The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
US firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges employs 1,100 lawyers in 20 offices around the world, and is often called upon to advise blue-chip companies on private equity and restructuring cases. The firm is strong across corporate and finance, and its excellence was recognised with nominations in the Finance and Restructuring Team of the Year categories at the Legal Business Awards 2016.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Corporate tax; Derivatives and structured products; Equity capital markets; High yield; Insurance: insolvency and restructuring; International arbitration; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Pensions (non-contentious); Private equity: transactions: Large-cap deal capability; Private funds; Real estate funds; Securitisation; Tax litigation and investigations.
Acted for Hellman & Friedman on the multi-billion euro bank and bond financing of its acquisition of Bain Capital’s stake in Securitas Direct; advised Blackstone/GSO on the first CLO platform to be compliant with new US and European risk retention rules; advised banks including Goldman Sachs on the high yield financing of Hellman & Friedman’s acquisition of Securitas Direct, which was Europe’s largest LBO in 2015; advised Barclays on restructuring two CMBS deals originated by General Healthcare Group totalling £2bn; acted for Equiniti Group on the pension plan elements of its IPO.
Advent International; Bain Capital; The Carlyle Group; Centerbridge; Deutsche Bank Asset Management; GE Capital; HNA Group; KPMG; Providence Equity; Weetabix.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges enjoys a ‘pre-eminent international reputation’ for its ‘cutting-edge work’, and the firm ‘strikes a great balance between private equity and restructuring’ matters. Members of the ‘small trainee intake’ in the ‘growing and ambitious London office’ speak of a ‘rewarding and challenging culture’ within which they are exposed to ‘top-tier clients’. Stand-out moments for the current trainee cohort include ‘working directly with a partner to close a complex transaction’, ‘closing a mega banking deal’ and ‘assisting with the sale of a client’s interest in a set of high-profile West End hotels’. Trainees gain satisfaction from the ‘prestige’ associated with market-leading deals, and the pay ‘doesn’t get much better at a law firm’, earning a Lex 100 Winner prize for remuneration satisfaction. A downside to this enticing package is the ‘unpredictable hours’ which can result in ‘doing an all-nighter’ and ‘cancelling on friends when work gets hectic’. Weil Gotshal has an ‘excellent training programme’ which is ‘very hands-on’, and one respondent to our survey adds that ‘though the people we work with everyday are amongst the best in the industry, they are still very approachable and friendly’. There is a ‘tendency for certain departments to dominate the firm environment’, and one trainee describes how ‘the firm is run by corporate so any other practice areas are usually secondary concerns’, yet the firm is lauded for its ‘ambition’ and for providing a ‘quality of work not offered to trainees elsewhere in the City’. A Lex 100 Winner gong for confidence of being kept on has also been secured. To join ‘lean teams doing high-quality work’ at an international firm which offers a ‘clear path for career progression’, consider applying to Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
A day in the life of...
Grace Smith fourth-seat trainee, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Departments to date: Corporate, banking, corporate secondment to New York, private funds
University:University of Oxford
9.00am: I arrive at my desk and review my to-do lists prior to starting my work for the day. I find it particularly useful to have a list of my ongoing tasks so I can keep track of the progress of each of my matters. As a trainee, you can often be involved in a large number of matters at any one time and it is important to be on top of things. I talk to my supervisor about what he has on today and which tasks I can get involved with.
9.30am: Overnight, we received further comments on a private placement memorandum (PPM) we have been working on. I take a first look at the comments and discuss them with my supervisor before inputting them into our master version. We will be sending out a near-final draft this afternoon.
11.45am: I attend a meeting with my team to discuss a business development presentation we are working on. Weil encourages trainees and associates at all levels to get involved with business development. It is important to understand at an early stage the needs of our clients and how to best meet these.
12.30pm: I decide to take advantage of the good weather and head outside with a few of the other trainees to grab an early lunch. A select trainee intake is one of the things that attracted me to Weil. The relatively smaller intake is great from a social perspective and also means that as a trainee you are more visible within the departments, and within the firm itself.
