Winston & Strawn Reviews

Updated March 23, 2015
58 reviews filtered by
  • Any Location
  • Any Job Title
2.8
58 Reviews
Rating Trends
Recommend to a friend
Approve of CEO
(no image)
Tom Fitzgerald
3 Ratings

Pros
  • Very professional, mostly good people, opportunities available within company (in 3 reviews)

  • Great location, fantastic views of city and Lake Michigan, competitive compensation packages (in 3 reviews)

Cons
  • As attorneys get more self-sufficient, legal secretaries are turning into a dying profession (in 9 reviews)

  • Secretarial management, layoffs, favoritism, secretarial teams, secretarial tests (in 7 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Very conservative environment, limited communication from management about many issues related to associates.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Associate Attorney in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Associate Attorney in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Winston & Strawn full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Compensation is good, very good attorneys.

    Cons

    little mentorship and support for associates. few partners who remember what it was like to be an associate.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more open to associates about the firm and how things are going.

    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  2. 2 people found this helpful

    Accounting Department

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Supervisor
    Current Employee - Supervisor

    I have been working at Winston & Strawn full-time (more than 10 years)

    Pros

    A great place to work, don't be fooled by any of the negative information you've heard about Winston. It's a great place to work the people are very nice and friendly, they speak when they walk past you, even if they don't know your name. You are always learning interesting things about the firm, we all work well as a team to help one another.

    Cons

    Winston now has a café called Winston café, the environment is so friendly, you can relax and enjoy your lunch with a group of co-workers or just by yourself. We get free bagels and donuts on payday and on special occasional we do get all kinds of great treats. During open enrollment, were provided with very detailed information at your fingertips. Human resources are always willing to assist you with any issues or concerns you may have.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Great firm and a awesome team of workers firm wide.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  3. 3 people found this helpful

    Eye Opening & Disappointing

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Legal Secretary in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Legal Secretary in Washington, DC

    I worked at Winston & Strawn full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    Working for a large law firm like this one looks good on your resume, as long as you're leaving on your own terms of course. The benefits are good, staff receive 2 personal days, 7 sick days and a floating holiday to be used. Due to the many companies they work with and represent, employees can also take advantage of discounts with many of those companies.

    Pastries/Donuts on pay days

    Cons

    Unfortunately the cons outweigh the pros. During my time at this firm I felt like any day could be my last. Human resources in the office made staff feel like prisoners, actually, they made the staff members that were not "favorites" feel like prisoners. Several employees stated they had at one point or another felt targeted by HR in what could be seen as a racially biased way.

    Their dress policy was not only extremely inflexible but also extremely unclear. Their policies stated "business casual" but they constantly threatened employees that actually wore business casual with write ups. HR also made is a habit to comment on other appearance related things like "tired faces" and what they considered "unprofessional hair", which unlike what you might believe had little to do with crazy hair colors or cuts and a lot to do with how it was worn: curly, straight, wavy, etc.

    Their jeans day policy while appreciated had been thought through far too much. Only denim pants, nothing else. Employees constantly received the reminder that they could not wear denim jackets, skirts, dresses, and the list went on.

    The environment was toxic. Their HR department, which unlike other places should act as a mediator, has created an environment where the employees are constantly worried about what they will be in trouble for. Their staff members are required to clock in/out. Seems easy enough but that too was something that made people constantly worried. If an employee clocked in at 9:08 vs 9:07 they were required to work an extra 15 minutes or they would be docked pay. If an employee worked a few minutes later it became an issue of "why didn't you request prior approval to work overtime".

    Staff is seen a disposable and unintelligent. While not all attorneys behave this way, some of them won't even look at a staff member let alone speak to them if they pass them in the hallway or share an elevator. Several lunches/get together are held each month for attorneys but it's known that staff are not welcome.

    Staff vs staff: other staff members sometimes go out of their way to get HR on someone's case. There's a lot of drama in their office. People bad-mouthing, spying, lying about each other. In some cases they even go as far and searching through the personal property of other employees and reporting their findings to HR.

    Overall the problem doesn't seem to be the attorneys, as many of them express their disdain for the way HR runs the offices. The invisible line that separates the attorneys from the staff (riff raff) is created by those managing the offices, which is HR (seems like a conflict of interest).

    HR "runs the joint", the attorneys have no real say in the future of those staff members they work with. Even when employees get good reviews from their assigned people, they can be written up for petty reasons.

