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Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Our Survey Says



Cadwalader takes academics, experience, and personality into consideration during the interview process. Associates describe the culture here as collegial, and the firm sponsors a number of social events to foster relationships. Partners are respectful of associates and are transparent when it comes to individual performance and feedback. Transparency into firmwide performance and decision-making, however, has fallen short at times. Associates report they are busy, and many work long hours, but it comes with much-appreciated flexibility. Associates can count 100 “qualified non-billable” hours toward the 2,000-billable-hour requirement, though some wish it was more. Compensation is top of market, but some associates gripe that recent special bonuses were contingent on billables. Associates are pleased with the quality of work they receive—if they show they can handle it, they are given the assignment. The firm offers training on both a firmwide and practice-group basis. Associates also value the mentorship they receive, which the firm supports through financial incentives to encourage strong, ongoing relationships. There are mixed opinions on how likely partnership is for most, but there are a variety of non-partner positions and options beyond the firm for those who seek government or in-house roles. The firm experienced a smooth transition to remote working with the technology it had in place. Wellness offerings include perks such as meditation classes, but some associates would like even more mental health support. There is a plethora of pro bono work available—the firm’s Manager of Pro Bono, Annie Mohan, receives multiple shout-outs for her dedication. The firm has room to grow when it comes to diversity but is actively making efforts through affinity groups, programming, and billable credit for diversity-related activities.


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 is looking for candidates with strong academic backgrounds who also have experience working on teams, managing competing demands, etc. Diversity is a strong focus.”
  • “Schools, fit, and diversity are all considerations.”
  • “We seek top-notch candidates at all levels, with training (including anti-bias training) for anyone who will interview candidates.”
  • “We typically go for top candidates at local NY schools and candidates from the top law schools in the country. We receive training for the interview process. I think they do a good job.”

Interview Questions

  • “General background questions and questions relating to interest at the firm.”
  • “Why Cadwalader?”
  • “What type of work are you looking to do as an attorney? What are some examples of some of the more challenging work or an example of a time where you had to work very hard in the past?”
  • “In addition to traditional interview questions, we are encouraged to ask substantive questions about situations where a candidate has had a team conflict and resolved it, changed directions quickly on a project, had too much work to get done in a given timeframe, etc.”

Lateral & Clerk Integration

  • “I was welcomed into the office straight away. Everyone was collegial and helpful from the get-go. Tough to assess because we were all working from home within six months of my joining the firm, but I appreciated how I was received.”
  • “My firm set up individual, one-on-one training sessions with about a dozen fellow associates within the lateral's practice group.”


Firm Culture

  • “The culture is strong. People genuinely like working with each other and socializing outside of work.”
  • “The firm sponsors both educational and social events. The affinity groups sponsor events and coffee hours, and associates take it upon themselves to organize small group get-togethers for informal gatherings.”
  • “When we're all in the office, we're a collegial group. For as hard charging as we are, we do make a point of socializing, both at planned events and spontaneously in the halls. During the pandemic, the firm has done a number of fun social activities over WebEx where partners and associates with unique talents have a chance to entertain and teach.”
  • “The Charlotte office has monthly social events (prior to the pandemic), and each lawyer is provided with $250 per quarter to spend on social/mentoring events with their mentors.”

   From the Firm: This budget is applicable in every Cadwalader office.

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “The associate/partner relationships are very productive and collaborative. Every matter feels like a true team led by a partner who cares about the associate. It is important to the partners not only that the associates do good work, but [that they] have a good experience and learn as they go. I feel comfortable reaching out to partners directly.”
  • “Partners, at least in my practice group, have been great and look out for the associates as much as they are able to do so. Transparency of firm performance and finances could be better, but performance reviews are conducted at least annually if not more often, with partners and senior associates regularly available to answer questions and provide feedback when requested.”
  • “Partner/associate relations are generally good. Partnership was not transparent during work-from-home and [the firm has] acknowledged their shortcomings. Could have communicated plans and thought process better but has owned that fact.”
  • “Partners interact well with associates, but often decision making on the management level is a black box.”


  • “I am given a lot of work, but not more than I can handle. I work with a great team that balances everyone's obligations well.”
  • “We definitely have flexibility. The hours are unpredictable though, and that is tough to get used to.”
  • “Never felt like I've had more work than was possible to complete.”
  • “When things aren't super busy, there is a lot of flexibility, and everyone respects outside commitments. However, we can only count 100 qualified non-billables towards the 2,000-hour requirement, and that includes pro bono, diversity initiatives, training, recruiting, and mentoring. Many of us hit the 100 [hours] in the first quarter.”


  • “Well compensated, especially in secondary market.”
  • “Compensation amount is market; however, [it] comes with certain caveats and eligibility requirements that some people were not happy about.”
  • “Many associates, myself included, were frustrated when the firm chose not to give full market COVID bonuses. They reason for doing so wasn't really explained and we felt the firm was not transparent about the decision at all.”
  • “Associates can make an extra 20% of their end-of-year bonus if they bill 2,200 hours (normal bonus is awarded at 2,000 hours, or 1,900 hours + 100 hours of qualified non-billable hours).”

