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Legal Jobs > Law Firm Profiles > Goodwin Procter LLP

Goodwin Procter LLP

Areas of practice
Notable cases
Awards and recognitions
Hiring criteria
Summer associate program
Salary & benefits
Working for the firm
Pro bono
In the news
Goodwin Procter LLP

Goodwin Procter LLP
Goodwin Procter LLP
Main office Exchange Place, 53 State Street | Boston | MA | 02109
Phone 617-570-1000 
Fax 617-523-1231 
Year of establishment 1912
Number of offices 9
Largest office Boston
Number of attorneys 946
Number of associates 539
Number of partners 336
Partner: associate ratio 0.60
Percent women attorneys 31.90
Percent minority attorneys 13.30
Percent gay attorneys 1.80


Founded in 1912, Goodwin, Procter & Hoar is the largest law firm in the city and sits at the pinnacle of Boston law firms- along with Ropes & Gray and Hale and Dorr. Much jostling takes place among the three in an effort by each firm to convince interested outsiders of its superiority in this battle of Boston's titans. One insider instructed us, for example, that "I am constantly amazed at how everyone thinks that Ropes & Gray and Hale and Dorr are the best firms in the city. No one in the city is doing more sophisticated (or better) legal work than we are. We are the largest firm in the city, and our associates (unlike many firms) are generally happy. It's time to rethink the old rankings and acknowledge that Goodwin is a better firm (and a much better place to work) than Ropes & Gray or Hale and Dorr." Whatever the truth in this matter may be, our contacts affirmed that Goodwin Procter is a no-nonsense law firm composed of hard-working attorneys dedicated to producing the highest quality work.
The top practice areas at Goodwin Procter are corporate, litigation and real estate. The corporate department, the firm's largest, offers work in a wide range of areas, including REITs ("in which the firm is pre-eminent"), financial services, start-ups, M&A, investment management, private equity and high-tech. Gil Menna, reportedly the leading REIT attorney in the country, heads the firm's REIT practice. "Menna's practice, which has been a significant factor in the firm's strong growth in the ‘90s, has developed to the point where his compensation has reached a level more typical of an investment banker than a law firm partner," according to one insider. A second contact observed that "the REIT work continues to grow steadily despite the financial troubles at Patriot (a very large client for the corporate practice) and at other REITs." Although the corporate practice is reportedly doing quite well overall, last spring the department lost approximately 12 to 15 associates and one junior partner, "many of whom have, however, now been replaced by laterals," we were told. The department represented the issuer in the two largest Massachusetts IPOs of 1997, Boston Properties and Affiliated Managers Group, and the firm also did the legal work for the Patriot/Interstate Hotel Company merger and the Patriot American/Wyndham merger.
The litigation department, the second largest practice area at Goodwin Procter, has strong products liability, mortgage lending, and securities practices, and is in the process of expanding its intellectual property practice. In addition, "since the department now has many former federal prosecutors, white-collar crime work is likely to grow," one insider observed. "Litigation feeds to some extent off the corporate department, but has several significant clients of its own," we were told. Philip Morris, for whom Goodwin Procter is national counsel, is the department's largest client; the firm recently represented them in the Massachusetts Attorney General suit against the tobacco companies. The litigation department also represented Vicor in the second biggest verdict in Massachusetts in 1998, which amounted to $8 million in compensatory damages. Marshall Simonds and Dennis Saylor are well-known litigators at the firm.
Goodwin's real estate department, which has significantly increased in size over the past year, represents lenders, developers, tenants, landlords, investors and REITS. According to one insider, "the real estate department does not do strictly Tort Law;' our work frequently involves complex legal issues often associated with corporate, tax and ERISA law." The department was recently involved in the sale of the Prudential Center for an estimated half a billion dollars and the sale of the Beacon Properties to Equity Office Products.
