The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Baker McKenzie is one of the largest firms in the world, and currently has 77 offices in 47 countries. Befitting its massive size and reach, the firm specialises in handling huge transactions, often with a multi-jurisdictional focus. The London office is highly regarded for its tax, competition and employment law capabilities. London revenue jumped 9% last year while headcount remained flat.
The star performers
Banking litigation: investment and retail; Brand management; Commercial contracts; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Corporate tax; Customs and excise; Data protection; Debt capital markets; EU and competition; Emerging markets; Environment; Equity capital markets; Fraud: civil; IT and telecoms; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Private equity: transactions: Large-cap deal capability; Product liability: defendant; Real estate funds; Trade finance; VAT and indirect tax.
Advised CSL on matters arising from its $275m acquisition of Novartis’ global influenza vaccine business; represented EDF during the CMA’s energy market investigation; advised Unilever on its acquisition of Procter & Gamble’s Camay and Zest businesses, including a large factory in Mexico City; handled Bain Capital’s acquisition of Davigel from Nestlé; advised Landesbank Baden-Württemberg in proceedings involving credit derivative transactions.
Accenture; British American Tobacco; CVC; Coca-Cola European Partners; Europa Capital; Fedex; Invesco Real Estate; Macquarie Group; Shell UK; Towers Watson.
Baker McKenzie is a ‘truly international’ firm with over 70 offices in nearly 50 countries, with trainees unsurprisingly citing the ‘unrivalled global opportunities’ as a major attraction. These opportunities include undertaking ‘some really interesting cross-border work’ from the London office, and there are also chances to complete international secondments in any one of a ‘great variety of potential locations’. The firm is named a Lex 100 Winner in the international secondments category, and also triumphs in four other areas. The firm offers ‘access to top-level clients’ across a ‘broad range of departments’. One respondent praises the ‘top disputes team’, while another trainee appreciates how ‘specialist departments (such as pensions and intellectual property) do not just provide corporate support but have their own clients and work streams’. There can be some ‘long hours’ at the firm, and the ‘work/life balance in corporate departments’ can make ‘planning life outside the office challenging’. That said, you can look forward to some great work moments, with recent examples including ‘project managing large aspects of a due diligence transaction in eight jurisdictions’, and ‘being involved in a high-profile mediation’. There are some minor gripes about ‘the buffet lunches’ and ‘IT systems’, and there is one complaint that ‘the trainee Christmas party is not subsidised by the firm’. On the plus side, the ‘comprehensive training at the start of each seat’ is lauded, as is the fact that ‘Bakers does all its PSC training in-house’. To train at an international firm which offers a ‘significant amount of direct client contact’, add Baker McKenzie to your shortlist.
A day in the life of...
John Hall third-seat trainee
Departments to date: Corporate (private equity and funds), IT/commercial
9.30am: After having a look at my BlackBerry on my commute to check what I have ahead of me for the day, I grab a coffee from the canteen and make my way into the employment department. I have a quick chat with a few of the associates in the team on my way in – everyone is looking forward to our summer social event next week, a rounders match in Hyde Park against the pensions department!
10.00am: I drop in to catch up with an associate who I’ve been assisting on a large case. The case is a claim which is due to go to tribunal in around a month’s time, so we are in the process of collating the final documents for the tribunal bundle and preparing witness statements. I have been asked to attend a call with one of the witnesses for our side and take a first cut at drafting her witness statement. The call lasts about an hour – I then return to my room to discuss the approach I should take with my supervisor and begin my drafting.
12.45pm: The employment department schedules weekly lunches for the whole department to gather and discuss the various pieces of work that are keeping us all busy, as well as recent legal developments that are of interest. Employment law is quite dynamic, with new case law that could shape the advice we give to our clients arriving on a near-weekly basis! It’s my turn to give a short presentation to the department on the case I’m working on.
2.00pm: Once the lunch is over, I send round an instruction email to six of my colleagues based in our overseas offices. One of our clients needs assistance with the varying regulations surrounding criminal background checks in six key jurisdictions. Our London office is often responsible for co-ordinating this kind of project and it gives trainees a great chance to build relationships beyond the UK. I set a reminder in my diary to discuss the responses we receive with the senior associate managing the project – trainees can expect to be heavily involved in collating and shaping the final work product we will send to the client.
4.30pm: A new email comes in from graduate recruitment about the vacation scheme students who will be arriving next week. One will be sitting in our team so I and the other trainees agree to introduce ourselves over coffee on Monday. We discuss as a group how the student could get involved in our ongoing pieces of work.
5.30pm: Some new documents have just been sent over by the client who is involved in the large case that we are working on. I review the documents and notice that some urgent work is required to protect our client’s commercially sensitive information. I mark up where I think some changes should be made on the documents and run them by the associate before carrying them out and storing the new versions in our disclosure folder.
6.30pm: I grab my sports bag and head down to reception to meet up with some fellow trainees and associates – we all play football for the firm’s team so we’re heading down to Battersea for a match in the London Legal League. While the season is underway, we play on a weekly basis and as well as being a good way to unwind after a day’s work, the matches offer a great chance to socialise and get to know lawyers from outside your own department.
About the firm
Address:100 New Bridge Street, London, EC4V 6JA
Telephone: 020 7919 1000
Fax:020 7919 1999
Managing partner : Alex Chadwick
Other offices: Over 75 offices in nearly 50 countries.
Who we are: A leading global law firm with a presence in virtually every important financial and commercial centre.
What we do: We deliver high-quality local solutions across a broad range of practices and global advice in conjunction with our international offices. Our client base consists primarily of venture capital funds, investment banks, technology powerhouses and household-name brands.
What we are looking for: We are looking for trainees who are stimulated by intellectual challenge and respect and enjoy the diversity of cultural, social and academic backgrounds found in the firm. Effective communication skills, together with the ability to be creative and practical problem solvers, team players and to have a sense of humour, are qualities which will help them stand out from the crowd.
What you'll do:The two-year training contract comprises four six-month seats which include a corporate and a contentious seat, usually within our highly regarded dispute resolution department, together with the possibility of a secondment abroad or with a client.
Perks: Permanent health insurance, life insurance, private medical insurance, group personal pension, subsidised gym membership, season ticket loan, subsidised staff restaurant.
Sponsorship:We pay fees and a maintenance grant for the GDL and LPC. Those studying towards the GDL receive a £6,000 maintenance grant, and those studying for the LPC will receive an £8,000 maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 30
Applications received pa: 2,000
First year: £45,000
Second year: £49,000
Newly qualified: £72,000
Total partners: 90 (London only)
Other fee-earners:271 (London only)
Total trainees:62 (London only)
Apply to:The graduate recruitment team.
When to Apply:Vacation scheme (spring and summer) and training contract for 2019 – see website for deadlines.