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Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Main Office: 235 Montgomery Street, 17th Floor | San Francisco | CA | 94104
Phone: 415-954-4400 | Fax: 415-954-4480





San Francisco






Farella Braun + Martel LLP Reviews view all

Reviewed on May 04, 2023
Former Employee

5.Current EmployeeBest law firm in CaliforniaAtty in San Francisco, CARecommendProsSmart, kind, and genuine colleagues to share professional accomplishments with.ConsI could not think of a con for working with Farella even if forces

Former Employee


Full time

Reviewed on December 16, 2017
Current Employee

The amount of work per pay is very low. The firm does have great staff and employees. There needs to be training for management, staff, and employees on issues of abuse, harassment, and bullying.

A law firm in which the working environment is varied and allows to changes in schedule. The environment is composed of very collective staff and employees.

There seems to be a difference of treatment between attorneys, staff, and employees. The firm appears to have issues involving harassment, abuse, and bullying in the work setting.

Current Employee



Experience the Excitement of Working at Farella Braun + Martel LLP

When it comes to finding a law firm that offers a stimulating and rewarding work environment, look no further than Farella Braun + Martel LLP. With a rich history dating back to 1962, this renowned firm has established itself as a leader in the legal industry, representing clients both domestically and internationally in a wide range of business transactions and litigation.

Farella Braun + Martel LLP is known for its innovative legal solutions and the dynamic and intellectual creativity of its lawyers. The firm's attorneys are not only highly skilled and experienced in their respective practice areas, but they also possess a unique ability to think outside the box and find creative solutions to complex legal issues. This innovative approach sets Farella Braun + Martel LLP apart from other firms and allows its attorneys to provide exceptional service to their clients.

One of the key factors that sets Farella Braun + Martel LLP apart is its commitment to collaboration and teamwork. Attorneys in each practice group work cohesively in interdisciplinary teams, leveraging their diverse expertise to advance their clients' objectives in the most effective, coordinated, and efficient manner. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of camaraderie and encourages the sharing of ideas and knowledge among attorneys, creating a stimulating and intellectually stimulating work environment.

Headquartered in the vibrant city of San Francisco, Farella Braun + Martel LLP is perfectly situated in the heart of the legal and business community. The firm's location provides attorneys and staff with access to a wealth of opportunities for professional growth and development. San Francisco is home to numerous Fortune 500 companies, startups, and innovative organizations, making it an ideal place for attorneys to build their careers and expand their professional networks.

In addition to its San Francisco office, Farella Braun + Martel LLP also maintains an office in the picturesque Napa Valley, which is focused on serving the unique legal needs of the wine industry. This office provides attorneys with the opportunity to work with clients in one of the most prestigious and exciting industries in the world, further adding to the excitement and diversity of the firm's practice.

Joining Farella Braun + Martel LLP comes with a host of benefits that make it an attractive option for both attorneys and staff. The firm offers competitive compensation packages, including generous salaries and comprehensive benefits. Attorneys can expect to work on high-profile cases and transactions, gaining invaluable experience and exposure to a wide range of industries and legal issues.

Furthermore, Farella Braun + Martel LLP is committed to fostering a supportive and inclusive work environment. The firm values diversity and actively promotes a culture of respect and collaboration. Attorneys and staff are encouraged to bring their unique perspectives and experiences to the table, creating a rich and diverse workforce that enhances the firm's ability to serve its clients effectively.

In conclusion, Farella Braun + Martel LLP offers attorneys and staff an exciting and rewarding work experience. With its innovative legal solutions, collaborative approach, and prime locations in San Francisco and the Napa Valley, the firm provides ample opportunities for professional growth and development. Joining Farella Braun + Martel LLP means becoming part of a dynamic and intellectually stimulating team that is dedicated to delivering exceptional legal services to its clients.

Practice Areas

Farella Braun + Martel LLP practices law in the following areas and works with its clients to provide the best possible legal solutions.

Hiring Criteria

Farella Braun + Martel LLP follows the set of hiring criteria outlined below.

