After a lengthy and truly rewarding career as a judge in both the state and federal judicial systems, including a decade as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court, I decided to open a new chapter: a return to private practice. Among the many firms that approached me, I chose Irell as my next home for a number of reasons, most prominently the undisputed high quality of the firm's legal work, and its deservedly outstanding reputation in our legal community. My work at Irell is varied – from appellate and trial advice to internal corporate investigations and mediations. But even more satisfying for me is the opportunity to mentor and work directly with associates at all levels on matters that might benefit from my judicial insights or just to chat about anything. I see this as a mutually rewarding experience.
Attorney & Judicial Clerk Hiring
Irell & Manella actively seeks to hire lateral associates, including judicial law clerks. Our goal is to hire the most talented attorneys in the nation. We pay non-differential compensation at the top of the market, which in recent years has included year-end associate bonuses substantially exceeding those paid by other top firms. We value the experience of a judicial clerkship – indeed, more than a quarter of our attorneys joined Irell after completing one or more clerkships. The firm pays a $50,000 bonus to those who join immediately following a clerkship with a federal district or appellate court, or with a state's highest court.
In addition, for lateral associates and judicial clerks who relocate from another state and take the California bar, the firm reimburses moving expenses, the cost of a bar prep course and test fees, and provides a paid leave (or a stipend equivalent to paid leave) for time spent preparing for and taking the bar exam. For more information, please see our benefits page.
If you are interested in applying to Irell & Manella, please send a letter of introduction and resume to the attention of our recruiting administrator, Robyn Steele (firstname.lastname@example.org), and the chair of the Hiring Committee, Alan Heinrich (email@example.com). They can also be reached by phone at (310) 277-1010.
To learn more about some of the attorneys who have joined us in recent years, read below.
I joined Irell in 2003, following a clerkship, and spent two years with the firm as an associate before leaving to serve as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. In deciding where to practice after nearly four years as a federal prosecutor, I chose to return to Los Angeles and to Irell because of several qualities that I believe distinguish the firm even among its nationally prominent peers: its focus on hiring attorneys possessed of both keen intellect and practical lawyering skills, a national reputation for handling high-stakes and cutting-edge litigation, a size that is small enough to foster genuine collegiality but large enough to accommodate cases of almost any magnitude or subject matter, an emphasis on trial practice and the presence of nationally renowned trial lawyers, and the firm's highly-regarded white collar criminal defense practice. My time since returning to the firm has confirmed emphatically the wisdom of my choice.
I joined Irell in 2007 as a lateral associate from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York. Since then, I have worked on a broad range of complex litigation, including matters in securities litigation, white collar criminal defense, environmental law, and general business litigation. I have been given a tremendous amount of responsibility in each of my cases, and feel fortunate to be surrounded by a terrific group of mentors who truly care about my career development. Irell has been very supportive in helping me achieve the balance necessary to pursue a fulfilling legal career while maintaining a happy family life, which includes my husband and two children.
I first joined Irell in 2008 as a lateral associate from Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York. I left to serve as counsel and director to one of the firm's clients, and rejoined in 2011. When I first came to Los Angeles, as a junior associate, I sought a firm with a diverse practice, a strong commitment to associate development, a respected pro bono practice, and mentors who would invest in my future. Irell was an easy choice. Here, I have had extensive client contact, courtroom experience, and exposure to high-profile pro bono cases and "bet-the-company" litigation. Irell is a unique firm with no single mold within which all attorneys must fit. Rather, the firm is an eclectic place with one unifying trait: the attorneys, at all levels, seek to be exceptional advocates for their clients and productive members of the community.
When I decided to relocate from New York, where I was an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, to Southern California, I wanted to ensure that I could continue to practice law in an intellectually challenging environment that offers young attorneys the opportunity to work on significant cases that can shape the law. Due to my interest in trying cases, and not just litigation, I looked for a firm that clients trust to take their most important cases to trial in numerous practice areas. As I began my search, I was immediately attracted to Irell due to its reputation as a premiere firm in Southern California that is recognized nationally by practitioners and courts for producing high-quality work product. Equally important, however, were the people of Irell. Through the interview process and my conversations with attorneys and others, I discovered that Irell is a place where attorneys enjoy the practice of law and working with each other. That combination – great work and great people – is why I joined Irell.
I joined Irell in March 2009, as a lateral from Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. I was looking to move only if I found a firm with the right fit, which for me meant the right combination of early responsibility, lean staffing, and the ability to be a "generalist" within a litigation group. I have experienced all those and more since joining Irell, getting immediate trial experience, writing briefs, researching issues ranging from trade secrets to securities law, and preparing experts and other witnesses. As great as the opportunities are, Irell is truly exceptional because of its people – attorneys and staff who make this a wonderful place to work.