Associate Life

At Morris Nichols, we recognize that a key component of our firm’s ongoing vitality and future success is the quality of our associates.  Our associate training program is designed not only to develop your legal skills, but also to challenge you to become the best that you can be as individuals.  Associate development at Morris Nichols happens in an environment that encourages personal responsibility and individuality. 

Working With Partners

Your assignments will be meaningful and challenging from day one.  Because the primary element of associate development at Morris Nichols is hands-on training, our associates learn by doing.  Our structure, particularly our partner-to-associate ratio and the varied and complex matters in which our attorneys are engaged, provides unparalleled training opportunities.  In most cases, associates work directly with partners, and every opportunity is taken to expose junior associates to the principal elements of their projects -- whether they involve a corporate takeover, patent infringement suit or the reorganization of a debtor in bankruptcy.

Substantive Work

Morris Nichols encourages associates to assume responsibility quickly.  Our associates routinely take depositions, negotiate agreements and communicate directly with clients, as they learn from the firm’s partners, whose skills have given Morris Nichols its national reputation for excellence.  New lawyers find that the firm’s emphasis on associate responsibility moves them forward faster when compared with their peers at other firms.

Building Partner Relationships

To provide continuity in the development and training process, each associate is generally assigned to work primarily with two of the firm’s partners each year.  This permits partners and associates to develop long-term working relationships and also permits partners to give frequent informal guidance in the context of work-related assignments.

Constructive Feedback

In addition, the firm’s associates receive an annual confidential review by members of the Lawyer Development Committee to provide constructive criticism and helpful feedback.  The reviews are based on input from all the partners with whom each associate has worked in the past year and are an integral part of the associate development process.  They are designed to identify each associate’s strengths and weaknesses to maximize the learning process.  

Developing Skills

Associate development is a high priority at Morris Nichols.  Our program is composed of several elements that together give associates the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to make them excellent attorneys.

Initially, the firm provides introductory courses for new lawyers on basic matters such as court filings and ethics.  The firm also hosts a variety of seminars and workshops, including those on deposition skills, trial skills and legal writing, and several of the practice groups hold luncheons at which new legal developments and other topics of interest are discussed.

Training Opportunities

The firm also encourages its associates to take full advantage of training opportunities outside the firm.  These include a wide range of continuing legal education programs.  For example, many of the firm's litigation associates attend the weeklong NITA course which offers lawyers an intensive case preparation and trial program.  The firm's corporate associates regularly attend national programs on corporate legal developments, including the Tulane Corporate Law Institute in which many of the firm's lawyers participate as panelists and moderators.  In addition, the firm's associates are encouraged to participate in committee work in their areas of specialization for organizations such as the American Bar Association, which gives them the opportunity to work on projects of national significance with lawyers from all over the country.

Compensation and Benefits

Morris Nichols traditionally has been the leader among Wilmington firms in compensation and benefits.  Compensation and benefits for associates include:

  • First-year associate annual salary $145,000
  • Associate Bonus Program
  • Profit Sharing Plan: Associates may make pre-tax contributions up to the maximum allowed by law.  Beginning the next January 1 or July 1 after two years of service with the firm, associates may be eligible for monthly contributions to their account from the firm.  In general, these contributions have been equal to approximately 9.5% of annual compensation.  Employer and employee contributions vest immediately.
  • Health, life and disability insurance (family and domestic partner insurance options)
  • Flexible spending plan
  • Four weeks vacation
  • $5,000 bar study stipend plus bar review course and application fees
  • License fees and dues for the American and Delaware State Bar associations
  • Tuition and travel expenses for continuing legal education programs
  • BlackBerry or iOS devices 
  • Dependent care assistance plan
  • Transportation reimbursement benefit plan


Morris Nichols seeks to hire exceptional law students preferably in the top 10-15% of their class with law review experience.

We also supplement our entry-level hiring with selective offers to judicial clerks.  Attorneys who do judicial law school clerkships immediately following law school and who join Morris Nichols are treated as members of their class for purposes of seniority and compensation.

We welcome applications from highly qualified lateral candidates.  Interested candidates should send their resume, transcript and a recent writing sample to Terry V. Derr at the contact information listed below.  If you prefer to apply online, click on LawCruit to go to our online application.


Terry V. Derr
Director of Attorney Recruiting
Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP
P.O. Box 1347
Wilmington, DE 19899-1347

T: (302) 658-9200    1201 North Market Street, 16th Floor, P.O. Box 1347, Wilmington, DE 19899-1347