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Legal Jobs > Law Firm Profiles > Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison 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
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Main office 1285 Avenue of The Americas, | New York | NY | 10019-6064
Phone 212-373-3000 
Fax 212-757-3990 
Year of establishment 1875
Number of offices 8
Largest office New York
Number of attorneys 631
Number of associates 360
Number of partners 121
Partner: associate ratio 0.30
Percent women attorneys 37.30
Percent minority attorneys 14.40
Percent gay attorneys 4.10


Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is a law firm, with its headquarters in New York City. Having commenced way back in 1875, the more than a century old firm has three branches in the U.S. and five aboard (in Canada, China, Japan and U.K.). But the firm is essentially a New York firm. There are nearly 650 attorneys in the New York office, with the next largest office, Washington D.C., having only 44. The smallest office has merely three attorneys. In the last half a century of its existence it spread its influence globally, opening offices in London, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong. Paul Weiss is best known in New York for its reputation made in the courtroom. Though the firm has prolific and accomplished corporate and restructuring departments, its litigation group is the most well regarded of its practice groups, and among the best in the country. The firm is renowned for its expertise in its corporate personal representation, entertainment law and litigation practices. While Paul, Weiss is widely recognized as having leading litigation and corporate capabilities, the firm has developed equally strong practices in the areas of bankruptcy and corporate reorganization, employee benefits and executive compensation, intellectual property, personal representation, real estate and tax law. The firms has many clients of national and international repute, including many of the largest publicly and privately held corporations and financial institutions in the United States and throughout the world. The firm has assisted many a start-up company and investment funds in their journey from commencement to becoming large industry players. The firm's pro bono efforts continue to benefit individuals and society as a whole in profound ways and reflect on their commitment to help those in need and make a difference to society. The firm has been a leader in promoting diversity within the firm and the legal profession, and has been acknowledged by distinguished organizations for their efforts. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, together with its predecessor firms, has been a presence in New York City for more than a century and a part of the International legal community for almost fifty years. The firm commenced operations in April 1875, at 243 Broadway, when two friends, Julius J. Frank and Samuel W. Weiss, collaborated to form, Frank & Weiss. The two remained lifelong friends, and the two parted ways amicably, five years later, with Sam Weiss opening his own practice at 43 Wall Street. Frank went on to become a leading civic reformer of his day and a founder of the Young Men's Hebrew Association. For the next thirty years, Sam Weiss built it into an extensive and prosperous practice through representing an impressive array of clients, some of whose descendant clients the firm continues to represent to this day. Sam passed away at the age of 58 but his sons, first William and then Louis sustained their father's practice into the mid-20th century, later calling it name Cohen, Cole, Weiss & Wharton, expanding its reach into hitherto unexplored areas, including film, television and theatre. In 1946, the recruitment of two giants of the bar and acknowledged leaders in their field, the former General Counsel of the U.S. Treasury Department during World War II, Randolph E. Paul, and the former National War Labor Board chair, Lloyd K. Garrison catapulted the firm into the City's topmost legal powerhouse. The addition of former U.S. District Judge Simon H. Rifkind, four year later laid the foundation of what was to become one of the country's foremost litigation practices. It also gave the firm its current name of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. It was one of the first to have Jews and Gentiles working together, the first New York firm to hire a black associate, and the first major New York firm to make a woman partner. Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" was inspired by one of the most heated cases of the 1930s that of four black men from Alabama wrongly convicted of raping a white woman. The real world parallel for Atticus Finch was a group of Paul Weiss attorneys. More recently, firm attorneys have been involved in Guantanamo detainee cases. Each of the three women serving on the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 began her career as a summer associate at Paul,
Areas of practice

