When we think of the perks that a larger law firm might offer to its attorneys, our minds often (quickly) wander to the realm of compensation. While big bonuses and even bigger salaries are highly regarded in the legal profession, perhaps it’s time to expand our horizons and consider a firm’s culture as one of its major selling points. Your firm may offer extensive benefits of all kinds, but do attorneys feel like they truly belong there? Are lawyers at your firm embraced for exactly who they are, as a whole person? Does your firm acknowledge, encourage, and celebrate its attorneys’ outside passions and milestones?
We know one firm that does all of these things, because preserving its culture is its number one priority.
Greenberg Glusker is the largest single-office, full-service law firm in California, and it finds itself ranked as one of Vault’s Top 150 Under 150. Perhaps even more importantly, the firm is ranked as Vault’s No. 2 best midsize firm for wellness, and is ranked No. 5 best midsize firm for firm culture. Greenberg Glusker focuses on really getting to know each of its attorneys, and makes a conscientious effort to make each of them feel genuinely seen.
According to Nicole Kosoff, the firm’s employee engagement coordinator, Greenberg Glusker “prioritizes getting to know its team members as whole humans, not just working professionals.” How does the firm go about doing that? Kosoff continued, saying, “By supporting employee interests and celebrating personal milestones unrelated to work, the firm provides avenues through which co-workers can uncover commonalities, such as – in the case of a baby shower – the experience of being a new parent. Even more, it communicates to team members being supported or celebrated that they are seen and appreciated for more than what they contribute professionally.”
From publicizing employee’ outside achievements to holding family-friendly gatherings, it certainly sounds like this is a firm where people truly feel appreciated — not just as lawyers, but as human beings. To that end, here’s what some of Greenberg Glusker’s attorneys had to say about the firm’s fantastic culture. First, here’s a sense of what the firm’s extravagant baby showers look like.
“Very recently, Nicole, the firm’s Employee Engagement Coordinator, with the support of the firm, planned a joint baby shower for myself and two other women attorneys at the firm, which she dubbed the Power Shower. Two of us are having our second child, and one is having her third child. It was kind and thoughtful for the firm to support our growing families, especially when none of us are having or first child and we will be taking another leave of absence, which is generously 7 months long. Attendees included men and women, and spanned the management committee, fellow attorneys (partners and associates), and staff. One of the games Nicole planned was to guess which powerful woman a baby was dressed up as (using a fun Instagram account). It truly made us feel that growing our families is something the firm celebrates and supports, rather than it being seen as a burden.” – Kelly Raney, Partner, Employment
“The firm threw me a Winnie the Pooh themed sip & see for our 4-month old son. I was blown away by the effort and detail that went into the event, which even included “Hunny” cake pops! My wife could not stop talking about how uniquely supportive GG is to its employees.” – Ryan Webb, Counsel, Entertainment
“After my son was born, the firm arranged for a ‘sip and see’—Octopus-themed based on one of his favorite stuffed animals—that was a great way for my colleagues to meet him. As a bonus, the firm’s weekly happy hour was later that day, so the celebration continued there. My son will always be able to say that his first happy hour was at the firm.” – Steve Stein, Partner, Litigation
It’s not just baby showers that the firm is great at — they really care about employee well-being, too.
“I was elevated to partner in December 2022, after having recently returned from maternity leave. In considering me for and elevating me to partner, after having taken nearly 7 months off to focus on my family and bond with my newborn, the firm made clear that it prioritizes and values me, and my contributions to the firm, wholly and not just on a bottom line basis. While I was out, partners and colleagues, including members of the firm’s management committee, regularly checked in on me and my well-being but never pressured me to return to work early and never burdened me with work concerns.” – Elizabeth Sbardellati, Partner, Intellectual Property
“In my time at Greenberg Glusker, I’ve come to realize that we are more than just colleagues; we’re family. After the tragic loss of my brother in a car accident last year, the overwhelming support I received from everyone here was truly touching. The firm not only gave me the time off I needed to grieve but enveloped me in compassion and understanding during one of the darkest moments of my life.
Months later, as I prepared to welcome my first child into the world, the firm surprised me with an unforgettable baby shower. True to their thoughtful nature, they even brought in a live rabbit to celebrate my son’s impending arrival in the Year of the Rabbit. Such gestures, especially when my own parents are no longer with us, mean the world to my wife Julia and me and serve as a constant reminder of the deep-rooted, caring culture that defines our firm. I am eternally grateful to be part of such a nurturing environment where both my professional and personal life are valued and celebrated.” — Zachary Nolan, Counsel, Corporate & Tax
Greenberg Glusker also supports its attorneys’ non-profit volunteer work:
“I felt really grateful when, last year, I went to the Mexican border to help Ukrainian war refugees who were waiting to be paroled into to the U.S., and the firm contributed $1,000 towards the relief efforts, without me even asking for it. We spent the money on gas for volunteers who were transporting the refugees from the Mexican border to their temporary homes in San Diego or to the airport where they departed to reunite with their relatives in other states.” – Vera Serova, Associate, Litigation
“Greenberg Glusker has actively supported my leadership roles in non-profits. Since I’ve joined the firm, I’ve served as President of the Westside Jewish Community Center and am now the Chair of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles Legal Network. The firm has always supported my non-profit work and regularly contributes to these worthy organizations.” – Dan Stone, Partner, Litigation
Greenberg Glusker even sends out firmwide announcements about its attorneys’ personal accomplishments, from weddings to athletic bests.
Last, but certainly not least, this is a firm that allows its attorneys to follow their dreams outside of the office.
“Greenberg Glusker allowed me to coach college basketball for eight years when I was an associate. This included working part time from October to March each season. I am certain very few other firms, if any, would have allowed me to pursue that remarkable opportunity.” – Lee Dresie, Partner, Litigation
Congratulations to Greenberg Glusker for its willingness to put its attorneys’ happiness and well-being first, above all else. With a firm culture like this, it makes it a lot easier for employees to feel truly valued for more than just their billable hours.
What does the culture at your law firm look like? We’d love to profile what life looks like at your firm. Please get in touch with us — via text (646-820-8477) or email (subject line: “[Firm Name] Culture”) — and let us know.
Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.