The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
US firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius has offices across North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The firm provides comprehensive litigation, corporate, regulatory, IP and employment services to clients of all sizes, ranging from start-ups to global companies.
The star performers
Asset based lending; Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial litigation; Corporate tax; Debt capital markets; Emerging markets; Employment: employers and senior executives; EU and competition; Immigration: business; Insurance and reinsurance litigation; International arbitration; M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m – £250m; Oil and gas; Securitisation
Advised Wells Fargo throughout their financing of Maplin and its subsequent administration; acted for Smiths Group on the sale of its power business to DunesPoint Capital for £162m; acted for Manning & Napier in a headline claim under Section 90A Financial Services & Markets Act, regarding admitted misleading accounting information published by Tesco; led Concordia’s defence of an investigation by the CMA into an alleged market-sharing arrangement with Auden McKenzie for the supply of hydrocortisone; acted for High Power Petroleum in its acquisition of a majority stake in Cabot Energy
Amnesty International; Amazon; AstraZeneca; Bank of America Business Capital; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Integra Life Sciences; Lime Rock Partners; Prudential Insurance Company of America; Republic of Tajikistan; VTB Bank
A ‘good mix of work, high pay, smaller teams and high levels of responsibility’ attracted the current trainee cohort to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. The US firm’s London office is described as ‘small and friendly’ but still reaps the benefits of being ‘part of a large multinational network’ and ‘allows its trainees to take on a large amount of responsibility from the start of the training contract’. We hear that there is ‘less training’ than in some comparable firms but the upside of this is a ‘less rigid structure’ which allows for ‘more exposure to senior members in the team’. It follows that there is an ‘inclusive atmosphere’ at the firm, which some trainees had already experienced on the firm’s Lex 100 Winner-worthy vacation scheme. There were some complaints about ‘HR being slow to action requests’ and one trainee was less than impressed that the firm had ‘represented Donald Trump’, but perhaps this is evidence that the firm is instructed by some influential clients! A couple of trainees lauded their international secondment to the firm’s Brussels office where the team is ‘much smaller and closer than the London office’ and which is ‘great if you love competition law’. ‘Having to stay up until 2am drafting documents’ and ‘staying in the office until 4.30am doing due diligence’ are examples of the long hours occasionally expected from trainees, but this is also an indicator of the ‘level of trust that is placed in you as a trainee’ at the firm. To be part of a small intake of trainees in a firm where you can enjoy ‘more interaction with partners’, research Morgan, Lewis & Bockius.
A day in the life of...
Najaf Raza second-seat trainee, Morgan Lewis
Departments to date: Structured transactions
University:Queen Mary’s University of London
Degree:History and Politics, 2(1)
8.45am: I arrive at the office and check through my emails for any work that has come in overnight, reading the daily news updates before creating a task list for the day.
9.30am: Overnight, we have received drafts of some transaction documents incorporating comments from all the parties working on the transaction. I check to ensure that all of our most recent comments have been included in the latest draft.
10.00am: One of the partners in my team provides me with instructions on the specific changes I need to look out for in the latest draft of the documents. I check over the transaction documents, occasionally checking in with the partner and associate if I have any questions.
1.00pm: I attend a lunchtime talk by one of the partners based in Singapore. He discusses the practice areas and capabilities of the Singapore office, before explaining what the potential secondment opportunities would be for a trainee or associate. These would include working across a number of different practice areas, such as arbitration, IP and life sciences. The firm offers a variety of international secondment options to other offices (including Brussels, Dubai and Singapore) and encourages as many of the trainees as possible to go on secondment at some point during their training contract.
2.30pm: One of the partners in my team asks me to listen in and take notes for a conference call between the parties on the transaction we are currently working on. The companies are negotiating some of the commercial aspects of the documents, before the lawyers discuss some of the legal points that need further clarification. After the call, our team discuss what the next steps involve and I make a list of all the action points that we need to focus on, along with the relevant deadlines.
4.00pm: The firm has organised a ‘Scoop Your Own Ice Cream Sundae’ bar in our staff canteen to fundraise for our two charities of the year. The London office regularly hosts charity fundraising events such as these and everyone is encouraged to get involved in as much charity and community work as possible.
4.30pm: I turn my attention to some of my current pro bono work. I am currently working on a project with a legal advice clinic that helps people with welfare benefit claims. I read through the tribunal bundle and edit the tribunal submission for the client’s appeal. Trainees are encouraged to get involved with pro bono work as much as possible, and all lawyers at the firm are expected to contribute at least 20 hours a year to pro bono activities.
5.30pm: I attend a video conference call with the structured transaction groups in our global offices. These are monthly meetings for the practice groups to share information about their current work and encourage collaboration between the offices working with international clients. There is a short presentation by one of the heads of the practice groups on social media and its use in the legal profession to network.
6.30pm: An associate asks me to set up a conference call for the next morning to discuss a community event for young women being organised by her and a couple of other lawyers, which I have become involved with since starting my seat. The event is a ‘Girls Empowerment Conference’ with a film screening of Hidden Figures and talks from women working in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industry with the aim of inspiring young women to pursue science and engineering jobs. We anticipate 200 young women attending the event which is being organised in joint partnership with a client of the firm.
6.45pm: I write a list of any outstanding non-urgent tasks that need to be done the next day, before heading home for the evening.
About the firm
Address:Condor House, 5-10 St Paul’s Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AL
Telephone: 020 3201 5000
Fax:020 3201 5001
Senior partner: Jami McKeon (global)
Managing partner: Frances Murphy (London)
Training principal: Matthew Howse (London)
Other offices: Almaty, Astana, Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Century City, Chicago, Dallas, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hartford, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Moscow, New York, Orange County, Paris, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Princeton, San Francisco, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington DC, Wilmington.
Who we are: Founded in 1873, Morgan Lewis comprises more than 2,200 legal professionals, including lawyers, employee benefits advisers, regulatory scientists, and other specialists. .
What we do: Corporate, debt and equity capital markets; finance and restructuring; labour and employment, including employment litigation and immigration advice; investment management; structured transactions, tax; international commercial disputes, arbitration, and white-collar matters.
What we are looking for: Morgan Lewis is seeking candidates with a consistently strong academic record (AAB at A Level and 2.1 in degree), as well as commercial awareness, team spirit, resilience and a passion for a career in law.
What you'll do:Trainees receive high-quality, challenging assignments and the opportunity to work directly with senior lawyers across a range of practices and industry groups. The work will be varied, complex, and will involve working across a variety of jurisdictions.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday p/a, life assurance, private medical and dental insurance, season ticket loan, pension, cycle to work scheme, employee assistance programme and the option to take qualification leave towards the end of the training contract.
Sponsorship:Sponsorship of LPC and GDL at BPP University in London. A maintenance grant of £8,000 will be provided.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 33
Other fee-earners: 38
Total trainees: 15
Trainee places available for 2021: 8
Applications received pa: 300
Percentage interviewed: 15%
First year: £47,000
Second year: £52,000
Newly qualified: £105,000
Apply to:Graduate recruitment team
When to apply:Apply by midnight 15 July 2019
What's involved:The first stage is a telephone interview with a member of the graduate recruitment team. Successful candidates are then invited to attend an assessment centre for a partner interview, an exercise and group activity, and a networking lunch
Summer:Apply online by midnight on 31 January 2019, with interviews taking place in February. Summer schemes are held in July each year.