The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
US firm O'Melveny specialises in media, entertainment, investment funds, international arbitration and mid-market M&A deals. The firm's small London office is part of an international footprint of 15 offices in the US, Europe and Asia. O'Melveny boasts one of the largest Chinese practices of any US-headquartered firm.
The star performers
Debt capital markets; International arbitration; Investment fund formation and management: private funds.
Advised Livingbridge on a £660m fund targeting British businesses; handles a range of investor-side work for GIC Special Investments; acts as counsel and arbitrator in high-value commercial arbitrations, and has experience representing sovereign states in both commercial and investment treaty disputes.
Apollo Management; Canada Pension Plan; CDC Group; Deutsche Bank AG; Livingbridge; Norsk Hydro ASA; Quinbrook Infrastructure partners; UBS.
'The small size of the firm was appealing' to the trainees at O'Melveny, as it 'provides the opportunity to get really involved with transactions'. This ensures 'high levels of responsibility at an early stage'. Trainees are tasked with 'quality, high-profile' work, often centred on the firm's 'expertise in investment funds'. Stand-out moments to date include 'assisting in the drafting of a shareholders' agreement', 'attending hearings in the Rolls Building' and 'coordinating the signing and closing of a facility in my second week'. The 'workload can be unpredictable at times' as respondents complain of 'very quiet periods between deals' and having 'too many things to do in a short space of time'. The international secondments to Hong Kong and Brussels are 'a great experience for both your personal and professional development', and O'Melveny is named a Lex 100 Winner in this category, picking up further gongs for salary satisfaction and inclusivity. The 'small intake allows for a bespoke training contract', and the 'responsibility to manage certain aspects of a transaction yourself can be daunting at times but it is a great way to learn'. There is a 'team spirit in the office' as 'everyone is very friendly and supportive', and the firm puts on 'great social events'. The 'client contact opportunities' are a further plus, and 'seeing your own document being sent to a client' is a proud moment. For 'varied work' and 'interesting clients and matters' at a firm with a great international pedigree, consider applying to O'Melveny.
A day in the life of...
Scott Wallace first-year trainee solicitor, O'Melveny
Departments to date: Finance, corporate/tax
University:University of Cambridge, Girton College
8.00am: I head into the office and check emails on my BlackBerry to see if anything urgent has come in overnight. Nothing requires immediate action, so I review my to-do list and prioritise my tasks for the day.
9.15am: My supervisor arrives and we discuss the various tasks for the day. We have received comments from investor counsel on documents for a private debt placement we are working on. I have been given responsibility for managing the suite of ancillary documents, so I start reviewing the comments before updating the documents and sending them out to investor counsel and our client for final sign-off.
10.30am: My current seat is a mix of corporate and tax work. This morning, we have our weekly tax team meeting, which is a good chance to catch up on the various projects that are ongoing; as the tax team is involved in many of the matters across the office, it is also an opportunity to find out what deals others are working on.
11.00am: I've been asked to help deliver training on tax deeds to the rest of the office, so I start doing research on the topic. As it's an area I'm not very familiar with, I discuss the training with the counsel I will be presenting with to get a bit more direction on the content and structure of the presentation.
12.30pm: I head to one of our meeting rooms for a lunchtime training session. The firm runs regular training with both internal and external trainers covering various topics. Today's training is on financial services regulation, which applies to many of our clients in the investment funds sector. I catch up with the other trainees once the session has finished before heading back to my desk.
2.00pm: We have a call with a client this afternoon who wants to know a bit about directors' duties when a company is insolvent. In advance of this, my supervisor and I have a chat about the main points we want to cover and I do some quick research to refresh my memory of the various statutory provisions and how they might apply to the client. After the call, I write a note so we have a record in case we are asked to assist further.
4.00pm: We have received confirmation from the client and investor counsel that they are happy with the revised documents I sent across earlier. I have volunteered to go to the client's office for signing so I compile execution copies of the documents and review the closing checklist to make sure that we have everything required and that I am familiar with who will be signing.
5.30pm: I meet a colleague to discuss the pro bono clinic we attended last week. The clinic is a great opportunity to get experience of areas of law outside our normal practice areas, and the firm actively encourages everyone to get involved in pro bono projects. This time, we are waiting to receive some more information from the client, so I offer to follow up with the volunteer adviser at the clinic to check on progress. Our appointment also raised some more general issues, and counsel asks me to look into the law surrounding this area in case the issue arises again.
6.30pm: I update my to-do list for tomorrow and submit my timesheets. I check my emails to make sure nothing else has come up which requires action this evening then head downstairs to Paternoster Square for a quick drink with some of the other trainees.
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 2020: Up to four
Applications received pa: Approximately 200
Percentage interviewed: 5-10%
First year: £44,000
Second year: £48,000
Newly qualified: Competitive
Total partners: 7
Apply to:Natalie Beacroft.
When to Apply:By 30 June 2018 for 2020 training contracts.
Whats involved:Online application; interview with partners/senior associates, presentation, written exercise.
Summer:Summer 2018 (apply by 31 January 2018).