The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
DLA Piper has continued its international expansion over the last 12 months, merging with firms in Sweden and Finland and setting up new offices in Morocco and South Africa as it bulks up its extensive global network. Nationally, DLA Piper is active across the full spectrum of high-value legal work, and is notably strong in the TMT, white-collar fraud, real estate and private equity spaces. One of its three nominations at the Legal Business Awards 2016 was for Legal Innovator of the Year.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Asset based lending; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial litigation; Competition litigation; Corporate tax; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Commercial contracts; EU and competition; Equity capital markets; Financial services (contentious); Flotations: small and mid-cap; Fraud: civil; Gaming and betting; International arbitration; Private equity: transactions: Mid-cap deal capability; Private funds; Public international; Tax litigation and investigations; VAT and indirect tax.
Advised HCL Technologies on its acquisition of Volvo’s IT services arm; advised Market Tech Holdings on the £900m refinancing of its Camden property portfolio; advised Ever Smart International Enterprise on the sanctions elements of its IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; advised Commonwealth Development Corporation in its cornerstone investment in Insitor Impact Asia Fund; assisted Discovery Communications with its £950m buyout of the remaining 49% shares in Eurosport.
Amec Foster Wheeler; Babcock International; Deutsche Bank; HSBC; Heineken; London Stock Exchange Group; PureTech Health; Reckitt Benckiser; Virgin Media; Visa UK.
The ‘international footprint’ is a strong part of DLA Piper’s makeup as the firm has offices in the UK, mainland Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and the Americas. Trainees love the ‘global reach, breadth and scope’ that goes hand-in-hand with an ‘internationally-focused law firm’. Trainees have been ‘blown away’ by the ‘high-quality training’. As a ‘big firm’, there are ‘broad practice groups’ so trainees are not obliged to ‘specialise early on’. There is a ‘warm, fostering and friendly culture’ and ‘senior members of the team are very approachable’. The firm ‘invests a lot of time in training and offers exciting opportunities’. Top trainee moments include ‘travelling to Moscow for an interview’, ‘taking responsibility for meeting a client unsupervised’ and ‘the sense of achievement after completing multiple deals back-to-back’. In particular, trainees treasure their experiences on international seats anywhere from Sydney to Singapore, and this has earned the firm a Lex 100 Winner medal. ‘Over-competitive personalities’ and ‘all-nighters’ can be part of the package. The ‘long hours’ are ‘demanding and there are high expectations’ of trainees. This certainly means that trainees are never bored and ‘virtually never have nothing to do’. One struggle is that the sheer ‘volume of lawyers employed can sometimes make it difficult to stand out from the crowd’, but trainees are impressed by the ‘extensive career opportunities’ on offer. Since the ‘turn of the century’, the firm has ‘undergone serious growth in comparison to its competitors’ and has a ‘clear objective in place’ as it strives to achieve its ‘potential and ambition’. Those looking for a ‘leading law firm’ with ‘great potential’ and ‘worldwide scope’ should seriously consider DLA Piper.
A day in the life of...
Charlotte Woodfield trainee solicitor, DLA Piper UK LLP
Departments to date: Finance and projects, employment
University:University of Leeds
Degree:French and Management, 2(1)
8.30am: I arrive at the office early to check my emails and review my to-do list for the day ahead. I have received an email overnight from a colleague in our New Zealand office – he has provided some advice on a global business outsourcing project I am assisting my supervisor with. I draft a summary of the advice to send to our client and send this to my supervisor.
9.00am: I receive an email from a client sending me some documents for disclosure on a case that I am working on. I send the documents to our reprographics team and ask for them to be printed out. I make a note to respond to the client this afternoon once I have had an opportunity to review the documents.
9.30am: My supervisor gives me her comments on the summary of advice I drafted and asks me to send this to the client. We have a meeting with another client at 10.00am, so I spend a few minutes reading up on the client’s business in advance of the meeting.
10.00am: The client would like us to conduct a review of all of the company’s international employment contracts. I take notes during the meeting and speak to my supervisor afterwards about the next steps. We will need assistance from several of our international offices, so she asks me to draft an email to brief them on the matter and to ask them for fee estimates for the work required.
11.30am: I return to my desk to join a call between a senior associate and one of the witnesses in an unfair dismissal case. We go through the witness statement I have drafted for them and the witness expands on some points so that I can add further detail to their statement.
12.30pm: I meet another trainee for lunch to discuss a pro bono matter we are working on together. We are assisting an asylum seeker in making a claim for asylum. We divide the different areas of research between us and agree to meet again in a week’s time to discuss our findings.
1.15pm: The documents that I sent to the reprographics team this morning have been printed and delivered to my desk. I review these and add them to the disclosure file. I update the senior associate and we agree on a list of outstanding documents we would like to ask the client to search for.
3.00pm: I attend a telephone preliminary hearing with an associate. The purpose of the hearing is to agree the issues to be decided in the case and to set the case management directions. The employment judge orders that certain aspects of the claimant’s claim be struck out, which is good news for our defendant client. I draft an email updating the client on the outcome of the hearing and send this to the associate.
4.00pm: I dial in to a think-tank call on gender pay gap reporting with a group of fee earners from different offices. I have been involved in giving training to clients on this topic, so I feed back to the group on the issues our clients have raised when discussing this with them.
5.00pm: I amend the witness statement we went through with a witness earlier today and send it to the senior associate for her to review before sending it to the client tomorrow.
6.30pm: I check with my supervisor that there isn’t anything else I can help with this evening and then I head downstairs to meet some other trainees to attend a wine-tasting networking event at a hotel nearby.
About the firm
Address:3 Noble Street, London , EC2V 7EE
Telephone: 08700 111111
Fax:020 7796 6666
Global co-chairman : Juan Picon
Managing partner : Simon Levine
Other offices: Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and international offices in over 30 countries worldwide.
Who we are: A leading global law firm, built to serve clients wherever in the world they do business.
What we do: Corporate; employment; finance and projects; intellectual property and technology; litigation and regulatory; real estate; restructuring; and tax.
What we are looking for: A diverse group of talented individuals who have a consistently strong academic performance, formidable commercial acumen, who are articulate, ambitious, driven, and have sharp minds, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity.
What you'll do:Trainees complete four six-month seats, with an opportunity to express what areas of law they would like to experience during their training contracts. They also have the opportunity to do a seat abroad or a client secondment. Current international secondments include Bangkok, Dubai, Hong Kong, Madrid, Moscow and Sydney. They also benefit from high levels of responsibility and award-winning learning and development programmes.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday, pension scheme, private medical insurance, permanent health insurance, life assurance, season ticket loan, cycle to work scheme, social club, sports teams, subsidised gym membership, subsidised restaurant and discounts at local retailers.
Sponsorship:Fees and maintenance grants paid for the GDL and LPC.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: up to 75
Applications received pa: 3,100
Percentage interviewed: 17%
First year: London £42,000; English regions £27,000; Scotland £24,000.
Second year: London £47,000; English regions £30,000; Scotland £26,000.
Newly qualified: London £70,000; English regions £41,000; Scotland £38,000.
Total partners: 1,300 globally
Other fee-earners:2,800 globally
Total trainees:170 in the UK
Apply to:Linda Luong, senior graduate recruitment advisor.
How: Apply online.
Please visit our website www.dlapipergraduates.com to discover further opportunities.
Easter vacations schemes available in London and Leeds only.
Two-week placements during various dates between June and August across the UK.