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Baker Botts L.L.P.

Our Survey Says


Baker Botts hires top candidates with the right personality, using behavioral questions to make this determination. The firm’s culture is collegial and allows associates to form genuine friendships and professional connections. Social events are on the calendar, but not so many that associates can’t prioritize their personal lives. “Respectful” is often used to describe partner/associate relationships, and partners are forthcoming with feedback beyond the annual review process. Associates agree the firm could stand to be more transparent, but there has been improvement, including through monthly firmwide updates. One area that remains opaque is the path to partnership—many see it as a viable career option, but this seems to vary by practice group. Other common paths include transitioning to special counsel or going in-house. Work comes in waves, but associates can generally manage, and they think the 2,000-hour requirement is reasonable. Pay is market, but associates must make hours to receive the bonus payout. Training includes in-house and external programs and a formal mentorship program, but associates also rely on organic relationships with more-senior attorneys. Associates receive substantive work assignments commensurate to their capabilities. The firm encourages pro bono work and offers ample opportunities, but a cap of 200 billable pro bono hours was recently implemented. Working from home has been a smooth experience thanks to a helpful IT department, a technology stipend, and Microsoft Teams. Wellness perks range from in-office treadmill desks to virtual exercise classes. The firm is striving to improve diversity and seeing results—notably, women made up the majority of the most recent partner class.


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

  • “The firm hires a lot from Texas for sure, but they do focus on getting students from all across the country. The firm looks at people who they believe can do good work, which I think is awesome. They don't just look for the credentials or a warm body, they truly try to find quality candidates who will fit in at the firm.”
  • “The firm looks first for good grades and school ranking. The firm does not require but looks at candidates with journal experience or a clerkship positively. Diversity is a consideration and the firm has a stated commitment to diversity. Generally speaking, what gets a qualified candidate across the line is fit. The firm's culture is very collegial and friendly, and we value other attorneys who are committed to the work but also to the firm culture. If a candidate looks good on paper, but does not fit with the firm culture, they will likely be less likely to be offered a position.”
  • “We are looking for candidates that have solid grades, are well rounded, and would fit in at the firm. Personality, diversity, and prior work experience are particularly important for certain sections, such as IP. As for feeder schools, we frequently hire from UT, Duke, and Vanderbilt. Every interviewer is given a binder with guidelines to follow, behavioral questions to ask, and stats about the various offices.”

Interview Questions

  • “[We have a] new interview structure where both behavioral and informal questions are asked. It used to just be informal questions about law school, prior work experience, sports, hobbies, interests, etc.”
  • “Why Baker Botts? How did you learn about the firm? What drew you to a particular practice area? How do you handle conflicts with those who have different opinions? What was your favorite law school class?”
  • “They asked a lot about the work I had done in the past and about me personally.”
  • “The firm is engaged in behavioral-based interviewing. So we ask questions about things like a demonstrated commitment to excellence, dedication, work ethic, etc.”


Firm Culture

  • “I have found lifelong friends and mentors within the firm. I think that the firm does a good job of setting up firm-sponsored social events and fosters a collegial culture. The culture at the firm was one of the main reasons that I chose to work at Baker Botts. I enjoy being surrounded by passionate, funny, and respectful people.”
  • “The firm is very friendly, but it is not generally a happy-hour culture. People go to firm events like the holiday party, but there [are fewer] casual happy hours, largely because people have families and outside social lives. That being said, everyone is very social at the events—people are super fun to hang with.”
  • “The firm's lawyers are very collegial and get along well. People are generally respectful of your time and have a positive attitude. Some colleagues spend more time together outside of the office than others, but there is no pressure to be overly social.”
  • “It's a very congenial atmosphere. We regularly have group meetings and, since quarantine, have regularly had meetings to check in with everyone (both firm motivated and individually motivated).”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “The partners that I work with treat me with the utmost level of respect, and I enjoy working with them. All of the partners that I work with care about taking the time to teach me how to be a good attorney, and I have appreciated this mentorship. I do think that the firm leadership could be more transparent about some decisions that are made within the firm.”
  • “Formal reviews occur annually; informal feedback occurs throughout. Associates and partners work together with mutual respect.”
  • “Partners repeatedly emphasize that they want to hear from associates and make their lives as easy as possible (while still getting the work done). Firm transparency has improved dramatically from several years ago, with partners disclosing firm performance in monthly update calls.”
  • “The partners have only treated me with complete respect, and I hold them in high regard as lawyers and as people.”


  • “My work is evenly distributed for the most part, with some busy and non-busy periods due to litigation. Even before the pandemic, the firm was flexible about working from home.”
  • “BigLaw generally is ebb and flow, and Baker Botts is no different. Sometimes I am drowning in work, [and] sometimes I am light. But when it comes to being overworked, I think you really can keep it under control so long as you set healthy boundaries. People tend to respect that rather than hold it against you.”
  • “I'm very happy with my work load. While I do occasionally need to work late or on the weekends, it is not an unreasonable demand.”
  • “Billable-hour requirement is 2,000 hours, which is normal and shouldn't be hard to reach if you're staying on top of asking for work and doing the type of non-client work that counts toward our hours. First-year associates can face a ramp-up time where getting work can be a bit slow or can come in waves, but once staffed on more longer-term projects, it balances out more.”


