Careers

Welcome to Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP’s Online Recruiting Station. We value every member of our team and are always looking for fresh talent. If you are still in school, take this opportunity to learn about our First and Second Year Law Student Programs. If you are ready for an exciting career change, we currently are hiring Attorneys, Paralegals and Support Staff.

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A career with SGR is one with many challenges and rewards. We encourage our new attorneys, paralegals and staff to become involved right from the beginning. Our new associates enjoy our fast-paced environment and the opportunity to immediately begin practicing law.

The offices in each of our four practice cities are located in prestigious areas within state-of-the-art buildings. And our support staff is the strongest in the industry.

We look forward to hearing from you or seeing you soon. Thank you for your interest in Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP.

Firm Overview & Approach

If you are searching for a progressive, prominent firm that offers an immediate opportunity to begin practicing law, we believe we can provide the strongest support and legal practice environment in the industry.

Our attorneys are expected to naturally move into the areas of practice which interest them and for which they display a strong aptitude. They enter areas of concentration based on personal choice or firm need. And while this is a large law firm, our lawyers also have the opportunity to retain and employ general legal skills.

Nearly half of our attorneys are litigators whose caseloads span the spectrum of litigation. The Firm routinely practices in the state and federal courts, in actions ranging from complex antitrust matters to fairly straightforward contract disputes.

We also have a broad-based corporate transactional practice with specialties in securities, bankruptcy/reorganization, tax and finance, domestic and international mergers and acquisitions, business immigration, intellectual property, environmental and commercial real estate.

SGR Recruiting Program

For more than 125 years, SGR has earned its reputation as one of the true leaders in the legal community. This reputation for excellence is based directly on the strength of our attorneys and staff.

The wisest investment we make is our commitment of time and effort to recruit and hire talented attorneys. We select attorneys who possess a real desire to contribute to a firm with both a rich history of service and a dynamic vision for the future. Our recruiting program reflects our investment in the future of the Firm.

Because our goal is to allow new attorneys to practice law right from the first day, we seek well-rounded, motivated professionals who are looking for a challenging practice in a firm with both a sense of its history and a vision for its future.

SGR schedules on-campus interviews with a select group of distinguished law schools. Interview times are usually set at 20-minute intervals. Please review the on-campus schedule for your on-campus dates. Please submit your resume through your school’s Career Services Office.

SGR has committed itself to a controlled expansion, one that does not sacrifice quality, atmosphere or order for growth. The demand for our services is increasing and we expect this growth to continue. We are eager to add new, qualified attorneys to our talented team. Law students and attorneys who are confident in their own abilities, eager to learn and excited by the idea of working closely with clients and being a part of the solution to their business problems will flourish at SGR.

We, therefore, seek candidates who demonstrate academic ability and achievement, strong interpersonal skills, ambition, independence, character and good judgment. Prior work experience, extracurricular activities and a demonstrated ability for team work are also valued.

SGR’s Summer Program

SGR’s Summer Program is designed to serve multiple objectives. First, we want our summer associates to experience as much as possible about what life is like for a young attorney practicing at SGR — affording you an opportunity through hands-on involvement to get to know the Firm, its people and our legal practice.

Equally important, we strive to provide a serious introduction to the practice of law, begin developing superior work habits and to view first hand the challenges and opportunities of working directly with clients.

Finally, we seek to provide each participant an opportunity to get to know the communities where we work and the quality of life we enjoy by practicing our chosen profession at SGR.

We recognize that your participation in the Summer Program may likely be your first exposure to the practice of law in a law firm setting. To help bridge that gap from student to practitioner, each participant in the program is paired with a mentor. In addition to being a familiar face to turn to, mentors are a great resource offering counsel, support and information concerning questions you may have during the program. This ability to learn from the experiences of a seasoned practitioner — someone who has already been through that transition — provides additional assistance for you to begin to develop the professional skills necessary to succeed in your chosen profession.

During the summer, you will be provided with real projects from supervising attorneys. Two partners will read all of your work and provide formal mid-summer and end-of-program evaluations. These evaluations will enhance your writing style, hone your legal analysis and begin to prepare you for real practice and law firm life after graduation. In addition, summer associates receive less formal evaluations of their work on an ongoing basis by supervising attorneys, who are encouraged to provide timely critical input and support throughout the Summer Program. This two-tier evaluation process is unique to SGR, and has resulted in drastic improvements in candidates long before their first day at work as permanent associate. The time and effort the firm puts into this two-tier process is a reflection of how seriously we take the work aspects of the summer program and how much we are prepared to invest in making summer associates into full-time associates.

