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Holland & Knight LLP

Our Survey Says


Holland & Knight values top academic credentials but balances law school and GPA with experience, work ethic, and personality fit. “Collegiality” is more than a cultural buzzword here: Associates consider co-workers to be friends; are treated well by partners; and socialize often, including virtually during the pandemic. Regular meetings keep attorneys apprised of firm financials, and while the survey reflected gripes about lack of transparency into compensation, the firm has since moved to a lockstep pay scale in all of its U.S. offices. Bonuses are discretionary and tied to billables and other factors, such as collections. The billable-hour requirement is 1,900 hours, which most associates feel is reasonable. Work is substantive and often challenges associates beyond their level, but partners are there to provide guidance and feedback. Additional training is available, although the onus is on associates to take advantage—most learning happens on the job. Associates have differing thoughts as to how clear the partnership process is, but they agree it is a realistic option. Although the transition to remote work was fairly seamless, associates wish they had received more financial support to get set up at home. Wellness initiatives are available, but they don’t seem to be the top priority. Pro bono work is a critical part of the culture—the firm expects at least 50 hours each year—and the firm is especially well known for its work with veterans. Diversity is an ongoing work in progress, but initiatives for women have been especially successful, such as the firm’s “Rising Stars” program.


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

  • “Our firm heavily focuses on culture and fit. The firm prides itself on having a different culture than other large law firms. In addition, we are looking for individuals who are hard workers and who don't shy away from being challenged.”
  • “The firm is generally open to regional law schools but also has a preference for [the] T14.”
  • “I am unsure of the training or guidelines for those that make the hiring decisions. I think this differs office to office, but at my office I would say GPA, personality, and experience matter the most.”
  • “… The firm looks for candidates who are well rounded. I was not the best academic candidate, but my work history in a similar firm in a niche practice area was a huge selling point. They look past just a GPA and look also at your life experience and how you will fit in at the firm and what perspectives you can bring.”

Interview Questions

  • “The firm asks candidates questions about their experience and gets to know the person as an individual and their expectations. I was not asked any hypothetical or situational questions during my interviews.”
  • “What was your biggest mistake and how did you handle it?”
  • “One of the top questions we ask is: ‘Describe an assignment of which you had full control over. How did you manage it, and what did you learn about yourself from that experience?’"
  • “We are told to ask about their past experiences to try to gauge their personality traits.”

Lateral & Clerk Integration

  • “The firm's human resources group is top notch.”
  • “New hire orientation [is] similar to first-year orientation.”
  • “I came over with a large group of individuals (we all came from another firm together to open Holland & Knight's Philadelphia office), so I was a bit siloed with that group for a while, but now I feel fully integrated into the firm.”


Firm Culture

  • “My colleagues are some of my closest friends. I respect them as lawyers and enjoy spending time with them after hours. Day-to-day atmosphere is fun and collegial. The staff and attorneys mix well.”
  • “The firm is remarkably collegial. Partners and associates interact much like peers, and associate input and suggestions are valued and taken seriously. In some ways, this puts a lot of responsibility on associates to be real contributors from an early stage, but it is a nice environment.”
  • “Associates meet monthly, and because of COVID, we've been doing video conferences with associates in other offices. The Chicago office managing partner hosts bi-weekly optional video conference meetings to keep us all in the loop on what's going on, and it's nice to see people on those calls. Partners are pleasant to work with and respectful.”
  • “Lawyers frequently socialize together. The associates are very close. The firm has an after-hours event probably every month or so. The day-to-day atmosphere is focused but still light. There are also people stopping by your office to chat.”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “From my experience, partners value the associates and our contribution. The partners I work for value me and my opinions and input. They want associates to grow and be better attorneys. I think they are invested in our careers and see our potential.”
  • “The partners that I work with are invested in me as an attorney and provide me with feedback about my work on a regular basis. The firm has monthly associate meetings to inform associates about the firm's state of affairs.”
  • “During the last year, the firm has made a concerted effort to inform associates about the firm's finances and financial decisions in a transparent manner.”
  • “The partners all are extremely respectful of associates and interested in associates' professional development. Reviews are done by each partner, synthesized and delivered to us by our PGL [practice group leader] (with identities of partners anonymized). We have reviews once a year. The process of determining compensation is not very transparent.”


  • “I think for a ‘BigLaw’ firm, our billable-hour requirement is on par with other firms. I think expectations are manageable and work is evenly distributed.”
  • “Work is allocated on a free-market system. This can result in some people shouldering more of the load than others. The firm is pretty flexible on how and when you work, but that can in some ways make it hard to carve out any real down time.”
  • “I certainly have the flexibility I need to work when it makes the most sense for me and my family, but I work a lot—too much sometimes.”
  • “… We have a billable hour requirement of 1,900, which is doable, and we are not expected to go too far over it.”


  • “Compensation rewards those who put in time and effort for billables and firm activities. Recent special bonuses were a pleasant surprise.”
  • “Holland & Knight fairly compensates its employees.”
  • “I am happy with my compensation and my bonus, although I realize that the bonus opportunity is very small here compared with other firms like Cravath, etc. I am willing to accept lower compensation because of the atmosphere here and how I am treated and valued.”
  • “Compensation is in bracket form depending on your level. Bonuses are subjective, where billable hours are a component. That said, I think that the firm appreciates and prefers quality over quantity.”

