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Our Survey Says



Credentials might get you an interview with Pillsbury, but personality fit is a key factor in getting an offer. “Nice” and “respectful” are common ways associates describe their colleagues. There are formal opportunities to socialize, and it’s not uncommon for colleagues to voluntarily spend additional time together. Partners are respectful of associates, and many are willing mentors. Generally, associates feel the 2,000-billable-hour requirement is reasonable, but there is some grumbling that bonuses are contingent on meeting it. There are opportunities for above-market bonuses for those who make 2,200 and 2,400 hours, and associates appreciated the special COVID bonuses and refunds for early-COVID salary cuts. Associates are allowed to bite off as much as they can chew when it comes to work, but there are support systems in place as they tackle new challenges. Training often occurs at the practice-area level and through informal mentorship, and the firm recently started offering billable credit for certain trainings. Partnership is an attainable goal for those who want it—for those who don’t, counsel positions and exit opportunities are plentiful. Pillsbury was prepared for the switch to remote work from a technology standpoint. The firm offers a number of wellness initiatives—the Lyra platform for therapy sessions is appreciated—but some associates express difficulty carving out the time to take advantage. Pro bono is strongly encouraged, with up to 300 hours counting as billable (more are often approved) and a wide range of opportunities, including those suggested by associates. Associates gives high praise to Pillsbury’s diversity initiatives, which include the new BOSS Lab supporting Black-owned startups.


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 think all of the standard metrics and accolades get you in the door, but more than most places I interviewed, personality seems to be heavily weighted. There seems to be a low tolerance for insincerity and hostility and a really deep appreciation for people who are compassionate, genuine, and bring unique idiosyncratic experiences to the table.”
  • “Personality and demonstrated skills/attention to detail seem like the most important issues. Law school name and grades matter as indicators of those things, but the interview process is the most important piece of the hiring decision.”
  • “… There aren't necessarily ‘feeder schools,’ but most of the candidates come from the T14 (given on-campus recruitment events/process, etc.); however, the firm also hires from local schools at all of its locations. We are all encouraged to participate in the interview process if we desire to, and they conduct trainings, give training materials, etc. to those who will be interviewing others.”
  • “Can vary based on office, but relevant clerkship or prior work experience is important.”

Interview Questions

  • “My interviews were very conversational, largely about evaluating whether I was a good personality fit with the people in the office. The interviewers asked various questions about my law school experience and my 1L summer job, as well as about some items on my resume from college. They also asked why I was interested in transactional law over litigation.”
  • “Every individual interviewer really does interviews their own way, so this is difficult to answer. I personally look for candidates who love law school and who loved their 1L doctrinal classes, because such an interest bodes well for a career in litigation. But that's just me, and just for litigation.”
  • “What are your strengths? Why you think you are the right person for the job? What is your expectation in the job? What do you want from the firm in terms of self-development? What is your future plan?”
  • “Typical questions, with a focus on questions that allow a candidate to give examples, etc. of how they might approach certain issues and problems.”

Lateral & Clerk Integration

  • “The firm and practice group immediately made me feel like I was a welcome addition to the team. Partners took time to get to know me personally and regularly engage me on a personal level. It was a great experience and made me feel very welcome and glad to have joined.”
  • “The firm has done an excellent job making me feel integrated.”
  • “Thorough training by the firm, and [I was] provided with extensive meetings with staff and attorneys despite being remote.”


Firm Culture

  • “Everyone is very nice to each other, and this seems to be the case firmwide. People often identify this culture as something that sets the firm apart.”
  • “Pillsbury is very collaborative and the people are smart and a pleasure to work with. I look forward to discussing projects with my team daily. Everyone respects each other's time and are on the same page to deliver results for the client.”
  • “Very good rapport between everyone in the office, from partners to junior lawyers to personal assistants to other support staff. Various social events [are] typically planned (and well-attended) each year. Generally, a very pleasant atmosphere in which to work.”
  • “Given the pandemic, there's not as much socializing over the last year, but the firm has been hosting many virtual events including happy hours, trivia nights, game nights, etc. I really enjoy spending time with my colleagues, even virtually!”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “Partners treat associates with respect and care about associate development, mentoring, and morale. This flows down to treatment by staff of associates [and] vice versa. Firm leadership gives frequent updates to associates regarding decisions. The decision-making process itself does not involve associates, but I doubt there is any law firm that does. Associates feel comfortable giving partners suggestions/feedback about things they feel important about.”
  • “Associate/partner relations are generally strong, personally and professionally, and there is a great deal of respect among almost all of the partners for the associates. The firm is somewhat transparent, although its bonus-distribution decisions in the past year have been somewhat confusing as it navigated COVID and what other firms did. But in terms of promotions, performance reviews, and firm performance, I think transparency is quite high.”
  • “Individual partners have always treated me, as an associate and human being, with respect. I have found Pillsbury's leadership to be very transparent, even during the depths of the ongoing pandemic.”
  • “Individual partners and the partnership as a whole generally tend to treat the associates well. Internal promotion and performance reviews tend to be very transparent. The finances of the firm are transparent, but sometimes discretionary bonuses are less transparent. Performance reviews are conducted yearly, though you also have a mid-year check-in.”


