Latham & Watkins Reviews in New York City, NY | Glassdoor

Latham & Watkins New York City Reviews

Updated October 17, 2017
29 reviews

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New York City, NY Area

4.0
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Latham & Watkins Global Chair & Managing Partner William Voge
William Voge
2 Ratings

29 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Better company culture than most law firms (in 18 reviews)

  • Good work life balance for biglaw (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Long hours, high expectations for paralegals (in 18 reviews)

  • Being the largest money making law firm, they should reward their staff more (in 13 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Good Firm"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Latham & Watkins full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good for big-law. Good benefits, nice holiday parties, good comp.

    Cons

    In the NY office, the work environment varies greatly depending on the department you are in. Some are progressive, great places to work while others are run by long time Latham diehards where very little good work happens.


  2. "Paralegal"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Litigation Paralegal in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Litigation Paralegal in New York, NY

    I worked at Latham & Watkins full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Good resources and use of technology, nice people.

    Cons

    The overall large size lends itself to people being underutilized

  3. Helpful (5)

    "International Firm Strange Culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Legal Secretary in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Legal Secretary in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Latham & Watkins full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    Salary - high as long as you strongly negotiate; status of L&W on your resume.

    Cons

    Admin for Staff: insultingly strict (miss a subway and 3 minutes late? goes into your file, even if you make up the time; reverse is also true->back from lunch early because your boss asked you to be? OK, but must receive OT aproval in advance (what happens when mgmt is out to lunch? tell your supervisor you can't do OT). You're told to send out all "work": copies to copy department, faxes to fax dept, catering to catering, conference room, etc....far too many avenues for major errors to occur to the dismay of bosses & very "high-value" clients and it will be your fault. Meanwhile, you get to sit at your desk and NOT use the internet, phone, cellphone, for personal use (something I agree with, but when you're bored...?) etc. My years of experience is wasted; when I ask if any surrounding attys would like some assistance...a resounding "no" and permanent stinkeye & gossip from their secretary. Don't dare to ask for something to do. "Just send it to .... department".

    Advice to Management

    Don't pay salary according to job title, instead pay according to the work that the department/role in question actually does (copy department worked far more than I did and deserved more salary). Eliminate the HR attitude and walking around at 5pm to be sure all staff is (a) gone for the day or (b) approved for OT. Provide opportunities for growth. Expect attorneys to pass on more work to staff. We can do it.


  4. Helpful (3)

    "Great people, standard NYC big-firm culture"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Latham & Watkins full-time

    Pros

    Most people are smart and friendly. It's an internationally recognized name, which is useful when you leave, especially is working overseas. Offices are fine.

    Cons

    The work in the NYC office can be very niche, as you might expect from an office originally set-up as a satellite of the LA headquarters. As with most NYC firms, the hours are brutal and you don't have much of a life outside of work. No on-site cafeteria. Slightly backstabbing culture, but it's certainly not the worst. Bonuses are market, but never leading.

    Advice to Management

    Turnover is very high and many employees literally hate their jobs. This mirrors most biglaw firms in NYC, but if L&W can genuinely give lawyers a work-life balance, they'll commit more to the firm. This is obviously easier said than done given client demands, however.


  5. "Good firm...for biglaw"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at Latham & Watkins full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Good work life balance for biglaw. 1900 hour minimum (although I think people who are under often get a full bonus) -- in three years i've never gone over 1970. Well managed firm. I have confidence they know what they're doing and are growing the firm in the right way.

    Cons

    Biglaw is often stressful and the work is often not that interesting.


  6. "Associate"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at Latham & Watkins (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great resources; good training if you're in the right group

    Cons

    Very political in litigation department; if you're a favorite, you'll go far. All litigation associates don't get the same opportunities to work on great projects


  7. "Latham Awesoms"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at Latham & Watkins full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Working at Latham in BD was amazing. The team environment is great and everybody is willing to help. Easy to make friends too!

    Cons

    Can't think of any cons. Maybe it took some getting used to being forced to take a full hour for lunch but that's about it.

    Advice to Management

    Nothing. I felt comfortable at all times working there, felt that the firm is set up very well to allow smart people to succeed.

  8. Helpful (1)

    "HR Project Coordinator"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Latham & Watkins full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    You will work with some great people on the HR Operations side. Great managers and support system if you enjoy the work.

    Cons

    I have heard first hand that the BD management leave a lot to be desired. Too many middlemen to handle one task.


  9. Helpful (6)

    "Say goodbye to life outside of the office"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Senior Associate in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great client base. Lots of high profile private equity clients. The firm looks good on your resume, but only for the very small number of people who will understand that you received better training at Latham than at a lower caliber but more relaxed firm like Milbank or Cahill.

    Cons

    The New York office differs from the other Latham offices, in that it eschews the "forward thinking" and "employee centric" ideals of the other offices, and sticks to the traditional sweatshop mentality of the other elite NY firms. You will spend every minute of your waking hours working here. You will be required to regularly check in with the staffing partner to ensure that all of your free time is being spent working. You will frequently be required to cancel vacations, and for those that aren't cancelled, you will most certainly work through. Your bonus will be adjusted upward by a pittance for every 100 billable hours in excess of the 1900 minimum (I calculated my increase in bonus as an additional $6 per hour.) Nothing other than purely billable client hours will be calculated toward your bonus (not pro bono, not training, not admin). It is a gruelling, depressing career choice, with little reward. If you can suffer through 2 or 3 years of completely checking out of your personal life, you might be able to translate your experience into a position with a prestigious PE fund, but those are rarely available. If you don't achieve a position like that and end up in house somewhere else or at a boutique firm, you are most certainly better off having spent your time gaining experience at a "less prestigious" firm, where you can actually achieve at least a modicum of personal time and sleep for more than 4 hours each night.

    Advice to Management

    Understand that you are constantly churning talent as a result of the awful hours that you require your associates to work. Clients do not appreciate seeing new staffing on matters as a result of the continual attrition. Bring the NY office more in line with the other Latham offices. Offer employees a chance to actually have a life outside of the office and to sleep at least 6 hours each night, and see how much better the work product is and how happier your clients are.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Nice people, but sweat shop"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate Attorney in New York, NY
    Former Employee - Associate Attorney in New York, NY

    Pros

    Smart people; no screamers; work can be interesting at times (but not so much at others); for a large firm not named Cravath or Wachtell, they at least make some effort to make partners from within as opposed to just hiring laterals; truly a "global firm"--it's not just a marketing ploy

    Cons

    Hours are brutal; work is unevenly distributed; in certain departments an associate could get stuck working for a single client for most of his or her career; there is a good amount of passive aggressiveness

    Advice to Management

    Make sure there mechanisms in place so that work is more evenly distributed amongst associates; make sure associates get a wide range of work


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