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Founded in 1949, Sullivan & Cromwell’s Visiting Lawyers Program provides practical training in the United States to visiting lawyers who plan to return to their home countries to practice law.
With more than 330 alumni in 48 countries, the hallmark of the Firm’s Visiting Lawyers Program has been the substantive nature of the experience provided. Our visiting lawyers do not learn by observing others at work; they learn by active involvement in transactions. The Firm believes that it is difficult to provide meaningful exposure to U.S. practice in a short time. Accordingly, the program begins in the fall of each year and participants generally are at the Firm for a term of eight or nine months.
Visiting lawyers are actively involved in the work of the Firm. They are generally expected to perform legal work at the level of a regular U.S.-trained associate, and they join teams of S&C lawyers assigned to client matters. They also participate in the Firm’s formal associate training programs. Most visiting lawyers are assigned to our General Practice Group, which covers all the corporate, financial and other transactional practices of the Firm.
Like our regular associates, our visiting lawyers do not work solely with one or a few designated partners. During the course of their stay with S&C, they work with a number of different partners and many associates. Visiting lawyers receive their assignments through the same assignments system as regular associates, although the administrators of the program, particularly at the beginning of the year, make a special effort to ensure that the members of the program are actively engaged in the work.
Hiring Criteria
The principal criteria for hiring in the Visiting Lawyers Program are personal excellence and the candidate’s potential to become a leading member of the bar in his or her home country. Most successful candidates demonstrate the following:

  • fluency in written and spoken English
  • completion of a law degree in their home country at or near the top of their class
  • several years of home-country practice

A number of our successful candidates have completed or are in the process of completing a one-year LL.M. or similar degree from a U.S. law school.
If the candidate has practiced for one year or more, recommendations from the previous employer are required. If the candidate is enrolled in a U.S. LL.M. or similar program, we generally wish to see the student’s first-semester grades.
S&C encourages law firms around the world to propose candidates for the program, with the understanding that our ability to accept any particular candidate is constrained by the size of the program. Candidates recommended by non-U.S. law firms should meet the criteria set forth above. We also will generally ask the non-U.S. firm to confirm that the lawyer is on a career path likely to result in a permanent affiliation with that firm. We generally are unable to accept candidates for the program who are practicing in-house with a non-U.S. client. S&C generally does not hire visiting lawyers who do not have several years of home-country practice or who do not expect to return to their home country following completion of the program.
Hiring Process
Candidates should apply via e-mail to:
Legal Recruiting, Visiting Lawyers Program
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
125 Broad Street
New York, NY 10004-2498
Phone: +1-212-558-4000
Fax: +1-212-558-3588
E-mail: [email protected]
Applications should be submitted as early as possible, but no later than the end of January in the year in which applicants wish to join the program. Applications should include a resume, a transcript from the home-country law school and, if applicable, a transcript from any U.S. law school attended. Applications should also include a statement of the candidate’s intentions following completion of the program, such as return to a specific home-country firm, further academic work or practice of law in the United States.
All of the applicants are carefully considered, and a small number of candidates are invited to our New York office for an interview. S&C will reimburse the travel costs of applicants coming from law schools within the United States. The current employers of applicants traveling from overseas are expected to bear the costs of travel to New York.
We usually select the final candidates for the Visiting Lawyers Program in February or March for the program beginning in the fall. Unfortunately, because of the small size of the program and our desire to have lawyers from a broad range of countries represented over time, we must turn down many highly qualified candidates of exceptional merit.
Employment Arrangements
Members of the Visiting Lawyers Program become employees of Sullivan & Cromwell. For reasons relating to professional responsibility and confidentiality of client information, we do not normally accept lawyers who remain employed by another firm or employer (although they may, of course, be intending, or committed, to return to their former employer following their stay with S&C).
Members of the program are compensated at the same salary as regular U.S.-educated first-year associates. They receive the same benefits as regular associates, including health insurance. If necessary, our Legal Personnel Department will assist members of the program to secure housing in New York City.
Candidates with visas that permit them to work in the United States should make us aware of this at the time of initial application. Please read the Firm's Visa Policy for Lawyers for more information.

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