    As far as advancement opportunities...well it depends on what you do. Legal secretaries will stay that way. Their raises aren't exactly generous and neither are their bonuses. Their bonuses "trickle down" so staff gets the short end of the stick.

    Conservative like you wouldn't believe. One of the first things I saw during my time at this firm was a message sent to the whole firm by an attorney that was leaving...where he told everyone he was going to fight to protect the sanctity marriage (between a man & a woman)...in which several homosexual attorneys and staff were included. Yes, the political views of those in positions of power were ok to shove down people's throat. Further proving the lack of respect for others.

    Their weather policy was/is extremely inconsiderate. Since the policies are created by individuals with very easy commutes they do not take into consideration those that need to commute from outside of the city limits.

    Honesty is punished. Employees that leave the firm on their own terms but decide to share with management why they've left are treated like criminals. They are not allowed to say goodbye to their fellow coworkers, instead once the employee expressed why they chose to leave and even give advice they are immediately escorted off the premises as if they were a threat of some sort. Retaliation is also common so if you do change employers, do not provide them information on the new one as some people are known to ruin outside opportunities for those that quit.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Stop treating your employees like disposable bags of meat. Regardless of whether they have a JD or not, they are still humans as well as adults, both worthy of respect. Remove some of the power you've erroneously placed in the hands of your HR departments. Their jobs should be to mediate between management and staff not make staff feel like that have no one to go to with a problem.

    Eliminate things that can become a conflict of issue. Supervisors should not be best friends with those underneath them, especially when they're managing the offices. Employees should feel safe approaching the supervisor or someone who is harassing them or doing something wrong, not feel like things will become worse because they're going to "watch out for each other".

    This one is a stretch, but consider being more generous (financially) with your staff. It's difficult to understand this when you're making 400K plus, but a lot of them struggle daily. If you reduced those bonuses associates and partners get by even 5K, you'd be making a huge difference in your staff's life.

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  4. Is this helpful? The community relies on everyone sharing – Add Anonymous Review


  5. 1 person found this helpful

    Associate Attorney

    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Winston & Strawn full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Great work life balance. Offers the opportunity to work on a variety of complex transactions. Not a generic large law firm environment.

    Cons

    Historically there were communication issues between partnership and associates. Over the past year the firm has done a solid job of trying to remedy this situation.

  6. False Review, Because Computer App. Doesn't Allow Proper Date

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Document Clerk in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Document Clerk in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Winston & Strawn (less than a year)

    Pros

    Due to the confidential nature of the legal business I cannot divulge sensitive information, and as such, I must decline to share this experience I enjoyed. I did experience very pleasant working conditions. Although I was initially quoted an annual salary, I apparently was paid per hour, so as to be compensated for the numerous overtime hours. (This was very beneficial, as we were offered many opportunities to work overtime.) I did not have time to exercise, but I found walking around downtown a decent substitute for exercise.
         Another pro was their security, as well as vacation days and benefits, including days off for funerals of close family members. I do not remember for sure, but they may have been paid? I may be mistaken about that, but we were told we could definitely take the day off for the funeral of a close family member with no negative repercussions. The fact that I remember this makes me think that such absences may have been paid. I do not remember for sure, as I was fortunate not to experience that accommodation first hand.
         I wish I could go into the specifics of my work, but as I said, due to its confidential nature I cannot. (That is the nature of a law office and my honesty is noted on letters of reference from various offices I have worked at, including Winston Strawn.) I can compliment my supervisor for working with me when questions arose as to what I should do in given situations.

    Cons

    Due to the confidential nature of the legal business I cannot divulge sensitive information, and as such, I must decline to share any cons which I may have encountered working there. I am tempted to say it was a hassle to get used to working all the way downtown Chicago, but with public transportation I quickly got very used to it, even in the winter. Sitting still on the train for an hour is not good for one's blood system and it was an hour in to the city and an hour out, more or less, depending on which train you were able to take. (Although, when we worked overtime, I could catch the `express train' on the way in, the out-bound late trains ran made MUCH later and longer due to the fact that the later the train, the more stops it made, generally. I believe this had somewhat of a positive influence on me as I got used to some really long days, sometimes.)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  7. Excellent Firm to be a part of

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Winston & Strawn full-time (more than 8 years)

