Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

Address: 40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DS




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘Very highly ranked’; ‘globally recognised’; ‘high quality of work’; ‘good pay’; ‘the quality of the training’; ‘at Skadden, as a corporate trainee, you are a general corporate trainee and can get involved in any aspect of an M&A deal that might interest you in any industry you want to’; ‘reputation’; ‘small trainee intake’; ‘the quality of the work is top-notch’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The social side is great’; ‘the firm’s unsurpassed global reputation for corporate transactions’; ‘from day one you are treated like an associate’; ‘swanky offices’; ‘its flat structure’; ‘the huge deals are very impressive’; ‘I have often been working on a matter solely with a partner’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘The high turnover rate of associates’; ‘sandwiches during lunch presentations’; ‘the hours’; ‘the brutal culture’; ‘the lack of respect for work/life balance’; ‘international secondment opportunities could be greater’
Best moment? 
 '‘Having my hard work recognised by my supervisor and the partner in my department’; ‘seeing an extensive piece of work that I had worked on for months from the very beginning finally come together’; ‘closing a deal all on my own three months into my training contract’
Worst moment?
 '‘The initial couple of weeks of not understanding what was going on’; ‘hearing about my antics the day following the Christmas Ball’; ‘spending days reformatting tables of financials’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Severus Snape (Harry Potter) – very powerful, has a reputation for being aloof but is actually quite nice

The Verdict

The firm

Reputable US firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom has grown exponentially since its conception in New York and now boasts 1,700 lawyers and 22 offices across the globe, including Beijing, Moscow, Hong Kong and Tokyo. The firm is an acknowledged expert in M&A, international arbitration and tax, and also possesses a strong reputation for litigation.  

The star performers

Acquisition finance; Bank lending – investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Commercial litigation; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Corporate tax; Debt capital markets; Equity capital markets; Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory); High yield; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; International arbitration; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Oil and gas; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Private funds; Public international law.

The deals

Advised the underwriters to Lenta’s £275m public offering of GDRs listed on the LSE; acted for Israel Corporation on its spin-off of Kenon Holdings, which involved a dual listing of ordinary shares on the Tel Aviv and New York stock exchanges; advised Merck KGaA on its $17bn purchase of Sigma-Aldrich; acted for Nikkei in its $1.3bn acquisition of FT Group from Pearson; represented Vodafone in an investment treaty dispute against the government of India.

The clients

BNP Paribas; Ball Corporation; Capgemini; The Coca-Cola Company; Colony Capital; Crédit Agricole; Highbridge Capital; Mitsui Sumitomo; Mylan; Permira.

The Verdict

Commanding an ‘unsurpassed reputation’ as ‘the leading global M&A practice’, Skadden impresses trainees because of the ‘size of corporate transactions that the London office works on and their cross-border nature’. Described by one trainee as ‘the Goldman Sachs of law’, Skadden works on ‘huge deals’ and is named a Lex 100 Winner for work quality, along with salary satisfaction and low-stress levels. Fittingly, one trainee’s highlight moment to date was ‘being delegated considerable control over an EU merger control process for a multi-billion dollar transaction’. Because of the firm’s top-of-the-market stature, there is a ‘good qualification salary’, though the ‘competitive culture’ is tough as trainees work ‘long hours’ and ‘often have to work during weekends’. The ‘level of responsibility’ in representing the ‘excellent US client base’ leads to hands-on work, and early stand-out achievements include ‘being given responsibility for handling a small part of a deal almost independently after only a few weeks in the seat’ and ‘going on business trips abroad’. One person commented on the ‘excellent exposure and responsibility on secondment in Brussels’, though another recruit believes ‘international secondment opportunities could be greater’. There is a ‘personal touch to recruitment’ at Skadden, which is first observed on the ‘thoroughly enjoyable vacation scheme’. The ‘turnover of associates’ is a worry, and may be explained by the ‘high expectations’, but hard work ‘is recognised’ by senior colleagues. To train at a firm with a ‘long-standing commitment to excellence’ and a reputation that is ‘second-to-none in the City and the US’, send an application to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom.

 A day in the life of...

Ben Davies second-year trainee, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP 
Departments to date:  Litigation and international arbitration, capital markets, banking, corporate M&A (New York)
Degree:BA Politics, First Class Hons 

9.30am:  I arrive at work, say hello to my secretary Lorraine and sit down at my desk. I am currently sitting in the corporate department with associate Claire Cahoon. I have spent the last five months focusing on capital markets work, but I also voiced an interest in M&A work so I have had the opportunity to do that also. I am currently working on four different matters so I make sure each day to make a list of the tasks that I need to complete so that I am organised and manage my time effectively.

