Miller & Chevalier Chartered.

Miller & Chevalier Chartered.

4 Star Rating     3 reviews

https://www.millerchevalier.com/ 
Main Office:
900 16th Street NW | Washington | DC | 20006
Phone: 202-626-5800  | Fax: 202-626-5801 

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Year of establishment 1920 Number of partners 52
Number of offices 1 Partner to associate ratio 2.70
Biggest office Washington Percentage of women attorneys 24.40
Number of attorneys 91 Percentage of minority attorneys 11.00
Number of associates 19
Miller & Chevalier Chartered.
   3 reviews

Miller & Chevalier Chartered. Reviews

- Reviewed on December 18, 2017

Advice to law firm management: Management needs to be reminded of the value of their associates and start incentive programs to make up for the long hours.

Pros: This firm offers a great deal of benefits to its new employees and is extremely competitive with its salary range and advancements.

Cons: There is fierce competition amongst the associates and new hires can easily be made to feel used and in most cases not wanted.

Current or former employee?: Former Employee

- Reviewed on October 26, 2017

Advice to law firm management: I would like to see management get on the ball and make sure that everyone is working on a case at all times. I also think that we could talk a bit more in a candid fashion during work hours when there's downtime.

Pros: Pay is excellent and there is plenty of overtime to go around. The staff to secretary to attorney relationship is great and everyone is extremely friendly and concerned not only with your well-being but also with their client's wellbeing as well.

Cons: Growth feels restricted and the work environment can feel a bit too serious at times. I also feel as though the work flow is not streamlined enough and there can be a lack of general direction at times.

Current or former employee?: Former Employee

Overview


Miller & Chevalier was founded as the first federal tax practice in the United States. Our Administrative and Tax Controversy practice solves clients’ most difficult problems administratively and in the courts. In the area of tax planning and consulting, we regularly handle all of the U.S. federal tax aspects of complex, multi-billion dollar, multinational transactions. In addition, we represent clients in complex tax policy matters. Our lawyers have a broad range of technical experience and industry background, spanning financial products and structured finance, international tax, tax accounting, business transactions and reorganizations, transfer pricing, criminal tax, and withholding tax issues. Miller & Chevalier’s Employee Benefits and Employment Tax practice offers a full range of consulting, planning, and controversy services to clients facing the challenges of increased audit and regulatory scrutiny in the benefits area. In addition, the practice features significant ERISA litigation capabilities, as well as policy experience, which is critical in a business environment characterized by tremendous regulatory and legislative change. The Employee Benefits group advises clients in areas, including qualified plans; nonqualified deferred compensation; non-ERISA fringe benefits; health and welfare benefits, including health care reform; payroll taxes; worker classification; information reporting; and penalty abatement.


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Diversity


Miller was described as "a good place for women," and a number of female attorneys have significant clout at the firm. Marcia Madsen heads the government contracts group, which has several other women partners including Mary Lou Soller, who was recently named as Miller's general counsel. Catherine Creech (tax) is on the executive committee ("a major achievement") and Patricia Sweeney (tax) is in charge of associate development functions firm wide. The litigation group does not have any female partners and has only three female associates; however, one person informed us that "I believe this is a coincidence, rather than an indication that the group is not female-friendly. It is definitely not the macho boys club that characterizes some firms' litigation groups." Although there has been "some grumbling" of late that there has been a "recent dearth of new partners being made and none have been female," our contacts agreed that women receive the same opportunities as men at the firm. Miller offers generous maternity and paternity leave programs, to which attorneys may tack on additional vacation time. We were told that one senior associate who is approaching partnership took off six months this year when his wife had a baby, and another associate at the same level also took off six months last year after she had her first child and is now working part-time. Miller does not offer formal daycare assistance, but there is an emergency daycare facility in the building. Miller does not have any minority partners, and minority associates are not well-represented at the firm. One contact informed us that "the firm is very unhappy about this" and wishes it were otherwise. Miller does have a diversity committee, and requires all of its attorneys to attend an annual diversity training program. In addition, the firm makes special efforts to recruit minority attorneys. Still, the firm reportedly has made no efforts to mentor its minority associates, and one source noted that "minority associates here lack partners as role models or a large minority community within the firm."

Summer associate program


The summer program at Miller is "pretty well-balanced between work and play, with something social happening at least once or twice a week." One representative contact informed us that "my summer experience was very positive, with a lot of substantive work (and public credit from partners for doing it), a wonderful corner office, and an enjoyable time with extracurricular activities such as attending a professional tennis tournament, going to the D.C premiere of Apollo 13, going to a charity dinner at the National Zoo, seeing an Orioles game and dinner at the managing partner's house in Annapolis (and sailing on his boat). We also had several lunches a week at the office for summer associates and frequent lunch invitations from lawyers at the firm."

Working for the Miller & Chevalier Chartered.