  • “Competitive with all BigLaw firms.”
  • “My salary and clerkship bonus have all been at market for NY.”
  • “Bonuses [are] directly tied to meeting 2,000 hours annually. I have not met this number in a few years and felt it was entirely fair that my compensation was limited to annual salary without bonus as a result. This is an anticipated tradeoff for not having an around-the-clock workload.”
  • “While I would have preferred not to receive a temporary cut during the pandemic, it allowed the firm to keep others' jobs, so it worked out. I also received an interim bonus for my work during the pandemic (two periods of bonuses were issued, in addition to the regular year-end bonus). I did not meet my year-end billable-hours bonus requirement (2,000 hours) but didn't face any repercussions other than not receiving the bonus. “

Quality of Work

  • “The vast majority of my work is challenging and substantive. Associates are not given work necessarily based on their lockstep year, but given work that they are capable of. The assignment system is very much merit based.”
  • “I do a lot of substantive legal work, including drafting a variety of motions (e.g., summary judgment, motions to dismiss, motions to transfer), pleadings, and briefs. I think that I am constantly being encouraged to take on more responsibility at a pace that is comfortable to me.”
  • “Because of department size, I have done a broad spectrum of work since starting. As a fourth year, I still do occasional document review, but continue to work on case strategy, drafting, etc. [I] have taken depositions.”
  • “Most of my time is spent on substantive legal work. As the only senior associate in our group, I am expected to take the rowing oar on many of our projects and shepherd them through to completion. My work is very substantive.”

Technology & Innovation

  • “Our technology has been great during work from home. I've had very few issues with our platform or document retention system, and the IT department is amazing, personable, and always there to help. The few times I have needed something at odd hours, our team always makes it happen. We were given a stipend to get the technology we needed during the pandemic, which allowed me to put together an office in my home.”
  • “We use [Microsoft] Teams to communicate, and this has enabled us all to be connected at all times during the day. It allows for questions to be answered quickly and saves a lot of time. Overall, it seems everybody has adapted to remote working very well. No complaints.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “The firm has several wellness initiatives, including counseling, meditation, and exercise—some of which were implemented in response to the pandemic. Every floor in the office has a treadmill desk. We also receive a monthly wellness newsletter with cooking ideas and other useful information.”
  • “We have a wellness group that sends out information. During the pandemic the firm had yoga and Zumba classes online for lawyers and staff. The partners are also very supportive if an attorney has medical issues that need to be addressed.”
  • “There have been events to help bring attention to mental health during the pandemic.”

Training & Mentoring

  • “Every associate is assigned a formal partner mentor and assigned to a mentorship group with several other attorneys, and the firm encourages quarterly meetings. There are many opportunities for training, including NITA.”
  • “This comes case by case. There is a formal process for mentorship and development, but most of my colleagues and I take more advantage of informal mentorship with partners of our choosing.”
  • “The firm assigns mentors to new associates, in addition to any mentors an associate creates for themselves among the partners or their peers. There are funds available for things like networking lunches and for meeting with your mentors and peers for drinks to incentivize doing so. The firm outlines what type of skills an associate at each level should have, both in terms of legal experience and things like business development, and offers trainings for a variety of skills.”
  • “There is a large gallery of professional training that the PD team puts together. This is especially important in my field where there is a large learning curve. Informally, partners do a good job of explaining issues when you are being assigned a new project.”

Career Outlook

  • “I think that it is taking a little longer to make partner here than it did a few years ago. It seems like a lot of senior associates in some groups have been waiting at the senior associate level for a couple years. Other practice areas within the firm have associates make partner more quickly.”
  • “It looks like the opportunity to make partner is realistic, especially compared to other firms in the area. Often, senior associates can also transition into a special counsel role. There have been numerous associates who have left to work in house for a client as well, so that opportunity is still there. …”
  • “Promotion to partnership is realistic for those that would like to make partner. There is not an expectation that new partners have a book of business, but instead the potential to grow a book of business. It is becoming more common for associates to transition into the Special Counsel role. The firm sometimes helps associates find in-house opportunities. The partnership process is a bit of a black box, and most associates don't know what exactly the firm considers when choosing partners in any given year.”


Pro Bono Commitment

  • “The firm has always valued pro bono work. It recently removed the unlimited pro bono hours credit towards billable hours credit and now provides 200 hours of billable credit for pro bono projects. The firm has recently aligned with the Promise of Justice Initiative and the Access to Justice Initiative, which provide legal counsel to prisoners in Louisiana.”
  • “Pro bono is a big part of Baker Botts in the Houston office. In addition, many of the partners serve on the local bar organizations to give back to the community. Baker Botts was a leading firm in responding to Hurricane Harvey and the recent Texas freeze.”
  • “The firm was very committed to pro bono work, but recently instituted a cap on pro bono hours. Still, however, associates are very encouraged to take on pro bono projects. I have always had two-to-three pro bono projects going along with my other work, and partners and senior associates provide just as good of mentorship for pro bono work as they do for billable work.”

Diversity Efforts

  • “Baker Botts has taken extensive measures to diversify its attorneys and staff and ensure that everyone is treated equally. I am very proud of how far we've come.”
  • “Diversity is one of the firm's biggest initiatives. Most of the new partners this year (in the U.S.) were women.”
  • “Our firm has affinity groups for all types of underrepresented groups. We have a diversity coordinator who pushes for diversity in hiring. I think our firm does a good job of attempting to bring about diversity in the firm.”
Baker Botts L.L.P.

910 Louisiana Street
Houston, TX 77002-4995
Phone: (713) 229-1234

Firm Stats

Managing Partner: John Martin
Recruiting Chairs: Andrea Stover (Austin), Susan Kennedy (Dallas), Will Lavery (DC), Natasha Khan (Houston), Andrew Lankler (New York), David Wu (Palo Alto), Jeremy Taylor (San Francisco)
Total No. Attorneys (2021):
500 - 750
No. of Partners Named 2022:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

1st year: $215,000

No. of U.S. Offices: 7

No. of International Offices: 4

Major Office Locations

Austin, TX
Dallas, TX
Houston, TX
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC I Brussels
Riyadh (associate firm)

Major Departments

Global Projects
Intellectual Property
Real Estate & Construction
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.