10.00am:  First things first, Claire and I have a call with Skadden attorneys in the Chicago office about a potential new deal that has come in over the weekend. Skadden has offices all over the world and I have worked with attorneys in the New York, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong offices to date. I make a note of the call and circulate to the participants a summary of what was said, including a list of action points going forward, once the call has finished.

11.00am:  Danny Tricot, a partner in the capital markets group, calls me and asks me to prepare a set of board minutes in preparation for a client’s board meeting in a few days. Danny is also the partner who oversees my training contract and after he’s finished giving me instructions we discuss my proposed secondment the following March to Skadden’s New York office. As a trainee I have the option to spend six months in either Hong Kong, Brussels or New York and I am really excited about working abroad.

12.45pm:  After spending several hours drafting the board minutes, it is time for lunch. There’s no shortage of good restaurants and bars in Canary Wharf and lunch is spent getting to know the vacation students better in a more relaxed atmosphere.

2.00pm:  Back in the office, I finish the board minutes and go and see Danny. He provides me with some minor comments and tells me to circulate the amended minutes to the client for their review. Danny is great to work for and has given me a quite a lot of responsibility on this matter while still being available in case I need to ask questions. I circulate the draft to the group and then get back to my to-do list.

2.30pm:  I begin to incorporate comments that I have received from Claire on a prospectus for a Portuguese client of ours. In the last two months, I have visited this client twice in Portugal with Claire. Working for a firm with so many international clients definitely has its perks! Other tasks on my list include preparing some slides in preparation for a partner’s pitch to a potential new client, updating a due diligence report, proof-reading an announcement of a client’s proposed takeover of another company and researching that client’s disclosure obligations under the Takeover Code. I stay on task with these for the rest of the afternoon.

5.30pm:  After I have finished my list of work for the day, I head to the monthly corporate department meeting which is chaired by the head of the group, Michael Hatchard. This meeting provides a forum for members of the department to discuss particular challenges that have arisen on their recent deals and how they were successfully tackled, and it’s also a great opportunity for a trainee to meet and interact with the whole department.

6.15pm:  After the meeting has finished I head to a vacation scheme event at a rooftop bar near St Pauls. There’s plenty of vacation scheme events over the summer and they are always well attended by a wide range of Skadden attorneys. The social scene at Skadden is great.

About the firm

Address:40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DS

Telephone: 020 7519 7000

Fax:020 7519 7070


Managing partner : Pranav Trivedi (UK)

Other offices: Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Moscow, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna, Washington DC, Wilmington. 

Who we are: Skadden is one of the leading law firms in the world with approximately 1,600 lawyers across the globe.

What we do: Our clients include corporate, industrial and financial institutions, and government entities. Lawyers across the European network focus primarily on corporate transactions, including domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity, capital markets, leveraged finance and banking, tax, corporate restructuring, and energy and projects.

What we are looking for: We seek to recruit a small number of high- calibre graduates from any discipline to join our highly successful London office as trainee solicitors. We are looking for candidates who combine intellectual ability with enthusiasm, creativity and a demonstrable ability to rise to a challenge and to work with others towards a common goal.

What you'll do:The firm can offer you the chance to develop your career in a uniquely rewarding and professional environment. You will join a close-knit and diverse team in which you will be given ample opportunity to work on complex matters, almost all with an international aspect, while benefiting from highly personalised training in an informal and friendly environment. The first year of your training contract will be divided into two six-month seats where you will gain experience in corporate transactions and international arbitration and litigation. In the second year of your training contract you will have the opportunity to discuss with us your preferences for your remaining two seats. We also offer our second-year trainees the opportunity to complete a seat in our Hong Kong or New York offices.

Perks: Bonus scheme, gym, membership, subsidy, life assurance, private healthcare, season ticket loan, subsidised restaurant.

Sponsorship:Full fees and £8,000 maintenance.


Facts and figures

Trainee places available for 2019: 10/12


First year: £45,000

Second year: £50,000

Newly qualified: £118,000

Other fee-earners:119 (London office)

Total trainees:20 (London office)

 Application process

Apply to:Aidan Connor.

How: On website.

When to Apply:By 31 July 2017.

 Vacation schemes

31 March-11 April (apply by 12 January 2017).

16-27 June 2017, 30 June-11 July 2017, 14-26 July 2017 (apply by 12 January 2017).