Sidley is a global law firm committed to providing excellent client service, fostering a culture of cooperation and mutual respect, and creating opportunities for lawyers of all backgrounds. With more than 1,700 lawyers in 18 offices around the world, talent and teamwork are central to Sidley’s successful results for clients in all types of legal matters, from complex transactions to “bet the company” litigation to cutting-edge regulatory issues.
Awards and recognitions
Sidley Austin has received 56 first-tier national rankings in the U.S. News- Best Lawyers "Best Law Firms" survey in the 2011-2012 survey, more than any other law firm.
The law firm has been awarded the "Best International Firm for Talent Management" by Euromoney Legal Media Group in its inaugural Americas Women in Business Law Awards.
Sidley Austin will be receiving the 2012 Access to Justice Award at the ACLU Foundation of Southern California' 18th Annual Law Luncheon on June 8.
Sidley Austin has been named the "Best Onshore Law Firm - Client Service" at the HFM Week European Hedge Fund Services Awards 2012.
Sidley Austin being a top-level Am Law 100 law firm sets a high standard for its associates and most of them are hired from the top 14 law schools (as ranked by U.S. News & World Report). The firm is not a regular visitor to career fairs, with only two visits to job fairs made in 2011.
Most of the campus recruiting is done in these schools:
Chicago-Kent College of Law
DePaul University College of Law
Duke University School of Law
Georgetown University Law Center
Harvard Law School
Loyola University Chicago School of Law
New York University School of Law
Stanford Law School
University of California at Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law
University of Chicago Law School
University of Illinois College of Law
University of Iowa College of Law
University of Miami School of Law
University of Michigan Law School
University of Minnesota Law School
University of Notre Dame Law School
University of Pennsylvania Law School
University of Virginia School of Law
University of Wisconsin Law School
Vanderbilt University Law School
Washington University School of Law
Yale Law School
One-fifth of the firm's partners are women and almost half the associates are women. The firm has a very active approach towards promoting diversity in its ranks and has been recognized for its efforts by the legal community repeatedly over the years. The firm has a Diversity Committee which works to address a wide variety of inclusion and diversity issues.
Summer associate program
Sidley Austin runs a 10-week summer program in its U.S. offices. Students are expected to complete on an average 11 to 15 assignments and are expected to do six hours of billable activity every day. Even though the legal sector was hit by the general recession, Sidley Austin managed to offer its entire summer class of 2010 fulltime job offers. In 2011, the firm also doubled its intake of its summer class bringing it closer to its pre-recession number.
In 2012, the firm was paying its summer associates $3,100 per week in compensation.
Salary & benefits
The firm says it is flexible with regards to the billing hours that it requires its associates to put in, but to qualify for a full market-rate bonus, an associate must put in 2,000 hours of which at least 1,800 hours should be of billable work. The remaining hours can be filled by pro bono work and other activities deemed as "eligible work".
Sidley Austin's starting salary is $160,000. The firm pays this starting salary in each of its U.S. offices
- 401(k)/IRA/Other Retirement Plan
- Bar Association Fees
- Business Casual Dress Code
- Dental Insurance
- Domestic Partner Benefits
- Employee Assistance Program
- Family/Dependent Care Leave
- Flexible Spending Account/Pre-Tax Option
- Life/AD&D Insurance
- Long-term Disability Insurance
- Medical Insurance
- Medical Spending Account
- Parental Leave
- Relocation Expenses
- Short-term Disability Insurance
- Sick Leave
- Technology (Laptop, PDA, etc.)
- Vacation Leave
- Vision Insurance
- Other benefits include 4 weeks of vacation, pre-tax parking and transit program, subsidized emergency back-up childcare, Health Advocate, and reduced-hours policy.
Working for the Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley Austin has always carefully nurtured a collegiate environment where firm lawyers feel 'at home,' and within 'learned' precincts. The culture of respect, co-operation, and mutual help marks out Sidley Austin as a place to work for, in comparison to many law firm cultures with a dog-eat-dog environment and up-or-out mentality. As a firm Sidley Austin takes care that all partners, employees, associates and other staff feel that they 'belong' where they are. When an employee or an attorney walks into the firm, he/she feels the same as walking into a personal comfort zone and not a war zone. Working across departments and on interdisciplinary projects is common and appreciated. Assistance from others is expected and not unexpected. Congeniality is the rule in the Sidley Austin workplace. That the respect and bon-homie present in Sidley Austin works, is proved by the pride and satisfaction of lawyers working for the legendary firm.
Sidley Austin's lawyers have won many awards for their pro bono work as has the firm itself. The firm urges its attorneys to do at least 60 hours of pro bono work and even counts up to 200 pro bono hours towards the attorney's bonus consideration, on the condition that the attorney has done 1,800 hours of billable work. The firm has set a goal for itself to devote three percent of its billing hours every year to pro bono work.
In 2011, attorneys at Sidley Austin, along with other legal staff at the firm, did almost 100,000 hours of pro bono work.
The firm is especially active in the civil rights area in its pro bono work. It has fought several cases before the Supreme Court through its Appellate practice group. One of the more recent cases was the Grutter v. Bollinger, in which the Supreme Court upheld affirmative action at University of Michigan's law school.
The firm offers its associates a fellowship program through which they can work at nonprofits in the community before they start working for the firm. The firm's NY office even allows its associates to take up this offer while working at the firm. The firm pays the associate a fellowship stipend or pays the salary of the fellows so that they can work at the chosen nonprofit for 10 weeks.