New associates at Miller typically choose their practice area, although market conditions may limit their options at times. The firm does not have a formal rotation program, but summer associates may work in all of the practice areas, and permanent associates have been known to switch areas. Mentoring is "something that the firm tries hard to support, reinforce, and improve." Each associate chooses a mentor who assigns 30 percent of their workload, enabling the mentor to "teach the craft" to the associate and providing junior associates an opportunity to discuss their workloads and potential future assignments. Mentors will also "go to bat" for an associate if the office has a project available that the associate has a particular interest in. Each group at Miller has a work assignment coordinator, but in practice associates tend to approach members with whom they would like to work in order to get their assignments. Junior associates work "very closely" with partners; one source noted that "it is rare to work 'for' a senior associate. Typically, cases at Miller are staffed leanly. Because Miller has a high partner-to-associate ratio, associates are often asked to take on a "surprising level" of responsibility very early in their careers. Partners are encouraged to give associates as much responsibility as they can handle, and then to "pare back that responsibility only if the associate struggles," we were told. It is not unusual for a first- or second-year associate to be the main point of contact on a daily basis for very substantial matters. One insider claimed that "as a first year, I was the main contact with the client for several months in the early stages of filing a half-billion dollar tax refund suit in federal district court. I was also involved in a major international tax restructuring in which a second year was the main daily contact person with the client company's tax director. These examples are not atypical of the tax practice." Responsibility is delayed somewhat in the litigation department, we were told, and junior associates in that group should not expect to find themselves in court, directly advising clients, or negotiating with opposing counsel until their mid-level years. One litigation associate explained that "Miller & Chevalier involves its associates in strategic decisions and other internal work early on, but outside responsibilities are generally much more limited than at some other firms. This is the tradeoff of the firm's low leveraging: associates work directly with and learn from members, but the clients are so large, the problems so significant, and the staffing so top-heavy that an associate seeking substantial, independent responsibility may not find it." Most associate training at Miller is on-the-job; however, the firm does provide in-house training on "research, oral presentations, recruiting and business development." The firm also hires consultants to conduct one-on-one training in legal writing and public speaking. Miller offers a unique feedback system in which each partner is required to evaluate every first, second and third year's work at the end of each major project. Partners who do not complete evaluations in a timely manner are "penalized in the pocketbook," according to one insider. Associates and staff members are also asked to review the partner's performance after each project. Fourth-year associates and beyond are evaluated every six months or yearly, depending on the associate's level. Partnership prospects are not indicated until these fourth- or fifth-year evaluations. According to one contact, "the official mantra is that 'everyone should make member,' but of course economics often gets in the way of that." Because many of the attorneys at Miller are married and have children, the informal social life at the firm is "somewhat limited." Intra-firm dating is discouraged, but many of the attorneys run or exercise together and the firm has a softball team in the summer. Every Friday the firm sponsors a happy hour, and on Wednesdays the firm provides a catered buff a lunch where attorneys "sit together in small groups and interact with people from different practice groups." Special events at the firm include an annual working weekend retreat at a resort, a summer picnic, a formal winter gala, and an in-house holiday party. The highlight of the social calendar is the firm's 4th of July party, where the attorneys gather on the firm's "huge" terrace overlooking the Washington Monument to view the city's famous fireworks display. "The terrace is the best location in the city to watch the fireworks," boasted one contact. Miller is run by a three-member executive committee that meets twice a month. This committee, headed by Phil Mann, makes all of the firm's decisions that d : not require a vote. Mann was described as "Mr. Everything these days, in part because he has taken on a lot of responsibility that no one else wanted such as hiring, business development and general management." The chairs of each practice group (John Magee, tax; Marcii Madsen, government contracts; Homer Moyer, international; and Don Craven, litigation) also have substantial influence at Miller. Because of associate complaints in past years, Millers management has recently become more forthcoming about its policies and procedures, we were told. One person marveled that "it is hard to imagine how much more information they could give us. Copies of departments' strategic plans, copies of everyone's hours for the previous month, copies of executive committee minutes, copies of business development reports, and so forth, are all provided to associates." Associates at the firm also have their own committee, which is made up of three elected members who serve as liaisons with the membership. All firm associates meet with this committee monthly; one of its current project S involves evaluating Miller's bonus system. Miller's salary structure is "quite competitive" with other large Washington firms. Although D.C. salaries continue to "spiral up," one contact told us that "the firm has shown a commitment to keep pace with the competition." Financially, Miller is doing well, and associates received a "huge" 20% to 25% salary increase last year. The firm's bonus system was changed in 1998 and reportedly is "still being tweaked." Bonuses are based on billable hour, which causes some associates to feel "quite a bit" of billable hour pressure. Last year, more than half of the firm's associates did not receive a bonus. One insider explained that "bonuses are viewed as 'combat pay'. It is my impression that some partners would prefer it to be a goal, but I have not heard c 1 anyone being criticized for not getting 'the bonus." Fringe benefits include a 25% matching program for 401(k) donations, subsidized subway tickets, free use of the building's health club, emergency daycare and some life insurance.

Articles


WTO attorneys move to Miller & ChevalierDiversity in law firm must for growth...

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References


http://www.millerchevalier.com http://www.nalpdirectory.com http://www.lawfirmstats.com