Known for its white collar, antitrust, and corporate work—among other things—Covington is a mainstay in the top 20 of the Vault Law 100. The firm attracts intellectuals who lean progressive and thrive on collaboration, hard work, and giving back via pro bono matters.
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If you want to work at a firm with a strong pro bono commitment, you’d be hard pressed to find a better one than Covington & Burling. With uncapped pro bono hours that all count toward the billable hour requirement, associates at Covington are universal in praising their firm’s pro bono program. They describe their firm’s culture as professional and collegial, while leaning a bit toward formality and a focus on the work rather than socializing. While some associates complain of long hours, they acknowledge that these complaints likely apply more or less equally to all BigLaw firms. Relations between partners and associates are respectful and collegial, with associates saying partners respect their time and contributions. Both formal and informal training programs receive g...
About the Firm
This “brain trust” law firm is known for quietly (and smartly) going about its business—that business being antitrust, litigation, white collar defense & investigations, corporate, IP, export controls, data privacy and cybersecurity, and regulatory work—with particular strengths in the sports, insurance, life science/pharma, energy, tech, and media/entertainment industries.
Judge J. Harry Covington and Edward B. Burling founded their firm in Washington, DC, in 1919, with a (then unique) concept of a firm focused on regulatory issues. Since that founding, it would be hard to find many members of the Fortune 200 that have not worked with Covington. The firm played significant roles in many of the leading legal matters that arose from the New Deal. Later, in the 1950...
- “Pre-pandemic, I would have given the firm a 10/10—I had no idea BigLaw culture could be so healthy, supportive, and pleasant. Post-pandemic, there have been a few issues with return-to-office policies where associates haven't felt as supported as before, but it's still overall a great place to work.”
- “Covington is filled with genuinely nice people. The culture in its New York office is truly collegial and respectful, although it rarely spills over into after-hours socializing, which I prefer, but appreciate some people may not. People at Covington appreciate that their colleagues have lives outside of work.”
- “Socializing seems less common, but not unheard of. The strength is more in the working atmosphere. Mistakes and delay are handled with clear expectations and plans for improvement, not aggressive berating or derision. Hours are decently long, but weekends and vacations are treated with respect whenever possible.”
- “The firm is very collegial and respectful. It is perhaps a bit more formal than other firms, but that is because folks are dedicated to their work. The now-mandatory three days in office does allow for more socializing, and easier scheduling of practice group activities and associate happy hours/gatherings at a time where more people will be available.”
Why Work Here
Working at Covington
Our distinctively collaborative culture allows us to be truly one team globally, drawing on the diverse experience of lawyers and advisors across the firm by seamlessly sharing insight and expertise. What sets us apart is our ability to combine the tremendous strength in our litigation, investigations, and corporate practices with deep knowledge of policy and policymakers, and one of the world’s leading regulatory practices. This enables us to create novel solutions to our clients’ toughest problems, successfully try their toughest cases, and deliver commercially practical advice of the highest quality.
Diversity at Covington & Burling
Getting Hired Here
- “The firm generally seems to favor the traditional hallmarks of success: top law school, top grades, law review, clerkships (if relevant), and subject-matter expertise/experience for the relevant practice groups. I was also told in my hiring (and I believe it) that the firm places a high value on people who are collegial, and fit the Covington mold.”
- “The hiring process is extremely competitive and elitist. We recruit and hire largely from a very small number of top schools. Anyone outside these schools, even star students at lower tier schools, would have great difficulty getting an interview.”
- “We only hire the top of each law school class. I think the standards drop a bit with laterals, though. But the process is intense, and they actually call references and read writing samples.”
- “The firm is looking for smart and friendly associates who will support the firm's healthy culture while delivering high-quality work.”