Fareila is very selective in its hiring and "only takes the top graduates from the top law schools." One insider informed us that "there is a reason why we only interview at the schools that we do: geographic and/or pedigree. In particular, the more senior partners are finicky about grades/schooling/pedigree." Callbacks usually involve one-on-one interviews with six lawyers and lunch with two attorneys. All attorneys in the firm are involved in the interview process. Interviews mostly focus on the candidate's personal interests. "I have never heard of a candidate being asked substantive legal questions during an interview," one insider remarked. The interview is designed primarily to determine "whether the candidate is professional and likable; whether she will be a good fit with the firm." Candidates who have been rejected are those who have "absolutely nothing interesting to say about their lives or do not appear to have any outside interests; if you haven't gone to the movies or read a book for pleasure recently, you will probably get 'dinged,'" a second insider reported. Farella attorneys tend to have many outside interests which they actively pursue, "whether it is opera singing, painting, hard-core extreme sports, or volunteering, and part of the firm's philosophy is that you will continue to pursue those interests while you work here," we were told. Candidates should take the time to learn about the firm and its practice before the interview. "Be relaxed, and be ready to talk about things that interest you," one contact recommended. "Don't try to be someone you are not. The firm is baffled by individuals who interview here and then go to places like Latham, Cravath, etc. Think a lot about why you have chosen Farella, and don't say it's because of the lifestyle,' i.e., low billables. Partners hate that," a second person observed.

Pro bono

Pro bono work is encouraged and billable. The firm regularly staffs the clinic sponsored by the San Francisco Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and takes cases brought in through the clinic and elsewhere. Farella also does significant pro bono death penalty work, capably led by Doug Young and Claudia Lewis. There is no pro bono committee; instead, "a partner will approach you to work on a pro bono case that s/he has been asked to work on," reported one insider, who added that "I am currently working on a pro bono appeal for a woman who won a $30 million personal injury claim against PG&E. Other associates are working on immigration asylum cases, landlord-tenant disputes, and advising non-profits."

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Farella is "incredibly supportive" of its attorneys. Women attorneys, in particular, are mentored, treated professionally, and given equal opportunities ant: challenges. Although the number of women partners is not large, there are several with significant power, including Debbie Ballati (litigation), who serves on the executive committee. and Georgia Meagher (litigation), who heads the employment group. The firm has sponsored a number of women's dinners and rainmaking seminars for its female attorneys. Farella is also very much "pro-family leave," we were told. One insider reported that, in this area, "from both a professional and personal standpoint, the firm (and the people of the firm) has been beyond wonderful." Two partners (both women) are presently on part-time; one male associate is on part-time for childcare purposes; and one male paralegal recently took paternity leave when he and his wife adopted a child. Farella is "trying hard to increase its diversity." The partners are committed to recruiting, mentoring, and retaining minority associates, and "minority associates who are here are generally very happy," remarked one insider.

Summer associate program

The summer program ritualistically begins with a "big kick-off dinner" at which Frank Farella delivers a humorous speech which sets the tone for the summer experience. The firm assigns summer associates to work with specific partners for two-week rotations and provides assignments that are "meaningful and interesting." Summer associates meet once a week with the recruitment coordinator who reportedly "does a great job getting and reporting feedback." Summer social events in past years have included moonlight kayaking on the bay, a cooking class at Sur La Table, ceramics painting, a symphony, a murder mystery dinner and a "fabulous party at a Napa vineyard."

