A chance encounter on the streets of Boston in 1912 between Harvard classmates Robert Eliot Goodwin and Joseph Osborne Procter Jr. led to the creation of the Boston ‘start-up’ law firm Goodwin Procter. The young American duo decided to take the plunge and agreed to put $500 each into the firm. Over a century later, Goodwin Procter’s global revenue sits at $1.49 billion (£1.07 billion), up 11.7% on the previous year, while profit equity per partner (PEP) comes in at a cool $2.88 million (£2.07 million). London NQs can also earn an eye-watering £147,000, a seismic jump from a second year trainee salary of £57,000.
Goodwin Procter has seen its revenue double over the past decade owing to its ambitious strategy to be early on the tech start-up scene. That gamble has seen the firm’s revenues in its private equity, technology, and life sciences practices grow 16%, 11%, and 41% respectively. Goodwin’s top clients include the likes of Moderna, Slack and MyoKardia, with the firm hunting more success from its over 4,000 emerging client companies in its specialist areas of tech and life sciences.
Although the firm has been around for over 100 years, there is certainly a ‘start-up’ energy around the London office which has been drastically increasing its headcount in recent times. Goodwin only started accepting UK trainees in 2018 and is famous for pulling off impressive lateral hire sprees that has seen almost 100 partners lured to the firm over the past five years.
The firm counts 13 offices internationally with tech hotspots including Silicon Valley, Cambridge, San Francisco and Santa Monica. More recently, Goodwin has made a headway into Europe, opening its Frankfurt office in 2016 and its Luxembourg gaff in 2019 with the aim of growing its finance and private equity offerings.
All this means lots of cutting-edge work in a very busy firm. One rookie told Legal Cheek that they had enjoyed “a lot of responsibility and intellectually challenging work”, but noted that sometimes members of the firm were “too busy to provide constructive training”.
That said, partner approachability doesn’t seem to be a problem at Goodwin, with senior members of the firm “always offering to chat or discuss anything” according to another trainee who has had the fortune to come across some less busy partners.
Newbies are also supported by a tight-knit trainee cohort and excellent legal tech that scored strongly in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey. None of the trainees we spoke to had undertaken a secondment, but perks include a gym allowance, access to wellbeing services and “good bonuses” on top of an already impressive salary.
Rookies also enjoyed excellent support from the firm when moving to remote working. One recounts: “We were given two generous grants to purchase equipment, with no requirement for receipts and could keep the excess”.
Great support, fantastic work, an exciting ‘start-up’ atmosphere and exceptional pay make for great reading, but the price for all of this comes in your work/life balance. One hardworking trainee told us: “I get up on Monday and am either working or sleeping until Friday mostly, aside from 20 mins at the end of the day so I’m not dreaming about work”. According to our Survey results, trainees usually start work at around 9am and clock off somewhere between 8pm and 11pm. No wonder the firm advised on 946 IPOs worth $125 billion since 2015, with 225 coming in 2020.