2021 Vault Rankings
- Real Estate#17
- New York#16
At a Glance
“People are genuinely nice and extremely smart.”
“Opportunity to do top-level, amazing work.”
“Flexibility of work hours.”
“Lack of transparency.”
“The hours can be very, very intense.”
About Sidley Austin LLP
Sidley is a global powerhouse, with approximately 2,000 lawyers across 20 offices. The firm boasts a long list of marquee clients in a range of industries, including banking, energy, health care, insurance, life sciences, and technology. The firm’s work in complex transactional and litigation matters is bolstered by exceptional regulatory experience, and the firm features many former officials from governmental agencies in Europe, the U.S., and China. It is also where Barack and Michelle Obama met—a little glimpse into the caliber of lawyer the firm attracts.
Chicago & New York Powers Unite
Sidley traces its roots back to the 1866 founding of predecessor firm Williams & Thompson in Chicago. Historical clients of the firm that later became known as Sidley & Austin include former first lady Mary Todd Lincoln and the Western Union Telegraph Company, which developed into AT&T. Brown & Wood launched in 1914 and grew into a Wall Street institution. The modern firm was formed in 2001 when Sidley & Austin merged with Brown & Wood to become Sidley Austin Brown & Wood LLP, later shortened to just Sidley Austin LLP.
An Elite Platform
Sidley has experience representing diverse clients—from Fortune 500 companies to startups. Among the firm’s top practices are banking and financial services, energy, environmental law, IP, restructuring, Supreme Court and appellate, and white collar defense.
Sidley has expanded its private equity, M&A, and broader corporate capabilities across multiple markets, including New York, London, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Munich, and Singapore. Since early 2016, the firm has added dozens of partners and associates to its M&A and private equity practices in Europe. The firm’s M&A and private equity portfolio currently exceeds $300 million, with more than $100 million in private equity matters today. Last year, Sidley advised on deals worth a combined value of $235 billion—a 41% increase in deal value from 2018.
The firm is well known for its Supreme Court and Appellate practice, which is ranked among the top 20 in Vault’s Practice Area rankings. Sidley lawyers have briefed more than 225 Supreme Court cases on the merits and argued more than 120 cases before SCOTUS. They have also had a hand in more than 400 cases in federal appellate courts since 2010. The firm needs three hands to count how many times it has been named to The National Law Journal’s “Appellate Hot List.”
Impacting the World
Lawyers at Sidley take a break from billables to make a positive impact on the world. Led by a robust pro bono program, the firm provides services to those who are unable to afford legal representation, working on impact cases addressing the crisis of family separations at our nation’s borders, veterans’ access to health care, discrimination against female athletes, and schoolchildren’s access to literacy. In 2020, the firm has also taken on matters relating to COVID-19. As part of its Social Responsibility program the firm provides charitable donations to various organizations. In addition, lawyers and staff at the firm log hours volunteering. And the firm keeps an eye on growth, expanding its efforts each year. From mentoring students to supporting food pantries and shelters, the firm works to contribute to its local communities.
Sidley is committed to protecting the health and safety of our global workforce and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We moved quickly to a remote work environment early on while continuing to meet the shifting needs of our clients. Despite this year’s limitations, we offered a virtual four-week summer associate program that balanced local office programming with national firm events and opportunities. From professional development seminars to weekly diversity and wellness sessions, our program was an enriching and rewarding experience for our 146 summer associates, who are returning for their final year of law school before joining us next year in a full-time capacity. Going forward, we will work with law school programming to interview accomplished students for our 2021 summer associate program.
News & Awards
Sidley is regularly recognized as a leading law firm for gender diversity and inclusion. Recent examples include being named to Working Mother magazine’s annual list of the “Best Law Firms for Women” for the 11th year; receiving the Champions for Disability Inclusion in the Legal Profession Award from the American Bar Association; and being awarded Gold Standard Certification for the ninth time by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum.
Sidley was named a 2020 LearningElite organization by Chief Learning Officer magazine. This award recognizes organizations across various industries that employ exemplary workforce development strategies that deliver significant business results. Sidley has received this prestigious honor every year since the award’s inception in 2011 and remains the only law firm to have earned the LearningElite recognition. The firm ranked No. 9 out of 52 organizations on the 2020 list, placing it in the top-level Gold band for the fifth consecutive year.
Sidley represented GIC Pte Ltd. in a complex $8.4 billion buyout of Genesee & Wyoming Inc. involving heavy regulatory oversight from government authorities in multiple jurisdictions. For its role on the cross-border transaction, Sidley was mentioned in several publications—including Legal Week, Law360, The PE Hub Network, Railway Gazette, and The Deal—and received the “Private Equity Deal of the Year” award at the 2020 International Financial Law Review Americas Awards.
On behalf of firm client Airbus, Sidley obtained one of the most favorable rulings in WTO history in challenging U.S. federal, state, and local government subsidies to Airbus-competitor Boeing and its large civil aircraft division. The WTO’s ruling paved the way for the EU to take countermeasures against the U.S. on Airbus’ behalf. In a Sidley profile piece by The American Lawyer, Karl Hennessee, Airbus’ vice president and head of litigation and regulatory affairs, reflected on his experience working with the firm, noting: “What I deeply appreciate the firm and what sets them apart from all of the competitors is a can-do spirit that achieves excellent settlements and verdicts alike.”
- The Financial Times recognized Sidley for “Innovation in Legal Expertise” for its work representing Volkswagen AG in its $2.6 billion investment in Argo AI, LLC, Ford Motor Company’s autonomous vehicle technology company.
- In a matter named “Financial & Corporate Impact Deal of the Year” at the LMG Life Sciences Awards, Sidley represented Nurix Therapeutics in a potentially $2.48 billion global strategic collaboration deal with Gilead Sciences.
- A Sidley team is handling all regulatory aspects of the integration of Morgan Stanley’s $13 billion acquisition of discount brokerage E*Trade.
- Sidley advised Cigna Corporation in the sale of its group life and disability insurance business to New York Life for $6.3 billion.
- Ranked in 95 practice areas, including 18 “Band 1” rankings; 187 Sidley lawyers across 77 practice areas garnered 219 rankings, including 36 “Band 1” rankings, 2020—Chambers USA
- “Litigation Department of the Year” finalist, 2019—The American Lawyer
- Among top 5 firms on “BTI Client Service 30” list, 2020—BTI Consulting
- Perfect score on Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index (13th straight year) and designated a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality,” 2020—Human Rights Campaign Foundation
- 2019 Pro Bono Award—Public Counsel
One South Dearborn
Chicago, IL 60603
Phone: (312) 853-7000
Management Committee Chair: Larry A. Barden
Firm Hiring Partners: Jack Yeh (Century City), Anthony J. Aiello (Chicago), John J. Kuster (NY), Colleen Lauerman (Washington, DC)
Total No. Attorneys 2020:
1.5K - 2K
No. of Partners Named 2020:
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: $3,700/week
National Legal Recruiting Director
Recruiting contacts for specific offices can be found on the firm's website.
No. of U.S. Offices: 10
No. of International Offices: 10
Century City, CA
Chicago, IL (HQ)
Los Angeles, CA
New York, NY
Palo Alto, CA
San Francisco, CA
Washington, DC I Beijing
Banking and Financial Services
Energy & Infrastructure
Health Care & FDA
M&A and Private Equity
Regulatory & Enforcement
Tax, Employee Benefits, & Executive Compensation
*See firm website for a complete list of practice areas and industries.