  • Transactional
  • Bankruptcy & Corporate Reorganization
  • Corporate
  • Capital Markets & Securities
  • Communications & Technology
  • Corporate Governance
  • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
  • Entertainment
  • Environmental
  • Finance
  • Investment Management
  • IP Transactions
  • Mergers & Acquisitions
  • Media & Entertainment
  • Private Equity Transactions
  • Personal Representation
  • Real Estate
  • Tax
  • Litigation
  • Antitrust
  • E-Discovery
  • Employment
  • FCPA
  • Financial Institutions
  • Litigation
  • IP Litigation: Copyright & Trademark
  • IP Litigation: Patent & Other Scientific
  • Internal Investigations
  • International Arbitration
  • M&A Litigation
  • Product Liability
  • Securities Litigation
  • White Collar Crime & Regulatory Defense
Notable cases

  • The firm has a number of notable triumphs to its name. Some of the notable cases in the past were:
  • Efforts to free the Scottsboro Boys by winning reversal of their conviction in the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Saving the Jews of Europe from the Holocaust by changing American policy toward immigration.
  • Establish the principle of one-person one-vote by cracking Georgia's county-unit rule.
  • Resisting the death penalty by defending scores condemned to die and obtaining a historic victory in the U.S. Supreme Court forbidding execution of the mentally disabled.
  • Obtaining needed drugs for victims of AIDS by fighting FDA resistance to granting approvals.
  • Fighting apartheid and helping to introduce democracy in South Africa by founding the South Africa Free Election Fund.
  • Fighting discrimination against gays and lesbians by arguing the first legal test on gay marriage in New York.
  • Other notable current accomplishments include:
  • Defending the National Football League in the scores of lawsuits alleging that the League failed to disclose the cognitive risks associated with concussions.
  • In November 2011 it obtained a significant victory for client Garmin, a global positioning systems technology company, in a patent suit brought by Triangle Software. The court handed down judgment in favor of Garmin, dismissing patent claims that alleged Garmin's portable navigation devices infringed five patents directed at traffic information technology.
  • The firm has continued to represent Citi Group in a broad range of litigations, regulatory inquiries and transactional matters-including defeating a $4.5 billion claim brought by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) after a month-long arbitration, and dismissing billions of dollars of subprime-related securities claims.
  • In July 2011 Paul, Weiss represented mobile network and telecommunications company Ericsson in connection with Rockstar Bidco, LP's $4.5 billion bid for bankrupt Nortel Networks' portfolio of over 6,000 patents. The biggest names in the tech sector, including Apple, Google and Intel, competed aggressively for the assets during an auction held in June, dramatically increasing the portfolio's value.
  • Paul, Weiss advised Warner Music Group Corp.-the record label giant representing major artists including Madonna and Eric Clapton-in its sale to Access Industries for $3.3 billion. Warner Music is one of the "big four" recorded music businesses, and home to the labels Warner Bros., Elektra and Atlantic. It also owns Warner/Chappell Music, the third-largest music publishing business.
  • In February 2011 Paul, Weiss won an important victory on behalf of clients Dow Jones and Fox News with the dismissal of an antitrust suit by Banxcorp Inc., a provider of online information about consumer finance interest rates. Plaintiffs had asserted violations of Section 1 of the Sherman Act and state antitrust laws.
Awards and recognitions

Paul, Weiss received honorable mention as a "Firm of the Year 2012" in the China - Corporate/M&A category in ASIAN-MENA COUNSEL magazine's sixth annual In-House Community "Representing Corporate Asia & Middle East 2012" survey.
In August 2012, Paul, Weiss was ranked among the top 10 for the second consecutive year in Vault's Top 25 Best Law Firms for Diversity.
The Hollywood Reporter named corporate partner Justin Hamill to its 2012 "Power Lawyer" list of the top 100 entertainment attorneys in America.
Beth Wilkinson was named one of National Journal's Most Influential Women, a group of 25 women that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton, Elena Kagan and Michelle Obama. The magazine compiled its list to showcase women "who are doing the most to shape" Washington, D.C. Beth is the only lawyer in private practice on the list.
For the tenth consecutive year, The American Lawyer has named Paul, Weiss to its annual "A-List." The ranking represents the most elite law firms in the nation, ranking the top 20 firms based on their revenue per lawyer, pro bono work, diversity, and associate training and satisfaction.
The American Lawyer's2012 Diversity Scorecard has ranked Paul, Weiss as one of the most diverse law firms, marking the tenth consecutive year the firm has achieved this honor.
Hiring criteria