Several other, smaller practice areas at Goodwin and Procter are also worthy of notice. Goodwin's ERISA/Employee Benefits department is the "largest and best ERISA department in Boston," we were told. The practice is best known for representing many of the money managers/mutual funds in Boston. Some of the group's major clients are State Street Bank, Fidelity, Putnam, Scudder, and Mellon Bank. The department recently represented Lucent in connection with "the spin-out of about $50 billion of assets from the AT&T master pension trust to the Lucent master pension trust." Despite the luster of the ERISA department, the work atmosphere in the group has its shortcomings, according to our contacts. "The partners treat us like incompetent worker bees," reported one insider; associates in the department "tend to move to Fidelity or a Scudder after several years.'' The tax department received similarly bad notice regarding work relations. Its partners were described as "brilliant, but egotistical and very difficult to work with." The firm's banking/financial services department, on the other hand, got high marks from our contacts. The department is chaired by Regina Pisa, the firm’s new managing partner. Daniel M Glosband, chair of the "dynamic” insolvency and commercial finance group and co-author of the new chapter six of the Bankruptcy Code on multinational insolvencies, is "extremely well-known and respected in the bankruptcy field," we were told.
Goodwin Procter is run by an executive committee of nine partners. The firm's organizational structure is very decentralized and the management style was described by one contact as a "chaotic democracy.'' Goodwin is a very loosely run partnership; the partners have considerable latitude and leeway. Most of the major firm decisions are made by the partners as a whole by consensus, which is not always easily achieved; the former managing partner is reported to have remarked that "managing this place is like herding cats (i.e., it is a true partnership)." Goodwin is attempting to improve its internal communication system, "which is an increasing struggle as the firm continues to grow," noted one contact. An annual "state of the firm" address discusses the firm's objectives and other relevant matters, and individual departments have various methods of keeping associates informed. In the real estate department, for example, the associates have monthly luncheons, which the department chair often attends to pass on information and keep everyone informed. In addition, many departments provide venues for the expression of associate concerns, such as the litigation department's associates liaison committee which communicates "matters of the moment" to the department's leaders.
Goodwin Procter stays abreast of the top-paying firms in the city. "However," observed one insider, "since I've been here we have only played catch-up so as not to lose in the recruiting wars. Associate morale would benefit greatly if GP&H initiated an increase in order to show appreciation for the hard work, efforts, and profitability of its associates." A second contact informed us that "the firm, for the first time this year, declined to match the salary for fourth-years and above that is being paid by the city's price leader, Ropes & Gray. The firm promised to make up the difference in bonus. However, even with the bonus, the firm had to give each associate several thousand dollars this January (1999) to make up the shortfall between what we made last year and what Ropes & Gray associates made." (A firm spokesperson informed that Goodwin Procter announced (January, 2000) a new compensation system "which equals those announced by both Ropes & Gray and Hale and Dorr.") Goodwin's policy on bonuses drew some heat from our contacts. One person, for example, reported that "although the firm maintains that hours are not a factor, they clearly are. It also frequently feels like the firm randomly assigns bonus amounts; it is often difficult to determine why a given associate got more than another."
