9/21/23 - News
Schiffer Hicks Johnson is a rapidly growing, Houston-based law firm that pairs exceptional lawyers with sophisticated, challenging work. Our firm is known for taking on intellectually demanding matters that require fresh, creative thinking.
We’re strong alone, but much better together. Above all, we cherish our relationships—with colleagues, clients, friends, and family.
The great advantage of team excellence at all levels is that we can find better solutions for our clients. As one partner said, “We always bring our A game.”
We are committed to creating a firm culture that supports, inspires, and empowers professionals from historically excluded backgrounds.
Founded in 2007 by litigators from top global firms, we offer a diverse, collaborative, and flexible work environment where all input is valued and work/life balance is respected. As the firm continues to expand, we remain committed to the principle that has guided our hiring practices since day one: recruiting, developing, and retaining excellence at every level.
Managing partner Andy Hicks explains our approach to training, mentorship, and professional development.
As part of our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the firm offers two-week-long fellowships to 1Ls from historically excluded backgrounds at the start of the summer following their first year. The fellowship provides a $10,000 stipend as well as lodging in Houston.
Fellows spend two weeks working closely with our legal team on substantive matters. The experience also includes robust educational and social programming, such as after-work events, visits to Houston attractions, “lunch and learns” with partners, and attendance of external activities (such as depositions and jury trials) alongside firm lawyers. Each fellow is assigned a senior associate “facilitator,” who regularly checks in to resolve any questions or concerns.
Our goal is to show you why a litigation boutique may be the best choice for your career growth. Because we view this fellowship as the first phase of a pipeline to long-term employment at SHJ, we typically ask fellows to return as 2L summer associates and/or first-year associates once they have successfully completed the program.
The fellowship program is clearly thoughtfully designed, and I enjoyed spending time getting to know the partners. Their "lunch and learn" case study presentations allowed us to situate our assignments within the firm's overarching body of work.
I deeply appreciated the opportunity to observe a deposition and a jury trial. I picked up a lot of interesting argumentative tricks from watching the opening statements and the cross-examination of the first witness.
This program helped me learn to own my projects and craft thoughtful, polished responses to my supervising partner. SHJ provides a conducive environment for young lawyers to grow; there is a lot of autonomy, but you are also encouraged to reach out to older colleagues for guidance when needed.
I was able to gain substantive legal writing experience, which is really what I wanted from this program. I greatly appreciated the feedback from Andy, Persis, and Marc, who spoke with me about my work product and ways I can improve.
I most enjoyed learning about actual cases. In law school, we spend a lot of time on appellate decisions, with the trial court determination being a footnote. This experience opened my eyes to what actually happens at the trial court level.
Meet Diversity Fellow Gabriele Josephs
Gabriele Josephs, one of our 2022 diversity fellows, is a 2L at the University of Virginia School of Law, where he serves as a legal fellow at the LawTech Center. He will return to SHJ in 2023 as a summer associate.Learn more about Gabriele
Meet Diversity Fellow Yuxin (Vivian) Wen
Yuxin (Vivian) Wen, one of our 2022 diversity fellows, is a 2L at UCLA School of Law, where she volunteers at El Centro Reentry Legal Clinic and Incarcerated Persons Correspondence Project. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in Comparative Literature.Learn more about Vivian
Applicants for our summer associate program should have a thirst for trial and litigation practice, as well as the creativity, intellectual curiosity, and motivation to hit the ground running.
Prepare to dive headfirst into “big case” civil trial practice. Because we rely on lean staffing to maximize flexibility and efficiency, summer associates are integrated into our litigation teams from day one, much like junior associates. You’ll be given substantive assignments—such as drafting motions, preparing deposition questions, and researching strategy memos—that have a real impact on the firm’s success.
Our culture is high-energy, unpretentious, and entrepreneurial. Everyone here genuinely enjoys the practice of law. We also like working together, and dislike bureaucracy and busy work. We trust summer associates to take ownership of issues and cases, committing to their own professional development.
Summer Associate Stories
Meet Kelly Swanson, who joined SHJ as a 2L from Tulane Law School and recently returned to the firm as a first-year. Kelly also holds an M.A. in Journalism from Stanford and previously worked as a legal reporter.Learn more about Kelly
We host several students from Houston-area law schools for a paid summer law intern program during the summer after their first year. The program, which runs concurrently with our summer associate program for 2Ls, gives local students an early opportunity to gain experience in house at a successful trial firm and position themselves as outstanding candidates for top summer programs the following year.
