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Our Survey Says


Sophisticated work, dedication to pro bono work, and a respect for work-life balance draw associates to Arnold & Porter. And if you need more than that, then consider the Thursday Garden Room happy hours. The firm recruits associates from top schools with top grades, but also considers clerkships, work experience, drive, and diversity. Firm culture is casual and down to earth, and family time is respected. While partners value associates and their opinions, firm leadership could be better with communication and responding to associate feedback. Extensive training programs are available, and associates learn by doing and from helpful senior attorneys. Laterals blend in well due to firm efforts in introducing them to others and getting them work assignments. Assignments are challenging and complex, and associates appreciate opportunities for client interaction and for taking on greater responsibility. Projects are dispensed fairly, which gives associates equal footing to hit the reasonable billable hour requirement of 2,000 hours, 1,800 of which is for client work and 200 that count for pro bono, business development, and training. Arnold & Porter matches the market for compensation. Associates note the firm could be more innovative as well in terms of technology. Good efforts have been made with wellness initiatives, though a real investment by the firm and buy-in by employees are needed. Pro bono is a “core value” of the firm, with a 20-hour minimum and 200-hour cap on related hours. Diversity programs, hiring, and affinity groups are strong, but promotion of diverse individuals needs improvement. Partnership is possible for those who want it; otherwise, counsel roles exist, and a career development team helps connect associates with a robust alumni network for external positions.


The below associate quotes are derived from Vault's Annual Associate survey, which took place from mid-March 2021 to mid-May 2021.


Hiring Process

  • I believe the hiring process is getting more competitive. They really look for rock star students.”
  • Academic credentials are very important. Clerkship experience will put candidates at an advantage. The firm is looking for well-balanced and interesting persons who are good personality fits for the firm and the particular office.”
  • The firm looks for kind, bright, and motivated individuals. They hire from many different schools, not just T14s. …”
  • I think the firm highly values candidates who will contribute to the overall positive, supportive culture at the firm, and I'm glad that is a priority in hiring given how much time we spend with our coworkers.”

Interview Questions

  • “Be prepared to talk about what attracted you to A&P and what the most important values/criteria are when you're looking at firms. It will reveal a lot about your character and it is obvious when people are just applying to all the ‘top’ firms.”
  • “For summer associates: What was your favorite law school class and why; why did you choose to be a lawyer; why did you decide to go to X law school; what did you do during your 1L summer, etc.”
  • “Specific details about substantive work listed on the resume [and] questions about the candidates' non work related resume items. Candidates are expected to ask thoughtful questions to the interviewing attorneys.”
  • “How will you add value to the projects you work on at the firm?”

Lateral & Clerk Integration

  • The firm encourages lateral associates to go out to lunch (that the firm will reimburse) with others in the office for the first two or three months after starting at the firm. It's a great way to meet people and get to know what everyone is working on.”
  • I feel like I'm pretty well integrated in the firm even though we had a pandemic and even though I'm a lateral. I have several people I feel comfortable with asking for advice, and I generally feel like I fit in here.”
  • Lot of mentors and support.”


Firm Culture

  • The firm's atmosphere is one of its major draws—essentially without exception, people are welcoming and collegial while still maintaining high expectations of each other.”
  • People get along. Pre-COVID the firm hosted cocktail hours on Thursdays and Fridays with food and drinks, which were fairly well attended. During COVID, the firm has hosted virtual cocktail hours as well as other events. People are kind to each other and friendly. The people are the best part of the firm.”
  • A&P is quite collegial. Everyone gets along well and is respectful to one another. I wouldn't say it's extremely social—people live their lives outside of work—but that's fine by me.”
  • The firm has a close-knit culture and senior attorneys consistently check in with junior attorneys to ensure they are continuing to learn and grow during the virtual operating status due to the pandemic.”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • I have been very pleased with the manner in which partners treat associates. They see us as colleagues, and look for opportunities for us to take the lead. I feel that they generally trust associates to learn and grow to meet the needs of the moment.  It is a good learning environment.”
  • Partners are generally respectful to associates and grateful for their help on cases.  The firm provides training so associates understand the metrics they are evaluated on for performance review and promotion process. There's an annual meeting to discuss the firm's performance overall.”
  • One-on-one, partners are very invested in associates and treat associates as professionals. Management communicates decisions frequently and clearly, but the decision-making process itself is less clear.”
  • I’ve been consistently treated respectfully by partners: They are kind and appreciative of good work.”


