The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Slaughter and May is a member of the City's elite group of Magic Circle firms and has an excellent reputation for M&A, corporate tax and commercial litigation. The firm's client base includes governments, entrepreneurs, funds, banks, retailers and entertainment companies. Slaughter and May has additional offices in Brussels, Beijing and Hong Kong, as well as 'best friend' relationships with a number of firms around the world.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Competition litigation; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Corporate tax; Derivatives and structured products; EU and competition; Employee share schemes; Equity capital markets; Financial services; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; IT and telecoms; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Pensions; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Securitisation; Tax litigation and investigations.
Advised Ladbrokes on a £1.35bn combined term loan and revolving credit facilities pursuant to its merger with Gala Coral Group; provided the regulatory advice to Värde Partners on the sale of leading consumer finance provider, NewDay, to Cinven and CVC Capital Partners; assisting Tottenham Hotspur Football Club with all commercial contracts issues associated with the development of its new stadium; assisted National Bank of Abu Dhabi with its claim against BP Oil International for the return of approximately $70m under a receivables financing agreement; advised ARM Holdings on its £24.3bn purchase by SoftBank Group; advised Centrica and DONG with regards to their disposal of 50% interest in the Lincs and Race Bank wind farms respectively.
Allianz; Banco Santander Totta; Cable & Wireless Communications; Dätwyler Holding; Drax; Ericsson; JP Morgan; Lonza; Standard Life; Tata Steel.
Trainees praise the 'standard of excellence' at Slaughter and May, a quality which the cohort believes is manifested in different ways. One of these is the 'multi-specialist approach' which ensures 'you have exposure to a huge range of corporate and financial law'. Trainees' favourite moments have included 'negotiating NDAs with several other counterparties', 'writing a complicated research note which involved researching new areas of law with various members of the firm' and 'seeing a case that I was working on flash up as a breaking news alert on the FT website'. Respondents also laud the 'lack of billable hours targets', which is deemed to 'promote a more cooperative, collegiate culture'. There can be 'long hours sometimes', and in the busiest periods trainees can be required to 'cancel holidays'. In such instances, it is disappointing that there is no clear 'day in lieu policy'. Much is made of the 'intellectual rigour' at Slaughter and May, as 'incredibly bright colleagues' ensure that an 'emphasis on learning and development' permeates the working day. It can be 'intensely hierarchical at times', with reports of a 'lack of managerial transparency' and some 'old-fashioned views on policies such as working from home'. Yet the 'level of partner involvement in training and development' is a plus point, and there are 'lots of opportunities to have tailored training depending on the department you are in'. It is for this reason that 'other law firms tend to be very keen on taking on Slaughter and May-trained solicitors'. The 'excellent client base' includes 'many FTSE-100 clients', highlighting this Magic Circle firm's 'prestige and exposure'. 'To be on the largest deals' at a firm which is 'renowned for being incredibly good at what it does', apply to Slaughter and May.
A day in the life of...
Helen Emanuel trainee solicitor, Slaughter and May
Departments to date: Corporate, financing, competition
Degree:Law with Study in Continental Europe LLB
9.15am: I start my morning by picking up some breakfast and a coffee from the staff restaurant and I head up to my desk in the competition department. I check my emails and write a list of tasks I need to complete over the day (although depending on what comes in, that doesn't always go to plan!).
10.00am: I'm currently working on a merger notification that will soon be submitted to the UK's competition authority, the CMA. The competition department is working alongside the corporate department to get a merger approved. Overnight the other party's lawyers have given us comments on the notification document and I review them with my supervisor.
10.15am: I work with an associate to address the comments. I draft an email reply laying out our response to the issues raised and highlight information that we're still waiting to receive.
11.00am: My supervisor organises a call with our client to get additional information about their different business divisions. This information will feed into the merger notification so a detailed record is essential. I sit in on the call and make notes which I later write up and circulate to the internal team.
12.00pm: Once changes have been made to the document, I carry out a thorough proofread and feed any amendments into the master version.
12.30pm: To take advantage of the nice weather, I head out of the office for lunch with some other trainees. We wander to the amazing food market on Whitecross Street just behind the office and choose from one of the many food stalls.
1.30pm: My supervisor is also working on a new matter relating to the energy sector. She asks me to do some preliminary research into past decisions of the UK and EU competition authorities to see how they've previously defined the relevant markets and to see if there is any publicly available information relating to the parties' turnover in different countries.
3.30pm: I dash down to a training session given by an associate in my department on dawn raids. He gives first-hand examples of scenarios he's encountered and practical advice on how to approach them. Training is a core part of any trainee's working life at Slaughter and May. There are sessions held at all levels of the firm and by a cross-section of internal and external speakers (one day you'll attend a strategy talk by a partner about Brexit, and the next it will be a talk on mindfulness by a member of HM Treasury).
4.45pm: Up against a deadline, my next job is to jump in a taxi to take some documents to the CMA before it closes for the day. I make it in time and deliver the documents to the case officer dealing with our matter.
5.30pm: Upon getting back to the office, I return to my energy sector research. My supervisor has also asked me to look into any information indicating the total market size and the parties' respective market shares. I get in touch with the enquiries desk in the knowledge centre who helpfully provide me with some sector-specific reports. I review the sources and update my note before sending it on to my supervisor.
7.00pm: After checking my emails for a final time and ensuring my time recording is up to date, I check in with my supervisor to see if there is anything else which needs to be done today. The answer is no, so I head to the pub down the road to grab a glass of wine and for a catch up with other trainees from my intake.
About the firm
Address:One Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8YY
Telephone: 020 7090 4454
Senior partner : Steve Cooke
Practice partner : David Wittmann
Executive partner : Paul Stacey
Other offices: Beijing, Brussels, Hong Kong plus relationship firms in all the major jurisdictions.
Who we are: Slaughter and May is one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. We advise on high-profile and often landmark international transactions. Our excellent and varied client list ranges from governments to entrepreneurs, from retailers to entertainment companies and from conglomerates to Premier League football clubs.
What we do: We are a full-service law firm to corporate clients and have leading practitioners across a wide range of practice areas including mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial, financing, tax, competition, dispute resolution, real estate, pensions and employment, financial regulation, information technology and intellectual property.
What we are looking for: A high 2:1 at undergraduate level and we take an equal mix of law and non-law graduates. Our trainees come from a range of universities - it is the quality of the candidate, not the university, that is important to us - 83 universities are represented among our lawyers.
What you'll do:During the two-year training contract, trainees turn their hand to a broad range of work, taking an active role in four, five or six groups while sharing an office with a partner or experienced associate. All trainees spend at least two six-month seats in our market-leading corporate, commercial and financing groups. Subject to gaining some contentious experience, they choose how to spend the remaining time.
Perks: Private medical insurance, money purchase pension scheme with life cover, interest-free loan, childcare vouchers, interest-free season ticket loans, personal accident cover, subsidised staff restaurant and coffee bar, special membership terms for health club, corporate entertainment benefits, cycle to work scheme, qualification leave and enhanced family leave pay.
Sponsorship:The firm pays for tuition and examination fees for both the GDL and LPC courses and also provides a maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 80-85
First year: £44,000
Second year: £49,000
Newly qualified: £80,000
Total partners: 115 worldwide
Total trainees:150 worldwide
Apply to:Janine Arnold, trainee recruitment manager.
What' s involved: As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete a short form and attach your covering letter and CV.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2020: Applications are ongoing.
Easter Vacation Scheme: By 15 December 2017.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 4 January 2018.