One of the most selective law firms, Williams & Connolly is a litigation standout known for handling complex, high-stakes matters. The firm has a promote-from-within culture with an emphasis on organic mentorship. Associates are given great responsibility early in their careers and appreciate being treated with respect on when, how, and where they work.
Total No. Attorneys (2023)
No. of Partners Named (2023)
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Working at Williams & Connolly means you are among the litigation elite, and getting a spot on the team is highly competitive. Clerkships, stellar academics, and fitting in with the firm’s culture are a must. Staffing is lean, so associates are given substantial responsibility from the start, and working with senior attorneys and partners is the norm. The firm almost exclusively promotes homegrown associates to partners, so partners are heavily invested in cultivating talent down the ranks. Mentorship relationships are strong, and associates are given the opportunity to rotate between different partners to get a feel for everyone at the firm. There is little formal training at Williams & Connolly, but that’s OK—associates are trained on the job and allowed to devel...
About the Firm
Williams & Connolly continues to hold its own against firms ten times its size by following a basic mantra: Keep it simple. The firm’s roughly 340 attorneys focus almost exclusively on litigation from a single office in DC, positioning Williams & Connolly as a go-to firm for politicos, celebrities, major American companies and their executives, and even other law firms.
A Short, Illustrious History
Legendary litigator-to-the-stars Edward Bennett Williams teamed with Paul Connolly, a former student of his at Georgetown Law, to open shop in 1967. The fledgling firm soon boasted a client list that included the biggest names in Hollywood, politics, business, and media. Among its clients have been White House royalty like Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack and Michelle O...
- “With very few exceptions, the people at W&C are a joy to work with, and really, truly like each other. The hiring committee prioritizes finding candidates who you wouldn't mind being stuck at an airport with, and it shows.”
- “All the attorneys that I have met are personally pleasant, and unfailingly respectful of their colleagues, including staff. That's a big part of the culture. There's a range of outside-of-work socialization options. If you want to hang out with colleagues at a happy hour after work, there are people who want to do that. But if you want to go home and spend time with your family or hobbies, nobody's going to raise an eyebrow if you're socializing with work friends less.”
- “The atmosphere is very collegial. I genuinely like the partners, associates, and staff that I work with. We take time to celebrate case victories, baby showers, retirements, and the like.”
- “The firm remains excellent at hiring genuinely decent people with whom you don't mind spending lots of hours.”
Diversity at Williams & Connolly LLP
Getting Hired Here
- “The firm only considers the most outstanding candidates at the top law schools, and within that group, looks for personality fit. I have seen Supreme Court clerks who graduated first in their class at top schools be rejected on personality grounds.”
- “Most associates who did not summer at the firm are hired from clerkships, and a vast majority of the attorneys at the firm have clerked. Excellent credentials will get you in the door, but the firm places a premium on personality and interpersonal skills.”
- “Hiring is extraordinarily selective. Stellar credentials alone are not enough. The firm also selects for personality, kindness, and teamworking skills.”
- “There are maybe two or three firms that are as competitive as Williams & Connolly. I don't know of any that are more competitive.”