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Nossaman LLP

Our Survey Says



If you take yourself too seriously, Nossaman might not be the fit for you—in addition to a strong resume and prior work history, a sense of humor is a trait the firm seeks. The firm’s culture is collegial and friendly, but not much socializing takes place outside of firm-sponsored events, as attorneys tend to allocate free time to family and personal lives. Associates feel respected by partners and are generally kept in the loop—associate representatives attend Executive Committee meetings, and firm finances are circulated to everyone regularly. But associates wish they had more insight into the promotion process and bonuses. Although work ebbs and flows, associates seem satisfied with their hours, especially since they are given ample flexibility when it comes to when and where it gets done. Nossaman’s compensation structure implements salary bands, rather than a lockstep system. Associates diverge in their opinions on compensation, with some finding it appropriate for their hour requirement, and others feeling it is below peer firms. For the most part, assignments are substantive and adequately varied. While there are some opportunities for training, there is more of an independent, “sink or swim” mentality at the firm. Many feel the path the partnership is plausible, but for those who seek out other opportunities, associates report that plenty have successfully transitioned to in-house or government gigs. Associates give the firm high marks when it comes to diversity, and report that many recent promotions have been women and other minorities.


The below associate quotes are derived from Vault's Annual Associate survey, which took place from late January 2020 to early April 2020.


Hiring Process

  • “The firm looks for highly intelligent lawyers from top-tier schools, but a key factor is the ‘Nossaman personality’—everyone here is friendly and easy to get along with, and a sense of humor is key.”
  • “Nossaman values prior work experience over more arbitrary measures like grades or journal experience. Personality is also key. Nossaman likes to hire entrepreneurial go-getters that don't take themselves too seriously.”
  • “For the Infrastructure group, credentials/academic background appear important. I have not seen anyone hired who does not either have great academic credentials, BigLaw experience or both. This may vary with other groups.”
  • “The firm tends to put great weight in the experience that someone has and rarely [hires] directly out of law school. They are looking for knowledge and experience working in particular industries that we have practice groups focused on.”

Lateral & Clerk Integration

  • “The firm's annual retreat took place six weeks before I was scheduled to join. Rather than have me wait nearly a year for the next retreat before I could meet my new colleagues in person, the firm flew me to California at their expense to meet my soon-to-be colleagues before I had even officially begun. At the retreat's closing dinner, I was seated next to my practice group leader so that we could discuss integrating me into the practice group and identify opportunities for both professional and business development. This speaks volumes about the firm's commitment to lateral and clerk integration and is far above any efforts I've heard of by any other firm.”
  • “I was brought in and integrated with the firm pretty smoothly. The firm is very welcoming for new people.”


Firm Culture

  • “The attorneys seem to generally enjoy each other; however, folks do not tend to socialize outside of the office for non-firm sponsored events. The firm does have monthly celebrations and other special events that seem to be well-attended. All attorneys and policy advisors are invited to the firm-wide retreat which is a great way to get to know people across offices.”
  • “The firm's culture is professional. The partners are friendly, helpful, and intuitive. Everyone has high standards for work ethic. They're also very understanding with personal issues and [are] pretty compassionate folks. They're nice people all around.”
  • “Attorneys socialize within their offices regularly and there is an annual firmwide retreat to a resort location. The culture is open and welcoming.”
  • “Friendly colleagues that I enjoy working with. Lawyers do not socialize together outside of work often; everyone seems to have a family and the culture seems to promote spending time with them where possible.”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “Associate/partner relations are generally collegial and open. The firm is very open with its policies and has an associate representative at every meeting of the Executive Committee, who reports back to associates on the firm's management. Firm finances are available to every associate and are reported regularly both firmwide and by practice group. Performance reviews are done annually by every partner who has worked with an associate for more than 20 hours according to a defined rubric. Transparency with respect to promotion to partner could be better, but this is a process that is in the midst of being revised and as a result the policy is not finalized yet, which accounts for some of the lack of transparency.”
  • “The associate/partner relations are good. I feel respected as a new associate and that the partners, I believe, want to see me succeed in the profession and for the firm. They are very open to letting me know on what parts of a brief, strategy, or trial skill that I could do better on. The firm is very transparent with finances. We receive a daily cash report via email.”
  • “In general, partners are invested in associates, treat them well, and want to see them proceed.  The firm could be more transparent on the associate bonus program.  Review are conducted annually.”
  • “Associates are generally treated well. The firm has a mentorship program, which entails a monthly outing with a partner/mentor. The Infrastructure group is transparent in finances, performance, etc. It holds monthly practice group meetings, where everyone's billable hours and the practice group's financial performance are shared. Associates are able to participate in ‘pursuits’ calls where business development efforts are discussed.”