Today’s lawyers face unprecedented challenges—and opportunities. At Schiffer Hicks Johnson, we are prepared to meet this moment. We seek exceptional early-career and lateral associates who share our goals and ideals. In return, we offer a dynamic and supportive culture where you can build an outstanding career, as well as top-tier compensation and benefits comparable with Am Law 50 firms—including the industry’s best parental leave policy.
Our associates are a vital part of every team and assume significant responsibility at the firm. You’ll attend depositions and try cases during your first year, giving you valuable opportunities to hone your trial skills. You’ll also benefit from close collaboration with partners and senior counsel, who invest significant time and energy into nurturing younger lawyers.
Because we thrive on innovation and initiative, we provide high-level coaching and training to lawyers looking to develop new business. Senior associates, partners, and counsel are encouraged to shape their practices according to their individual strengths and goals.
I feel like I’m learning the craft of law. I’m constantly stimulated intellectually, which means a lot to me.”
Less than three months after joining, I tried my first case at SHJ. I gave the opening statement and took half of the witnesses, including key cross-examinations of the other side's sole expert and one of the plaintiffs."
The partners are very invested in getting to know you both as a lawyer and as a person."
I have lots of opportunities to go to court. Conversely, I have friends at big firms who are at my level and still pushing papers.”
The firm actually tries cases, which makes for a great learning experience.”
I would stack the quality and sophistication of our work up against anyone.”
People here are honest, ethical, and kind. They prioritize doing good work, and they value authenticity.”
We help aspiring litigators turn their intellectual curiosity into strong courtroom skills.
Partner Adam Dinnell describes our ideal candidate.
We view first-year associates as important investments in the future of our firm. Adam Greiner, Kelly Swanson, and Jessica Goodman, our newest class of first-years, are talented, hardworking lawyers with ambitious career goals. Read our Q&A series to learn more about Adam, Kelly, and Jessica‘s experiences at SHJ, from the feedback they receive to the “exhilarating level of responsibility” they’re entrusted with.
A growing number of the very best lawyers are looking to balance their lives. SHJ has people who could work anywhere but choose to come to us.”
I like being in an environment where there are lots of new ideas—being here is energizing. This is not a place with a ‘box.’ It’s designed to inspire original thought.”
The firm gave me the opportunity to develop a mediation and arbitration practice when I joined.”
Paralegals and Staff
Our professional staff is an intrinsic part of the firm’s success. At SHJ, you’ll enjoy the satisfaction of producing high-quality work that reinforces our reputation for outstanding client service. And you’ll get the support you need to pursue rewarding career development opportunities.
As part of our commitment to early, effective mentorship, we invite recent college graduates who are taking a “gap year” while considering law school to work with us full time for 1-2 years. In addition to providing a front-row seat to a career in trial law, our project assistant initiative helps participants with the law school application process and, ultimately, points the way to a successful legal career.
Project Assistant Stories
Hana Ferrero joined the firm as a project assistant after graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in Economics and Political Science. Her legal experience includes a judicial internship with a Florida circuit court judge as well as an internship with Michigan Justice Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that advocates for legislative change on behalf of incarcerated citizens.Learn more about Hana
The firm places a huge value on personal relationships. Everyone’s unique gifts are appreciated.”
The tone is set at the top—our partners work hard, but they really care about people. They always take time to check in on families and personal issues.”
People at SHJ are honest, ethical, and kind. They prioritize doing good work, and they value authenticity.”
On the Right Track: From BigLaw to Boutique
Partner Persis Dean joined SHJ in 2015 after six years as in-house counsel for Exxon Mobil Corporation and three at Vinson & Elkins. Recently elected to the partnership, she is poised to help lead the firm through its most rapid growth period yet. Here, Dean discusses what it’s like to be a working parent in corporate law, her approach to mentoring, and the benefits of boutique firm life.Read Persis' story
Parental Leave Policy
We offer one of the most generous parental leave policies in the legal industry. Lawyers who are primary caregivers—regardless of gender—can take up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. Secondary caregivers can take up to six weeks of paid parental leave. Time may be taken consecutively or spread out over a one-year period. We also offer “transition time” and flexible hours arrangements to all lawyers returning to work from parental leave.
Is a Boutique Litigation Firm Right for You?
Top law students are faced with a plethora of choices. In addition to the traditional on-campus interviews (or their Zoom equivalents) by big-law recruiting departments, a growing number of boutique litigation firms are offering competitive packages—including top-tier salaries and benefits—to prospective summers and first-years. SHJ hiring partner Adam Dinnell talks candidly about the pros and cons of boutique-firm life.Hear more from Adam
If you’d like to grow your career alongside a tight-knit group of outstanding legal professionals, drop us a line at email@example.com.