Quinn Emanuel Associates May Dress Casual, But Work in ‘Winner-Take-All’ Environment

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If you like to dress casual and work hard, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan may be the place for you.

Name partner William Urquhart acknowledges in an interview with the Careerist that the firm has a reputation as a sweatshop. The environment, he says, is “winner-take-all,” but associates really don’t work any harder than those at Cravath or Paul, Weiss. “You have to really care about what you do,” he says.

Lawyers at Quinn Emanuel are allowed to wear flip-flops and shorts. Job candidates don’t even need to wear suits to interviews, “but most do anyway,” Urquhart says. The firm looks for associates in the top 10 percent of their class, unless they come from Harvard or Yale law schools, and it wants people with common sense.

Urquhart adds that associates have a better chance for partnership at his firm, and women are faring well. “We’ve made a bunch of women partners in the last few years, and we didn’t even make a big deal about it,” he says. “I know we have a reputation of being a tough place to work for women; that’s garbage. We’ve made women partners who were on maternity leave. Three of our most powerful litigators are women—Susan Estrich, Faith Gay, and Kathleen Sullivan, and six women chair or co-chair practice groups.”

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