The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Leading US law firm Debevoise & Plimpton's London office is the second largest behind its New York headquarters. The firm boasts market-leading M&A, private equity, funds and litigation practices. Approximately 650 lawyers work for Debevoise in nine offices across three continents. The Tokyo office, which opened in March 2016, is the latest addition to the firm's network.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Commercial litigation; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Corporate tax; Emerging markets; EU and competition; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; International arbitration; Investment funds; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Private equity: transactions: Large-cap deal capability; Public international law.
Acted for HarbourVest Partners on its £807m purchase of SVG Capital's entire investment portfolio; advised CPP Investment Board on the tax issues and incentive plans in connection with the client's $1.1bn acquisition of Ascot from AIG; advised Dover Corporation in its $780m acquisition of Wayne Fueling Systems from Riverstone Holdings LLC, cleared in the UK with remedies by the Competition and Markets Authority; acted for Russian airline Aeroflot in the negotiation of an operating lease for six A321 aircraft from Chinese lessor ICBC Leasing; advising property and casualty insurer AmTrust Financial Services on its $219m acquisition of ANV Holding and its affiliates.
AltaOne Capital; American International Group; Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; CHC Restructurings; Eutelstat Communications; Helios Investment Partners; KEEN Venture Partners; Morgan Stanley; Park Square Capital; TA Associates.
Debevoise & Plimpton is 'at the forefront of international arbitration' and offers 'fascinating bespoke work' in a 'friendly firm full of real personalities rather than indistinguishable cogs'. Little wonder that the firm is a Lex 100 Winner for quality of work, job satisfaction, inclusiveness and living up to expectations. Recruits at the US firm enjoy being part of a 'small intake' which means that they get 'more responsibility and client contact' earlier on and that 'more value is placed' on their work. The training comprises 'interesting' and 'generally more hands-on' tasks, although it was noted that it is 'less structured in places'. Respondents report having a 'great experience on the vacation scheme' and cite being seconded to Hong Kong and Moscow among their best moments, earning the firm a further two Lex 100 Winner medals. Moreover, thanks to the abundance of international work on offer, 'actually getting to use foreign language skills on a fairly regular basis' was a clear advantage for one trainee. The trade-off is 'long hours' and 'because of the level of responsibility, there is nowhere to hide', which means 'a very steep learning curve', especially when supervisors 'expect you to be able to do things immediately'. There were also some complaints about 'less support from PSLs' than at some comparable firms. On a positive note, Debevoise has earned a Lex 100 Winner medal for its trainee salary which is 'one of the best in the City'. Although the firm 'expects a lot from its trainees', 'colleagues are always friendly and supportive' and recruits love 'being treated as a valuable team member'. To work at a firm which 'embodies a rare combination of cutting-edge work, exceptional lawyers and a genuinely collegiate atmosphere', apply to Debevoise & Plimpton.
A day in the life of...
Tatyana Loze trainee solicitor, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
Departments to date: litigation, finance, funds
University: Queen Mary University of London and Université Paris II Panthéon Assas
Degree: LLB and Maitrise de Droit
9.20am: I walk to work and grab coffee on my way in. Once at my desk I check the emails that have come in overnight and update my to-do list accordingly. I’m currently sitting in the funds/investment management department which is one of Debevoise’s most renowned teams.
9.55am: I print out some slides and head to the department’s 10am weekly meeting. Today a couple of finance associates are holding a training session on fund financing.
11.30am: I have been working on a first time fund which is looking to market its fund in various jurisdictions, some of which require lengthy regulation considerations. I get ready for our all-parties call and ensure that I’m aware of all the developments of the past few days and current outstanding issues. After the call, my supervisor and I review the action points that arose and I send a few follow up emails.
12.30pm: I meet some of the trainees in the café for lunch. As there are only eight of us, it is quite easy to get everyone together for lunch or after work drinks, although at the moment two are seconded to the Moscow and Hong Kong office.
1.30pm: Debevoise runs a three week business course in New York for its trainees which I will be attending next week, as the afternoon email traffic hasn’t picked up yet I go through a couple of chapters of the course’s pre reading materials.
2.45pm: A client calls me regarding some documents which need to be amended before the fund holds its first closing in a few days. I discuss the call with the associate I’m working with, I incorporate the client’s comments, run them through the associate for review before sending a revised drafts to the client for sign off.
6.30pm: A client is coming in quickly to sign a suite of documents, I print out all the documents and call reception to make sure that the meeting room is booked for 7pm.
7.15pm After checking my emails one final time I ensure my time recording is up to date, as there is nothing else urgent for today I head out for drinks to catch up with other trainees from my intake.
About the firm
Address:65 Gresham Street, London, EC2V 7NQ
Telephone: 020 7786 9000
Fax:020 7588 4180
Managing partner: Lord Goldsmith QC
Managing partner: Richard Ward
Total partners: 275
Other fee-earners: 690
Total trainees: 15
Other offices: New York, Washington DC, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo
Who we are: Debevoise is a leading international law firm. The London office works on many of the highest profile and most complex transactions in Europe and worldwide. We do this by virtue of our English and New York law expertise and our close integration with our other offices.
What we do: In developing our practice in London, we have sought to replicate the core strengths of our practice worldwide. Our focus is on private equity, insurance, international disputes and investigations, financial institutions, M&A, finance, capital markets and tax.
What we are looking for: Students whose personal qualities, academic record and other achievements demonstrate exceptional ability, motivation and potential. Applicants will make a significant contribution to our firm and thrive in our unique culture. We look for an ability to listen actively, think creatively and interact successfully. We also look for maturity and leadership qualities.
What you'll do:One of our basic principles is that each of our associates should become a 'well-rounded' lawyer - an effective counsellor, adviser and advocate - who can combine legal knowledge with the ability to deal with a range of situations. Trainees develop their skills through formal training and on-the-job experience. The two years are split into four six-month seats with an opportunity to gain experience in at least three distinct areas.
Perks: Bonus, private medical and dental insurance, life assurance, group income protection, pension, computer allowance, cycle scheme, interest-free season ticket loan and subsidised on-site café.
Sponsorship:Full tuition fees are paid for the GDL and LPC, together with a maintenance grant of £8,000 per year.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 8
Applications received pa: 400+
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £50,000
Second year: £55,000
Newly qualified: £120,000
What's involved:Interview and written assessment. Attendance on our summer placement scheme is preferred but not compulsory.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2020: By 31 July 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: Between 1 December 2017 and 15 January 2018.