2021 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“There is a strong commitment to flexibility.”
“The culture and the people are excellent.”
“From the start, I have received interesting, challenging work that hones my skills.”
“All-or-nothing bonus structure.”
“The firm caps the number of pro bono/business development hours that count towards your billable requirement.”
“Lack of control of your schedule.”
About Winston & Strawn LLP
From its 19th century Chicago roots, Winston & Strawn has grown to a global law firm of nearly 1,000 attorneys across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Winston is particularly known for its work in IP, labor and employment, renewable energy, sports law, and white collar.
Diversifying with the Times
The firm that became Winston & Strawn opened its doors in the Windy City in 1853 under the leadership of Harvard grad Fredrick Hampden Winston, who played a vital role in Chicago’s emergence as a powerful business and financial center. Winston left the practice in the hands of his son Frederick Seymour Winston in 1885 to become the American Minister to Persia under Grover Cleveland. Silas Strawn joined the firm in 1892 and practiced there for the next 53 years, including 40 as managing partner.
The late 20th century saw the firm grow its ranks from double to triple digits. And in recent years, the firm has relied on lateral hires—including a group of litigators from former Dewey & LeBoeuf in NYC and strategic lateral partner hires in Dallas—to continue its growth.
Cornerstone Practices and Clients
Winston practices across a range of sectors, including financial services, technology/media/telecom, health and life sciences, energy, and consumer products. Winston’s robust client roster includes Abbott Labs, Cisco, Dell, Motorola, TreeHouse Foods, and several top private equity firms.
Winston has long been identified with several prominent corporate brands, and the firm represents a range of Fortune 100 companies in diverse transactions and litigation. Its work for Panasonic includes numerous antitrust cartel investigations and litigations around the world, including defeat of a major price-fixing consumer class action. JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Discover, Wells Fargo, and other big financial institutions regularly tap Winston to handle a host of matters ranging from large corporate financings to litigation and class actions to investigations and regulatory matters. NFL Players Association go-to litigator Jeffrey Kessler has earned notoriety for the firm (and ire from the NFL) for his representation of players such as Tom Brady, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, and Ezekiel Elliott in high-profile arbitration hearings.
Winston isn’t focused only on bringing in all-star attorneys; it also is committed to bringing in top talent to promote professional development and wellness. With a chief talent officer at the helm, the firm has rounded out a talent team that also includes a career coach, diversity and inclusion professional, and professional trainer. The firm offers multiple outlets for attorneys to develop professionally and personally, including Winston University training programs; the Winston for Good Corporate Social Responsibility program; Diversity & Inclusion affinity groups for Black, Latinx, Asian, LGBTQ, and women attorneys; and Winston Wellness initiatives focused on attorney and staff mental health.
There is nothing more important to Winston & Strawn than the safety and well-being of our people, clients, families, and the communities in which we live and work. As a result of the ever-changing circumstances related to COVID-19, we adapted the recruiting and onboarding process by leveraging tools and technology to help us operate and collaborate effectively in a virtual work environment. From virtual interviews and remote orientation and integration programs, to our fully virtual 4-week summer program, we found ways to innovate and stay connected, while keeping safety a top priority.
News & Awards
Winston established the Racial Justice & Equity Council (the “Council”), pledging 100,000 pro bono hours through 2025, reflecting a $50 million investment over the next five years. The Council will identify pro bono projects that impact five critical pillars for change as defined by the firm’s newly launched “CEASE” Initiative: Criminal Justice and Criminal Justice Reform, Educational and Vocational Opportunity, Access to the Political System, Social Welfare, and Economic Development.
Winston filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Equal Rights Amendment Coalition and more than 50 women’s rights organizations to compel the Archivist of the United States to publish the now-ratified amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The team was led by Linda Coberly, the firm’s Chicago Office Managing Partner, Chair of its Appellate & Critical Motions Practice, and Chair of the ERA Coalition’s Legal Task Force.
Winston announced an expansion of the firm's ongoing efforts in the fight for racial equality, launching an immediate and actionable 11-point plan to ensure that the firm continues to be powerful allies in the fight for racial equality. The firm remains committed to an ongoing dialogue, aggressive goal-setting, and meaningful investment to enact real change.
Winston and China law firm Yuanda formed a strategic alliance that significantly expands the firms’ combined capabilities in China and key global markets. Based in Shanghai, the strategic alliance is known as YuandaWinston and provides a range of legal services and counsel to Chinese companies and multinationals conducting business in a complex, rapidly changing economy.
- Represented Diamond Eagle Acquisition Corp. in its business combination with DraftKings Inc. and SBTech. Immediately following closing, DraftKings’ market capitalization was $6.4B.
- Represented Danfoss in its acquisition of Eaton’s Hydraulics business for a cash purchase price of $3.3B.
- Won a victory for client NTN when the court denied plaintiffs’ motion for class certification; plaintiffs alleged that bearings manufacturers conspired to violate antitrust laws claiming $13B+ in damages, and sought to certify a class of all U.S. direct bearings purchasers.
- Won a permanent injunction against the NCAA’s limitations on colleges and universities providing education-related benefits beyond tuition.
- Six partners named to “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America” 2019 (firm tied for 1st place for total number of attorneys included), and eight partners named to “Top 250 Women in Litigation,” 2020— Benchmark Litigation
- Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. for SPAC IPOs in H1, 2020—SPACInsider and Donnelley Financial Solutions
- The American LawyerSummer Associate Survey: Chicago and Los Angeles ranked No. 1 from 2016 – 2019
- Named a “Gold Standard Firm,” 2018 and 2019—Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF)
- Named a “Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality” for 12 years in a row, 2008–2020—Human Rights Campaign Foundation
35 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 558-5600
Firm Chairman: Thomas P. Fitzgerald
Hiring Committee Chairs: Bill O’Neil
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: $3,653/week
Lisa A. McLafferty
Director of Attorney Recruiting & Development
No. of U.S. Offices: 9
No. of International Offices: 6
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
San Francisco, CA
Silicon Valley, CA
Washington, DC I Brussels
Appellate & Critical Motions
Complex Commercial Litigation
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
Energy & Environmental
Labor & Employment
Maritime & Admiralty
White Collar, Regulatory Defense & Investigations
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.