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Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Our Survey Says



Those hoping to land a spot at Sullivan & Worcester should expect a competitive recruiting process. The firm frequently hires from Boston-area schools but is open to all law schools, as long as the candidate has stellar academics and can show both a connection to Boston and is a fit with the firm’s culture. The firm is collaborative and boasts a pleasant atmosphere, including opportunities to socialize. Associates can expect frequent partner contact, and while some partners can be more difficult than others, on the whole, partners are respectful. Associates feel their hours are manageable, and while compensation isn’t quite at the top of the market, associates feel it is fair considering their work/life balance. Quality of work is a positive, and associates feel challenged and engaged with their assignments. While there are some training opportunities available, some feel formal training is less emphasized and that there is a sink or swim environment. Making partner isn’t easy, but it is a possibility at the firm, which is not up or out. And associates are pleased overall with the firm’s efforts as to diversity, especially with women and LGBT attorneys and feel the firm is working to improve its diversity when it comes to racial minorities.


Firm Culture

  • “Attorneys, both partners and associates, are very easy to get along with. It is very easy to knock on doors and ask questions.  The firm sponsors associate happy hours, though people tend to go home to their families rather than socialize after work.”
  • “[Sullivan] is extremely friendly and social. People socialize regularly on a department by department basis, often sponsored by the firm, and often not. This is less the case on a firmwide basis, but the firm and the associates committee in particular are making a renewed push to increase social aspects of our work life, with bagel breakfasts, monthly lunches, and happy hours. During the summer program, there are several activities outside of work per week, most of which are open to anyone who wants to participate.”
  • “Collegial—people are on the whole are very pleasant.”
  • “We have a collaborative culture. Associates frequently bounce ideas off each other and appreciate the different experiences and expertise that we each have. The Boston office hosts periodic bagel breakfasts for the associates in all departments. The Women's Initiative brings female partners, counsel, and associates together for events. Last year, for example, the firm sponsored a reception for all female attorneys in U.S. offices, coordinating travel for women in New York and DC to come to Boston. In the winter, the Women's Initiative facilitated a gift drive for a local women's shelter.”

Associate/Partner Relations

  • “My overall experience is that partners appreciate associate contributions, and they value associates who will bring their own ideas and insight to a project. At a firm meeting last year, the firm provided a ‘state of the firm’-style presentation that provided information about finances, worked hours, and other metrics. The firm also had a meeting for associates about the path to partnership (and alternatives). Annual reviews are conducted once a year in an in-person meeting where written feedback is also provided.”
  • “We staff projects leanly so that associates have the opportunity to work directly with partners on a variety of matters. Partners do a great job of helping associates develop.”
  • “As with any work environment, certain partners are excellent, while others are less fun to interact with.  On the whole, the balance tips to the positive side, especially given that several of the more laid-back partners go out of their way to be available to junior associates. …”


  • “I'm really happy with the billable-hour requirement and the flexibility I have to work remotely. I would describe the workload as steady with occasional periods of being overwhelmed, but more due to client needs rather than the firm's distribution of work.”
  • “The work hours are very manageable and rarely are unreasonable hour expectations placed upon an associate.  As with any law firm, there are late nights, but those expectations are clearly communicated in advance and notice is usually given.”
  • “The work distribution is fair. We are fortunate to have a work broker to help ensure that work is distributed evenly. There is no face-time requirement and no obligation to stay late in the office. Many associates work remotely, as needed to meet deadlines.”
  • “1,800 hours to be bonus eligible. Pro bono hours all count towards that target, although you need approval of the pro bono committee for an hour over the first 100.”


  • “We are not top of market, but [Sullivan] is very close and competitive in the area of compensation and given our billable-hour requirement, which is very reasonable and lower than many or most top of market firms (coupled with the flexibility I have in my schedule), I think comp is more than adequate.”
  • “The bonus and good standing thresholds are low, making both within reach. It's not always possible to achieve a bonus even so, but chances are good. Compensation and bonus are a tier down from the top of the market, but lawyers are still well compensated, and annual raises (after leaving the "lockstep" system of the first few years) is very competitive and generous for high-performing associates.”
  • “Extremely reasonable and fair, particularly in light of work/life balance. Associates also get a percentage of fees collected on matters where they are credited for originating.”

