Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP

Address: 160 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4QQ




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘I had worked with Dechert lawyers before’; ‘smaller intake’; ‘more hands-on learning’; ‘many interesting departments to specialise in’; ‘I got a very positive impression of the firm and the people I met’; ‘good clients’; ‘good salary’; ‘large range of interesting work’; ‘the office atmosphere’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘It has a very strong financial services group’; ‘the work-hard-play-hard ethos’; ‘exposure to clients’; ‘trainees are given a fair bit of responsibility’; ‘people work together well’; ‘a better work/life balance than most firms with a comparable salary’; ‘flexibility to shape your training contract as you see fit’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘The air conditioning has a mind of its own’; ‘having to tolerate the occasional bad jokes of our American colleagues’; ‘very few international opportunities’; ‘certain partners can be difficult at times’; ‘the coffee machines’; ‘lack of communication in terms of expected workload’
Best moment? 
 '‘Going to an off-site client meeting in Mayfair in the first week’; ‘being given the opportunity to run the closing of a deal’; ‘being given the responsibility of drafting a suspicious activity report having reviewed all of the relevant documents’; ‘assisting with and attending a Supreme Court hearing’; ‘taking part in a signing’
Worst moment?
 '‘Reviewing boxes of deeds’; ‘any time I felt like I didn’t have enough partner support on a matter’; ‘arduous document review’; ‘being left to deal with a case that was beyond my level of responsibility’; ‘bundling documents under time-pressure’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Daddy Warbucks (Annie) – a hard-working American, generous with its charitable contributions and supportive of your career

The Verdict

The firm

Dechert performs strongly across the corporate and commercial disciplines, representing blue-chip clients on M&A deals, tax and investment funds matters and private equity transactions. The firm recently gained a Singaporean law licence, and also entered into an association with a Saudi firm in September 2015, two moves which have strengthened its already solid international credentials. 

The star performers

Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial litigation; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Debt capital markets; EU and competition: Trade, WTO, anti-dumping and customs; Emerging markets; Employment: employers; Equity capital markets; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Fraud: white-collar crime; International arbitration; Investment funds: Hedge funds; Listed funds; M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m; Partnership; Private equity: transactions: Mid-cap deal capability; Private funds; Public international law; Retail funds; Securitisation.

The deals

Advised Cenkos Securities on Highland Natural Resources’ re-admission to the standard market; advised The Hunt Companies on its acquisition of a 50% stake in Amber Infrastructure Group; acted for NML Capital in claims against Argentina, following the latter’s bond payment default; advised Azerbaijan’s state-owned oil company on a $750m unsecured notes issue; advising AM-Pharma and its shareholders on the sale of a minority interest in the company to Pfizer.

The clients

AGC Equity Partners; Apollo Management International; BNY Mellon; Bank Audi; Barbican Insurance; Haymarket Media; OTE Group; Poxel; Weiss Korea; Wells Fargo Bank.

The Verdict

Trainees find the ‘international opportunities’ and six-seat rotation on offer at Dechert ‘intriguing and unique’. There is a certain amount of ‘flexibility with the training contract’ as the HR team is ‘accommodating of seat choices if particular desires are expressed’. The firm excels in a number of specialisms, including representing blue-chip clients on M&A deals, private equity transactions and investment fund matters, and is in a ‘good place in the market’. This ‘large US firm in the City’ offers the ‘small intake of trainees’ a ‘tailored training experience’. The ‘learning is hands-on’ as trainees are encouraged to develop as both ‘individuals and team players’. Trainees have a ‘chance to progress, gain responsibility and are involved at the heart of the firm rather than being stuck with document review’. There is a ‘high level of direct work for partners’, and new recruits work with ‘supportive lawyers’. The firm has a ‘strong ethos’ whereby employees ‘work hard and play hard’, as Dechert aspires to get the best out of its trainees. There are a few grumbles about the ‘air conditioning having a mind of its own’ and the ‘coffee machines’. More seriously, the ‘lack of communication in terms of workload’ can be frustrating, and ‘occasional long hours’ can be ‘unpredictable in some departments’, having a knock-on effect on the work/life balance. Highlights for trainees include being ‘trusted to run a project without being micro-managed extensively’, ‘closing big deals for important clients’ and ‘working on a High Court injunction’. Dechert is a great option for those looking to advise ‘excellent clients’ on ‘truly global deals’.

 A day in the life of...

George Thompson third-seat trainee, Dechert LLP 
Departments to date:  Financial services (London), finance and real estate, financial services (Dublin)

8.45am:  I arrive into the office early to attend one of the department’s regular training sessions. Today’s training is being given in collaboration by partners in both the London and Singapore office; thanks to the firms updated video conferencing systems it feels like everyone is in the same room despite the distance. I am viewing it all from the Dublin office where I am currently on secondment. The training is focused on the structure and drafting of fee provisions in a private equity partnership agreement, a complicated and crucial aspect of the structure of a private equity fund and an area which is often heavily negotiated between the parties.

