2021 Vault Rankings
At a Glance
“The substantive legal experience as a junior associate is unbeatable.”
“With substantive legal experience so early in my career, there can be a high level of stress.”
“Responsibility = hours.”
“The most challenging thing is figuring out a work-life balance.”
About Irell & Manella LLP
A Southern California powerhouse for more than 75 years, Irell & Manella matches or exceeds its multinational peers in salary, prestige, and high-stakes cases, serving clients worldwide from only two locations in Los Angeles and Newport Beach.
A Glamorous Start
Irell harkens back to the glamour days of old Hollywood—1941, to be exact: the year in which Orson Welles released a little flick called Citizen Kane and two tax attorneys—Eugene Berger and Lawrence Irell—established what became one of the most prestigious law firms in Tinseltown. Arthur Manella joined the firm in 1944; within a year, Berger had passed away, and Manella had become a partner. The tax practice started handling tax affairs for Hollywood stars, including Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Elizabeth Taylor, and Lou Costello, and the firm became a California fixture.
Irell has resisted the rapid expansion of many of its peers, but its reach has been mighty nevertheless. Among its strengths are its intellectual property and complex commercial litigation practices. The firm’s high-profile clients include: Johnson & Johnson, Uber Technologies, Juno Therapeutics, City of Hope, Genentech, Gilead, PayPal, St. Jude Medical, Snapchat, TiVo, and Skechers, and almost a dozen universities.
Irell’s IP group has garnered top honors—including being named the IP Litigation Department of the Year by The American Lawyer and ranking among the Top 20 in Vault’s Intellectual Property Practice Area ranking. The firm’s IP practice is broken into five sub practices: appellate, intellectual property litigation, intellectual property transactions, patent office trials, and patent portfolio management. The firm provides IP counsel across numerous industries, including biotechnology, e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, software, telecommunications, and video games.
Mind the Gap
Irell’s Gap Program encourages mentoring among its associates. Through the program, associates who are in their third year or above can invite lawyers who are at least two years below them out for a meal on the firm’s dime. Associates also receive an associate mentor when they join the firm. And associates can consult “litigation solicitors” for career guidance on high-level practice pointers. Mentoring isn’t only for junior associates at Irell, though. Fourth-year associates and above are matched with partner advisors, who can provide career advice and shadowing opportunities and also assist in finding new ways for the associate to develop their skills.
Irell moved to working remotely on March 17th. The firm was well-prepared to pivot almost all functions to a remote model due to prior investments in technology and security infrastructure. While we have had to make adjustments, we are as busy as ever and our recruiting efforts have not slowed down. We are continuing to actively recruit. We conducted our full 10-week summer program remotely. Our incoming class of associates will still start in the fall of 2020. Irell will participate in virtual OCI for the upcoming recruiting season.
News & Awards
In the first patent case to go to trial since the pandemic began, Irell, along with McKool Smith, won a $506 million verdict for Optis Wireless Technology and co-plaintiffs from a Texas federal court jury in a patent infringement suit against Apple Inc. involving 4G LTE technology for iPhones and other devices. The jury also found that Apple willfully infringed.
Irell convinced the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit to reverse a district court’s summary judgment ruling against a client in a copyright infringement dispute over a sculpture of a human skeleton with muscles. The Tenth Circuit’s July 2020 published opinion revived client Jon Zahourek’s infringement suit against Balanced Body University, LLC involving the giant skeleton Zahourek created known as “the Maniken.”
Irell represented NantKwest, Inc. before the U.S. Supreme Court. In a unanimous opinion, the court sided with NantKwest and rejected the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s position that applicants who appeal to a district court must pay the agency’s legal bills, regardless of who wins. NantKwest is developing cancer treatments using natural killer cells.
Irell obtained a dismissal with prejudice of a securities fraud class action against Uber Technologies seeking billions of dollars in damages. The case was one of the first of its kind, brought under California’s market manipulation statute.
- Irell garnered a collection of $1.7 billion in verdicts and settlements for TiVo Inc. in patent enforcement actions that included multiple trials in the Eastern District of Texas and multiple successful Federal Circuit appeals.
- Irell secured the largest damage award ever affirmed by the California Supreme Court for City of Hope National Medical Center in a patent licensing case tried in Los Angeles Superior Court. More than $565 million was paid by the defendant.
- Irell won the largest patent verdict of 2019—a $752 million—for Sloan Kettering Institute for Cancer Research and Juno Therapeutics, Inc. in a patent trial against Kite Pharma Inc. A judge later enhanced the award to $1.2 billion.
- Irell secured $102 million and $200 million jury verdicts in separate trials two months apart on behalf of United Services Automobile Association against Wells Fargo over patents for mobile remote deposit capture technology.
- Leading Intellectual Property, Life Sciences, General Commercial Litigation, Securities Litigation and Tax Practices, 2020 – Chambers USA
- Intellectual Property Litigation Department of the Year, 2018—The American Lawyer
- One of the most diverse firms in the country on the Diversity Scorecard, 2020—The American Lawyer
- Top Verdicts of the Year Awards, 2019, 2020—Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
- Ranked #1, The A-List, 2016—The American Lawyer
Why Work Here
We Are True To Ourselves
Irell attorneys are a diverse group. Although we come from a wide array of backgrounds, countries and experiences, we share a common passion for practicing law at the highest levels and we are all dedicated to finding the best solutions for our clients. Our differences enrich us and our common desire for excellence binds us. At Irell, we can be ourselves and focus on our shared passions.
Even casual office discussion often involves recent cases, ongoing matters, and interesting legal issues. We wouldn’t have it any other way, and we encourage hearty discussions and debates about developing legal and social issues. In fact, the firm produces in-house discussions and training sessions, usually led by associates, on topics relevant to our practice and our community several times every week. The environment around the office is prime for inquisitive legal minds.
1800 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067-4276
Phone: (310) 277-1010
Management Committee: Ben Hattenbach, Lisa Glasser, and Keith Orso
Hiring Partner: Keith Orso
1st year: $190,000
2nd year: $200,000
3rd year: $220,000
4th year: $255,000
5th year: $280,000
6th year: $305,000
7th year: $325,000
8th year: $340,000
Summer associate: $3,654/week
Manager of Recruiting & Development
No. of U.S. Offices: 2
No. of International Offices: 0
Los Angeles, CA (HQ)
Newport Beach, CA
Complex Business Litigation
Class Action Litigation
Intellectual Property Litigation
Intellectual Property Transactions
Patent Office Trials
Patent Portfolio Management
*See firm website for complete list of practice areas and industries.