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Lifestyle

The lifestyle of a Smith, Gambrell & Russell attorney is a careful balance of both career and life outside of the Firm. We provide a stimulating, challenging career environment enriched with personal rewards, growth and enjoyment. Many of our partners and associates have forged lifelong friendships and relationships as a result of their employment with SGR. Our firm consists of people who are dedicated to our clients and dedicated to service in the legal profession. If you should join SGR, we will welcome you and look forward to your contributions.

We strive to promote dress that reflects a flexible and friendly workplace environment. Our firm adheres to a business casual dress policy. While our dress code allows for much latitude, we request personnel always to dress in a manner promoting professionalism.

SGR is committed actively to diversity in recruiting, retention and advancement of all professionals and support staff. We believe diversity provides us with a dynamism and open-mindedness that help us better serve our clients and community. Our attorneys at both partner and associate levels include women and men from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds. For several years, SGR has participated in the Southeastern Minority Job fair. We discovered several of our attorneys at this event.

Quality of Life

SGR wants all of our attorneys to be successful. We strive to help our lawyers excel, both in their professional and personal lives. We are proud of the in-house training programs we have developed, and we also provide hands-on, in-the-trenches experience.

While we work hard, we also recognize the importance of “leaving the office” when work is completed, and therefore encourage maintaining a healthy work-life balance. We expect our attorneys to develope outside interests. We also believe that spending quality time with one’s family is extremely important to achieving that work-life balance.

Billable Hour Goals & Expectations

SGR does not have a billable hour maximum or minimum. We prefer to encourage a billable hour goal. Within certain ranges of billable hours, the Firm has established a bonus incentive program to reward achievement within those ranges.

Pro Bono

At Smith, Gambrell & Russell, working “for the good” is at the core of who we are as a firm. SGR is very concerned about the community and the people therein. From the very beginning, pro bono activities have been an integral part of our culture. We collaborate with various not-for-profit organizations to impact the lives of so many in need. Not only does society as a whole benefit, but our lives are enriched, as well.

E. Smythe Gambrell, our name partner, founded the Atlanta Legal Aid Society in 1924 and served as its president for almost two decades. His spirit continues to inspire our pro bono activities eight decades later.

As the Firm grew through the 20th century, our practice of law continued to focus on serving those in need. In recent years, we have reviewed and refreshed our commitment throughout the organization. Staff members and summer associates alike enjoy being a part of the community by reaching out to those less fortunate.

A Culture of Caring

Partner Tom Rhodes, a tireless pro bono advocate, says the work of helping others is so central to the Firm’s mission that, “I don’t believe a lawyer could be happy here trying to buck that culture.”

Our efforts are guided by a written policy that affirms: “The Firm considers pro bono service an important professional responsibility of each attorney.” Attorneys and paralegals are expected to commit at least 60 hours each year to work on behalf of pro bono clients, with the work credited toward annual billable hours. As an extra incentive to our staff, pro bono performance is a consideration in bonus and compensation decisions.

The Firm has recently completed a comprehensive survey of partners and associates to determine areas of pro bono and community interest. The goal is to match people, passions and projects in the service of others.

Exceptional Satisfaction

As a signatory to the national Pro Bono Challenge created by the nonprofit Pro Bono Institute, Smith, Gambrell & Russell is dedicated to “fully integrat[ing] pro bono into the practice, philosophy and culture” of the Firm. Participation in this national initiative permits us to share inspiration and best practices with other large firms.

We also participate in the Pro Bono Group, a local network of Atlanta-based pro bono partners and coordinators. The Group collaborates to effectively discover and resolve diverse issues within the community.

Historically, SGR lawyers have worked closely with Atlanta Legal Aid and the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation (AVLF) to represent and protect the rights of the needy.

Since its inception, we have been active in the AVLF Saturday Lawyer’s Program. Attorneys who participate, volunteer on Saturdays to screen and meet with clients in cases involving wage claims, landlord-tenant disputes, debt relief, contract issues and other matters. Our lawyers find this program deeply satisfying, as they really enjoy making a difference in the lives of such appreciative clients in need.

Reaching Beyond

Smith, Gambrell & Russell is a member of the national Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, a private nonprofit organization created at the request of President Kennedy in 1963. Volunteers pursue equal opportunity for minorities by addressing factors that contribute to racial justice and economic opportunity.

Environmental justice is a long-standing priority at SGR. Our pro bono efforts have been championed by partner Steve O’Day, who heads the Firm’s Environmental Law Practice. Steve was recently honored by the Southern Environmental Law Center for three decades of service. He is a board member of the center and is a trustee of the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper and past trustee of The Georgia Conservancy. Steve’s passionate environmental advocacy has led litigation to establish strong environmental protections and waste-management policies.