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP provides equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to age, color, disability, gender, marital status, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical or mental disability, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or any other characteristic protected by law in all personnel actions including recruitment, evaluation, selection, promotion, compensation, benefits, training, and termination of employment.

The firm seeks a strong academic record and life experience and commitment to excellence in the practice of law apart from general hiring criteria, that include strong organizational, interpersonal, communication and writing skills; demonstrated leadership skills; team-oriented mindset and strong work ethic; an ability to multitask; a proven interest in the legal field as demonstrated through undergraduate coursework, extracurricular activities, or jobs and internships; and a Minimum 3.3 cumulative GPA upon graduation.

Paul, Weiss does not accept unsolicited resumes from search firms or employment agencies. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted by the HR staff. All candidates must be legally authorized to work for any employer in the United States without sponsorship.

Diversity was the basis of the formation of the firm. Its founders, by tradition, were unable to practice together owing to their differing religions, one was a Jew and the other a Gentile, decided to create a firm where diversity was the norm, not the exception. Most elite law firms profess a devotion to diversity. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has a history of putting it into practice.

1946, Paul, Weiss hired William Coleman, an African-American, editor of the Harvard Law Review, and former Supreme Court clerk, at a time when no other firm would hire a black man despite his stellar qualifications. In 1949, the firm hired its first woman partner, Carolyn Agger, long before most competitors.

The firm has been ranked among the top 15 "Most Diverse Law Firms" for eight consecutive years since 2002.

Paul Weiss attributes its success to the unique skills, talents and viewpoints that lawyers from a variety of different backgrounds and beliefs bring to the firm. Since 1996, 30 percent of their partner promotions have been women; in their Litigation Department it has been 50 percent. Nearly 25 percent of their lawyers self-identify as ethnically diverse and almost five percent are openly gay.

Paul, Weiss is committed to investigating all reported policy violations and addressing the issue or issues, as appropriate. An employee who reports a violation of this policy will not be subject to retaliation in any form. Any retaliation against a complaining party by a Paul, Weiss employee, at any level, will be grounds for disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Summer associate program

The summer associate program at Paul, Weiss is more than just legal training. It's an introduction to the rich variety and depth of life in one of New York's most unique law firms. Associates have the opportunity to shape their own summer experience. They have the option of choosing one department to call home or can select a variety of different practice areas.

During the firm's summer program, an attorney coordinator assigns work, and summer associates can take assignments from as many or as few departments in which they are interested. Summer associates are expected to complete 11 to 15 assignments during the 12-week summer program, and typically spend about six hours a day doing billable work.

The associate will be matched with a team of lawyers including associates, counsel and partners. They will help the associates make informed decisions about the work they choose. In addition to their team, associates will be paired with a partner and an associate who will provide guidance and advice about their summer work. They will receive training in both substantive areas of law and practical legal skills in a mix of highly interactive small group trainings, individual skills development workshops and more traditional classroom style presentations.

Sessions are taught primarily by Paul, Weiss partners and associates from across the firm's practice groups. It's not all work and no play, from team sailing trips to baseball games and cocktail parties; associates will have plenty of opportunities to get to know their fellow summers, firm associates and partners.

While the social events are "great," respondents give the highest praise for the "terrific" associates and partners who "go out of their way to be accessible and to make you feel like a real person."