1.30pm: I attend a training session on funds tax basics, presented by a partner and an associate in the tax team. I find this session very useful as it is vital to have at least a basic understanding of why certain funds are structured in the way that they are, as well as how the laws in this area are changing and how tax structuring will need to adapt to this.
2.30pm: I continue my work on the PPM to ensure that we are in a position to send this out shortly. My supervisor has asked me to help out with a billing task for a large client of the firm. It is important as a trainee to have an awareness of the billing process and what our clients expect to see in terms of accounting for the work undertaken. At 3.00pm the weekly cake trolley stops by the office, so my supervisor and I take a quick break.
4.00pm: On a separate matter, a fund review, I join a call with our client to discuss the response we have received from the fund’s counsel. In advance of the call, I review the relevant side letter so I am able to discuss which points have been accepted or included in the revised draft. We decide that it will be best to arrange for a call with the fund’s counsel to discuss their approach and highlight the points which are of high importance to our client.
6.00pm: I speak to the partner and the rest of the team about the current status of one of my ongoing matters. We discuss the updates that have occurred in the last week, and what else needs to be done. Following the meeting, I update the steps paper to reflect the status of each task and any additional steps to be taken. This is then circulated to the team, and later on to the client.
7.30pm: Before leaving the office, I go through my email inbox from the day and make sure I am up to speed with everything. I file each of my emails with respect to each matter, and flag those emails which require following up. I then join the rest of the team as we head off for our bi-monthly drinks social which is held at Flight Club on this occasion, and shortly descends into a full-blown darts rivalry!
About the firm
Address:110 Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1AY
Telephone: 020 7903 1042
Managing partner : Michael Francies
Other offices: Beijing, Boston, Budapest, Dallas, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, Miami, Munich, New York, Paris, Prague, Princeton, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Warsaw and Washington DC.
Who we are: With approximately 1,100 lawyers in offices on three continents around the world, Weil operates according to the ‘one firm’ principle, allowing it to bring the right mix of firm-wide skill and local-market presence to deliver the coordinated legal advice necessary to help its clients achieve their sophisticated goals and objectives.
What we do: Weil provides clients with legal expertise at the highest level across its key practices of private equity, corporate/M&A, funds, banking and finance, structured finance, restructuring and dispute resolution, and has been involved in some of the most significant, high-profile and prestigious mandates across all its legal specialisms.
What we are looking for: Weil is looking for business-minded high achievers with confidence and self-belief. Individuals that will always push themselves to keep developing and improving and who can work effectively in a team. Entry requirements are AAB at A Level (or equivalent), excluding general studies, and a 2(1) at degree level.
What you'll do:Weil offers a comprehensive and sophisticated training programme with direct input from leading partners alongside a tailor-made approach to mentoring, career progression and development for each lawyer. Working in close-knit partner-led teams provides much greater responsibility and early exposure to the firm’s global network of clients and contacts.
Perks: Private health cover; permanent health insurance; life assurance; pension (the firm will contribute to the group personal pension plan at the rate of 5% of basic salary); birthday holiday; health screening; 23 days’ holiday, with holiday entitlement increasing by one year after each year of service, up to 28 days; £500 annual wellbeing allowance; two annual volunteering days; and an annual eye test with £50 towards glasses.
Sponsorship:Full GDL and LPC fees paid, plus a maintenance grant of £8,000 per annum.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 15
Applications received pa: 1,500
Percentage interviewed: 10% for both vacation schemes and training contracts
First year: £46,000
Second year: £50,000
Newly qualified: £115,000
Total partners: 31
Apply to:Lisa Powell, graduate recruitment and development manager.
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017 for 2019 training contracts.
3-13 April 2017 (apply by 13 January 2017)
26 June-7 July 2017, 17-28 July 2017 (apply by 13 January 2017)