Employees say Baker Donelson is a large law firm with a small firm dynamic, a place where accomplishments are cheered, birthdays are celebrated and upper management knows your name.



This review is based on 719 employee surveys, with a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ± 2.43. It was published on Nov 13, 2014. 12178 Visitors

What You Should Know

Employees say Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC (Baker Donelson) is a large law firm with a small-firm dynamic, a place where people care about each other, successes and personal occasions are celebrated and upper management knows your name. It's the little things that add up here, from paid parking to monthly birthday celebrations and above-the-bar awards. All of it leads the majority of employees to say it's a friendly, celebratory place to work where people really care. Civic-minded problem-solvers will fit right in, but those who expect frequent and immediate feedback may not find it here. "Baker Donelson exemplifies how large firms should value and acknowledge their employees," says one staffer. "At large firms, it's easy to feel like 'just a number' but at Baker Donelson, that's simply not the case!"


Baker Donelson is a full-service law firm that gives clients access to a team of more than 650 attorneys and public policy advisors across 19 offices and representing more than 30 practice areas including emerging companies, energy, financial institutions, global business, litigation and health law.

Website: www.bakerdonelson.com US Headquarters: Memphis, Tennessee
US Sites: 19 Major Locations: Memphis, TN; Nashville, TN; Jackson, MS; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; New Orleans, LA; Houston, TX; Orlando, FL; Washington, D.C.
US Employees: 1289 US revenues: $296.91 million
Worldwide revenues: $296.91 million Founded: 1888
Industry: Professional Services

Great Challenges

How much responsibility would I have? What kind of support is there for professional development?

Great Rated! conducted an anonymous survey of randomly selected employees to assess the quality of the workplace challenges the company provides. At Baker Donelson, 91 percent of employees report the company often or almost always provides needed training, fair promotions and personally challenging work. Another 6 percent report the company sometimes provides these opportunities, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employees in the Great Challenges category.

Baker Donelson employees run a full-service law firm and provide legal services. The company has approximately 1,289 employees in the United States, where they operate 19 offices.

Most employees (94 percent) say they carry a lot of responsibility in the organization, and almost as many (92 percent) also say that managers trust them to carry out these responsibilities without micromanaging them. For the majority of employees (89 percent), their work at Baker Donelson is more than just a job.

At Baker Donelson, 94 percent of employees feel they receive the training and development they need to further their careers. While it is often difficult for companies to ensure that promotions are awarded fairly across organizations, at Baker Donelson, 84 percent say that promotions consistently go to those who best deserve them, exceeding what one can typically expect even at the very best companies in the country.

Supporting Employee Development

  • College Tuition Reimbursement: $5,250
  • Average annual training for part-time hourly employees: 23 hours
  • Average annual training for full-time salaried employees: 39 hours
  • Baker Donelson helps staff develop their skills through in-house technical and professional training, mentoring, continuing education, tuition reimbursement and lunch programs.
I have never worked in a place that presented such robust training and welcome at the start of my hire. While the training took a few days to complete and was nearly overwhelming, it is later reinforced and the lessons are available to me as reference. As a new employee, I am grateful for welcome and the training, and feel like Baker is making an investment in my success.

Great Atmosphere

What would my colleagues be like? How do people have fun? How formal a workplace is it?

At Baker Donelson, 91 percent of employees say they often or almost always enjoy their colleagues and find their workplace to be fun and cooperative. Another 6 percent sometimes benefits from these qualities, for a combined positive rating from 97 percent of employees in the Great Atmosphere category.

Fun and Celebrations

  • Baker Donelson's annual events include ice cream socials, take-your-children-to-work days, chili cook-offs and potlucks.
  • Other celebratory events include employee talent shows, birthday and work anniversary celebrations.

Caring and Support

  • In addition to informal shows of support in times of need, the company allows employees to donate unused paid time off to co-workers dealing with a personal or family crisis. They also provide up to three days of funeral leave, and will grant additional PTO to employees on an as-needed basis.
People celebrate special events around here.
This is a large law firm with a small-firm dynamic. I have been blown away by the atmosphere. Management is committed to constant improvement, and provides a high level of support to their attorneys.



Great Rewards

What kind of perks and benefits are part of the employment package? What is the work-life balance like? Does the company appreciate hard work?