In 2011, the firm increased its summer class size to almost 100 summer associates and gave offers to all of them. All summer associates are paid $3,100 per week, regardless of class.
Salary & benefits

Paul, Weiss matches the top compensation and benefits of its peer firms. First-year associates currently earn $160,000, and all associates in good standing also typically receive a bonus. Summer associates earn $3,100 per week. Paul, Weiss offers a salary advance to all incoming associates and reimbursements for moving expenses, bar review courses, bar examination fees and bar association dues.

Benefits include a comprehensive insurance plan, generous parental leaves, relocation assistance and varied workplace amenities. Other benefits include a subsidized cafeteria, weekly happy hours and subsidized gym memberships. Full time childcare is provided the first three months after a parent's return from leave, and off-site emergency childcare is also provided. Free tickets to sporting events and museums are common. New associates receive a salary advance and relocations benefits.

Salaries and bonuses at the firm are based on a set lockstep system. Year-end bonuses are awarded in December and are not tied to billable hours.

  • Y1 $0-$160,000.00

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

Benefits Package: 1) Birth mothers receive 18 weeks of paid leave as follows: up to 8 weeks of Short Term Disability Leave or Adoption Leave, up to 4 weeks of Parental Leave, and up to 6 weeks of Primary Caregiver Leave. 2) Non birth parents are eligible for a paid Parental Leave of up to 4 weeks; a non birth parent who is the Primary Caregiver is also eligible for an additional 6 weeks of paid Primary Caregiver Leave. 3) We have an arrangement with a Bright Horizon's facility near our New York office where we offer full-time child care for three months after return from parental leave (the Infant Transition Program) and emergency back-up care. 4) The firm has established a special tax gross-up bonus policy for employees who elect firm medical plan coverage for their same-sex domestic partner/spouse (and their partner's/spouse's children). Please refer to the Careers section of our website under Law Student Recruiting, Compensation for other Benefit information.
Working for the Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP

Paul, Weiss is one of the world's leading law firms and offers employees a quality working environment. The firm provides equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without any sort of distinction. Work is challenging but enjoyable. There is a diverse mix of clients by size, industry and location.

The firm's culture provides the employees with a high-energy, engaging environment that fosters camaraderie and teamwork among lawyers - always with the understanding that their professional career is of the utmost importance. The firm also maintains an informal atmosphere: doors are almost always open, dress is business casual and first names are used for everyone.

That all being said, one must remember that the firm expects 2,000 hours billed each year. It is still grueling work for excellent pay, but at least it is in a collegial atmosphere. Paul Weiss is an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be an elite big firm litigator in New York City.
Pro bono

Throughout its history Paul Weiss has maintained a resolute commitment to provide pro bono legal assistance to those in need and to serve the public interest. Paul, Weiss has helped establish law and public policy concerning, among other areas, civil rights, women's rights, rights of asylum, prisoners' rights and treatment of the homeless, and has authored groundbreaking reports on the legal rights of children and human rights in Iraq.

The firm also organized the foundation that facilitated and supervised the first-ever free election in South Africa. In addition to significant high-profile cases with broad impact, Paul, Weiss also has been steadfast in its commitment to provide personal pro bono assistance to individuals in need of legal representation.

The firm is committed to providing personal pro bono assistance to individuals in need of legal representation across a broad range of constitutional, civil and human interest areas.

Some of the recent pro bono cases include, achieving a resounding victory for Disability Advocates. The suit had sought to end discrimination against persons with mental illness who reside in adult homes in New York City. In 2008, Paul, Weiss, with the Urban Justice Center and the Economic Justice Project of the CUNY School of Law, brought an action in New York Supreme Court, challenging the sufficiency of New York State's basic welfare grant. Over the past year, Paul, Weiss has obtained asylum for multiple clients seeking refuge from persecution.

The firm encourages its attorneys to participate on at least one pro bono matter at all times, although there is no minimum requirement. Associates receive full billable credit for pro bono work and there is also no limit on the number of pro bono hours allowed.
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