The fringe benefits available at Goodwin constitute a "pretty standard package" and include such items as a matching contribution from the firm for home computer purchases (up to $1500), an "excellent" emergency day care, and a subsidized health club membership (up to $30/month at clubs which have at least five GPH members). One insider pointed out that "other Boston firms have cafeterias, in-house gyms, and other benefits (e.g., contributions to retirement plans) we don't have."
Regina Pisa (managing partner of the firm and chair of the banking department), Laura Hodges Taylor (co-chair of the corporate department), Marian Tse (ERISA), Rebecca Lee (real estate), and Cerise lim-Epstein (litigation) are among the prominent women attorneys at Goodwin. Although the representation of female partners at Goodwin is quite good, female equity partners are a "scarce commodity," especially in litigation, we were told. "There have been numerous discussions within the firm about this issue, although I don't feel that it is a concern of the older male equity partners (younger male partners do seem concerned about it)," one person remarked. A second contact noted that "while there is no overt sexism at Goodwin, there is a built-in male hierarchy that is going to take a long time to dismantle. The largest problem is the hours that Goodwin expects attorneys to work. For a woman with a family it is very difficult to swing those hours, while for a man with a family, it is just not as difficult." Though relations between male and female attorneys at Goodwin are typically professional, there were reports of some discordance in this area. One person, for example, reported being "aware of certain male attorneys who have very patronizing attitudes toward women," while a second person informed us that "some men attorneys do seem to prefer to work with other males, and this sometimes means that female associates are not given the same opportunities as are males." The flex-time/part-time and maternity leave programs at the firm are generally well-used, although part-time work in the corporate department has "not historically worked out too well The deals we do just do not lend themselves to part-time work very well," we were told. Goodwin has an emergency day care on-site and money can be deducted from salary pre-tax for child care; in addition, the firm has a "great free program" which assists attorneys in "finding child care suited to their needs."
Goodwin's offices are "nice, very functional, stylish, but certainly not chic." One person observed that "the office decor is aimed at expressing an understated elegance, with a mixture of light woods and neutral-colored fabric wall coverings. The firm has made a conscious effort not to have lavish offices like Hale and Dorr or many New York firms in order to keep its overhead low and not offend clients." The artwork is "inconsistent: some is good, some bad, some just plain weird," remarked one insider. While associate offices are "pretty spacious, especially when compared to New York offices," space problems have caused first-years and summer associates to be "doubled or tripled in conference rooms for months." These problems are, however, being addressed by the recent addition of two new floors in the building. Goodwin Procter has no gym, but there is a nice facility across the street at the Devonshire and the firm pays 50% of health club memberships. The firm has no cafeteria, but a catered lunch is served every Friday in the conference center. Goodwin also provides free dinners to the corporate department on Tuesday and Thursday nights and to the litigation department on Wednesday nights. "As a practical matter, everyone is welcome to crash any of these meals regardless of which department they work in," according to one insider. Having made significant efforts in recent years to upgrade its technology, Goodwin Procter appears to be "fairly well caught up in this area," we were told. All associates have Pentium computers with 17-inch monitors at their desks, internet with e-mail, and Wesdaw/LEXIS access. There is no document management system at this time; however, the firm is "getting it implemented" The litigation department recently hired a technical support person to help set up large databases for cases. There is also a firm wide "knowledge management initiative" which encourages attorneys to systematically share information with others. Goodwin's two-story library is excellent and the librarians are very good, especially the "fantastic" head librarian, Mary Jo Poburko.
Areas of practice

