Skip to main content area Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to search Skip to section navigation
Feedback

Groom Law Group: Employer Blog

June 05, 2018
  1. Why I chose to start my career at Groom Law Group

As a 2L at Penn Law, I took Penn’s Introduction to Employee Benefits class, taught by two practitioners, which covers the basic rules surrounding the taxation of retirement plans and ERISA litigation.  This course is one of the most practical courses offered in law school and shows students how a regulatory and tax-based practice area can cross with federal litigation.  After the course, I worked with adjunct professors at Penn to focus my employment search on employee benefits firms in the Washington, DC area. 

Many of the recommendations I received from practitioners was that Groom Law Group was the place to start a career in benefits.  Groom was (and still is) the largest benefits firm in the country, with over 80 attorneys in Washington, DC, that focuses exclusively on all aspects of benefits law, including taxation, health & welfare, fiduciary, executive compensation, policy work, and ERISA litigation. Having worked in a large consulting firm prior to law school, it was important for me to find a firm that was large enough to provide job security and opportunities for advancement, but small enough so that I could develop meaningful professional relationships and progress quickly.  Groom fit that profile exactly and offered a two-year rotational program that allowed me to work in every practice area of the firm before choosing the area of law that fit my personality and interests. 

  1. Practice area spotlight – Employee Benefits and ERISA

Employee benefits is one of the most overlooked, but fascinating and practical areas of regulatory law.  It is unfortunate that most law students are not exposed to employee benefits in law school, or are not able to take an employee benefits course until 2L year because this is one of the most relevant practice areas, with tax reform and health care being at the forefront of policy work, both at the federal and state level.  Your career as a benefits attorney can take many different forms and lead you to work on some of the most engaging and relevant legal and policy work across the country, whether it be at a law firm, on Capitol Hill, at a government agency such as the Treasury Department, the Department of Labor, the IRS, or the Department of Health and Human Services, or at a trade association or nonprofit.  Employee benefits is one of the rare areas of the law where you can move relatively seamlessly from a law firm, into government and back to a law firm or an in-house position.  Many associates find they are able to manage their workflow and engage in meaningful client interactions more readily that at a large law firm.

 

  1. Top 5 things to know about Groom Law Group and the employee benefits practice area:
  • As an associate, you will work with almost all partners at Groom, and they will take the time to get to know you and develop your skills. You will work directly with Groom partners from day one and be provided client-facing opportunities (on calls, at client visits, and on business development pitches).  Partners have associates send emails to clients and speak on calls so that clients get to know our associates and develop relationships with them.
  • At Groom, our associates develop a high level of expertise in a short time (3-5 years), which allows them to interface with clients and develop client management skills early in their career.
  • Groom associates generally have flexibility regarding their work schedules, which allows them to manage their personal (including family) and work time. Groom management is committed to checking in on its associates throughout the year and the firm is respectful of your vacation time.
  • Groom matches NY law firm salaries and may also provide discretionary bonuses at the end of the year (in addition to an hours bonus) for superior legal work.
  • Your job security and future job prospects are very strong compared with other areas of the law. Because there are few employee benefits associates around the country, you are always in high demand.  This environment makes it relatively easy to lateral to another firm, move to an in-house position, or move states (for personal reasons).  There is more demand for associates in this space than ever before, which means you are more likely to be viewed as an asset to your firm, rather than a number in a large class of associates.
  1. Interview tips, what you look for in a candidate, or other advice for success from a recruiter’s or interviewer’s perspective
  • Be engaged and be yourself. The best interviewees are those who are confident in themselves and can articulate why they want to work for our firm and in our practice area.

 

  • Be confident, but not cocky. This may seem self-evident, but every year there are students who walk into an interview thinking they should be handed a job on a silver platter.  Remember to be humble, appreciative and thank your interviewers for taking the time to meet with you.

 

  • Employee benefits and ERISA practice is not the same as employment discrimination or employment law. Employee benefits work encompasses ERISA litigation, the taxation, and administration of 401(k) plans, pension plans, and executive compensation plans, health and welfare work (e.g., regulatory work and guidance regarding health benefits, wellness benefits and the Affordable care Act), fiduciary work (e.g., who is considered a fiduciary for retirement plans and investment-related purposes), and many other practice areas.  If you come into the interview and indicate you want to do employment discrimination or employment law, we can easily tell you didn’t fully prepare for the interview.  We understand that as first year law students, you likely won’t have exposure to an employee benefits class, which is absolutely fine, but make sure you’ve done your homework before the interview (i.e., take a look at our website, read the firm summary on Chambers/Vault, etc., and when in doubt, ask Career Services if you have any questions).

 

  • Follow up with a thank you e-mail. We understand that OCI is stressful and that you may have several interviews in one day, but sending a follow-up thank you email to your interviewers is proper etiquette.  Keep the email simple, but mention something you appreciated learning about or discussing in the interview.  If you have a call back interview and really like the firm, consider sending your interviewers a personal, handwritten thank you note.
  1. A day in the life of a summer or junior associate at Groom Law Group

With respect to work assignments, being a summer associate at Groom is akin to being a first year associate.  The firm is cognizant about making sure our summers are actively engaged in working on relevant (and needed) legal work that exposes them to each of the firm’s practice areas.  Summers will be paired with a senior associate or counsel who will help manage the summer associate’s projects and work flow, and check in with them on a periodic basis.  The firm also holds several summer associate events, including a welcoming and end of summer happy hour at the firm, lunches with associates and partners during the week, and off-site events, such as a firm summer BBQ, National’s game, cooking class, the Escape Room, chocolate tastings, or White House tours.  Summers are accompanied to these events by other associates, of counsel or partners so that the firm is able to get to know each summer associate well during the course of the summer.