    Pros

    Opportunity for growth, retirement plan contributions, jeans days, awesome new Winston Café lunch room, good benefit options

    Cons

    Dress code is inflexible except for jeans days

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Allow for more little perks that go along way (socials, jean days, perhaps contests among employees such as a chili cook off or other events that would create more of a community feeling)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  8. Great Place To Work, Smart People

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in San Francisco, CA

    I have been working at Winston & Strawn full-time (more than 5 years)

    Pros

    Really intelligent and professional people; both attorneys and staff. The firm infrastructure is solid and our technology ahead of other firms. I continue to be impressed with the competency and willingness of the staff to do their very best; it makes for a convivial place to be.

    Cons

    Operationally, firm wide we could improve, where processes and procedures are better aligned for efficiency. I gave a high rating because, in my experience, whatever issues we do encounter, other firms are too.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Be more transparent, communicate more and leverage our talent.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  9. 5 people found this helpful

    Work Here!...If You Want To Be Treated Like A Child Again

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Paralegal in Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Paralegal in Washington, DC

    I worked at Winston & Strawn full-time (more than a year)

    Pros

    - Near Public Transportation
    - On K. St., which makes it easier to get to other law firms in the area to interview for a job.

    Cons

    - Salary is within market range, but pay is at the low end.

    - No Room for Growth.

    - Be ready to be treated like a child by HR

    The only good thing about this Firm is the name, but that's about it. And on K St. NW, there are many firms with great names, so Winston & Strawn, isn't competitive at all. The Paralegal department doesn't have any real oversight, and are relying on HR to 'guide' things. What do they know about Paralegal work? nothing! All they know is that you're meeting or not meeting your hours.

    HR will make it a goal to literally track your every move. You are constantly called in to HR to discuss why you didn't clock in for work. You start at 9:00 am., but heaven forbid there's a snow storm, or the metro is being metro again, and you come in at 9:09...Oh no! That's a no no at Winston, and HR loves to tell you this. You're late and will be warned, and then will be written up for a second offense. Maybe clocking in at 9:08 am isn't a good idea. Those 8 minutes are apparently costing a lot. But let's not forget that you just worked 60 hour weeks in preparation for trial, let's not forget that there's really not a lot of training, let's not forget that you don't really have a supervisor to go to and discuss issues within your department, let's not forget that some attorneys are being unrealistic with their requests, let's not forget that you're not really getting paid what your counterparts at Arent Fox are getting paid for less work, and a more relaxed office environment. But good ol' HR will be there to tell you that clocking in at 9:08 am is against policy and that this is not acceptable. Oh, also be ready to be tracked by your key card, I heard that's become a very popular thing that HR is doing now. All staff are being monitored by HR. Yes they can even tell you how long you were in the restroom!!

    So who do you go to for help, for training, for advice? Administration? Well, maybe, but Administration is best friends with HR, and they hang out, and they talk, so there's no such recourse there. In fact, I would actually call it a conflict of interest, where the Office Administrator sides with HR (and vice versa), because they're buddies. And Administration has HR as the lapdog, and they jump when she says so. No, I wouldn't go to HR, I wouldn't go to Winston at all.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Learn to trust your employees. If the work gets done at the end of the day, and the hours are counted and billed, I think that things will okay.

    Learn to relax! This Firm had me constantly wondering if I was in the lunchroom too long, was I talking to a colleague, should I have yelled at the train conducted to get me to work on time! Did I log in on time to punch in on time?

    FYI: I only saw one African American Attorney...just one!!!!

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
  10. Successful law firm with great people, but very numbers driven.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at Winston & Strawn

    Pros

    Great resources and talented people make working here a lot easier than other places. Salary compensation exceeds most in the markets they are in.

    Cons

    Heavily driven by certain numbers that are not just being profitable but a higher level of profitability that is difficult in some business lines and markets. Benefits are expensive, but probably in line with most others in the industry.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
  11. Good place to work

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Temporary Accounting Clerk in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Temporary Accounting Clerk in Chicago, IL

    I worked at Winston & Strawn full-time (less than a year)

    Pros

    Friendly environment, people are willing to help you out

    Cons

    Lots of work to do, can pile up easily

Work at Winston & Strawn? Share Your Experiences

Winston & Strawn

 
Click to Rate
or

Your response will be removed from the review – this cannot be undone.