SGR lawyers are taking a bite out of injustice through the Georgia Appleseed Project. The nonprofit organization is spearheading JUSTGeorgia, a comprehensive public-policy initiative to rewrite the state’s juvenile code and provide additional protections for the state’s children.

In order to assess stakeholders’ perceptions of the current juvenile code, lawyers from SGR and other law firms are conducting in-depth inquiries of suspects, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, educators, case managers and mental health providers. The data will be analyzed and used to develop a comprehensive report to inform and guide legislators.

At the end of the day, Smith Gambrell & Russell is a caring community of lawyers who embrace pro bono opportunities because “it is the right thing to do.” But we gain even more — these efforts allow us to interact with diverse colleagues and members of the community. Working for those in need yields incomparable professional satisfaction, is an excellent training ground and contributes to a more balanced life for us all.

For more information, contact Matt Clarke, Pro Bono Partner, at (404) 815-3767 or mclarke@sgrlaw.com.

See all of our pro bono efforts

Professional Development

SGR is committed to providing the best possible training to our attorneys. While the close day-to-day working relationship between younger attorneys and partners and other senior attorneys inherently provides real-time, hands-on training opportunities, the Firm also provides various regularly scheduled in-house training opportunities.

The relationship among our Firm’s attorneys is close and supportive, rather than competitive. This close-knit relationship is due largely to advancement centered on individual merit rather than rating among peers. Friendship and pride in our shared professional efforts serve as unifying elements.

Practice Development

SGR gives associates client contact and individual responsibility as soon as practicable. Our new associates attend, and young associates frequently conduct, client conferences, closings, negotiations, hearings and depositions from the outset. Of course, varying amounts of supervision and guidance are necessary in order for the associate to gain fundamental knowledge and experience and the training of new attorneys is recognized to be of primary importance.

Although new associates are a front-line resource for the Firm’s legal research needs, especially with respect to large, complex matters, associates work on other substantive matters sooner than they generally are able to in many large firms. Our traditions, size and client-mix promote opportunities for early responsibility and client contact. From a candidate’s viewpoint, this policy of rapid associate development is one of our more distinctive features.

SGR imposes no structured rotation program among its associates, nor does it have a centrally organized system to distribute work to junior attorneys. Instead, consistent with the staffing needs of the Firm, every effort is made to match new associates with the practice area in which they wish to work and newly assigned associates are given the opportunity to do all types of substantive work within that area.

In the event an associate’s interests shift over time, the Firm makes every effort to accommodate requests to change practice areas. Our approach requires self-motivation, discipline and effort from all attorneys and is best adapted to associates and summer clerks who neither require nor desire a heavily structured working environment.

Associate Participation in Firm Management

As with most successful service organizations, the Firm has recognized the importance of developing the next generation of leadership within our ranks.

To identify and provide opportunity for these individuals, associates are encouraged to participate in Firm management through service and leadership on various committees involved in the ongoing growth and practice of the Firm.

Associates actively participate on recruiting, summer programs, marketing and professional development committees. These opportunities afford the associate an ability to actively help in shaping the Firm and to develop the skills that will assist them in their respective practices as well as leadership roles within the Firm.

Partnership Track

Our Firm’s Executive Committee manages the partnership, with one of the members serving as the Firm’s Managing Partner. However, the most significant decisions are made by the partnership as a whole. Recruiting decisions are made by both a Professional Personnel Committee (for lateral attorney and paralegal hiring) and a Recruiting Committee (for summer associates), with the advice of other attorneys who assist in the interviewing and screening process.

Currently, associates are eligible to become “special partners” with the Firm after seven years of practice. Our special partner program provides for early eligibility for partnership and is further evidence of our emphasis on rapid associate development. Special partners currently are eligible to become equity partners after nine years of practice.

Partnership decisions are based on many factors and on input from many partners with whom the individual attorney has worked. In choosing new partners, factors typically considered include the candidate’s professionalism, dedication, firm involvement, team work and overall effectiveness. In making decisions on our partners, ultimately we seek individuals who will continue to grow as attorneys and colleagues for the benefit of the Firm, our clients and the communities in which we practice long after the promotion to partnership is behind them.

Diversity

SGR is actively committed to diversity in recruiting, retention and advancement of all professionals and support staff.

At Smith, Gambrell & Russell, we recognize that attracting the widest array of talent enhances our ability to serve our clients and our communities. We are dedicated to providing a work environment where each person is valued for his or her perspectives, skills and talents, is treated respectfully, is able to communicate openly and is encouraged to develop to his or her full potential as a contributor to the success of the firm and the communities we serve.

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Diversity Council Charter