Working for the Farella Braun + Martel LLP
Entering attorneys elect to work in either business or litigation. First-year business associates are assigned to one partner for the entire year. Litigation associates work for a variety of partners, in areas of interest they generally get to choose. The litigation department head reviews associate workload reports and requests in assigning cases. "I think the system works quite well, particularly compared to horror stories I've heard from colleagues in other firms where there is no gatekeeper to prevent an associate from being overloaded or stuck with working for only one or two partners," reported one insider. The firm uses both formal training programs and on-the-job training to "teach associates the art of practicing law." Regular lunches are scheduled to discuss such topics as "how to prepare a discovery plan, how to do a document production, taking expert depositions, etc." Farella staffs its cases leanly, generally with one partner and one associate, offering young associates significant responsibility. In the litigation department, assignments include research memos, responding to document requests, and defending or taking depositions. "I am a second year associate, and I have an IP case in federal court, an international arbitration before the International Chamber of Commerce, an appellate case, and a state court construction matter, along with several smaller matters. I negotiate directly with opposing counsel in every matter, have frequent client contact, and draft all of the pleadings and briefs in the cases, including the requisite legal research. I am in the library as necessary, but have never done a legal research project that did not become incorporated into final product," one insider informed us. Farella generally keeps away from "huge" defense cases ("the type of cases which bury associates in document discovery for months or even years"), favoring complex mid-size cases as the "bread and butter" of the firm's business. "For me, the variety of clients and cases has been one of the best things about working here," a second insider observed. Farella has a "business casual" dress policy Monday through Thursday and a "Friday casual" dress day. Men typically wear khakis, sweaters, and oxford shirts and women wear slacks, sweaters, or "whatever they want to," and jeans can be worn on Fridays. "Everyone cleaves to the casual dress code, and we get dressed up only if we are meeting with a client," one insider noted. Farella provides a formal review of its associates every six months, at which time a supervising partner secures evaluative comments from every attorney for whom the associate has done significant work. These comments are presented at a firm-wide partnership meeting, after which the supervising partner and a second partner provide the associate with feedback "In my experience the reviews are overwhelmingly positive-mostly a chance to make the associate feel good," remarked one insider. Although not formally part of the process, partnership prospects are generally indicated during the formal reviews. "Partnership prospects are good, as there are not many people up for partner each year," we were told. The social life at Farella strikes a nice balance-people are friendly and gather together casually for drinks, lunches and for basketball or softball games, and yet "there is no pressure to spend all your time with other lawyers. Everyone has a life outside the office," one insider observed. The firm sponsors Friday lunches which are "purely social and an opportunity to mingle with people you don't normally work with." There are also regular happy hours on Friday "at any number of watering holes downtown and that goes a long way towards keeping the place convivial," a second insider noted. The firm has hosted a ski trip to Lake Tahoe the past two years, for which it picks up the entire tab including a dinner with a DJ on Saturday night. "It's the best event of the year," exclaimed one insider. Farella is run by an executive committee comprised of the heads of the business and litigation departments, one senior partner, one junior partner, and the managing partner. There are also several key rainmakers who have "substantial influence" on firm affairs, including Jeff Newman (business), John Cooper (litigation), and Doug Young (litigation). Associates are included on most of the firm's committees, and financial data ("budget and actual numbers, etc.") is made available, although information dissemination differs between the firm's two major departments, we were told. "The business department head rarely calls a meeting, and therefore the business associates are not very knowledgeable about their department's direction. In contrast, the head of litigation does an excellent job of calling meetings for all of the litigation associates and keeps everyone in the loop regarding the firm's business, financials and future," according to one insider. Salaries are roughly competitive with other big firms in the city, but "Farella might pay a little less at the higher levels," observed one insider, who added that attorneys are generally content to make less and "not work ridiculous hours." Associates in the past have rejected pay hikes which would require additional billable hours and have "met again recently to decide how they wish their decision to go this year. There is a strong feeling that the associates will forgo a raise again if they can keep the minimum billable hours at 1850," a second insider informed us. Farella gives very small bonuses based on reaching 1850 hours; it offers, however, "combat pay bonuses" when an associate is staffed on a particularly "grizzly" project. Although our contacts expressed satisfaction with conditions at the firm, we were told that there has been a large contingent of lateral hires "as a result of departures that occurred two years ago; at present there are 15 laterals out of 30 associates." There are few perks at Farella other than the elaborate ski trip given each year; the firm does, however, sponsor a free lunch for attorney; every Friday and provides associate and partner sabbaticals.


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