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? 
 ''High levels of responsibility' 'client contact' 'I liked the concept of a smaller intake in an international firm' 'prestige' 'early engagement with work' 'working with highly capable people' 'historically excellent trainee retention rate' 'quality of the work' 'greater responsibility than at Magic Circle firms'
Best thing about the firm? 
 ''High quality of work' 'people' 'fantastic clients' 'the attitude of the partners' 'the social side' 'market-leading position' 'the calibre of colleagues' 'the united drive to consistently achieve very highly'
Worst thing about the firm? 
 ''Working weekends' 'disorganised qualification process' 'hours' 'the woeful IT provision' 'AMEX policy which requires trainees to pay potentially large bills and then wait to be paid back by the firm' 'lack of structured training/resources for junior lawyers' 'work/life balance'
Best moment? 
 ''Producing a first draft letter of advice to a high-profile client' 'drafting a document to facilitate a divestment worth hundreds of millions of dollars' 'completing complicated advice memo for client and having my hard work recognised' 'partaking in client negotiations' 'working on market-leading deals from the very beginning of my training contract' 'being sent to India on a case'
Worst moment?
 ''A very intense month' '5am prep for hearing in Paris' 'working until 4am on my birthday' 'feeling unappreciated after working very long hours for a couple of weeks' 'being left completely in the dark about qualification and the process around it' 'general lack of organisation around the training contract''

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

Jack Reacher - keen for a challenge and even when the chips are down you know it will always pull through!

The Verdict

The firm

US firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom's expertise lies in M&A, international arbitration, tax and litigation. The firm has grown exponentially since its conception in New York and now boasts 1,700 lawyers and 22 offices worldwide, including Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing. Skadden won International Arbitration Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2017. 

The star performers

Acquisition finance; Bank lending: investment grade debts 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; High yield; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; International arbitration; Investment funds; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+, Oil and gas; Public international law.

The deals

Acted for Ball on its $8.4bn purchase of Rexam, and advised both companies on the sale of $3.4bn-worth of their assets and operations in Europe, Brazil and the US to Ardagh Group; acted for Jacobs Douwe Egberts on its €5.8bn secured, cross-border refinancing; acted for joint global coordinators and joint lead managers in a Rule 144a/Reg S $9bn bond offering by the State of Qatar; secured a win for Ukrainian businessman Gennadiy Bogolyubov in the English High Court against Tatneft which brought claims against the client and three other individuals following an alleged failure to pay for oil delivery by a Ukrainian refinery; acted for Endurance Specialty Holdings on its $6.3bn acquisition by SOMPO Holdings.

The clients

BA Glass; Banco BTG Pactual; Deutsche Bank; HSBC Securities; Janus Capital Group; LetterOne; Nikkei; Nokia (Finland); Phoenix Group; The Coca-Cola Company.

The Verdict

As a 'top global firm' commanding a 'market-leading position' through its 'continued success across several practice areas', Skadden is able to provide its trainees with 'fantastic clients' and a 'high quality of work'. Respondents report thriving under the 'high expectations', as the 'sink-or-swim work attitude, albeit with a support network, gives you a chance to develop under pressure'. Work highlights have included 'producing a first draft letter of advice to a high-profile client', 'managing a transaction on my own' and 'drafting a document to facilitate a divestment worth hundreds of millions of dollars'. The 'long hours' can result in late finishes and 'working weekends', but the good pay helps to compensate. Skadden is named a Lex 100 Winner in six categories this year, including remuneration satisfaction, work quality and living up to expectations. Trainees at this New York-headquartered firm enjoy 'working with highly capable people', and the 'calibre of colleagues' is unquestioned. There can be a 'lack of structure for junior lawyers', and one complaint centres on the 'disorganised qualification process'. That said, the 'historically excellent trainee retention rate' is a source of encouragement. Whether it's 'attending a hearing in Paris' or 'being sent to India on a case', respondents recount several instances of working on large international deals. There is 'ownership of work from an early stage', and one trainee proudly writes of 'working on market-leading deals from the very beginning of my training contract'. This is clearly 'an environment which encourages self-starters' and provides 'early engagement with work'. If you are enticed by the prospect of working hard to 'maintain Skadden's prestigious reputation', this may well be the firm for you.

 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

Training contracts available for 2020: 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.

What's involved: Interview and case study.

When to Apply:

Training Contract: By 31 July 2018.

Spring Vacation Scheme: By 12 January 2018.

Summer Vacation Scheme: By 12 January 2018.

Please note that the firm recruits primarily from its vacation schemes.