10.00am:  I get to my desk and after a chat with my supervisor about ongoing work, priorities for the day and her cute puppy, I reply to emails that have come in overnight regarding ongoing matters on a number of files that I have been assisting on. I am given a lot of opportunity to work independently on a number of smaller files and assist them with general business work. This has allowed me to develop professionally and also see first-hand how my work can have a real impact on progressing a matter for a client.

11.00am:  I attend a call with my supervisor, the partner running the matter and opposing counsel to negotiate the commercial and legal issues on a number of agreements which we are drafting for a US client. I have been involved in the drafting of these agreements from the outset so am asked to contribute to the discussion. I also take a detailed note of the points agreed and then finalise the drafting. My supervisor points out some precedents that can help but says that we will need to draft some of the amendments from scratch and asks me to have a go at putting some language together. This is a great opportunity for me to develop my drafting skills and put into practice what I’ve learnt thus far on the establishment and constitution of investment funds.

1.00pm:  I head out to grab lunch with a colleague in one of Dublin’s great eateries.

2.00pm:  In advance of a weekly update call with a UK client who is looking to launch a new fund in the EU through Ireland, I review, update and issue the ongoing matters list for the project which forms the basis for discussion of progress on the project and will prompt the various parties of issues they need to keep abreast of. Running the list is a very important task and is a great way to get involved in a project as a trainee as it gives an insight into what it takes to get a multimillion-pound fund launched.

2.30pm:  I attend the update call and take notes on the status of the various aspects of the project and a number of issues that I’ll need to follow up on. I then have a quick discussion with the partner managing the matter as to how he wants me to proceed and then head back to my desk to draft and issue an email to all parties of the key action points that need to be accomplished in the coming weeks.

4.30pm:  I receive an email from the Central Bank of Ireland, the regulator for all Irish- domiciled funds, asking for clarity on a fund which we recently submitted for authorisation. After researching the point and then chatting it over with my supervisor, I send a response before getting back to making final changes to the agreements I was amending earlier.

7.00pm:  I review my to-do list and note things to get on with in the morning before heading off towards Temple Bar to meet friends for a drink.

About the firm

Address:160 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4QQ

Telephone: 020 7184 7000

Fax:020 7184 7001

Managing partner : Camille Abousleiman

Managing partner : Gus Black

Managing partner : Jason Butwick

Managing partner : Miriam Gonzalez

Other offices: Almaty, Austin, Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Charlotte, Chicago, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hartford, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Moscow, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tbilisi, Washington. 

Who we are: Dechert is a global specialist law firm with 900+ lawyers across 27 offices. Focused on sectors with the greatest complexities, legal intricacies and highest regulatory demands, we excel in delivering practical commercial judgement and deep legal expertise for high-stakes matters. In an increasingly challenging environment, clients look to us to serve them in ways that are faster, sharper and leaner without compromising excellence. We are relentless in serving our clients – delivering the best of the firm to them with entrepreneurial energy and seamless collaboration in a way that is distinctively Dechert.

What we do: Our lawyers in London are active in all Dechert’s core practice areas of corporate and securities, financial services and investment management, finance and real estate, white-collar defence, complex commercial litigation, international arbitration and intellectual property, as well as business restructuring and reorganisation, employment, international trade and EU government affairs, EU and UK competition and tax. We are also one of the few law firms equipped with a full-service US corporate practice in London, with the capability to advise domestic and international clients on a broad spectrum of US regulatory and transactional issues.

What we are looking for: A genuine interest in business, commitment, personality and ambition.

What you'll do:Dechert trainees will complete the majority of the required PSC courses during their induction, as well as undertaking the firm’s new hire induction and IT training programme. Trainees will also attend various talks from the firm’s practice areas and soft skills sessions on a range of topics, such as legal writing and negotiation. At each seat rotation there is department-specific training giving you an introduction to the practice, the team and the work.

Perks: Gym membership/subsidy, life assurance, pension scheme with company contributions, private health and dental care, season ticket loan and subsidised restaurant.

Sponsorship:LPC and GDL full fees and £10,000 maintenance grant.


Facts and figures

Trainee places available for 2019: 8-12


First year: £45,000

Second year: £50,000

Newly qualified: £90,000

Total partners: 40 (London)

Other fee-earners:78 (London)

Total trainees:20

 Application process

Apply to:Lara Machnicki, graduate recruitment manager.

How: Online application.

When to Apply:Please see our website for upcoming application deadlines.

 Vacation schemes

Apply by 31 December 2016.

Apply by 31 January 2017.