Partners are usually best remembered for behaving badly, or worse, treating associates badly. But not the partners who made our “Top Partners to Work For” list.
Last week, we asked you to nominate the best Biglaw partners you work for, tell us why they are the best, and rate them in six categories: expertise within the practice area, quality of work given to associates, hands-on training given to associates, provision of feedback on associate work, respect for associates’ schedules, and professionalism with associates.
Over the next several weeks, we will reveal who these exceptional partners are in a multi-part Career Center survey results series, sponsored by Lateral Link. We kick off the series this week with the New York partners, and then we’ll make our way around the country.
Let’s get to know the first eight partners and find out why associates say they are the best to work for….
Stewart Aaron. An associate praises Aaron, an Arnold & Porter litigation partner, for “set[ting] the example of the kind of lawyer I want to be. He is quietly expert. He sets and keeps reasonable deadlines. He stands by his team.”
Arthur Burke. A Davis Polk litigation partner, Burke is known to be one of the best partners to work for because of the early responsibility he gives to associates. One associate reports that, “As a first year, he let me second chair a trial. As a second year, he sent me to argue a motion alone. Art has high standards but if you meet them, he treats you very well.”
Jane Byrne. Byrne, a Quinn Emanuel insurance and reinsurance litigation partner, is a perfect example of a partner who associates enjoy working for: “Virtually every associate that works with her considers her to be one of the best kept-secrets of firm life. She gives associates fantastic deposition experience, lets them take ownership of experts, witnesses, and key briefing. She engages them on the matter and empowers them to bring her creative ideas and suggestions. She values associate contributions, and will take their opinions seriously even when (especially when) they disagree with her. She is incredibly respectful of associates’ personal lives and is the absolute gold standard for how to treat junior associates. Her teams adore her and will go out of their way to deliver the best work product possible. She has mastered the art of motivating junior associates with praise rather than fear, and that is unheard of at most firms.”
Ken Coleman. An associate recommends working for Coleman, an Allen & Overy bankruptcy partner and head of the firm’s U.S. Restructuring group, because he is “[t]ruly a nice guy who gives associates’ private lives as much respect as you’ll find in Biglaw,” and “gets associates very involved from the beginning with lots of client contact.”
Dan DiNapoli. DiNapoli, a Kaye Scholer intellectual property partner, recently made headlines for winning a patent case preserving Pfizer’s market exclusivity for its Viagra drug. But associates say that there’s more than just his ability to win trials that makes him one of the best partners to work for: “Dan is a fantastic mentor that teaches associates how to practice and think like a winning lawyer. Dan also sincerely takes associate training and development seriously, and tries to provide developmental experience opportunities to each of the associates working for him.” In addition, “Dan respects and understands that even associates may have lives outside the firm,” and he is “one of the most approachable and down to earth partners in the firm.”
Dickerson Downing. Downing, a Crowell & Moring intellectual property partner, is commended for being a “[s]tand up guy, very easy going, and very bright,” and for having a “sense of humor [that] is appreciated by all.”
Robert Downes. An associate praises Downes, managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell’s Corporate and Finance group, for not only setting the bar for the firm in all survey categories, but for also being “[o]ne of the nicer people I’ve met, inside or outside the firm,” and “[i]ncredibly good at what he does and a real pleasure to work with.”
Stay tuned as we continue our coverage of the top New York partners before moving on to other major cities. For more information about the leading law firms at which these partners work, head over to the Career Center, powered by Lateral Link.