Tell me about Williams & Connolly

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Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 6:57 pm

I'm a 3.8 with LR at MVP. Okay resume. Do I have a shot at a callback?

I've heard a lot about the W&C "personality." Is that a thing, and if so, can you describe it?
I've also heard they have a "unique" interview style; any info on that?

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby arklaw13 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:48 pm

What is your approximate class rank? I don't know that much about them, but I do know they are one of the most selective (grade and otherwise) DC firms. Probably top 10-15% is required for a shot. Because of their reputation as being a great place to work and being relatively small, they can pretty much fill their SA class with anyone they want. You have to be prett damn stellar from what I can tell.

Edit: a cursory glance at associates there who graduated from MVP reveals:

At MV, almost all of them have Order of the Coif.
At P, all have Latin honors, most have order of the coif.
Almost everyone has a COA clerkship.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:08 pm

Dylanlj13 wrote:What is your approximate class rank? I don't know that much about them, but I do know they are one of the most selective (grade and otherwise) DC firms. Probably top 10-15% is required for a shot. Because of their reputation as being a great place to work and being relatively small, they can pretty much fill their SA class with anyone they want. You have to be prett damn stellar from what I can tell.

Edit: a cursory glance at associates there who graduated from MVP reveals:

At MV, almost all of them have Order of the Coif.
At P, all have Latin honors, most have order of the coif.
Almost everyone has a COA clerkship.


OP: Top ~2%, around top 10 or 15 kids probably. I'm mainly interested in what kind of people work at W&C and what their interviews are like.

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UVAIce
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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby UVAIce » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:24 pm

Epic math fail from the poster above me. Top 2% at M or V would only be 7 people.

Regardless, you do have to be top 5% or better in your school to be looked at. Not to mention you have to be interested in litigation.

I have a good friend who was outside the top 5% of his class at V, but grade on to VLR, and summered with W&C. As the posters above have insinuated, they really seem to go for a particular kind of fit. Note, if you go through the associate bios there are a lot of folks there that may have been in the top 10% of their class, but were certainly not in even the top 5% of their class or they would have graded on. Also, lots of associates at W&C did district court clerkships and not COAs.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:01 pm

it would probably be easier for people to answer your question if they knew which of the mvp, so that people would have some idea whether people from their school summered with similar numbers. also would be good to know which school so people don't frantically wonder if law review has started going out at their school yet. also, its anonymous, so just say the school.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:09 pm

W&C is just a litigation firm with a strong reputation. Its mystique is chiefly derivative of its size - tiny elite firms can be irrationally selective.

They're a good firm, but nothing is particularly magic or unique about them. Intense, high quality work, high quality lawyers. Interviews are very normal.

There's definitely a particular fit they go for - a premium is placed on intensity, I've heard people mention lots of ex-military people but never noticed that myself.

As for credentials, they have to be good but they don't have to be perfect - and perfect grades definitely aren't enough to land a CB or an offer.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby 5ky » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:47 pm

UVAIce wrote:Epic math fail from the poster above me. Top 2% at M or V would only be 7 people.

Regardless, you do have to be top 5% or better in your school to be looked at. Not to mention you have to be interested in litigation.

I have a good friend who was outside the top 5% of his class at V, but grade on to VLR, and summered with W&C. As the posters above have insinuated, they really seem to go for a particular kind of fit. Note, if you go through the associate bios there are a lot of folks there that may have been in the top 10% of their class, but were certainly not in even the top 5% of their class or they would have graded on. Also, lots of associates at W&C did district court clerkships and not COAs.


Of course, if you graded on to LR at UVA, that's like at worst top 7%. No need to make it sound easier than it is for people not familiar with UVA

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby get it to x » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:57 pm

The hardest part of the W&C interview is the obstacle course. Kills off around 25% of the applicant pool.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:32 am

W&C does more courtroom litigation than many biglaw firms in DC, but it's not all that they do. They have a number of practices and people where they are seen as specialists. I have worked with W&C on a few cases where they are supported by a second biglaw/midlaw firm that does all of the routine work (doc review, procedural filings, etc..)

