The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
O’Melveny’s London office is part of an international footprint of 15 offices across the US, Europe and Asia. The UK team advises private equity houses, financial institutions and corporate clients on M&A, investment transactions, fund raising and structuring, corporate finance and dispute resolution.
The star performers
Debt capital markets; International arbitration; Private funds
Acted for Goshawk Aviation in the largest ever US private placement issuance by an aircraft lessor. The deal raised $566.5m from ten US institutional investors; acted for REIT Segro plc in a €650m deal to refinance the company’s existing bonds and secured debt; advised Adelis Equity Partners on forming its second private equity fund, which was structured as a Swedish company; handled deals for testing and inspection company Bureau Veritas and cosmetics company Oriflame; assisted Egeria Capital with forming its fifth fund, which raised €800m after one month of document negotiation
CDC Group; GIC; Harbour Litigation Funding; Livingbridge; Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners
Trainees at US firm O’Melveny get ‘greater responsibility at an earlier stage’ thanks to being part of a small intake. Work highlights such as ‘managing closing processes for several transactions involving multiple overseas counsel’ and ‘closing a deal entirely alone’ go some way to illustrate the degree of responsibility afforded to new recruits. As members of ‘smaller deal teams’, trainees benefit from ‘close supervision’ from ‘approachable supervisors’. The workflow was described as ‘uneven’ and ‘variable’: ‘when it’s busy, it’s very busy’, said one respondent, but this can be ‘followed by quieter periods’. Despite the occasional stint of ‘very long hours of document review’ however, we hear that the ‘hours are generally good’ and the ‘work/life balance is much better than that of peers at similar-level US law firms’. An ‘inclusive and friendly environment’ has led to O’Melveny scooping up a Lex 100 Winner medal for inclusiveness, as well as for its ‘great pay’. ‘Incredible experiences’ of overseas work placements has also elevated the firm to Lex 100 Winner status in the international secondments category. Respondents felt that there was ‘not as much structure’ in terms of training but perhaps this is a trade-off for being at the coalface on deals. Praise abounded for the firm’s pro bono initiatives, which are ‘actively encouraged by partners’ so that a ‘significant proportion of the office gets involved’. These range ‘from legal advice clinics to research projects from the firm’s US pro bono partners’. If working with ‘high-quality lawyers’ in a ‘collaborative atmosphere’ whilst keeping busy with ‘great work’ appeals to you, keep O’Melveny in mind.
A day in the life of...
Vanessa Chukwukelu first-year trainee solicitor, O’Melveny
Departments to date: Investment funds, corporate
University:University of Kent, King’s College London
Degree:LLB, 2(1), LLM, 1st
9.00am: On my way into the office, I quickly check my IPhone to see if any emails have come in while on the tube. I notice that we received a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) from one of our clients, with instructions to review the document; I therefore quickly make a mental note to add this to my to-do list and head into the office.
9.15am: I add the NDA to my list and organise the tasks by way of priority. Then my supervisor arrives and we discuss the various tasks for the day. We have received instructions from one of our clients to help with a note transfer for a private company, so I start reviewing the note register which outlines the new and old noteholders. I then begin to draft the new notes in accordance with the transfer instructions which we have received from the client.
10.30am: Once a week we have our corporate team meeting. I find this meeting very helpful as it gives everyone in the corporate team the opportunity to see what matters other people at the office are involved in. It provides a good overview of the matters that are time pressured and the projects that might require my help. I offer my help to one of the associates who is working on a private debt placement which is closing at the end of the week. She tells me to come to her office tomorrow morning to discuss further steps.
11.00am: The NDA process is a very common task for the trainees at our office. After I have completed the mark-up, I send a redline against the original version to one of the associates for her review and comments. She gets back to me straight away and I head to her office to discuss any outstanding points. After discussing the guidelines for the NDA, I go back to my desk to incorporate her comments and send out the final mark-up of the NDA to the client.
12.30pm: Lunch time! I email some of the other trainees to arrange lunch on the terrace (our ‘go-to’ place during the summer).
1.30pm: My supervisor and I have a call with a client this afternoon who wants to set up an English private limited company, as a subsidiary to his German start-up business. Prior to the call, I decide to refresh my mind on the relevant forms to file at Companies House and the necessary requirements to incorporate a private limited company in the UK. I then draft a quick memo and send this across to my supervisor, ahead of the call. After the call, I write up an attendance note so we have a record of what the client has told us in case we are asked to assist further.
3.30pm: I am meeting one of the associates for a coffee in the breakout room. We discuss the areas we are working on and one of the pro bono cases that we are both supervising. Pro bono is an integral part of the work in the London office and everyone takes it very seriously. It is a great opportunity to get experience in different areas of law and I personally find it very rewarding. I also check if the associate will be attending the external training on ‘The Fundraising Process’ tomorrow in Canary Wharf; she confirms she will be. Offering training sessions for junior lawyers is a big priority to the firm and the partners actively encourage everyone to attend these.
5.30pm: The client due diligence process is taking longer than I expected due to the complex holding structure of the company. I put together a file note and head to see a senior lawyer to discuss the ownership structure of the client and next steps to take. We decide to contact the client directly and ask for some information regarding the holding structure of the company, thus I go back to my desk and send out the email.
6.30pm: I go through my diary and update my to-do list for tomorrow.
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, Tokyo, Washington DC.
Who we are: O’Melveny is a leading international law firm with approximately 750 lawyers practising in 14 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
Total partners: 7
Other fee-earners: 19
Total trainees: 6
Trainee places available for 2021: Up to four
Applications received pa: Approximately 200
Percentage interviewed: 5-10%
First year: £44,000
Second year: £48,000
Newly qualified: Competitive
Apply to:Natalie Beacroft.
When to apply:By 30 June 2019 for 2021 training contracts.
What's involved:Online application; interview with partners/senior associates, presentation, written exercise.
Summer:Summer 2019 (apply by 31 January 2019).