  • “Hours often depend on the amount of work in the practice, but the partners are very considerate of everyone's time and personal responsibilities.”
  • “Sometimes I am overwhelmed, but the attorneys I work with understand the need for balance and regularly check in with me on my workload with other partners.”
  • “I feel like I have flexibility in where and when I work to a certain extent, but I generally start between 8:00-9:00 a.m. and work a ‘normal work day.’ Work is pretty evenly distributed in my group, and I think we have an achievable billable-hour requirement.”
  • “The billable-hour requirement is standard for BigLaw (2,000 hours bonus target; additional bonuses at 2,200 and 2,400). Associates are expected to track the bonus target or higher.”


  • “Compensation is market and associates are paid well.”
  • “I am very satisfied with Pillsbury's compensation system, which, this year, includes special bonuses paid out in May and October in addition to the regular tiered-system of bonuses. That Pillsbury is keeping up with the market in this regard is crucial.”
  • “Pay was reduced during COVID-19 but was fully refunded along with an additional COVID-19 stipend for technology/home office purchases granted. …”
  • “Our bonus is tied to our billable hours, but compensation is market and the firm does a decent job of keeping up with market bonuses, etc. Given that our associate hours are on the lower end compared to other BigLaw firms, I think the compensation is fair.”

Quality of Work

  • “I do spend most of my time doing substantive legal work that is appropriate for my level, or often more challenging than my current level, and that is something I appreciate. I draft motions and briefs, communicate with clients, take depositions, and draft legal memoranda.”
  • “From day one, I have been given substantive work and a lot of responsibility and direct client interaction. They start by giving you the benefit of the doubt—if you prove them right, you're quickly given more responsibility. If you prove them wrong, you're given extra support and tools.”
  • “I am satisfied with the level of substantive work I am given. Also, I am asked to address different areas or transactions from time to time, which makes it interesting. Compared to certain other firms, we are more top heavy, so partners and senior associates are more hands on. In that sense, some of the junior-level work does not get pushed down as much compared to a typical pyramid structure big law firm.”
  • “I have been leading or co-leading cases since I was a first-year associate. Pillsbury litigation allows you to thrive at your competency and interest level. I was examining witnesses at trial in my second year, because I could and I wanted to.”


  • “Pillsbury has a robust IT department. Working remotely is as efficient as working in the office. All the attorneys have firm-issued laptops, multiple monitors, subsidized phones, and other hardware at home.”
  • “The firm has excellent IT support people and an IT department that is completely up to date on all software and web-based new technology. Training on new systems is very prevalent.”
  • “Remote work is mostly smooth. I have had a few IT issues, but the firm's IT department is responsive and helpful. I haven't felt hindered in my ability to get substantive work done due to the remote arrangement—the firm utilizes lots of digital resources and I can access them all from my home office.”
  • “This firm has always been open to remote work. That has made COVID-19 adjustments much easier.”

Wellness Efforts

  • “Our firm has excellent wellness support, including counseling, exercise programs (we have a gym in our office building), and nutrition education classes, and financial advisors come to the firm from time to time to meet with lawyers and staff.”
  • “One of the best things about Pillsbury with regard to wellness initiatives is that the firm provides its employees with a certain number of free therapy sessions on the Lyra platform. I personally haven't tried it, but have heard great things.”
  • “We have a lot of wellness initiatives, though I rarely take advantage of them. We have had some COVID-19 pandemic wellness initiatives, including check-ins.”
  • “The firm makes a good effort to provide support in these areas, but because of the hours requirements, it is challenging to take advantage of these offerings and meet billing requirements in order to get a bonus or feel you are meeting firm expectations.”