One example of W&C's kind of unique practices:
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/ ... rtainment/

The firm is pretty intense because of the type that they recruit. Think about taking all of the top 5% from the T14 and putting them in an environment where they compare themselves to each other instead of the rest of their class. Don't get me wrong, the people are nice and the environment is supposed to be very good relative to biglaw, but it's not a laid back low hours kind of place (from my outside impression). One example: they technically have unlimited vacation days, but I'm pretty sure that policy was instituted to encourage vacations because no one was taking any days.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby UVAIce » Sat Jul 06, 2013 8:57 am

5ky wrote:
UVAIce wrote:Epic math fail from the poster above me. Top 2% at M or V would only be 7 people.

Regardless, you do have to be top 5% or better in your school to be looked at. Not to mention you have to be interested in litigation.

I have a good friend who was outside the top 5% of his class at V, but grade on to VLR, and summered with W&C. As the posters above have insinuated, they really seem to go for a particular kind of fit. Note, if you go through the associate bios there are a lot of folks there that may have been in the top 10% of their class, but were certainly not in even the top 5% of their class or they would have graded on. Also, lots of associates at W&C did district court clerkships and not COAs.


Of course, if you graded on to LR at UVA, that's like at worst top 7%. No need to make it sound easier than it is for people not familiar with UVA


I think the average reader of the employment forums know that grading onto any law review requires outstanding grades. Just making the point that you don't need to be 1 - 5 of your class to have a shot at W&C.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 06, 2013 12:56 pm

Someone in my class at UVA got an offer who wasn't on law review. They're selective, of course, but it's a myth that you need top 5% grades or whatever. Once you're in the top 10-15% fit is more important. My year, I believe nine callbacks and three offers were given, and the year after me was similar.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:W&C does more courtroom litigation than many biglaw firms in DC, but it's not all that they do. They have a number of practices and people where they are seen as specialists. I have worked with W&C on a few cases where they are supported by a second biglaw/midlaw firm that does all of the routine work (doc review, procedural filings, etc..)

One example of W&C's kind of unique practices:
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/ ... rtainment/

The firm is pretty intense because of the type that they recruit. Think about taking all of the top 5% from the T14 and putting them in an environment where they compare themselves to each other instead of the rest of their class. Don't get me wrong, the people are nice and the environment is supposed to be very good relative to biglaw, but it's not a laid back low hours kind of place (from my outside impression). One example: they technically have unlimited vacation days, but I'm pretty sure that policy was instituted to encourage vacations because no one was taking any days.


OP, I'd be wary of sweeping statements about the culture of law firms. What you should know is that W&C's practice is very different than the standard DC practice; it doesn't have a big regulatory or appellate practice the way that, say, Gibson or A&P do. They definitely have a pretty hard grade cutoff at most schools. And maturity, confidence, and amicability--not intensity--is what will probably differentiate those candidates who do have the grades to make the cut. But that's not significantly different than what any other law firm is looking for.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby rad lulz » Sat Jul 06, 2013 11:37 pm

Just so we're clear, W&C is a really good litigation firm yes, but their primary claim to fame is white collar.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:And maturity, confidence, and amicability--not intensity--is what will probably differentiate those candidates who do have the grades to make the cut. But that's not significantly different than what any other law firm is looking for.


Are you serious? I don't think having good grades is a sign of maturity, confidence, or amicability. Yes, the above was a stereotype but that's really all OP asked for.

rad lulz wrote:Just so we're clear, W&C is a really good litigation firm yes, but their primary claim to fame is white collar.


Also, this is right on.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Citizen Genet » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:56 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:And maturity, confidence, and amicability--not intensity--is what will probably differentiate those candidates who do have the grades to make the cut. But that's not significantly different than what any other law firm is looking for.


Are you serious? I don't think having good grades is a sign of maturity, confidence, or amicability. Yes, the above was a stereotype but that's really all OP asked for.


