Associate Life

Owen Allen

The Gargantuan DC Office

November 15, 2012 12:23 PM | Permalink | Print

On last check, WilmerHale’s Washington DC office had more than 400 attorneys. With support staff, that makes for well over a thousand people roaming the halls every day, which makes us bigger than many small towns.

Many of you might be wondering how the sheer size of the office affects the office dynamics. Do we interact with each other? Do we feel isolated from other people or other departments? In my experience, there are great advantages to being in such a large office, as well as some disadvantages. One of the great things about having so many talented lawyers in one location is that there is always somebody who can help answer almost any question that might come up. If I have a litigation question, there are dozens of people I can call. If an antitrust issue comes up, I can call or visit any number of attorneys in the antitrust department to get guidance. Everybody here is able and eager to help out whenever they are needed.

On the other hand, it’s virtually impossible to get to know everybody at the office, but the silver lining is that it presents an almost limitless opportunity to meet new people. I’m constantly meeting new people I’ve “worked with” for years. The firm also presents opportunities to get to know people in other departments. There are office-wide committees to serve on, volunteer opportunities to get involved with, and happy hours and socials to attend. This is a great place to make connections and friendships that will last far beyond your years at the firm, and will extend beyond your immediate practice area.

Also, the individual practice groups provide for smaller, more close-knit environments. The IP group in the DC office, for example, has approximately 15 attorneys, all sitting next to one another. This provides for more of a small-firm feeling within the context of a big firm. All in all, however, I’ve found the size of the DC office to be beneficial to my practice.

This will be my last blog post. Many thanks to each of you for visiting my blog over the past several months. I wish you all the best of luck as you make preparations for next year!