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 worked here before and had first-hand knowledge of the firm' 'smaller trainee intake' 'I did the vacation scheme and the people were all very friendly and welcoming' 'I liked the fact that Dechert has a six-seat training contract' 'the pay' 'expertise in financial services' 'friendly culture' 'six-seat rotation system'
Best thing about the firm? 
 ''The size' 'good quality of training' 'small, friendly and inclusive office' 'the six-seat rotation provides the opportunity to gain a wide range of experience or to focus on one area, depending on personal preference' 'supervisors only have trainees if they have requested them, i.e. trainees aren't forced onto associates' 'international element' 'the small intake'
Worst thing about the firm? 
 ''The management can be short-sighted when it comes to trainee retention' 'the hours and work/life balance' 'lack of transparency in relation to the qualification process' 'lack of departmental integration' 'the hours'
Best moment? 
 ''Assisting on the sale of a large biotech company' 'travelling to Romania to attend signing negotiation meetings on a large private equity deal' 'pro bono advice clinics' 'attending the Court of Appeal' having responsibility for my own work' 'client exposure' 'international workload' 'travelling abroad for work'
Worst moment?
 ''Delivering documents around London' 'the Professional Skills Course exam' 'making a mistake in a document that would just not disappear' 'working the weekend to assist on a signing which didn't take place' 'not getting preferred seats' 'hours and stress' 'repetitive tasks' 'preparing an extensive bundle for a hearing only for the claim to be settled before we reached the hearing''

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

The Incredible Hulk - strong and a real heavyweight in its field

The Verdict

The firm

Dechert continues to perform strongly across the corporate and commercial disciplines and represents blue-chip clients on M&A deals, tax , investment funds matters and private equity transactions. The firm has 39 partners and 88 other fee earners working out of its London office.  

The star performers

Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Debt capital markets; Emerging markets; Employment: employers and senior executives; Equity capital markets; EU and competition: Trade, WTO, Anti-Dumping and Customs; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory) Fraud: white-collar crime; Intellectual property; Investment funds: hedge funds and private funds;; M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Private equity: transactions: Mid-cap deal capability; Property finance; Public international law; Securitisation.

The deals

Advised Chrysaor Holdings on its $3bn purchase of a package of oil and gas in the North Sea from Shell UK; acted for the Arab Republic of Egypt on a $4bn multi-tranche sovereign bond issue, which was the country's largest ever public bond issuance and the first triple-tranche bond from the African continent; advised Investcorp on the £222m acquisition of the debt management business of 3i from UK-based group 3i Group; assisted Eagle Point Credit Company with the acquisition of US-focused CLO investment manager American Capital Asset Management; acted for NML Capital in long-running claims against Argentina, which defaulted in bond payments.

The clients

Apollo Management International; AspenTech; Banque Centrale de Tunisie; Cambridge Assessment; Magyar Telecom; Orchard Global; T. Rowe Price; Wiggle Group; Wyndeham Group; Ziarco Group.

The Verdict

'Elite firm' Dechert's 'financial services practice' and 'international character' enticed the current trainee cohort. The training contract comprises a six-seat rotation, enabling trainees to experience 'high-value corporate and contentious work' in 'a wide range of practice groups'. Recruits 'get fully involved in transactions and cases and have the opportunity to take on a lot of responsibility' thanks to being part of a 'small intake'. Although there is 'limited formal training', trainees can expect a 'less rigid' process and enjoy learning 'on-the-job' whilst undertaking 'varied work'. Respondents appreciated the 'friendly and inclusive atmosphere' and 'being known as an individual and not just as a “trainee”' by their 'down-to-earth and genuine' colleagues. Standout moments include 'being the relationship contact for a new client' and 'helping a young pro bono client establish their own business', whilst 'the first time seeing one of the transactions I had worked on in the news' was particularly rewarding for one trainee. That said, feedback did mention 'long hours' which can make maintaining a work/life balance difficult. 'Working until 3am preparing signing papers' and 'working a weekend to assist on a signing which didn't take place' are examples of the latter and demonstrate the commitment that Dechert expects from its trainees. However, the firm's 'excellent' international secondments deserve a mention for offering the 'very valuable' experience of tackling 'varied and interesting work' in 'a different working environment'. If you want to train at a firm with an 'international presence' which offers extensive 'client contact' and 'interesting areas of law' alongside a 'friendly culture', apply to Dechert.

 A day in the life of...

Sonali Mackenna third-seat trainee, Dechert LLP 

Departments to date:  Complex commercial litigation, financial services and corporate

Degree:Anthropology and Philosophy 

8.45am:  I arrive at the office fairly early each morning as I like to take a bit of time to work through my to-do list for the day, check my calendar and generally get myself prepared for the working day ahead.

9.30am:  After a quick chat with my supervisor to generally catch up and also to let her know my current level of capacity, I reply to any emails that have come in overnight and require my attention. I then go down the corridor to catch up with a senior associate I am working closely with on a large and interesting transaction that is in two parts: there's an asset purchase element to the deal and also a pre-sale intragroup debt reorganisation going on. He asks me to update the documents/action list following a call with the buyer's solicitors yesterday and to put together the first cut of the various board documentation and ancillary documents.

11.30am:  After a couple of hours of putting together various documentation including a number of board minutes, deeds of assignment and deeds of release in respect of the intragroup debt reorganisation, I attend to a call with the senior associate to discuss the next steps leading up to signing. I then go back to drafting the documents I was working on and circulating these to the team for internal review before sending them to the buyer's solicitors to comment on. I enjoy the level of responsibility we are entrusted with, and liaising with other, lawyers and the client gives me opportunities to take the initiative and learn from direct contact with them.

1.00pm:  I head to the firm's café to grab some lunch and catch up with the other trainees. Some days lunch has to be had at my desk if things are very busy but usually, I try to head out of the office for a bit of fresh air or head to the café to catch up with the others.

2.00pm:  I turn my attention to a new transaction that I'm assisting my supervisor and a junior associate with. A longstanding client of the firm is making an acquisition and at this early stage, it's up to us to carry out some due diligence to ensure that the target company and the other entities are sound. I carry out insolvency searches by calling the winding-up department at the RCJ and running searches against all the companies and then move on to running similar searches against the officers of each company on the individual insolvency register. I put together an attendance note of my findings and proceed to check each company's historic filings at Companies House, noting anything questionable or irregular.

4.00pm:  I receive a call from a junior associate asking whether I have the capacity to assist with a discrete research task. I use various online resources we have access to as well as the firm's library to look into a specific question of company law. I note down what I find and discuss the consequences of the findings for the client's specific matter with the associate. Research is a common trainee task and is a very valuable and interesting way to have a real impact on the client's matter.

5.30pm:  I get on with some pro bono work that I am assisting my supervisor with. A pro bono client has asked us to make the necessary Companies House filings to appoint a director. I make the online filing and put together a short memo summarising the process for the appointment of a director in accordance with the company's articles of association and the Companies House requirements for doing so.

7.00pm:  I catch up on some emails and compile a to-do list for tomorrow. I always like to leave the office being clear on what needs to be done the next day.

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

Total partners: 40 (London)

Other fee-earners:78 (London)

Total trainees:20

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

Training contracts available for 2020: 8-12


First year: £45,000

Second year: £50,000

Newly qualified: £110,000

 Application process

Apply to:Katrina Phull, graduate recruitment team

How: Online application.

Whats involved: Online application form, video or telephone interview, face-to-face interview, written exercise and an office tour with a current trainee solicitor.

When to Apply:

Spring Vacation Scheme: By 31 December 2017.

Summer Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.