Loyola University Chicago

Career Services

School of Law

Researching Law Firms

Large law firms and a few highly selective “boutique firms” will have a set recruiting process and tend to be highly grade conscious.  Large firms interview rising 2L students in the late summer/early fall of 2L year to make them offers for summer associate positions the summer after 2L year.  In the late summer/early fall of 3L year, these firms make offers for post-graduate employment to the summer associates who had successful summers.  If a firm did not meet its hiring goals by hiring from its summer class, it may interview some additional 3Ls in the fall of their 3L year for offers of post-graduate employment.  (In recent years, we have seen very little 3L hiring at large firms.)  A few large firms have 1L summer associate/scholarship programs designed to attract minority candidates – but in recent years we have seen very little 1L hiring outside of these programs. 

Smaller law firms do not have a set recruiting process or timeline – each firm recruits in its own way, and generally only when they have work that needs to be done.  Some of these firms hire law students to work as “law clerks” during the school year and over the summer.  Although many smaller firms do end up hiring their law clerks after graduation, these jobs do not come with the same presumption of post-graduate employment that summer associate positions do.  Nor do these positions come with the high salaries summer associates command; expect compensation in the range of $10-$20 per hour. 

How to research large law firms:

The NALP Directory lists all law firms who are members of NALP – almost every large law firm with a summer program will be listed.  The NALP entries have the benefit of including a table showing the number of partners and associates practicing in each practice area in a give office – this is invaluable information.  While the firm’s website may list all of the firm’s practice areas nationwide, you need to know if the practice area or areas you are interested in are represented in the cities you are interested in.  Firms may have a strong practice area in their DC office, with almost no work of the same kind in their Chicago office, so be sure to check out the NALP form for the specific office of the firm that you are looking at. 

How to research small law firms:

Use the Four or More list to identify firms in Chicago with four or more attorneys.  This Excel spreadsheet can be sorted by number of attorneys (Column O), and you can search each firm’s list of practice areas (Column P) to create subsets of firms that do work in the practice areas that you are interested in.  The username and password are in your Career Services 1L Handbook, or you can get them by calling our office at 312.915.7160.  Once you’ve identified firms that you are interested in, check to see if any Loyola alums work there.  Additionally, take a look at the list of where last year’s 1Ls worked over the summer – you will see that many worked at small firms, and those upperclass students can be a great resource with information about how they got their job.

Other firm research tools: 



www.leopardsolutions.com (after clicking the "Enter Here" link, go to the create an account link under the words "Not Registered? at the bottom of the page)





Also look to see where our outstanding adjunct professors work.

Need more?  Once you’ve taken a look at these resources, be sure to check out the Career Services website section devoted to Law Firms for more information.