  • Corporate
  • Financial Services
  • Intellectual Property
  • Litigation
  • Private Equity
  • Product Liability & Mass Torts
  • Real Estate
  • Reits & Real Estate Capital Markets
  • Securities Litigation & White Collar Defense
  • Tech Companies & Life Sciences
  • Specialty Practices
Notable cases

  • Goodwin Procter attorneys received a 2011 Leadership Award from Lutheran Social Services in recognition of outstanding leadership and dedication to the representation of Unaccompanied Refugee Minors, children under the age of 18 who have resettled alone in the United States, without a parent, relative or other responsible adult to care for them.
  • In July 2011 Goodwin Procter achieved a significant appellate victory for Hill Holliday/Erwin-Penland and Erwin-Penland's President, Joseph Erwin, when the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia denied a motion for rehearing in a national advertising dispute with agency 1st Approach and its chief executive Jeffrey Greenfield, who claimed intellectual property and other rights in an ongoing marketing campaign that launched in 2007.
  • In June 2011 Goodwin Procter attorneys helped secure a victory for long-time client Teva Pharmaceuticals and for manufacturers of generic drugs generally, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in PLIVA v. Mensing. Goodwin's team was instrumental in drafting the certiorari and merits briefs before the Court.
Awards and recognitions

In September 2011 Wayne Budd received the American Lawyer's Lifetime Achiever Award.
In June 2011 Legal 500 recognized Goodwin Procter Trademark group for fifth consecutive year and CIO Magazine chose Goodwin Procter Information Technology Department as CIO Award Winner.
In May 2011 Goodwin was recognized in inaugural "IAM Patent Litigation 250" and Ken Parsigian was chosen as the litigator of the week.
In April 2011 Goodwin Procter was named a top Trademark Law Firm by World Trademark Review.
In December 2010 Goodwin Procter was recognized as one of New York City's "Best Places To Work" in Crain's New York Business Survey.
In November 2010 Goodwin Procter Chairman Regina Pisa received the inaugural ACCESS First One Award and NARIET honored Goodwin Procter partner Gil Menna with Lifetime Achievement Award.
In October 2010 Goodwin Procter received NLADA'S 2010 Beacon of Justice Award for Outstanding Pro Bono contributions in immigration law.
Hiring criteria

Apart from general hiring criteria Goodwin prefers candidates with strong law school and undergraduate record and those with law review or journal experience. Interviews at Goodwin aren't just about grades and academics - recruiters want to see that candidates are driven, energetic, bright and focused. The firm conducts on-campus interviews at up to 30 schools - some in the top 25, plus a few others in its offices' geographies.

Goodwin Procter is committed to promoting diversity in its law firm and in the legal profession. The firm believes that promoting diversity affirms their core values and better serves their clients and the broader communities in which they work and live. The firm has a lengthy record of providing equal access to the legal system through their extraordinary pro bono efforts and their non-discrimination policies. Goodwin hires, trains, and promotes employees without regard to race, sex, age, gender, gender identity or expression, religion, national origin, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status or other legally protected status.

Goodwin Procter believes that every attorney and staff member deserves a supportive, meritocratic environment in which people of all backgrounds are given the opportunity to excel and thrive.

For Goodwin diversity is more than a mere policy or aspiration. It recognizes the imperative to actively support, mentor and further the advancement of attorneys and staff from all backgrounds, to ensure that they have the broadest and most diverse pool of talent available to the firm.
Summer associate program

Regardless of which city, Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Diego, San Francisco, Silicon Valley or Washington, the associate chooses, he will be exposed to a range of projects and will get both a broad overview and in-depth study into specific issues. There will be practice areas in just about every established and emerging field of law. The associate will work, learn, and connect with peers, associates, and partners at the firm.

Summer associates are expected to complete 11 to 15 projects in various practice areas during the summer.

At the end of the program the associate will leave with valuable mentors, a large professional and social network, and a very good idea of what it's like to work at Goodwin Procter. On any given day, the associate might find himself immersed in a deposition, a trial, a negotiation session, document drafting, a client meeting, or some other hands-on professional work experience.

The summer program includes include boat cruises, outdoor concerts, and baseball games. Spontaneous events are also initiated by the summer associates, often partnering with their mentors at the firm. These have included everything from sport fishing and golfing to gourmet cooking, billiards, and live jazz.
Salary & benefits

The firm initiated a salary freeze in 2009, but unfroze salaries in January 2010 and increased salaries for certain class years in January 2011. The firm has shifted to a lockstep salary structure with each class level having set salaries, but individual assessments could lead to some deviation. The firm is a follower with respect to bonus amounts, and from 2009 through 2011 the firm paid market-level bonuses to associates who billed at least 1,950 hours.

Working hours, quality of work, pro bono and overall contributions are factors that can increase or lessen an associate's bonus. Although the firm announced "special bonuses" in April 2011 that matched the Cravath spring bonus scale, in a departure from its peer firms, Goodwin Procter's associates had to have billed 1,950 hours from May 1, 2010 to April 20, 2011 to receive the special bonus.