I think you misunderstood the poster. He's saying for those who have the grades, the ones with maturity, confidence, or amicability are the ones who will be selected. (So he's not saying they're a sign of it, just that the ones who are selected have both.)

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:33 pm

I was top 5% at MVP and got a callback, but no offer. I would say that the interview was somewhat different than most other firms--for starters, the screener consisted of two separate one-person mini-interviews rather than your typical 20 minute screener with one or two people. At the callback stage, it seemed a little more intense/aggressive than my other callbacks. A couple of the interviewers were almost unfriendly, and seemed like they were wanting me to affirmatively demonstrate why I was "good enough" to get an offer. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it struck me as being kind of a different style than the typical let's chit-chat about sports callback I had at most other firms. Of course, it's possible this was just a product of who I happened to interview with.

I guess "intense" is also how I would describe my impression of the culture. It does seem like they have a disproportionate number of former military people. I think they like to portray themselves as tough, aggressive litigators and tend to attract people who are drawn to that kind of culture. The people who work there do seem to love it, though. And obviously there aren't many, if any, litigation firms with a better reputation.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby quakeroats » Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:59 pm


rad lulz wrote:Just so we're clear, W&C is a really good litigation firm yes, but their primary claim to fame is white collar.


Also, this is right on.


http://www.nbcuniversalarchives.com/nbc ... 441_003.do

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:03 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was top 5% at MVP and got a callback, but no offer. I would say that the interview was somewhat different than most other firms--for starters, the screener consisted of two separate one-person mini-interviews rather than your typical 20 minute screener with one or two people. At the callback stage, it seemed a little more intense/aggressive than my other callbacks. A couple of the interviewers were almost unfriendly, and seemed like they were wanting me to affirmatively demonstrate why I was "good enough" to get an offer. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it struck me as being kind of a different style than the typical let's chit-chat about sports callback I had at most other firms. Of course, it's possible this was just a product of who I happened to interview with.

I guess "intense" is also how I would describe my impression of the culture. It does seem like they have a disproportionate number of former military people. I think they like to portray themselves as tough, aggressive litigators and tend to attract people who are drawn to that kind of culture. The people who work there do seem to love it, though. And obviously there aren't many, if any, litigation firms with a better reputation.

I could have written this exact description, minus the bit about the screener. Also top 5% at MVP, got a callback, but no offer. My screener was a typical one person, slightly more substantive interview. Some of my callback interviewers were definitely unfriendly and at points somewhat hostile. I was a bit taken aback during my interview, but I think you're right: it's an interview style to sort out candidates that fit. An exchange I remember: One of my interviewers kept talking about how W&C prided itself at being a very ethical firm. I had never heard any firm talk about this, and was somewhat curious, so I asked him something like "How do you handle tricky ethical situations, which I'm sure come up from time to time?" He looked at me, confused, and said "It's simple: I do not act unethically." At that point, I knew I wasn't getting an offer.

I think W&C wants people who are sold on DC (not someone like me who had cherry picked a few top DC firms to apply to) and who want to stay at a firm long term (not a revolving door with government like A&P for example). One attorney in fact told me that very few of their attorneys leave for government and, if you do, it's very difficult to come back. Another thing that was off-putting for me was hearing about how much associates have to travel. In any case, it's a great firm with a stellar reputation.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:I was top 5% at MVP and got a callback, but no offer. I would say that the interview was somewhat different than most other firms--for starters, the screener consisted of two separate one-person mini-interviews rather than your typical 20 minute screener with one or two people. At the callback stage, it seemed a little more intense/aggressive than my other callbacks. A couple of the interviewers were almost unfriendly, and seemed like they were wanting me to affirmatively demonstrate why I was "good enough" to get an offer. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it struck me as being kind of a different style than the typical let's chit-chat about sports callback I had at most other firms. Of course, it's possible this was just a product of who I happened to interview with.

I guess "intense" is also how I would describe my impression of the culture. It does seem like they have a disproportionate number of former military people. I think they like to portray themselves as tough, aggressive litigators and tend to attract people who are drawn to that kind of culture. The people who work there do seem to love it, though. And obviously there aren't many, if any, litigation firms with a better reputation.