At Baker Donelson, 86 percent of employees often or almost always find the company compensates them fairly, provides special and unique benefits, supports their work-life balance and shows genuine appreciation for their contributions. Another 10 percent reports they sometimes receive these benefits as well, for a combined positive rating from 96 percent of employees in the Great Rewards category.

Baker Donelson exemplifies how large firms should value and acknowledge their employees. Particularly, the firm does an excellent job at celebrating accomplishments and showing employees that they are appreciated.


$53,251 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Legal Secretary $124,008 Average salary and additional cash compensation for Associate
100% 401(k) match of employee's salary, up to 3% of an employee's contribution 90% Company-paid health coverage for employees
86% Company-paid health coverage for dependents 30 hours Weekly hours at which part-timers receive health care coverage


  • 401(k) or 403b plan
  • Pre-tax savings account


  • Free snacks during the day
  • Onsite package/mailing service
  • Discount ticket sales
  • Car wash
  • Subsidized public transportation
  • Free beverages during the day
  • Massage therapy
  • Fitness classes
  • Personal travel service


9 days Holidays & vacation days after one year of employment 42 days Job protected maternity leave provided above and beyond FMLA
43 days Paid leave for adoptive parents


  • Paid sabbaticals
  • Telecommute option (3% use it)
  • Lactation rooms
  • Unpaid sabbaticals
  • Compressed workweeks (1% use it)
  • Elder care resources
I am able to take time off from work when I think it's necessary.
People are encouraged to balance their work life and their personal life.
Ability to be flexible with my work schedule, as long as I get my work done or don't have meetings scheduled, I can come in and leave when I want to; no one looks over my shoulder, they trust I will get things done well.


  • Dental care
  • Mental health care
  • Vision care
  • Alternative treatments, such as acupuncture, homeopathy or chiropractic


  • Breast cancer screening
  • Blood pressure screening
  • Complete biometric screening
  • Subsidized offsite gym memberships
  • Cholesterol tests
  • Flu shots
  • Fitness center

Great Pride

What inspires employees' company spirit here? Do people stand by their teams' work? What impact do people have outside the organization?

At Baker Donelson, 92 percent of employees report that they often or almost always carry meaningful responsibilities within the organization and are proud of their accomplishments, community impact and the company's reputation in the world. Another 6 percent report that they sometimes experience this pride as well, for a combined positive rating from 98 percent of employees in the Great Pride category.

With nearly 700 attorneys and public policy advisors representing more than 30 practice areas, Baker Donelson is the 68th largest law firm in the United States.

I'm proud to tell others I work here.
Everyone is so friendly and seemingly happy here. There is always some sort of celebration happening and people cheer each other on and don't hesitate to offer help. I'm proud to be a part of such a great group of people!

Supporting the Community

  • Paid time to volunteer per employee per year: 8 hours
  • Philanthropic donations in the last year: $5,736,537
  • Baker Donelson has a formal pro bono policy that provides billable hour credit to all attorneys for their pro bono work. They also participate in public and community service projects, board memberships on a variety of charitable organizations and support many community organizations.
I feel good about the ways we contribute to the community.
This company provides each employee with eight hours of PTO to participate in community service projects - and the community service PTO hours can be used during the employees' work hours.

Great Communication

How easy is it to talk with managers and get the information I need? Will managers listen to my input?

At Baker Donelson, 85 percent of employees say they often or almost always experience a free and transparent exchange of ideas and information within the organization. Another 10 percent sometimes has this experience as well, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Communication category.

Although Baker Donelson's offices are spread out across the country, communication within the firm is working well, with almost nine out of 10 employees reporting that their leaders keep them informed about important issues and changes, and consistently making their expectations clear. The same number feel their leaders are not only approachable but they will give straight answers to any reasonable questions. Employees also feel their managers genuinely seek and respond to employee suggestions and ideas. 

I believe that this firm is probably unusual in the amount of information shared openly among shareholders and employees. There is a great deal of communication about vision, goals, processes, expectations and outcomes.

Great Bosses

What are managers' leadership strengths?

At Baker Donelson, 86 percent of employees say their managers often or almost always act with integrity and care, are competent in their positions and provide clear directions and vision for the organization. Another 9 percent say their managers sometimes display these characteristics, for a combined positive rating from 95 percent of employees in the Great Bosses category.