Goodwin Procter's starting salary ranges from $145,000 to $160,000, depending on the office. Goodwin Procter's profits per equity partner in 2009 - the most recent year for which data are available - were $1,275,000, placing the firm in the 58th percentile.

  • Y1 $0-$160,000.00

  • 401(k)/IRA/Other Retirement Plan
  • Bar Association Fees
  • Business Casual Dress Code
  • CLE
  • Dental Insurance
  • Domestic Partner Benefits
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Flexible Spending Account/Pre-Tax Option
  • Life/AD&D Insurance
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Medical Insurance
  • On-site Child Care
  • On-site Child Care - Emergency
  • Parental Leave
  • Relocation Expenses
  • Short-term Disability Insurance
  • Sick Leave
  • Technology (Laptop, PDA, etc.)
  • Vacation Leave
  • Vision Insurance

Benefits Package: Additional benefits include: (1) ELDER AND ADULT CARE -- Employees have access to the LifeWeavers Network (operated by the Visiting Nurse Association), a free resource that helps working caregivers find answers to their care-giving questions anywhere in the United States where care is needed for an older relative or loved one. (2) CHILD CARE -- We provide back-up daycare facilities near, or in, each of our locations. (3) EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PLAN -- Free and confidential assistance on topics such as emotional well-being, personal relationships, educational/financial/legal issues, addiction and recovery, work-related issues, parenting, communicating with teenagers, older adults, retirement planning, and much more. (4) GOOD HEALTH/GOOD LIFE WELLNESS PROGRAM -- Free seminars and workshops offered in the areas of personal, professional and financial wellness (examples include caring for an elderly parent, managing work and personal stress, or trying to engage in an overall healthier lifestyle). (5) HEALTH ADVOCATE PROGRAM -- Health Advocate is a national advocacy and assistance company whose mission is to help individuals and organizations get the very best healthcare service. Services offered include assistance with: finding the best doctors and hospitals and getting to see them, obtaining services for elderly parents, scheduling timely appointments (esp. with specialist physicians), issues arising when faced with serious illness or injury, insurance claims and billing issues, etc.
Working for the Goodwin Procter LLP

Working for Goodwin Procter will be a rewarding and meaningful experience for the associate, as a person and as a professional. The associate will be exposed to an interesting and challenging mix of work learning from professionals and seasoned lawyers. Through the many firm generated and sponsored programs and the continually evolving programs, the associate can take charge of his career and craft a career and professional persona that makes him proud.

At Goodwin you will have the opportunity to be creative and imaginative and you will not be constrained by insistence on following conventional methods of practice. The staff members bring a level of professionalism, enthusiasm and commitment to work each and every day and all work in a collaborative work environment.

As part of the professional team here, the associate will have opportunities to share ideas and participate in challenging, leading edge work, finding professional development and training opportunities, a commitment to diversity, and a competitive compensation package with excellent benefits.
Pro bono

Pro bono work is one of the cornerstones of Goodwin Procter. The firm's attorneys, summer associates and paralegals last year dedicated over 45,700 hours to 492 pro bono matters. Goodwin Procter works on a range of challenging and topical issues including rights to education, death penalty challenges, immigration, microfinance, constitutional law, and civil rights matters. And the Pro Bono Initiative actively works with the members of the Committee for Racial and Ethnic Diversity and the Women's Initiative to provide programming and pro bono opportunities that are responsive to the individual interests of each group.

Goodwin Procter and its attorneys have been widely recognized by clients and legal services partners for their pro bono achievements. These achievements are symbolic of the firm's lawyers' generosity of spirit and a desire to help those in need.

No matter how big or small, how monumental the issues or how routine, every pro bono matter receives the same level of dedication, professionalism, and care. The firm greatly appreciates the energy, commitment, and creativity that all of the attorneys and other legal professionals involved bring to the firm's Pro Bono Initiative.

The firm sets a goal of 25 pro bono hours per associate, and credits up to 150 pro bono hours annually as billable hours.
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