The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
K&L Gates has gradually expanded from its US heartland to become a large international firm with offices in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. Munich became office number 46 in July 2016. The firm is full-service, an offering which includes representing major clients on an array of corporate, finance and property matters. In London, the firm has over 50 partners and over 100 fee-earners in total.
The star performers
Commercial contracts; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; EU and competition; Financial services (contentious); Flotations: small and mid-cap; Fraud: civil; Fraud: white-collar crime; Gaming and betting; Health and safety; Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP); Investment funds: Hedge funds; International arbitration; Islamic finance; M&A: mid-market, £50-£250m; Partnership; Retail funds; Securitisation; Travel: regulatory and commercial.
Advised CRH on its purchase of Lafarge’s UK business, a necessary condition of the Holcim-Lafarge merger; acted for The Central Bank of Ecuador in Privy Council proceedings involving claims of $579m; advised LKQ Corporation on its €1bn acquisition of Rhiag-Inter Auto Parts Italia from Apax; advised Trinity Mirror on the highly publicised Operations Elveden and Golding; advised corporate service provider Capita on the restructuring of Ukrexim Bank’s $1.48bn LPN programme.
3D Systems; Cenkos Securities; Deutsche Bank; Eaton Vance; Electrical Geodesics; Laing O’Rourke; Lucozade Ribena Suntory; Panmure Gordon; QInvest; William Hill.
K&L Gates has earned ‘international prestige’ and is a ‘rapidly expanding firm’ with an ‘inviting atmosphere’. The ‘small trainee intake’ results in ‘early responsibility’, ‘good levels of client contact’ and ‘high-quality work’. Trainees can ‘shape’ their own ‘contract experience’ as their ‘input and opinions are valued’. There are weekly training sessions that help guide the trainees, and supervisors provide an ‘unrivalled level of support’. The ‘friendly, inclusive approach’ makes it ‘very easy’ for trainees to ‘integrate into departments and the firm as a whole’. There is a ‘real buzz in the meeting rooms with clients’ but ‘without the cut-throat atmosphere’. As a result of the ‘flat hierarchy’, this is a ‘collegiate working environment’ where ‘partners are approachable and colleagues are friendly’. Top trainee moments involve ‘sealing a £100m deal’, ‘receiving responsibility for key documents on a corporate deal’ and ‘working on a high-profile fraud case’. ‘Working late on Fridays’ and ‘bundling’ are problems that trainees sometimes face, but on the whole the US firm offers ‘competitive hours’ that provide a ‘good work/life balance’, leading to a Lex 100 Winner medal. While a few trainees found nothing much to complain about, some trainees grumbled about the fact that they can’t choose the ‘first seat’, and less seriously a few lamented the ‘standard of the coffee’. Despite the ‘exposure and interaction with the international offices’, there is also a ‘disappointing lack of international opportunities’ available. Still, for those looking for an international firm which maintains a ‘nurturing and caring environment’, K&L Gates could be the perfect fit.
A day in the life of...
Zara Din trainee, K&L Gates LLP
Departments to date: Commercial disputes, corporate
7.45am: I am in the middle of carrying out a due diligence exercise with a corporate associate. The deal is an exciting one, and relates to a share acquisition. On the way to work I check my BlackBerry, the associate has emailed asking me to update the master due diligence report with the findings from the department specialists. During a due diligence exercise, trainees manage the report: this involves communicating with the department specialists and feeding back to the team.
8.15am: I arrive at the office and make myself a coffee. I read the BBC news, check my emails and prioritise today’s work. The same associate has asked me to review some documents in the data room. Some will need to be reviewed by specialists, so I speak to colleagues in other departments to arrange for this to be done.
8.30am: My supervising partner is in the middle of a deal, and asks if I can review a folder of ancillary documents sent by the other side. I print off the folder and discuss them with the partner. Once agreed and initialled, I scan them back to the associate on the other side.