Baker Donelson employees widely appreciate the caring and supportive atmosphere their leaders encourage at the company. The management team is running the business in a competent way, according to 93 percent of employees, and doing so honestly and ethically, say 94 percent. More than nine out of 10 feel their leaders have a clear view of where the organization is going and how to get there. Almost nine out of 10 feel their bosses not only deliver on their promises but follow up their words with action. The same number also believe management would lay people off only as a last resort.

Management pretty consistently goes out of its way to try to make this a great place to work. They strive to ensure we have the best benefits and are open to new perks and benefits that will further enhance the workplace. They work very hard to ensure open communication. And they truly seem to believe that everyone in the organization contributes to our success and that we all should be valued.

Great Perks and Programs

  • Flex-time Policy: Flex-time schedules are available to employees on an individual basis and are tailored to meet the individual needs of attorneys and the needs of the firm and its clients. Compressed workweeks (working 40 hours in four days rather than five) are also possible on a case-by-case basis.
  • Sabbatical: Baker Donelson's sabbatical policy allows extended time off on an individual basis to allow employees time away to experience personal goals or travel and return to work refreshed.
  • At-work Services: Services provided in the Baker Donelson offices include: dry cleaning pickup and delivery, onsite car detailing, in-office gyms, yoga/Pilates at work, nursing rooms for new moms, massage services and a lending library stocked with DVDs and books.
  • Discounts: The firm offers discounts with major corporations and clients such as airport parking, car purchases, cell phones, clothing, computers, movie and show tickets, car rentals, flowers and gifts, gyms, hotels and office supplies.
  • Diversity Scholarship: The firm has established the Baker Donelson Diversity Scholarship Program for law students. Through it, recipients are awarded a salaried second-year law student summer associate position, and $10,000 is paid during the students' third year of law school to help offset the cost of tuition and related expenses.

Employee Quotes

Great Rated! collected feedback from Baker Donelson employees via an anonymous survey. Following are common reasons employees said they appreciate their workplace.

"Baker Donelson overall is a great and unique place to work. The people here and the camaraderie that you establish is second to none."

"Paid parking is a small thing but very nice."

"The facilities are nice and generally well maintained. They provide designated paid time for community/charitable work. Beverages and many snacks are free."

"We have onsite yoga and massage therapy, paid for (expensive!) downtown parking and constant celebrations - no wonder everyone here is so happy and pleasant!"

"We have over 18 offices, but no matter who I email or call on I get the same wonderful 'how can I help you' attitude. There is consistency with the hiring of good people who want to help their co-workers whether they sit next to them or hundreds of miles away."

"The transparency of firm leadership is one of our greatest strengths!"

"The people are genuinely sincere, considerate and kind. You are greeted and acknowledged all of the time. Everyone is concerned about each other. There is great team effort."

"When an employee is facing a personal crisis, co-workers from not only this office but other offices in the firm are quick to rally around and be supportive of that person, both emotionally and financially. It's very heartwarming to see just how supportive everyone can be when someone is in need."

"The people here are like a family away from family. They are here for you when you are going through difficult times and situations. They help you succeed and they give you the tools and help you need to be successful."

"There is a very strong sense of loyalty and teamwork here, which I really love. It's nice to know if you have to be off for a day that your work will be completed without any question."

"The office I work in is small but very busy and everyone seems to pitch in to see that all our goals are met in an efficient and timely manner. Everyone treats you as if you really matter."

"This firm does a great job of making every employee feel like they add value to our clients. Every one is treated not just with respect, but with genuine interest and concern for one's well-being."

How to Get Hired

We asked Baker Donelson for some inside information on how to get hired at the organization. Here is what they had to say.

What key characteristics tell you a prospective employee will be a great fit for your company?

Employees who can commit to our shared beliefs of integrity, diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and support of one another for the good of our clients, will be a great fit. They should be prepared to put our clients first, always, and take service to clients and one another very seriously. We seek out employees who are intelligent (practical, problem-solvers, eager to learn), professional (conscientious, client-service oriented, thorough), team players (responsive, engaged, mentoring, respectful) and dedicated (civic-minded, empathetic, committed).

What can prospective employees do to get your attention?

Convey that you understand service to clients, including consistent and clear communication, be a leader in your own right and embrace culture and its importance to a firm's success.

What should interested candidates do to find out more and get started?

We invite interested candidates to visit the careers section of our website to view openings.

Hiring Outlook

3%Job Growth 91Average number of applicants per opening
8%Total voluntary turnover in past year 12601Applicants in past year
85Openings in past year 7%New hires by employee referrals

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