Training & Mentoring

  • “The firm offers a lot of formal training opportunities by practice section. For example, the litigation section is having a series on particular litigation skills guided by more senior associates. Every first year and lateral is also assigned a mentor, and that really depends on the individual mentor and mentee whether they're engaged.”
  • “They conduct all of the standard formal training—introduction to firm life, practice tips, tech training, etc., but, as with all things in life, most of the learning is ‘on the job.’ However, that comes with a lot of mentoring, sponsorship, and support. … Partners and other associates proactively check in with more-junior associates about what their workload is like, if they have questions/concerns, etc.”
  • “We have formal mentors but are also fortunate to have an abundance of informal mentors at the firm. The more-senior associates here are excited to mentor the juniors and are always happy to help and provide candid, valuable advice.”
  • “There is a wide range of training opportunities available at the firm. More recently, the firm has decided to give billable credit to certain approved trainings, which has increased associate participation in trainings. …”

Career Outlook

  • “Yes, partnership is a realistic possibility for those who would like to make partner, and when an associate makes that wish known, partners actively become involved to support that path.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is realistic for anyone who works hard and wants to stay. Other non-partner roles are limited, but the firm has shown flexibility for well-regarded attorneys. There are a lot of exit opportunities, especially in the Bay Area.”
  • “… I know there are many lateral [positions] and transitions to other sectors of work available. But interestingly, in my first few months, I have already seen two attorneys who left return to the firm—one from another firm [and] the other from an in-house position.”
  • “Promotion to partnership is attainable for me; it's limited mostly by my desire to do the work and strive for it. I suspect I'll start having more conversations about it once I hit the senior-associate level, but the path and process is not formally discussed with junior and mid-level associates. …”


Pro Bono Commitment

  • “Pro bono work is strongly promoted, and the firm allows 300 pro bono hours to count as billable credit, with exceptions above that generally granted for any good reason.”
  • “… Pro bono projects are varied—racial and social injustice projects (e.g., innocence projects), child homelessness, local clinics, partnerships with traditional non-profit legal services and organizations, etc.”
  • “… When I started at the firm, I expressed interest in working with a few local non-profit organizations, and upon inquiring about our relationships with those organizations, I quickly received the green light to reach out directly to those organizations. I am excited to make pro bono work part of my regular practice, and I truly believe that I have the support of the firm to do that.”
  • “The firm is amazing with respect to pro bono work. I have consistently done close to 200 hours of pro bono every year, and never once been told I should focus more on billable work, or received anything other than support. I feel like our firm treats pro bono matters with the exact same level of seriousness and intensity that we devote to all clients, and have been very proud to participate in a number of pro bono initiatives.”

Diversity Efforts

  • “The firm is making a concerted effort to improve diversity throughout every level of the firm.”
  • “The firm has an excellent Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer who pours so much time and effort into Pillsbury's diversity and inclusion initiatives. The firm's D&I Committee is also worthy of praise. As a woman of color myself, I am so grateful that the firm is making waves in this area. The firm's strong diversity and inclusion efforts are also why I chose to work at Pillsbury in the first place.”
  • “The firm has active affinity groups for women [and] based on race & ethnicity and LGBTQ+. The firm revealed a corporate commitment (financial and time) to address racial injustice, including creation of the BOSS Lab, which has been widely reported on and praised. …”
  • “The firm does not offer billable credit for diversity-related work or activities, but the firm does a great job on the topics of parental leave, hiring, promotion of diversity, child care, diversity committee, diversity-focused staff, and affinity groups. Pillsbury recently launched a revamped Diversity and Inclusion Committee Program—previously, the committees were largely office-based and had little interaction with other offices. Now, the leads of the diversity and inclusion committees get together once a quarter and share what each office is doing or bounce ideas off each other.”

31 West 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
Phone: (212) 858-1000

Firm Stats

Chairman: David T. Dekker
Hiring Partners: Mariah Brandt (Firmwide Chair); Ed Cavazos (Austin); Brian Bodor (DC); Charles Conrad (Houston); Semma Arzapalo (LA); Jennifer Altman (Miami); Matthew Swartz (Northern Virginia); Anne Lefever (NY); Carrie Bonnington (Sacramento); Laura Hurtado (SF); Armando Castro (Silicon Valley)
Total No. Attorneys (2022):
500 - 750
No. of Partners Named 2022:

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: $215,000

Employment Contact

Charles Curtis
Senior Director - Attorney Recruiting
(213) 488-7361

No. of U.S. Offices: 13

No. of International Offices: 6

Major Office Locations

Austin, TX
Houston, TX
Los Angeles, CA
McLean, VA
Miami, FL
Nashville, TN
New York, NY
Palm Beach, FL
Palo Alto, CA
Sacramento, CA
San Diego, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC
Hong Kong

Major Departments

Industry Groups:
Technology & Media
Real Estate & Construction;
Practice Groups:
Asset Finance
Bank & Leveraged Finance
Corporate & Securities
Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy
Emerging Companies & Venture Capital
Executive Compensation & Benefits
Global Sourcing & Technology Transactions
Government Contracts
Insolvency & Restructuring
Insurance Recovery
Intellectual Property
International Trade
M&A and Private Equity
Private Wealth
Project Finance
Public Policy
Real Estate
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.