The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
L.A’s O’Melveny has an international footprint of 16 international offices, including one of the largest Chinese practices of any US-headquartered law firm. The firm specialises in media, entertainment, investment funds, international arbitration and mid-market M&A deals. The London office is small, with around 20 qualified lawyers supported by seven trainees.
The star performers
Competition litigation; International arbitration; Private funds.
Acted for Asiana Airlines in the air cargo cartel litigation; represented ICAP plc in its appeal to the EC’s finding of alleged complicity in the manipulation of interest rate benchmarks governing derivatives.
Actis; Coller Capital; GIC Private Limited; Goldman Sachs International; Greensphere Capital; Helios Investment Partners; Impax Asset Management; Livingbridge; Samsung Electronics; Vivendi.
The ‘glamour of working for a US firm’ appealed to O’Melveny trainees, who now enjoy ‘great exposure to high-quality work’ and representing ‘sophisticated international clients’. The firm’s London base is ‘small enough that you can know everyone in the office’, and the similarly small intake means the firm ‘takes a real interest in your development’. We are told that ‘a lot is expected of trainees’ and that they are ‘actively involved in deals’. There are some ‘excellent supervisors’ at O’Melveny who have offered welcome feedback to trainees and two highlight moments were ‘getting a good review in my first mid-seat appraisal’ and ‘helping with a panel discussion and receiving a special mention from the associate in charge’. The ‘workload is variable between different departments’, and trainees have endured ‘busy periods’ as well as ‘very little work’ on occasion. One respondent writes that ‘the breadth of training is limited’ as compared to other large firms in the City, but this does not mean that opportunities are limited. Not only is there ‘exposure to international work’ while in London, but the international secondments provide ‘a sense of the wider firm’, and one lucky trainee gained ‘excellent experience’ in the Hong Kong office. O’Melveny is named a Lex 100 Winner in the remuneration satisfaction category. The ‘social life’ and ‘genuinely friendly atmosphere’ is lauded, and the trainee cohort has had ‘fewer late nights compared to friends at Magic Circle firms’. ‘If you make the effort, you can really progress’ at O’Melveny, so consider applying to this ‘fun and social’ firm.
A day in the life of...
Fergus Grady second-year trainee solicitor, O’Melveny
Departments to date: Litigation, investment funds, transactions (secondment in Hong Kong) and corporate
8.30am: I head to work and check emails on my BlackBerry to see what has come in overnight and if anything requires immediate attention. I grab a coffee in Paternoster Square (our office is right next to St Paul’s) before entering the office. I have breakfast at my desk while reading the papers. I review my to-do list and prioritise my workload for the day.
9.15am: My supervisor, who I share a room with, arrives and we discuss the different tasks we need to get done today. I am currently sitting in the firm’s corporate department. The main work stream involves M&A work, but we also advise clients on a wide range of corporate issues. One of the deals I have been working on involves a client selling a large number of share warrants it holds in a German company. This is a relatively small transaction and I have been given the responsibility of leading the process. We have a call with the client this morning in which we will update them on comments we have received from local counsel and run them through the final steps towards closing.
11.00am: A client has sent through a non-disclosure agreement they have received from the seller in respect of a potential acquisition. They have requested a markup by close of business. We often receive these from this client. They are sent to an internal mailing list and, subject to everyone’s capacity, trainees generally take it in turns to review them. I reply confirming that we will revert with comments. These documents are fairly short, but do often require substantive revisions before they are acceptable to the client. As a result, they are a really useful learning tool for trainees, especially when you first start. Once I have reviewed the document and made my amendments, I pass it on to an associate to check over what I have done.
12.30pm: I head to one of our meeting rooms for a training session on warranties and indemnities. Lunch is provided. One of the counsel runs us through a typical warranty schedule, explaining certain provisions and giving us some drafting advice. This session is part of an ongoing series of corporate training for trainees and other junior lawyers.
1.35pm: An associate has reviewed the markup of the non-disclosure agreement that I prepared this morning. He has made a few minor changes. I send out our revised version of the agreement to the client with a cover email explaining some of the key amendments we have made.
2.45pm: We receive a draft of a share purchase agreement from opposing counsel. This relates to another matter I have been working on. Our US client is acquiring a company in the UK. It is a heavy markup and there appear to be a few re-trades on some commercial points. My supervisor and I prepare an issues list for the client summarising the changes. We split up the different sections that each of us will cover and get to work.
5.15pm: With the issues list sent to the client for their review, my supervisor and I challenge a newly qualified associate and one of my fellow second-year trainees to a quick game of table football. We win convincingly. The table is a great way to catch up with colleagues and enjoy some healthy competition in the office. I head back to my desk and start wrapping up the final tasks of the day.
6.30pm: With nothing urgent left to do, I prepare my to-do list for the next day. It is a beautiful sunny evening in the City so I decide to forgo the pub and run home down the Embankment.
About the firm
Address:Warwick Court, 5 Paternoster Square, London, EC4M 7DX
Telephone: 020 7088 0000
Fax:020 7088 0001
Managing partner : Jan Birtwell
Other offices: Beijing, Brussels, Century City, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Newport Beach, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tokyo, Washington DC.
Who we are: O’Melveny is a leading international law firm with approximately 750 lawyers practising in 15 offices in the key US, Asian and European economic and political centres.
What we do: In London, we have both a transactions department – which advises on private equity, corporate finance, M&A and investment fund matters – as well as an international litigation department, with antitrust and competition services support provided through the Brussels office. London also has the key transitional support functions which are essential to a leading corporate practice, such as tax and regulatory.
What we are looking for: New recruits must have proven academic ability, sound commercial awareness, be keen team players and have the ability to carry real responsibility from the outset.
What you'll do:Trainees complete seats with partners/senior associates in each of our core practice areas. They receive regular formal and informal feedback, as well as legal and non-legal skills training. Trainees are also frequently seconded overseas to our Hong Kong, Singapore and Brussels offices.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday, pension, life insurance, long-term disability insurance, private health insurance, travel insurance, interest-free season ticket loan, corporate rate gym membership.
Sponsorship:We sponsor GDL/LPC fees incurred post-recruitment and award a maintenance grant (currently £8,000 per annum).
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: Up to four
Applications received pa: Approximately 200
Percentage interviewed: 5-10%
First year: £41,000
Second year: £44,000
Newly qualified: Competitive
Total partners: 7
Apply to:Natalie Beacroft.
When to Apply:By 30 June 2017 for 2019 training contracts.
Summer 2017 (apply by 31 January 2017).