Working at Irell

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Our lawyers come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences, but share a common passion for excellence. When you join our team, you will find yourself among a group of smart, creative professionals dedicated to creating the most innovative solutions for our clients.

Real Trial Experience

Irell associates work on trials early and often. Thanks to our lean staffing model, every litigation team includes junior associates in substantive roles, from strategic planning all the way through trial. It is not uncommon for our newer lawyers to go head-to-head with opposing counsel.

Curiosity Rules

Because we only take on the most challenging cases for high-profile national and global clients, we attract creative thinkers with enormous intellectual curiosity. This makes Irell a fantastic place to learn your craft: the pace is fast, the stakes are high and innovation is highly valued.

Fast Track to Partnership

We have a very short partnership track—typically just seven years. 

Collegial, Not Hierarchical

We boast a nearly 1:1 associate-to-partner ratio, and we are committed to creating a flat organization where talent and work quality is prized above all else. Associates are encouraged to join management committees and play a critical role in helping shape firm policy.

A Collaborative Culture

We offer a collaborative work environment where our associates are free to explore different areas of practice. Cases are staffed by small, interdisciplinary teams of four to six lawyers, which typically include a senior partner. This gives junior associates great insights into the thinking of senior lawyers as well as regular professional feedback on their own work.

Client Contact

You will be involved directly with clients from day one. In fact, we expect our junior associates to meet with clients face-to-face, take calls and handle depositions.

Financially Sound

We are proud of our stability, growth and profitability.

Pro Bono Opportunities Abound

Our Pro Bono Committee helps match associates with opportunities to fulfill their passions—and pro bono hours for associates are counted equally with client billable hours. Associates are involved in a broad array of pro bono matters that range from domestic violence to mortgage fraud, actions against slumlords and landmark social justice cases.

Committed to Diversity

Irell was founded in 1941 by two Jewish lawyers who faced discrimination from other firms. Today, we remain strongly committed to creating an inclusive workplace and a culture that fosters the recruitment, advancement and development of a diverse population. The American Lawyer’s 2021 Diversity Scorecard ranked us #9 out of 225 large firms. In addition, Irell ranked #1 in the nation in terms of having the highest percentage of minority partners of any of the firms surveyed – 28.6 percent.

Women at Irell

Women play an integral role in the firm's leadership. They are represented on all firm committees, including the firm's Executive Committee. Moreover, our Professional Development Department is active in identifying opportunities for women to be involved in the greater legal community, network and find mentorship, and the firm sponsors women associates’ participation in conferences, programs and events designed to expand opportunities and resources for women in the legal profession.

Ongoing Training Opportunities

We believe that associates learn the most through hands-on participation, which is why we add them to trial teams soon after they join the firm. In addition to our commitment to early responsibility, we provide a weekend retreat for all new associates and a series of ongoing education and training opportunities, including deposition training, litigation workshops, and lunch seminars on issues and best practices for working with clients.

A Great Place to Work

Although we are competitive with larger firms, we operate like a small firm and boast a relaxed, collegial work environment. Many of our staff and partners have been with the firm for decades, which fosters a family-like atmosphere. Children and significant others are invited to offsite firm events, and we enjoy the bonding that takes place each year among the firm’s extended family.

Competitive Compensation

Associate salaries at Irell are highly competitive. Our base annual salary for first-year associates is currently $225,000, plus a bonus for judicial clerkships. 

Top Ranked

Chambers Associate Strong Performer Quality of Life 2024

Chambers Associate Strong Performer Pro Bono 2024


"Lawyers here are some of the most intellectually rigorous around."

– World Trademark Review

"They have great associates that know everything about the case."

– Chambers USA
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