2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
"You get to work with truly brilliant individuals on cutting-edge legal issues.”
“Lack of transparency about partnership prospects.”
“Having to compete with other associates for non-patent work.”
About Irell & Manella LLP
A Southern California powerhouse for more than 75 years, Irell & Manella matches or exceeds its multinational peers in salary, prestige, and high-stakes cases, serving clients worldwide from only two locations in Los Angeles and Newport Beach.
A Glamorous Start
Irell harkens back to the glamour days of old Hollywood—1941, to be exact: the year in which Orson Welles released a little flick called Citizen Kane and two tax attorneys—Eugene Berger and Lawrence Irell—established what became one of the most prestigious law firms in Tinseltown. Arthur Manella joined the firm in 1944; within a year, Berger had passed away, and Manella had become a partner. The tax practice started handling tax affairs for Hollywood stars including Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lou Costello, and the firm became a California fixture.
Irell has resisted the rapid expansion of many of its peers, but its reach has been mighty nevertheless. Among its strengths are its intellectual property, securities, litigation, transactions, white collar, and entertainment practices. The firm’s high-profile clients include: Tesla, City of Hope, Genentech, Gilead, eBay, PayPal, St. Jude Medical, Snapchat, Hulu, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., TiVo, Disney, and Skechers, and almost a dozen universities.
Irell’s IP group has garnered top honors—including being named the IP Litigation Department of the Year by The American Lawyer. The firm’s IP practice is broken into five sub practices: appellate, intellectual property litigation, intellectual property transactions, patent office trials, and patent portfolio management. The firm provides IP counsel across numerous industries, including biotechnology, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, software, telecommunications, and video games.
Given its roots, it’s no surprise that the firm also has a reputable media and entertainment practice. Clients include film studios, production companies, record labels, producers, television networks, video game producers, and more. The firm doesn’t only focus on active disputes; it also helps its clients identify and avoid potential risks and problems that can arise with today’s media.
Mind the Gap
Irell’s Gap Program encourages mentoring among its associates. Through the program, associates who are in their third year or above can invite lawyers who are at least two years below them out for a meal on the firm’s dime. Associates also receive an associate mentor when they join the firm. And associates can consult “litigation solicitors” for career guidance on high-level practice pointers. Mentoring isn’t only for junior associates at Irell, though. Fourth-year associates and above are matched with partner advisors, who can provide career advice and shadowing opportunities and also assist in finding new ways for the associate to develop their skills.
News & Awards
Represented private equity firm Genstar Capital in a series of significant deals, including its acquisition of Prometheus Group for more than $1 billion—a deal finalized in under a week.
Secured a trial victory on behalf of Juniper Networks in a suit involving cybersecurity, obtaining a jury verdict of no-infringement on one patent and summary judgment of no-infringement on another patent. The victory against Finjan, recognized as a Top Defense Verdict of 2018 by a California legal publication, was particularly rewarding for Juniper because Bloomberg has referred to Finjan as “Cybersecurity’s Top Patent Litigator,” and its success has caused many of its other targets to capitulate to its financial demands.
Successfully defended Warner Bros. Entertainment, securing an appellate victory in a major industry class action that alleged participants in Warner Bros. and MGM motion pictures received improper royalty payments on the exploitation of motion pictures in home video formats. Four of the five studios that faced similar suits settled, paying between $6.8 million and $26 million, but Warner Bros. opted not to settle.
Convinced a jury to award $400 million to the IP arm of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, known as KAIST, in patent infringement litigation against Samsung, GlobalFoundries, and Qualcomm over a type of semiconductor technology called a bulk FinFET.
- TiVo v. EchoStar, et al - Delivered $1.7 billion in patent litigation against several major corporations for infringing TiVo’s DVR technology.
- Representation of Angelo Mozilo - Served as lead counsel for the former chairman and CEO of Countrywide Financial Corporation in dozens of shareholder and regulatory lawsuits and government investigations arising from the 2008 global financial crisis.
- City of Hope v. Genentech - Secured a jury verdict that was the largest damages award ever affirmed on appeal by California courts. More than $565 million was paid by the defendant.
- Represented Accruent, a provider of physical resource management software, in its $2 billion sale to Fortive Corporation.
- Chambers USA ranked 12 Irell attorneys as leading lawyers and recognized six of the firm’s practice areas: Intellectual Property, Life Sciences, General Commercial Litigation, Securities Litigation, Media & Entertainment Litigation, and Tax. (2019)
- IP Litigation Department of the Year—The American Lawyer (2018)
- Securities Litigation Department of the Year—The Recorder (2017)
- Media & Entertainment Group of the Year—Law360 (2016)
- Healthcare/Life Sciences Deal of the Year—The M&A Advisor’s Turnaround Awards (2019)
Why Work Here
We Are True To Ourselves
Irell attorneys are a diverse group. Although we come from a wide array of backgrounds, countries and experiences, we share a common passion for practicing law at the highest levels and we are all dedicated to finding the best solutions for our clients. Our differences enrich us and our common desire for excellence binds us. At Irell, we can be ourselves and focus on our shared passions.
Even casual office discussion often involves recent cases, ongoing matters, and interesting legal issues. We wouldn’t have it any other way, and we encourage hearty discussions and debates about developing legal and social issues. In fact, the firm produces in-house discussions and training sessions, usually led by associates, on topics relevant to our practice and our community several times every week. The environment around the office is prime for inquisitive legal minds.
1800 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Phone: (310) 277-1010
Managing Partner: David Gindler
Hiring Partner: Keith Orso
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
100 - 150
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week
No. of Summer Associates:
14 total (All 2Ls) (2019)
Manager of Recruiting & Development
Los Angeles, CA (HQ)
Newport Beach, CA
Bankruptcy, Reorganization & Creditors’ Rights
Class Action Defense
Entertainment & Media Litigation
Entertainment & Media Transactions
Global Investigations and White Collar Criminal Defense
Intellectual Property Litigation
Intellectual Property Transactions
Mergers & Acquisitions
Patent Office Trials
Patent Portfolio Management
Professional Liability Defense
Private Placements & Public Offerings
Securities Law & Corporate Governance
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.