Quality of Work

  • “My work is interesting and frequently challenging. As a litigation associate, my work frequently includes drafting briefs, researching interesting legal issues, and taking a lead role in guiding the discovery process.”
  • “I spend the majority of my time on substantive legal work for a second-year associate. I have performed diligence for major M&A deals, as well as work on disclosure schedules and loan assumption related projects. I have also worked on large roles for our capital market teams working on Forms 8-K and 10-K/Q.”
  • “I get to work with billion-dollar companies, individuals and startups, and everything in between. Our client base is very diverse. This leads to a variety of different assignments. As a midsize firm, associates here are expected from early on to shoulder a significant amount of responsibility including client contact. It's exciting.”

Technology & Innovation

  • “Remote work is simple with the use technology that requires very little installation. …”
  • “The firm's technology is adequate; we can work both at the office and remotely. There are constant efforts to improve technology and to adopt new technology.”

Training & Mentoring

  • “Our work broker and training coordinator, Ojen Sirin, has been tremendous in providing opportunities for training. She solicits feedback on trainings we would like to see, and we often receive trainings requested. The firm also has positive informal training, as teams are in place for big projects which result in quality instruction from partners and senior associates.”
  • “First year associates are given formal mentors, and the firm is in the process of establishing formal mentors for other associates. Many partners mentor associates organically when working on matters together.”
  • “Sink or swim. … That said, partners don't blast you if you're taking your honest first shot at something. The feedback here is good.”

Career Outlook

  • “The goal of hiring associates around here is to turn them into partners. Many, many connections to be made here—many associates have gone to work in-house at big-name clients.”
  • “Partnership is very competitive and requires for an associate to demonstrate not only excellent legal and deal management skills, but also the potential for business development. It is achievable, but not always in 8 years.  For those who are strong associates but either are not yet ready or have no desire to become partner, there is no ‘up or out’ policy in practice, and there is always room for those who can contribute to the firm in other ways.”
  • “I believe promotion to partnership is very realistic. I have been expressly told so during my last two performance reviews. I appreciate the firm's transparency on that.  …”


Pro Bono Commitment

  • “There is significant opportunity to participate in a range of existing pro-bono projects or to pursue self-directed pro-bono work that is all credited toward billable hours.”
  • “Pro bono is encouraged and supported with billable time, but not generally pushed or emphasized by the partnership or made mandatory. There are several ongoing pro bono projects/relationships associates can avail themselves of, and new ones are added most years. Associates can recommend pro bono projects or clients to the pro bono committee, and usually have them approved.”
  • “I brought on 2 pro bono clients to the firm and they welcomed them with open arms. The firm has committed to providing these clients hundreds of hours of pro bono work per year.”

Diversity Efforts

  • “Sullivan is a smaller firm with a limited number of associates, but there is a healthy diversity with respect to women, racial minorities, LGBTQ individuals. Sullivan is also very open to hiring foreign trained lawyers which leads to a rich variety of nationalities and cultures.”
  • “The firm is like many law firms—slower than our clients in diversifying but they are making concerted efforts internally and in recruiting that is encouraging.”
  • “The firm has a very active diversity committee and women's committee which sponsor trainings and other events and keeps the community and people involved in hiring engaged in such matters. The firm is receptive and making sustained and concerted efforts to hire and promote women, racial minorities and LGBT lawyers and staff. … Although there are many racial minority lawyers at the firm, there is still work to be done before that representation reflects the makeup of the US population as a whole. Having participated in the hiring process, [I think] this is something Sullivan is actively working on addressing.”
Sullivan & Worcester LLP

One Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109
Phone: (617) 338-2800

Firm Stats

Chairman and Managing Partner: Joel R. Carpenter
Recruiting Chair: Amy E. Sheridan
Total No. Attorneys (2020):
150 - 250

Base Salary

1st year: $180,000
2nd year: $190,000
Summer Associate: $3,462/week

Employment Contact

Janet Brussard
Director of Legal Recruiting
(617) 338-2806

No. of U.S. Offices: 3

No. of International Offices: 2

Major Office Locations

Boston, MA (HQ)
New York, NY
Washington, DC

Major Departments

Art & Museum Law
Bankruptcy & Restructuring
Capital Markets
Corporate Governance & Board Advisory
Employment & Benefits
Environment & Natural Resources
Fintech & Blockchain
Intellectual Property
Investment Management
Mergers & Acquisitions
Opportunity Zones
Real Estate
Regulatory Compliance
Trade & Export Finance
Trusts & Estates
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.