From the Firm: The firm recently moved to a market-competitive lockstep pay scale for all U.S. associates.

Quality of Work

  • “From day one, I have been working on substantive assignments and progressively have been given more day-to-day supervisory and management responsibilities. It is a steep, but rewarding, learning curve.”
  • “I spend most of my time on substantive legal work at or above my level. When I am working on a task that is above my level, a partner is always ready to assist and provide feedback.”
  • “Most of my time is spent drafting various regulatory voluntary disclosures, responses to administrative subpoenas, responses to examination reports issued by regulators, and memorandums of law on various regulatory issues to clients. I feel that the work assigned to me is appropriate.”
  • “Yes, I work on substantive legal work and feel very good about the varied assignments that I receive. I do a lot of document review because I am still the lowest associate on the totem pole (besides staff attorneys), but I also draft a lot of motions to dismiss, motions for summary judgment, and other substantive briefs that require real thought and argument. I also handle more communications now with opposing counsel and the clients, and cover smaller hearings and depositions.”


  • “Our technology is good, although not without issues from time to time. In general, the firm has adapted seamlessly to remote working.”
  • “The firm has been very accommodating and responsive with respect to IT issues while working remotely, which has made performing work tasks so much easier.”
  • “More support for remote work could be provided—associates are provided with a laptop and are expected to procure other equipment for WFH using their own funds.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “The firm routinely hands out opportunities to keep up physical wellness and mental wellness, whether through apps, paid programs, or simply checking in from time to time.”
  • “We do have some wellness initiatives, but I am not sure how well attended they are.”
  • “The firm encouraged mental health days, vacations, and being generally mindful to our health during the pandemic. We were made a priority and the firm was understanding that the pandemic would affect our efficiency for obvious and less obvious reasons.”

Training & Mentoring

  • “Formal training was provided through the firm when I first started, and from there, the partners put on a few training sessions for the new associates. …”
  • “There is little formal training that goes on. It is pretty much a learn-on-the-fly environment.”
  • “The firm has a formal mentorship program whereby the associate is given a peer mentor and a partner mentor. In addition, the associates develop informal mentors with the partners that they work with.”
  • “Programs are in place, but it's more of an ask for what you want and need type firm. All of the resources that you could need are available.”

Career Outlook

  • “The partnership process is clear, and most partners are happy to discuss it with you and the steps you should take to be a good candidate. We also offer non-partner positions.”
  • “Partnership is expected and encouraged; however, senior counsel positions are also an option. We do have career coaches at the firm to aid about exit opportunities.”
  • “… Partnership is realistic with hard work, strong hours, and strong collections.”
  • “I think the firm expects associates to stay and try to make partner. I think partnership is a possibility for me if I continue on the same path. I also think exit opportunities to go in-house are good.”


Pro Bono Commitment

  • “The firm is committed to pro bono work and consistently pushes us to engage in pro bono work. 100 hours of pro bono work count towards our billable hours. Recently, I have worked on a few pro bono projects, including working the election protection hotline and the census hotline.”
  • “We have the most effective and noteworthy pro bono affairs in the veterans’ sector. We have a mandatory 50[-hour]-billable minimum for partners and associates, and upwards of 100 creditable pro bono hours total. Pro bono is widely encouraged at my firm and it's integral to our firm culture.”
  • “We have required hours and a regular mailing goes around with opportunities. I had zero experience in the current project I am working on, but the supervising partners have done an awesome job helping me learn and feel as though I am contributing.”

Diversity Efforts

  • “The firm makes serious efforts and has since I joined. They've impressed me immensely with their candor about needing to do better and then actually doing it. I believe this firm will ultimately become a leader in diversity issues.”
  • “The firm is very focused on diversity, and we have several different affinity groups. Unfortunately, we do not receive billable credit for diversity-related work activities.”
  • “The firm is flexible with child care and parental leave. I feel they provide strong mentoring opportunities and are very supportive of diversity and inclusion.”
  • “The firm has a Diversity Initiative and has made efforts to improve its diversity. There is a Rising Stars program for women at the firm, as well.”
Holland & Knight LLP

Phone: (305) 374-8500

Firm Stats

Managing Partner: Steven Sonberg
Firmwide Professional Growth & Development Partners: Deborah Barnard & Tiffani Lee
Total No. Attorneys (2022):
1.5K - 2K
No. of Partners Named 2022:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

Base Salary (2022)* 1st year: $215,000 2nd year: $225,000 3rd year: $250,000 4th year: $295,000 5th year: $345,000 6th year: $370,000 7th year: $400,000 8th year: $415,000 Summer Associate: $3,940/weekly salary *for offices except Jacksonville, Orlando, Portland, Richmond, Tallahassee, and Tampa

Employment Contact

No. of U.S. Offices: 26

No. of International Offices: 5

Major Office Locations

Atlanta, GA
Austin, TX
Boston, MA
Charlotte, NC
Chicago, IL
Dallas, TX
Denver, CO
Fort Lauderdale, FL
Fort Worth, TX
Houston, TX
Jacksonville, FL
Los Angeles, CA
Miami, FL
New York, NY
Orange County, CA
Orlando, FL
Philadelphia, PA
Portland, OR
Richmond, VA
San Francisco, CA
Stamford, CT
Tallahassee, FL
Tampa, FL
Tysons, VA
Washington, DC
West Palm Beach, FL | Algiers
Mexico City

Major Departments

Real Estate
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.