  • I've been able to make my workload my own. I think the firm's billable requirements are fair and reasonable, and that I've been able to balance busy times with less busy times effectively. I definitely have flexibility in where and when I work, within reason.”
  • That A&P permits 200 hours of the 2,000 billable threshold to be devoted to non-billable activities, including pro-bono, makes achieving the threshold easier (and more rewarding).”
  • Hours are attainable, but work is not evenly distributed and is unpredictable in terms of time, so it makes it a bit more difficult to plan ahead. Lots of flexibility in terms of where or when you work.”
  • I've enjoyed having say over the types of cases I work on. The amount of work ebbs and flows, and for the most part when I am in a slow period, I am not pressured to take on additional matters.”


  • The firm matches market rates for base compensation and typically matches the market for bonuses. There is an hours requirement for bonus eligibility. Most years there is the opportunity to earn an above-market bonus for those who far exceed the hours requirement.”
  • Many associates were disappointed when the firm did not offer a special pandemic bonus in 2020. The firm redeemed itself by offering special pandemic bonuses in Spring/Fall 2021, with no hours requirement for the Class of 2020 to receive the Spring 2021 special bonus, and with a generous catch-up provision so that people who are on track for their hours at the end of the year can still receive the special bonuses, even if they did not hit the requirements to become eligible for the special bonuses at the relevant 2021 mid-year marks.”
  • Comparable to market in BigLaw.”
  • Of course, I wish that the billable requirement didn't hover over me as much as it does. Other than that, the compensation is fair, and in line with peer firms. It's not something I worry about.”

Quality of Work

  • I spend most of my time on substantive legal work appropriate for a first year, split [between] post-trial/appellate work and pre-trial/trial work. I spend most of my time drafting or revising briefs and memoranda that inform either internal strategic decisions or are sent to the client to inform their decisions. I also spend time drafting discovery documents. I have participated in calls with local counsel, expert witnesses, the clients, and with all partners involved on my matters. I also have shadowed various hearings and appeared in hearings myself for pro bono matters.”
  • I do not have ‘busy work,’ and I primarily do work for someone at my level. I also have opportunities to do more advanced work. For example, as an IP litigation associate in my fourth year, I have in the last few months taken a deposition, drafted two unrelated complaints for patent infringement, and actively participated in multiple client calls.”
  • I am given primary responsibility for important filings [and] depositions and to handle various aspects of the case. I am also a trusted voice in strategic decisions.”
  • I spent the vast majority of my time on substantive work that is appropriate for my level.  Partners are not afraid to give me assignments that may be outside of my comfort zone; in fact, they seem to value identifying opportunities for me to learn new skills.”


  • The firm has been very proactive in adapting to the remote work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. They have adopted several technology initiatives, providing attorneys monitors, standing desks, desk chairs, anti-fatigue mats and other equipment for their home office.”
  • The transition to remote working has been largely seamless. The firm has a suite of technology that has been enormously helpful in the pandemic.”
  • The firm was very good about adopting new platforms (e.g., Zoom) when attorneys and clients requested them. The firm is not necessarily ‘innovative’ in technology but has adopted and disseminated most of the appropriate contemporary hardware and software.”
  • Tech support is extremely helpful.”

Wellness Efforts

  • Meditation every morning since the start of virtual work. The firm just finished Wellness Week and continues to provide programming regarding these issues. The firm provides the app for free (talk to personal coach through live or chat).”
  • There are tons of wellness-related events sponsored by the firm. At least one a week, there's a presentation on some aspect of wellness, such as nutrition, reducing screen time, exercise, healthy work habits, meditation, etc.”
  • We have a whole series called APWell dedicated to making sure all attorneys are supported and have resources to make sure we are staying well and balancing healthy lifestyles.”
  • The guided meditation every morning is amazing.”

Training & Mentoring

  • There are many training and mentoring opportunities. ‘Shadow time’ is provided for associates to have opportunities (e.g., attend hearings, depositions, client meetings) that a client might not want to pay for. Mentors and mentees have budgets for social events.”
  • There are plenty of training exercises based on the class year, such as mock deposition, mock trial, and mock pitch, as well as internal trainings that provide MCLE credit.”
  • There is a formal training program for new associates, that continues throughout their time as associates depending on whether they are mid- or senior-level. We also have three separate formal mentors, who are all really great at checking in with us during our integration. Attorneys on matters are all very willing to provide more explanation and training on various assignments when needed.”
  • I have three mentors at different levels of seniority and an informal mentor with whom I work the most. They are all involved with my development.”