9.30am: I update the due diligence report. It is my job to stay on top of updates and to be alert to any red flags that have been raised.
10.00am: I review some of the new documents in the data room, which I discuss with the associate and then summarise in the report.
10.30am: An email has come in from a client regarding an insolvency claim. Since this matter is a small one, the partner has given me the opportunity to directly liaise with the client. The firm try to give us as much responsibility as possible. The matter may involve a litigation claim, so the corporate partner asks if I can speak to a litigation partner. The firm’s open-door policy means that I feel at ease when talking with colleagues from other departments, and partners are generous with their time. I draft an email to the client.
11.30am: We have recently been instructed by a Japanese client who is working on an intra-group re-organisation. An associate asks if I can assist with a share purchase agreement. A week earlier I produced the first draft of an asset purchase agreement, which was a great learning experience. As a trainee, you are rarely given a task that you have done before, but there is always someone willing to provide guidance. The associate asks me to produce a first draft of the share purchase agreement. This is also new to me but I am keen to have a go.
1.00pm: I grab lunch in the downstairs canteen and catch up with trainees and associates.
2.00pm: I send a copy of the first draft of the share purchase agreement to the associate. He asks if I can produce the stock transfer forms and the share certificates. I draft the forms and certificates and grab a tea from the kitchen.
3.30pm: The associate and I review my documents for the intra-group re-organisation.
4.15pm: A colleague in a US office informs me that a client is intending to do a rush equity offering. He asks for the board minutes in relation to the client’s English subsidiary. I locate the minutes and send them to him.
4.30pm: The partner I sit with asks me to research electronic signatures. He needs to know when they are a valid method of executing documents. I look into Law Society guidance and read around the area.
5.30pm: I attend one of the regular seminars that the firm hosts with external speakers and current and prospective clients. The seminar is followed by drinks with the other attendees, which allows trainees to meet with clients.
6.45pm: I make sure that I am not needed for anything else, then I head over to Soho to meet friends. Later I check my BlackBerry and make a note of an email to deal with tomorrow.
About the firm
Address:One New Change, London, EC4M 9AF
Telephone: 020 7648 9000
Fax:020 7648 9001
Administrative partner : Antony Griffiths
Other offices: Anchorage, Austin, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Brisbane, Brussels, Charlotte, Charleston, Chicago, Dallas, Doha, Dubai, Fort Worth, Frankfurt, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Miami, Milan, Munich, Newark, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, Perth, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington, Wilmington.
Who we are: K&L Gates represents leading global corporations, growth and middle-market companies, capital markets participants and entrepreneurs in every major industry group, as well as public sector entities, educational institutions, philanthropic organisations and individuals.
What we do: K&L Gates is active in the areas of corporate/M&A, capital markets, private equity, restructuring and insolvency, finance, derivatives, funds, antitrust, competition and trade regulation, real estate, planning and environment, intellectual property, media and sport, construction, insurance coverage, regulatory, tax, employment, litigation, international arbitration, white-collar crime and other forms of dispute resolution.
What we are looking for: We are looking for highly motivated, intellectually curious individuals with an interest in commercial law, looking for comprehensive training.
What you'll do:We have a thorough induction scheme consisting of weekly legal education seminars, workshops and a full programme of skills electives. Emphasis is placed on early responsibility and client contact. Pro bono and CSR activities are also encouraged.
Perks: Permanent health insurance, season ticket loan, 25 days of holiday, private health insurance, life insurance, subsidised sports club membership, pension, GP services.
Sponsorship:GDL fees paid, plus £5,000 maintenance grant, LPC fees paid plus £7,000 maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: tbd
Applications received pa: 1,000
Percentage interviewed: 10
First year: £37,500 (2015)
Second year: £44,000 (2015)
Newly qualified: £68,000 (2015)
Total partners: 55
Apply to:Hayley Atherton, recruiting manager.
How: Online application.
When to Apply:Apply by 31 July 2017 for 2019 contracts.
Apply by 31 January 2017.