2020 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The people are really great.”
“Occasionally not transparent decision-making.”
About Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
With 700 attorneys and 20 offices around the world, Pillsbury is truly a global firm. But with six of its offices based in the Golden State, the firm still maintains the laid-back vibes of its west coast roots.
Pillsbury’s roots date back to Elihu Root who opened a practice in New York in 1868 which would later become Winthrop, Stimson, Putnam & Roberts. Root is known for his work as Secretary of State and Secretary of War in the early 1900s.
Meanwhile, in 1874, Evans S. Pillsbury opened a practice on the West Coast. Pillsbury represented a local banking and delivery service called Wells Fargo and a nascent California oil outfit that would eventually become Chevron, two clients still represented by the firm today.
In 2001, Pillsbury Madison and Winthrop Stimson joined forces. Four years later, the combined firm merged with Washington, DC-based Shaw Pittman, ushering in Pillsbury in its current form.
Changing with the Times
Pillsbury has had a hand in the growth of global commerce and industry, from the representation of America’s oldest financial institutions to the drafting of the 1952 Patent Act to the establishment of the first nuclear energy practice to the formation of Intel. Today, the firm’s clients include more than 100 of the Fortune 500, as well as startups, mid-caps, investment funds and nonprofits. Clients include Facebook, Chevron, Deutsche Bank, the ACLU of Northern California, Lyft, Wells Fargo, San Diego Comic-Con, New York University, Duke Energy, Sony and The Walt Disney Company.
The firm’s legal work is concentrated primarily in four major industries—technology & media, energy, financial services, real estate and construction sectors—and the firm has developed region-specific practices aimed at clients’ needs in and out of China, Japan, Latin America, and the Middle East and Africa.
Pillsbury also maintains a unique “emerging issues” program, which allows the firm to pioneer new and novel areas of the law. Some of its current focuses include artificial intelligence; digital currency and blockchain technology; esports; privacy, data security and information use; public-private partnerships; and water resources.
Pro bono is central to Pillsbury’s culture, with every attorney from the top down required to take on a minimum 25 hours of pro bono work per year. Pro bono cases range from asylum to civil rights to justice for indigent individuals, and more. On top of that, the firm’s Stimson Fellowship allows incoming associates to spend one year at a public service organization.
News & Awards
In one of the largest engagements for the firm’s emerging growth practice in 2018, a team of lawyers advised startup client JUUL Labs in several growth investments, including a $12.8 billion private investment by Altria in December 2018 and a $1.2 bililon series E financing round in early 2018.
Pillsbury’s preeminent nuclear energy and public policy lawyers advised Brookfield Business Partners L.P.’s $4.6 billion purchase of nuclear industry supply giant Westinghouse Electric Company out of bankruptcy, a transaction that has earned several deal-of-the-year recognitions, including the International Financial Law Review’s Private Equity Deal of the Year for 2019 and a finalist for The American Lawyers’ Global M&A Deal of the Year.
Pillsbury litigators joined Lambda Legal in a case successfully defending a Florida transgender student’s right to use the bathroom of his choice in the first such case to go to trial. The judge’s opinion in favor of the client said, “Drew Adams is just like every other student at Nease High School, a teenager coming of age in a complicated, uncertain and changing world. When it comes to his use of the bathroom, the law requires that he be treated like any other boy.” (July 2018)
May 2017 and May 2018
Chambers Women in Law lauded Pillsbury’s efforts to advance women in the profession, awarding the firm the Law Firm of the Year award for Furthering Women’s Career Progression, Talent Management and Mentoring in 2017 and naming it a finalist for Outstanding Gender Diversity in 2018.
- A cross-practice team of finance, securities, and FCC lawyers advised Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. on the acquisition of 21 sports networks, formerly owned by Twenty-First Century Fox and valued at $10.6 billion, from The Walt Disney Company.
- An energy and infrastructure projects team advised NextEra on its acquisition of Trans Bay Cable, LLC from SteelRiver Infrastructure Fund North America for $1 billion. The 53-mile underwater transmission cable delivers 40 percent of the electrical power used on a daily basis in the San Francisco area.
- Representing a major Japanese manufacturer, a construction litigation team convinced an International Chamber of Commerce arbitral tribunal to reject a $7.6 billion claim and to award $58 million in fees and costs in arbitration over alleged design errors at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station.
- More than half of Pillsbury partners are ranked in one or more of the three major directories: Chambers USA, The Legal 500 U.S. and Best Lawyers in America.
- Among the Top 35 Best-Branded Law Firms in the 2019 BTI Brand Elite, based on caliber of client service and clientele and on legal excellence.
- Pillsbury was named to the Financial Times U.S. Innovative Lawyers list each year since 2015.
- Working Mother’s 100 Best Companies list for a dozen years.
- The Human Rights Campaign has given Pillsbury a 100% perfect score on its Corporate Equality Index measure of LGBTQ-friendly workplaces every year since 2006.
Why Work Here
Every day at Pillsbury, we work on ground-breaking, high-profile matters for some of the world’s most innovative companies from start-ups to the Fortune 100. Every day, we confront some of the most meaningful legal challenges of our time. Every day, we take on pro bono cases that change lives and frame important social issues.
This is a place where initiative is valued and rewarded, where self-starters become team players, and where continual growth—both professional and personal—underscores every successful career.
At the Office
At Pillsbury, we work hard—as hard as any group of lawyers, anywhere. But “group” is the key word. In any Pillsbury office, it is collaboration that defines our work lives.
While each of our offices has its own personality, we believe our core values and basic procedures are shared firmwide. The aim is to ensure that lawyers from different practice areas—and from all levels—can pool their efforts in providing the best service to our clients.
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 858-1000
Chairman: David T. Dekker
Hiring Partners: Mariah Brandt (Firmwide Chair); Anne Lefever (NY); Kim Buffington (LA); David Lillevand (SF); Armando Castro (Silicon Valley); Conor Civins (Austin); Brian Bodor (DC); Matthew Swartz (Northern Virginia); Carrie Bonnington (Sacramento); Rich Segal (San Diego)
Total No. Attorneys 2019:
500 - 750
1st year: $180,000
2nd year: $190,000
3rd year: $210,000
4th year: $235,000
5th year: $260,000
6th year: $280,000
7th year: $300,000
8th year: $315,000
Summer associate: $3,462/week
Summer Associate Offers:
32 out of 33 (2Ls) (2018)
No. of Summer Associates:
33 total (All 2Ls) (2018)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palm Beach, FL
Palo Alto, CA
San Diego, CA
San Diego, CA (North County)
San Francisco, CA
Practice Groups: Corporate & Securities
Executive Compensation & Benefits
Estates, Trusts & Tax Planning
Global Sourcing & Technology Transactions
Regulatory and Government Affairs; Industry Groups: Energy
Real Estate & Construction; Geographic Teams: China
Middle East & Africa
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.