Career Outlook

  • Partnership is a narrow path, but many associates are also promoted to counsel. Exit to government, in-house legal departments, and other firms is a common path as well. Realistic feedback is provided to senior associates and support for exit strategies and career development is readily available.”
  • I feel very, very positive about A&P's support for my and other associates' careers and it was one of the principal reasons I chose the firm in the first place. I have not been disappointed. A&P is very supportive of internal advancement but also realistic and provides career counseling support.  In particular, the partners I work with have been happy to discuss their own public service careers and potential options for me. The confidential career counsel is an amazing resource and a great sounding board.  The firm's recent alumni platform further underscores the firm's commitment to helping associates pursue their professional goals and network.”
  • There appear to be strong exit opportunities.  Since I joined the firm, individuals have gone on to work in roles including in-house counsel for major companies, the DOJ, and public interest legal entities.”
  • I think the firm is supportive of any career choices and allows for any possible career path.”


Pro Bono Commitment

  • Attorneys are encouraged to do at least 20 hours pro bono per year.  A maximum of 200 pro bono hours count towards the 2000 hour credit.  Recently, I've worked on election protection hotline staffing, COVID unemployment benefit counseling, a limited conservatorship, and DACA application.
  • Pro bono is one of the highest priorities and I take pride in our pro bono work. I've assisted a women's health clinic file a memorandum with the Department of Justice, and assisted low-income families seek compensation and proper education during remote learning in New York.”
  • A&P's pro bono is a step above the rest. The opportunities are diverse and plentiful, and they provide associates with meaningful opportunities. I recently argued a Ninth Circuit appeal for one First Amendment pro bono client, and I am on the briefing team for another appeal involving a college athlete whose scholarship was revoked without notice. I anticipate opportunities to argue in the DDC on an environmental APA case this year as well, and I have the possibility for argument in another Sixth Circuit criminal appeal.”
  • Our firm has a storied history of commitment to pro bono, which I am very proud of. Currently, I am working on a pro bono case to force the National Parks Service to create a marine reserve zone, as well as take other conservation measures, in Biscayne National Park. As an avid diver, this issue is near and dear to my heart, so I really appreciate that I have the opportunity to work on a pro bono project I really care about!”

Diversity Efforts

  • Arnold & Porter holds regular Diversity & Inclusion office hours where they discuss specific topics and open the floor for anyone to ask questions.”
  • The firm is pretty diverse in terms of women and LGBTQ+, but still has work to do with race and ethnicity. They have redoubled efforts and have been transparent about it.  There are affinity groups for all of these categories and more. The firm has been sensitive to people's different needs and struggle. …”
  • The firm offers billable credit for diversity-related work/activities, including time spent attending various affinity group programs. There are also a number of initiatives focused on retaining and supporting diversity within attorneys and staff.”
  • I feel very comfortable as an LGBT individual at this firm. I am open to my colleagues, and work with several other LGBT attorneys. They have several LGBT pride related events, and I feel like they are genuinely committed to that.”
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP

601 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: (202) 942-5000

Firm Stats

Chairman: Richard M. Alexander
Hiring Partners: Arthur Luk and Angela Vicari
Total No. Attorneys (2022):
750 - 1K
No. of Partners Named 2024:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

1st year: $ 225,000
2nd year: $235,000
3rd year: $260,000
4th year: $310,000
5th year: $365,000
6th year: $390,000
7th year: $420,000
8th year: $435,000
9th year: $435,000
Summer Associate: $4,327/week

Employment Contact

Amanda Leslie
Firmwide Director of Attorney Recruiting
(202) 942-5717

No. of U.S. Offices: 10

No. of International Offices: 5

Major Office Locations

Boston, MA
Chicago, IL
Denver, CO
Houston, TX
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Newark, NJ
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC I Amsterdam

Major Departments

Appellate Litigation
Corporate & Finance
Financial Services
Government Contracts & National Security
Intellectual Property & Technology
International Arbitration
Labor & Employment
Legislative & Public Policy
Life Sciences & Healthcare Regulatory
Product Liability
Real Estate
Securities Enforcement and Litigation
White Collar Litigation
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.