AZA continues to get high grades from its associates. The firm is ranked among the top 20 midsize law firms for 2021 by Vault, the widely respected career guide and job-ranking service that relies on surveys of law firm associates.
In Texas, the firm ranked No. 4 among midsize law firms. Nationally, the firm ranked 19th. As one of the best firms to work for, AZA made the top 10 list in the categories of career outlook and selectivity. The firm is listed among the top 15 for job satisfaction, quality of work, hours and compensation.
Vault provides ratings of thousands of employers each year. Its law firm guide is designed to help law students and lawyers identify the best firms to work for in the U.S. This year’s “Vault’s Verdict” for AZA says:
Associates at Ahmad, Zavitsanos, Anaipakos, Alavi & Mensing P.C. dive deep into high-level responsibility from the start. If you are looking for hand-holding, this firm is not for you. Partners are genuinely interested in associate development and provide ample mentoring, but they also trust associates to manage cases and handle substantive work—including motion practice, depositions, and stand-up trial work—early on.
And here is some of what our associates said:
“Recruitment is very selective. AZA looks for candidates with a proven history of toughness and competitiveness that AZA believes will translate into effective courtroom advocacy. In general, AZA only recruits law students and laterals from the top law schools who have top grades. The top ‘feeder’ schools are Texas, Harvard, Chicago and Michigan. Law Review and federal-clerkship experience are valued but not required or preferred.”
“Very welcoming. But I was thrown into the deep end on the first day. Couple of cases on the first day. Two trials within the first 8 weeks.”
“Laid-back environment. Collaborative atmosphere where associates help out each other. Frequent social and fundraising events. Some associates hang out with one another outside of the office.”
“The partners treat the associates as colleagues. They give associates a lot of responsibility, which can be difficult and stressful, but it is because the partners believe it is important for associates to develop as attorneys.”
“I put in long and hard hours, but it is worth it to receive the experience and get paid on the Cravath scale living in Houston.”
“The work is very substantive. I get to go to trial at least once a year. I’ve given an opening statement and a closing argument. I’ve argued in front of the Delaware Supreme Court. I’ve been part of a trial team that got a $40 million+ verdict. I’ve taken over 30 depositions myself. I’ve only been here for less than five full years.”
“What’s ‘appropriate at your level,’ especially for young associates at this firm, is very different than the industry understanding. As someone just finishing up his second year, I’ve already taken more than a dozen depositions, lost track of the number of hearings I have argued and gone to numerous trials, including having opening statement and witness examination roles at trial. That is all for non-pro bono cases. (We do pro bono, and some go to trial, I just haven’t.) In terms of discovery, case management, strategy development and substantive legal briefing, the partners mostly leave that entirely in the associates’ hands.”
“On this front, our biggest strength is that we have diversity, and diverse people feel comfortable here.”
Vault has posted the full national listing of midsize firms, Top 150 Under 150, and the 2021 Best Midsize Law Firms in Texas (subscription required). The top 150 list is selected through survey data from associates, as well as lawyers in the field, other published rankings and news reports. Editors also assess the firms for quality of life, prestige and career growth.