THE FIRM: Sidley Austin LLP, with offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia and approximately 2,300 lawyers, is one of the largest law firms in the world. Our diversified global practice encompasses the entire spectrum of corporate, transactional, litigation and governmental matters. Nationwide and throughout the world, Sidley Austin LLP prides itself on the breadth of its practice and the quality of its representation of an extraordinary client base, including many of the world's leading industrial enterprises, financial institutions, professional firms, health care providers and media and communications companies, as well as governmental and public entities and sovereign nations.
THE WASHINGTON, D.C. OFFICE: Founded in 1963 and celebrating 60 years in the nation's capital, Sidley’s Washington, D.C. office has over 300 lawyers engaged in traditional Washington litigation, regulatory, and transactional practices often involving significant issues of public policy. Our Washington, D.C. office handles a wide range of litigation, regulatory, and transactional issues in over two dozen discrete areas of law. Key practice areas include Supreme Court and Appellate, White Collar: Government Litigation & Investigations, Commercial Litigation & Disputes, Intellectual Property, Healthcare, Food, Drug, & Medical Device, Securities Enforcement & Regulatory, Global Arbitration, Trade, and Advocacy, Environmental, Energy & Infrastructure, Telecom & Internet Competition, Privacy & Cybersecurity, Financial Institutions, Antitrust/Competition, Tax, Tax Controversy, Government Strategies, Transportation, Accountants & Professional Liability, Capital Markets, M&A, Private Equity, Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Antitrust & Consumer Protection, and Labor, Employment & Immigration. The cutting-edge matters on which our D.C. lawyers work — predominantly litigation-focused — across this broad diversity of practice areas often bring us into contact, either as adversaries or otherwise, with the federal government. Led by Managing Partner Kristin Koehler, the office has a strong and longstanding bipartisan tradition of public service. Many of our lawyers have served in high-level government positions including in the White House Counsel’s office of the last several Administrations, the Department of Justice, and federal agencies such as HHS, EPA, DOE, and FDA. In addition, more than 120 D.C. lawyers have served as clerks in federal and state courts across the country, including 20 who served as U.S. Supreme Court clerks.
NEW ASSOCIATES: Since our office has a full complement of litigation, regulatory, and transactional practice areas, lawyers develop numerous and diverse skills. Our associates have opportunities early in their careers to meet clients and play key roles on matters, as Sidley takes a lean approach in staffing. There is a free market assignment system where associates can choose to work on a variety of litigation matters. Our formal Assignment Committee helps associates find litigation projects that match their interests and their needs so that they can develop a full range of litigation skills. Associates progress as quickly as their abilities warrant and can expect to work on matters from initial pleadings to final judgment. Associates have opportunities from the beginning to develop their skills through informal mentoring and formal training. For example, litigation associates participate in: witness interviews and preparation, other factual investigative steps, written discovery, brief and other legal writing, oral argument, client meetings, taking and defending depositions, expert witness preparations, negotiations with opposing counsel, court hearings, and trials. Litigation associates also have opportunities to participate in trial and deposition training NITA programs. In addition to informal feedback, all associates receive two formal evaluations each year in which one or more partners discuss the associate’s progress and development.
BUILT TO LEAD: In 2022, Sidley launched Built to Lead, its groundbreaking associate leadership and executive development program uniquely designed to deepen associates’ business acumen and leadership abilities. The program strives to prepare associates to rise to the challenges that clients face in an increasingly complex and dynamic global business environment—helping our associates better understand our clients and speak the language of business. Beginning in associates’ fourth year of practice, Built to Lead features MBA-level executive training at top U.S. business schools, along with professional development and personal career and business development coaching opportunities. Built to Lead also includes title changes, to Managing Associates (4th-year associates) and Senior Managing Associates (7th-year associates), in recognition of the increased managerial responsibilities at those career stages. Built to Lead serves as a key part of Sidley’s comprehensive approach to associate development. No matter where their careers may lead—whether ascending to partnership at Sidley, moving to an in-house or public service role, or pursuing another path—Sidley associates will be better prepared to succeed as the next generation of legal, business, and civic leaders.
SUMMER PROGRAM: In recent years, the majority of our associates have come from our summer program. Our policy, therefore, is to hire as summer associates only those students whom we hope will become associates after graduation or a clerkship, and whom we expect to advance successfully toward partnership. Accordingly, we invest a great deal of time in the hiring process and in our summer program, giving careful consideration to all relevant aspects of a student's background and academic performance. Similarly, we seek to provide students a preview of what it is like to be an associate in the Washington, D.C. office. Summer associates perform work that would otherwise be handled by associates, and we expect our summer associates to have opportunities to work with senior associates and partners. In addition, we offer summer associate training programs, such as appellate writing and oral advocacy, a regulatory training, and trial seminars. Finally, we seek to expose our summer associates to the intellectual and cultural life of the greater Washington, D.C. area.