Same here (to the first paragraph).

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:09 am

Interesting. My screener wasn't super intense at all. And none of the people I know that got offers are super-intense people like how you guys are describing either. Then again,none of them accepted their offers, and I didn't get a callback, so...

EDIT: I do know one person from a different school that got an offer that seems to fit the stereotype being described here. So maybe they just do a good job of separating out who they really want at all stages of the process.

At the end of the day, a firm is a firm, I think. I do think W & C associates work demonstrably harder than other DC associates.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 08, 2013 12:13 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I was top 5% at MVP and got a callback, but no offer. I would say that the interview was somewhat different than most other firms--for starters, the screener consisted of two separate one-person mini-interviews rather than your typical 20 minute screener with one or two people. At the callback stage, it seemed a little more intense/aggressive than my other callbacks. A couple of the interviewers were almost unfriendly, and seemed like they were wanting me to affirmatively demonstrate why I was "good enough" to get an offer. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, but it struck me as being kind of a different style than the typical let's chit-chat about sports callback I had at most other firms. Of course, it's possible this was just a product of who I happened to interview with.

I guess "intense" is also how I would describe my impression of the culture. It does seem like they have a disproportionate number of former military people. I think they like to portray themselves as tough, aggressive litigators and tend to attract people who are drawn to that kind of culture. The people who work there do seem to love it, though. And obviously there aren't many, if any, litigation firms with a better reputation.


Same here (to the first paragraph).


I originally posted about the intensity/military thing - and the above description matches mine very well. W&C was one of the few firms I went into the interview expecting to love and came out of the interview... certainly not disliking, but with a more clear sense of what people mean when they talk about "fit."

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:37 pm

So if you're published, LR ed-board, have a COA and a D.Ct clerkship, in the top 3-5% of your MVPB class, Order of the Coif, summa from a good undergrad, it's likely you'd at least get a callback? My understanding was that W&C was as selective as it gets - you don't need HYS or summa at a lower school?

Also, does anyone know if a lack of ties to D.C. would kill an application? My impression was that top lit boutiques understand why they'd be attractive and don't need the safety net of serious ties for retention purposes, but I could be wrong, especially w/r/t D.C.

Also, any idea how W&C stacks up to Keker & Van Nest, Boies Schiller, or Susman Godfrey? Would you say Munger Tolles is in that same category of elite lit boutiques?
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby rad lulz » Tue Jul 09, 2013 5:54 pm

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Last edited by rad lulz on Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:09 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:19 pm

rad lulz wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Also, any idea how W&C stacks up to Keker & Van Nest, Boies Schiller, or Susman Godfrey? Would you say Munger Tolles is in that same category of elite lit boutiques?

First off, why the hell is this anon

Second, this is a pretty dumb Q really. How do you want to "stack them up?" They all do different types shit.

If you really want to do DC style white collar shit, go to W&C, not Susman or Boies. If you want to sue banks, go to Boies and Susman, not W&C or Munger. Do you want to work for a "full service" firm or a boutique? Boies and Munger do some corporate too. Do you want to bill yourself as a trial lawyer? Maybe try to work at Susman.

Do you mean you mean which is more prestigious? Who gives a shit.

I'm working at a different firm right now and don't want to get outed as shopping around at the moment - this is an employment forum right?

Anyway thanks for the insight into the firms, that's actually a really helpful starting point. I'm only interested in "prestige" so far as that means exit options; it's hard to determine if coming out of a good practice area at a well-regarded megafirm gives you better government or lateral options than one of these hyper-selective boutiques. Chill out lulz you're actually being helpful.

Beyond that, I understand W&C and Susman are S&C level sweatshops, and that MTO and KVN have more "normal" biglaw hours comparatively. I'd also be interested to know whether there are significant differences in junior associate pay levels at those firms. If anyone happens to know.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Tell me about Williams & Connolly

Postby sambeber » Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:21 pm

Are you a rising 3L or a lateral?




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