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Gibson Dunn & Crutcher

published May 24, 2004

Adam Silver
( 57 votes, average: 4.2 out of 5)
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There is a long-running joke (surely pre-dating the public service career of Ronald Reagan) that actors think they're politicians and politicians want to be celebrities. All professional mix-ups aside, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, although it is one of the premier firms in Los Angeles, is far more Washington, D.C. than it is Hollywood. The firm has handled a host of cases with dramatic political ramifications. Famed Gibson Dunn litigator Theodore Olson helmed the Bush/Cheney side of the debate during the disputed presidential election of 2000. Other notable Washington connections include former partners Eugene Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin, and Ken Starr, Whitewater special prosecutor. In what is now a comical footnote to history, a decorated Stanford Law graduate declined the firm's offer of a legal secretary position. Nearly 30 years later, Sandra Day O'Connor became the first woman to sit on the bench of the United States Supreme Court.

Gibson Dunn is one of the largest M&A firms not to have its headquarters in New York (although there is an office there). However, the firm is not relegated to specializing in one particular aspect of the law. Few firms can match Gibson Dunn when it comes to pro bono work. The Public Council Law Center recently named Gibson Dunn the "Pro Bono Law Firm of the Year." Of particular note is the firm's innovative "Adoption Saturday" program, which has placed nearly 4,000 kids with foster parents. Partner Stephen Glover was recently selected as the District of Columbia's 2004 Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year.

Though commended for its pro bono work, the firm has been honored for its excellence in other fields as well. On May 6, Chambers & Partners Global selected Gibson Dunn as the "U.S. Antitrust Law Firm of the Year." Several Gibson Dunn attorneys were singled out for their efforts, as well: Robert Cooper, Michael Denger, Joseph Kattan, James Loftis, Sean Royall, Gary Spratling, Peter Sullivan and Daniel Swanson. Chambers & Partners Global also announced that Gibson Dunn was one of two runners-up for "U.S. Litigation Firm of the Year."

Overall, salaries at Gibson Dunn are competitive. First year associates can expect to earn $125,000 in base salary, and hours, though heavy as at any major firm, are not overly steep.

While several branches have recently closed, Gibson Dunn's roughly 800 attorneys are still spread out among offices in Palo Alto, Paris, Brussels, Dallas, New York, San Francisco, London, Munich, Denver, Orange County and Washington, D.C.

Despite its global reach, Gibson Dunn is known first and foremost as a Los Angeles firm. It was founded by John Bicknell in 1890. At the time, L.A. was anything but the image of celebrity glitz and glamour that it is today. Gibson Dunn has grown along with the nation's second-largest city. One of the firm's first major clients, Southern Pacific Railroad, is largely responsible for the proliferation of the West Coast. Gibson Dunn is not just part of the Southland legal landscape; it is an emblem of California law.


Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher currently has several attorney openings throughout its international network of offices for litigation, bankruptcy, and corporate attorneys, among others. More information regarding positions at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher can be found in the LawCrossing job database.

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