The California 50: Life at Big Firms
California Lawyer

The California 50: Life at Big Firms

September 2013

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The 2013 California 50 September 2013

The 2012 California 50 September 2012

California Lawyer's survey of the state's 50 largest firms reveals that some key trends in the big picture of law firm life are continuing: The ranks of summer associates shrank another 8.6 percent in the twelve months ending June 30; more than half of the big firms (29) hired contract lawyers; and pro bono practices continued growing as firms kept pace with the need and found new opportunities.

Summer Associates
44% of 2013 California summer associates were women
46.7% of law school Students in the U.S. were women (2012)
37% of 2013 California summer associates were minorities
24.5% of law school students in the U.S. were minorities (2012)

Contract Attorneys
475: Number hired in California by CA 50 firms
49% of CA 50 Contract attorneys are women
29% of CA 50 Contract attorneys are minorities

Pro Bono Programs
Most big California firms now have at least one JD managing pro bono work - some finding new opportunities and linking lawyers with clients, some as lead counsel, and some doing both. Morrison & Foerster pro bono counsel Rachel P. Williams, one of three lawyers managing her firm's long-standing pro bono program, says she still gets "many more requests than we can handle." Hilarie Atkisson, pro bono manager at Bingham McCutchen, says her "role grew as the need grew." Jamie Broder and Tollie Besson, cochairs of Paul Hastings's pro bono committee, say both new and experienced lawyers there love the sense of satisfaction they get working on cases for the ACLU, Bet Tzedek Legal Services, Public Counsel, veterans, and immigrant and refugee children (through KIND). While traditional clinical work abounds, says Fenwick & West's Julie Park, even transactional and intellectual property attorneys now find numerous opportunities - helping small businesses form, new inventors secure patents, or nonprofits do legal audits.

38.8: Average pro bono hours logged overall
78.8: Average logged by lawyers who do pro bono
60: Minimum the ABA recommends

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