, and board governance counseling—and has a leading Private Clients practice. It has already grown to about 30 lawyers.
In late 2019, Willkie opened an office in San Francisco with the addition of two Bay Area litigators. The office opened less than a year after Willkie launched its office in Palo Alto, which focuses on corporate and transactional work and has quickly grown to about 14 lawyers. Both of the firm’s West Coast offices reflect Willkie’s commitment to technology and FinTech work. In particular, the Palo Alto office advises a broad range of clients from young startups and hot unicorns to mature tech companies like Cisco.
Chris Giancarlo, former Chairman of the CFTC who joined Willkie as senior counsel, founded the Digital Dollar Project, an initiative to advance exploration of a United States Central Bank Digital Currency. He has over 46,000 followers on Twitter and was recently tapped by both Forbes and Law360 to discuss the future of the digital dollar. He has testified before Congress and the Senate multiple times, including to propose a U.S. Digital Dollar pilot program.
- In the largest FinTech deal ever, Willkie represented FIS in its $42B merger with Worldpay—negotiating the deal, an $8B bridge commitment and handling all due diligence in under ten days.
- In a major victory over the Justice Department, Willkie secured an acquittal on all counts in U.S. v. Boustani, a high-profile securities fraud trial of a shipbuilding executive concerning an alleged $2B bribery scheme.
- Willkie is representing KKR in the $4.4B acquisition of retirement and life insurance provider Global Atlantic.
- Willkie’s DC office represented plaintiffs in a Maryland federal suit that mandated that the government restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
- 105 lawyer and 40 practice area rankings, 2020—Chambers USA, Chambers Europe, Chambers UK, Chambers FinTech and Chambers High Net Worth
- “Technology, Media and Telecom Firm of the Year,” 2020—The Deal Middle Market Awards
- Partner Robert Rachofsky named “Dealmaker of Year,” 2020—The American Lawyer
- Litigation Department of the Year Finalist, 2019—New York Law Journal
- Four lawyers recognized for LGBT+ Equality and Gender Diversity leadership, 2019 –Chambers Diversity & Inclusion Awards USA
Why Work Here
At Willkie, people are our most valued asset. From the day you start at the Firm as a young lawyer, you are an integral part of the Willkie community and, whether you choose to remain here for the rest of your career or decide to move on to other endeavors, you will always be a part of the Willkie family.
There are many reasons to work at Willkie. At its simplest, our fundamental goal is to provide our attorneys with the highest-quality training, early responsibility and the opportunity to work on challenging and cutting-edge matters in a collaborative environment where people genuinely get along with each other.
787 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 728-8000
Chairmen: Tom Cerabino & Matt Feldman
Recruiting Chairs: Sameer Advani (Chair); Amanda Amert (Chicago) Jeffrey Clark (DC);, Jared Fertman, Brad Friedman, Matthew Haddad, Shaimaa Hussein, Claire James, Jeffrey Pawlitz, Jason Pearl, Mark Proctor, Carly Saviano, Danielle Scalzo, Kim Walker (NY); Tiffany Lee (Palo Alto); Ben Hur (SF); Robert Jacobson (TX)
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
750 - 1K
No. of Partners Named 2020:
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
Chicago; New York; Palo Alto; San Francisco
Christie M. Bonasera
Associate Director of Legal Recruiting
Legal Personnel & Recruiting Manager
Legal Personnel & Recruiting Manager
No. of U.S. Offices: 6
No. of International Offices: 6
New York, NY (HQ)
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC I Brussels
Antitrust & Competition
Business Reorganization & Restructuring
Communications, Media & Privacy (DC office)
Corporate & Financial Services
Energy & Commodities
Environmental, Health & Safety (DC office)
Executive Compensation & Employee Benefits
Government Relations (DC office)
Insurance & Reinsurance
Mergers & Acquisitions
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.