 Quality of Work

  • “I get to run my own deals and interface with clients directly. It's the best part of my job.”
  • “Most of my time is spent on substantive legal work. We have a lean team, and everyone needs to be both client facing and turning work product constantly. I am challenged to work above my level, but I have learned more than I think I would with a slower growth progression.”
  • “My firm will give associates as much responsibility for larger and larger assignments as they demonstrate they can handle. I regularly am given the opportunity to run deals for multi-billion-dollar credit facilities because the partners in my practice group have come to recognize that I can do the work. And I'm not alone—all associates at my class-year level have the same opportunity.”
  • “Draft motions, prepare depositions, second/third-level doc review. Very satisfied with [my] work and know it exceeds the kind of work I should be doing at my year level.”

Technology & Innovation

  • “The firm has adapted to working remotely, but I don't know that anything about the platforms has changed. We now have video meetings, but everything else on the computer is pretty much the same as working in the office.”
  • “We have been able to work from home as seamlessly as one could expect given the pandemic.”
  • “Excellent tech resources (e.g., automated drafting tools; document comparison software; document organization/retrieval programs). Compared to documents we receive from other firms, we seem to have better technological resources than most.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “The firm regularly hosts virtual wellness events.”
  • “Meditation class offered. Open-door meetings with attorney development weekly.”
  • “General concern for mental health, but can do more to encourage attorney care to avoid burnout.”

Training & Mentoring

  • “I have both an associate mentor and a partner mentor with whom I communicate regularly. There are billing codes for mentorship so you don't feel like you're wasting associate/partner time. and mentors are allotted spending money for these meetings.”
  • “My practice group has weekly and biweekly training meetings and biweekly training sessions on specific areas of our practice. The training sessions are video recorded so they can be reviewed again in the future. All new associate and staff attorney hires receive one-on-one training sessions with about a dozen of their peers. We receive a quarterly mentorship budget to schedule mentorship activities with our mentors/mentees.”
  • “Trainings occur regularly, both firmwide and more focused on our practice group. New attorneys have been able to integrate into the team, in spite of working remotely, due to formal and informal training.”
  • “Senior associates are amazing at explaining assignments and helping new hires in getting acquainted.”

 Career Outlook

  • “Yes, promotion is completely realistic for those at my firm who would like to make partner and are willing to make it happen. Other non-partner roles include counsel, special counsel, and senior attorney positions. Exit opportunities for associates at my firm are incredibly broad. The partnership process is clear cut and transparent for those who seek that opportunity.”
  • “Most associates do not realistically see a path to partnership, and in litigation, they focus on finding exit opportunities in government, in-house, or in non-legal industry business opportunities.”
  • “The partnership process seems pretty clear, but how attainable it is remains to be seen. There's been a lot of lateral hiring of partners, so unsure how this will affect rising class years.”


Pro Bono Commitment

  • “Our pro bono coordinator is phenomenal—dedicated, kind, organized, and completely on top of things. Our firm encourages pro bono and respects pro bono commitments, but, because of the hours requirement, most pro bono work must be done on our own time, which acts as a disincentive.”
  • “Annie Mohan [Manager of Pro Bono] does an incredible job at making sure we have plenty of diverse pro bono opportunities. The firm's commitment to immigration pro bono, through the Immigration Clinic, should also be applauded.”
  • “The firm does encourage us to do pro bono work and highlights lawyers who do pro bono work. I have worked on name changes for transgender individuals, asylum cases, and counseling small businesses. Pro bono activities do count towards our allocation of ‘qualified non-billable’ hours.”
  • “The firm actively encourages associates to participate, and there is a strong core of attorneys dedicated to helping with pro bono work.”

 Diversity Efforts

  • “My firm clearly cares very deeply about diversity in all of the listed areas. My firm places a major priority on hiring, retaining, and promoting diverse candidates. They even offer ‘qualified non-billable’ credit for diversity-related activities that allows associates to qualify for bonuses.”
  • “The firm places a large emphasis on the importance of diversity.”
  • “Affinity groups are an active part of the firm. However, like almost all BigLaw firms, there is a disproportionate lack of minority partners.”
  • “The firm does have a lot of programming and is very conscious of the diversity within the firm. We have a very dedicated team, but unclear to what extent programming is effective in addressing these issues within the firm.”
  • “The firm places a large emphasis on the importance of diversity.”
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281
Phone: (212) 504-6000

Firm Stats

Managing Partner: Patrick Quinn
Hiring Partners: Henry A. LaBrun (Charlotte); Lisa J. Pauquette (New York); Jodi L. Avergun (Washington, DC)
Total No. Attorneys (2022):
250 - 500
No. of Partners Named 2022:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

Class of 2021: $215,000
Class of 2020: $225,000
Class of 2019: $250,000
Class of 2018: $295,000
Class of 2017: $345,000
Class of 2016: $370,000
Class of 2015: $400,000
Class of 2014: $415,000
Class of 2013+: $425,000
Summer Associate: $3,942/week

Employment Contact

Tara Conlon
Director of Legal Recruitment
(212) 993-2929
General Recruiting Email:

No. of U.S. Offices: 3

No. of International Offices: 2

Major Office Locations

Charlotte, NC
New York, NY (HQ)
Washington, DC I London

Major Departments

Capital Markets
Derivatives & Structured Products
Executive Compensation, Benefits & ERISA
Financial Regulation
Financial Restructuring
Financial Services
Fund Finance
Insurance and Reinsurance
Intellectual Property
Investment Management
Private Wealth
Real Estate
Securitization & Asset Based Finance
White Collar Defense and Investigations
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.