  • “I feel like the work hours are reasonable, and I am able to get more hours easily if I wanted to. The technology, firm culture, and supervisors allow me to be very flexible with respect to where and when I work. The nature of my practice is very cyclical, so there are slow and busy periods that are predictable.”
  • “Every so often there is a really slow week, or there are times when I'm given a time-consuming non-billable assignment, which is frustrating, but for the most part, I'm happy with the amount of billable work I get. I have a lot of flexibility in my hours. I don't feel too much pressure to meet my billable requirement, which would be impossible because I don't get enough work to meet it. I feel like I'm given just the right amount of work.”
  • “I think I'm given a manageable amount of work. The work flow is fairly flexible, but can be unpredictable at times.”
  • “1,850 hours is the target. 100 hours of pro bono may count to that. Business development does not count. Some amount of training for junior associates counts. If you don't meet it, you are not eligible for a bonus barring extraordinary contributions to the firm.”


  • “Compensation is completely appropriate given the market and billable-hour target. Bonuses are set at a percentage of total compensation, plus a discretionary bonus add-on. Because compensation is not lockstep, but rather in bands, there is a black box surrounding what other associates are paid.”
  • “I have deliberately chosen a smaller firm with a lower billable-hours requirement and slightly below-market salary for associates in order to achieve a reasonable work-life balance. I am very satisfied with my choice.”
  • “The firm's compensation is below that of comparable peer firms, with a particular discrepancy at the more senior associate levels. The firm has a bonus structure that offers small bonus in comparison to peer firms. ...”

Quality of Work

  • “I am in control of my destiny work-wise. I am able to solicit work from partners across practice groups as I desire. Right now, I'm working in real estate, IP, and health care. I don't know of other firms that allow litigation associates to touch so many distinct practice areas.”
  • “Yes, for the most part I spend my time on substantive legal work appropriate for my level. And if partners do need me to do something ‘below my level,’ they are usually very apologetic. I work on a mix of transactional and litigation matters.”
  • “As with many midsize firms, work assignments can range from too low level to too complex.”
  • “I enjoy the substantive work I do and feel that it is appropriate for my level. At this stage, I am doing work similar to a junior partner in managing a case and drafting very substantive pleadings.”

Training & Mentoring

  • “Plentiful IT training. Some business development training for associates, which appears to be getting better.  Would like to see more mentoring/sponsorship options for associates before consideration of partnership.”
  • “Sink or swim.”
  • “I came in as a more senior associate, so I was not provided much training, nor did I expect much training. [The] firm is working on providing more mentorship for advancement to partner.”
  • “There are several opportunities to participate in and get the firm to pay for different trainings, both form and informal. Though the firm is not great at promoting these opportunities, the firm rarely declines an associates request to participate in something and to fund it.”

Career Outlook

  • “I think that promotion to partnership is generally realistic at this firm. There are of counsel positions for non-partner roles as well as staff attorney roles. Several other associates that have left have gone in-house at different companies or have gone to work for the government agencies.”
  • “I believe that promotion to partnership is very realistic, although I am not familiar with any non-partner roles to which senior associates can transition. During my brief time at the firm, associates and partners have transitioned out to roles in government and in-house.”
  • “Partners are dedicated to training associates to become partners. The path to partnership is clear.”

Diversity Efforts

  • “This firm is great with recruiting diverse candidates and promoting minorities to management positions. The only downside I can think of is that the policies regarding parental leave could be better and are currently based on seniority for mothers. The secondary caretaker leave policy could also be more extensive and robust.”
  • “Very supportive of women and people of color. Active support from some partners who take a lead on mentoring and involving associates in outside firm events as well.”
  • “Almost all persons that were promoted this year were women and/or minorities.”
Nossaman LLP

777 South Figueroa Street
34th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Phone: (213) 612-7800

Firm Stats

Managing Partner: David Graeler
Total No. Attorneys (2023):
100 - 150
No. of Partners Named 2023:
Billable-Hour Requirement:

Base Salary

1st year: $170,000
Summer associate: $3,000/week

Employment Contact

Erika Schreiber
Attorney Recruiting and Development Director
(213) 612-7813

No. of U.S. Offices: 9

No. of International Offices: 0

Major Office Locations

Austin, TX
Los Angeles, CA (HQ)
Orange County, CA
Phoenix, AZ
Sacramento, CA
San Francisco, CA
Seattle, WA
Washington, DC

Major Departments

Corporate Practice Group
Eminent Domain and Valuation Practice Group
Employment Practice Group
Environment and Land Use Practice Group
Government Relations and Regulation Practice Group
Healthcare Practice Group
Infrastructure Practice Group
Insurance Recovery and Counseling
Intellectual Property Practice Group
Public Pensions and Investments Practice Group
Real Estate Practice Group
Water Practice Group
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.