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Careers at Kostelanetz & Fink

Kostelanetz & Fink is a destination for the legal elite.  Lawyers come to our boutique practice because we focus on our lawyers’ professional development and pursue excellence.  Our supportive culture is tightly tied to low associate-turnover, high promotion rates, outstanding legal work, and excellent client service.

The firm does not embrace an “up or out” model.  While the firm welcomes lawyers seeking to develop skills in private practice in anticipation of careers in public or non-profit service, we hire with an expectation that the lawyers who join us will maintain life-long relationships with the firm, ideally as K&F partners or counsel.  Half of our partners were “home grown.”  Of the other half, one was a K&F counsel; two were government laterals (from the Department of Justice); and two were private-practice laterals (i.e., were counsel/partners at other firms).  And, of the firm’s ten associates in 2011, three became partners; three became counsel; two are still associates; one left us to start a solo practice, which the firm has supported through referrals; and one left us (after promotion to counsel) to become a financial planner, and has assisted in the management of our retirement funds.

We support the continued professional development of attorneys by facilitating mentorship programs, implementing regular formal training sessions, taking on pro bono work and some smaller cases, staffing leanly, and providing opportunities for writing and speaking.

Our counsel, associates, clerks, and summer associates participate in formal mentoring.  All are assigned partner mentors, and meet with mentors on a quarterly basis.  New arrivals are assigned an additional mentor (a more senior, non-partner lawyer) and a “paralegal guide” who can answer questions about firm logistics, support, and administration.

We believe that formal training is essential for the success of our counsel, associates, clerks, and summer associates.  We’ve used the extraordinary talent at our firm and our status as a certified provider of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) to develop our own lawyer training program.  We’re building a three-year curriculum, tailor-made for our professionals, comprising a minimum 36 hours, and covering topics such as security, diversity, equity, and inclusion, practical skills (such as how to take and defend depositions), and substantive law.

Our junior lawyers gain extraordinary experience.  They are guaranteed to team up with and learn from experienced partners.  These opportunities abound at K&F thanks to the firm’s concentration of extraordinary talent in a practice dominated by fast‐paced and high‐intensity matters.  Our associates work on a wide variety of matters and are not siloed into departments or practice areas.  They have opportunities to work in areas such as Tax Litigation, White‐Collar Criminal Defense, Internal Investigations, Complex Commercial Litigation, Trusts & Estates, Tax Advice, Government Contracts & Procurement, and Commercial Transactions.  Our matters are complex and often cutting-edge.  Our associates receive immediate opportunities to work with clients and top‐rated law partners, engage with government lawyers, work on financial planning and transactional matters, and see the judicial process in action. We expect our junior attorneys to take ownership of their cases.

We think that it is essential that lawyers learn to delegate, and even junior lawyers have that opportunity at K&F.  Since we generally try to staff a paralegal from our Pre-Law Paralegal program on most matters, our junior lawyers have opportunities to supervise and mentor outstanding paralegals.  We find that this experience hastens the professional development of our attorneys.

All K&F lawyers have opportunities to work on pro bono matters.  Our pro bono practice is varied and rewarding.  Hours devoted by our lawyers on pro bono matters receive the same credit from the firm as hours spent on billable work.

We offer competitive salaries (currently:  $205,000 for first year associates; $215,000 for second year associates; and $240,000 for third year associates), bonuses ($15,000 for first year associates; $25,000 for second year associates; $50,000 for third year associates), and benefits, including health care and dental.  First, second, and third year associate bonuses are not dependent on hours-based thresholds.  Our compensation remains attractive as our lawyers gain seniority.  For example, at K&F, a fifth year associate with 2,100 client matter hours (including pro bono hours) would be eligible for a bonus in excess of $90,000 plus 10% of the associate’s business originations over $50,000.  K&F also sponsors a 401(k) plan and a Profit Sharing plan.

We recruit laterals, law students, law clerks, and alumni of our Pre-Law Paralegal Program.  Our junior lawyers and summer associates are from Harvard Law School, Columbia Law School, NYU Law School, UVA Law School, Duke Law School, Georgetown Law School, and Fordham Law School.  They have joined us from federal court clerkships, and law firms such as Morrison & Forester and Sullivan & Cromwell.

Our application process is extremely competitive.  With respect to law student applicants and recent graduates, our process focuses on top-performing students from highly-ranked law schools.  Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, and writing sample to HR@kflaw.com.

We believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion contribute to a safe and welcoming environment for our employees and strengthen our firm. We welcome applications from women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, persons with disabilities, people from low-income backgrounds, and veterans.  Applications from people who are members of underrepresented and/or marginalized communities are highly encouraged.