Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any other? ‘The firm’s global reputation in the PE, tech and life science sectors’; ‘opportunity to join a firm with an excellent global reputation which had just started to establish European roots’; ‘opportunity to work on a variety of cross-border matters’; ‘a small trainee intake with very strong core practice areas which the firm excels in’
Best thing about the firm? ‘Friendly atmosphere; open-door policy; inclusiveness; high quality of work’; ‘approachability of the partners’; ‘due to our relatively new presence in London, the firm has a dynamic, diverse and cosmopolitan feel. The firm projects this culture, not only through the events, activities and training sessions it hosts, but also through each individual’s day-to-day attitude. At Goodwin Procter you’ll make friends, not just colleagues’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘The hours can be difficult to predict at times, but that is part of the trade-off for doing international transactional work’; ‘lack of a more contentious seat opportunities’; ‘lack of secondment opportunities’; ‘lack of structure in the seat selection and qualification processes’; ‘the hours can be long/unpredictable’; ‘long hours (at times)’; ‘no canteen’
Best moment? ‘Being able to work on the full life cycle of a PE deal from start to finish culminating in a physical signing and completion’; ‘taking a leading role on a deal, being first point of client contact, and having the opportunity to take initial drafts of the main transaction documents’; ‘working on the completion of a landmark £6m student accommodation deal’
Worst moment? ‘Adjusting to working from home during the Covid-19 lockdown’; ‘embarrassing mistakes with Companies House filings’; ‘having to inform a client of a mistake made nine months’ prior in my previous seat’; ‘Friday late night closings’; ‘managing competing expectations’; ‘being parachuted onto a deal with no background at the last minute’; ‘completing a transaction at 5am with the finance team’
The Lex 100 verdict on Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP
The firm: Goodwin focuses on working with clients in the financial, private equity, real estate, technology and life sciences industries. It has more than 1,300 corporate and litigation lawyers worldwide. The growing London office is home to more than 130 lawyers who provide an integrated legal service offering across offices and geographies.
The deals: advised Compass Pathfinder Holdings Limited, a life sciences company dedicated to accelerating patient access to evidence-based innovation in mental health, on its Series B/crossover round of just over US$80m; advised Medical Properties Trust on the acquisition of a corporate structure which ultimately owns a portfolio of 30 acute care hospital facilities, valued at approximately £1.5bn, the biggest real estate transaction in the UK in 2019; advised Ares Management on its fifth opportunistic European real estate fund, Ares European Real Estate Fund V SCSp, which achieved its hard cap of €1.75bn, being the largest Ares Real Estate fund to date; advised Bregal Sagemount on the sale of the entire issued share capital of OT Topco Limited, being the ultimate holding company of the Options Technology business, with ABRY Partners acquiring a majority stake in Options as part of the sale, with management and Sagemount retaining a minority interest; advised Ambienta on the raising of its third fund, Ambienta III, with a first and final close after less than three months of active marketing, and with demand well in excess of €1bn, the fund surpassed its original €500m target and hit its €635m hard cap.
The clients: Achilles Therapeutics; Ares Management; BentallGreenOak; CityMapper; Graphite Capital; Inflexion; Investcorp; Macquarie; NREP; Webster Equity Partners
With a ‘dynamic, diverse and cosmopolitan feel’, Goodwin Procter is a recent arrival in the UK legal training scene and has made a strong impression. Private equity and deals are its bread and butter, but it also has a strong reputation across the tech and life science sectors. Trainees highlight their excitement at the ‘opportunity to join a firm with an excellent global reputation which had just started to establish European roots’ and praise the ‘variety of cross-border matters’. The firm is a Lex 100 Winner in an impressive six categories: job satisfaction, living up to expectations, overall quality of work, amount of client contact, financial remuneration, and the approachability of partners/ supervisors. These awards reflect comments from trainees praising ‘committed training and overall mental support throughout the two years at the firm’. ‘The training contract is flexible and gives trainees a lot more opportunity to take ownership of their training. More responsibility is given to trainees, however, because of the small intake, there is a lack of structured formal training’. Hours can be unpredictable, frequently an issue with US firms, and there are complaints about having no canteen. However, the firm is praised for its ‘commitment to public service through its wide-ranging pro bono initiatives’ and consistently lauded for its client contact and headline-grabbing work. If you like the sound of a growing US firm with a focus on international transactional work and private equity, Goodwin Procter is a strong candidate.
A day in the life of… Zach Bonner, trainee solicitor, Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP
Departments to date: Private equity, private investment funds
University: University of Leeds; BPP Law School
Degree: LLB Law 2(1); MA LPC with Business (Commendation)
9.00am: Each Goodwin trainee is provided with a work phone. This is very helpful as it allows me to check my emails in the morning and flag anything which will require my immediate attention. After arriving at the office I amend my rolling to-do list, and then make a coffee in the kitchen on my floor. I also have a quick chat with my supervisor (who I share an office with) about a new matter which we will be working on together.
9.30am: I check some draft subscription agreements which have come in overnight and notice that there are a few issues. I flag these to the associate leading on the matter by email and separately reach out to our tax team to review the relevant tax sections.
10.00am: I attend a client call where we run through the document checklist and discuss action points for the upcoming week. Part of my role as a trainee is to keep the checklist up-to-date and circulate it to all relevant parties on a weekly basis. This requires a good understanding of the documents involved and close attention to the movements of the previous week, as well as good organisational skills – vital during the training contract!
11.00am: I have recently been assisting an associate with some due diligence. We have a chat in his office before I tackle a few more sections. I have found this to be a very useful exercise in developing my knowledge of funds. The associates at Goodwin always provide very helpful and constructive feedback. The comments from the associate are taken onboard and fed into my next turn of the due diligence report.
1.00pm: Lunch time. Today, Porterford Butchers (which is just around the corner) is the venue of choice.
1.30pm: I help with drafting some documents for an upcoming closing. I enjoy drafting board minutes in particular, as I feel that it allows you to gain a very good overview of the transaction and the closing process. There are some interesting intricacies in these minutes, so I cross-check against various other documents.
3.00pm: I meet with a fellow trainee who is organising the next trainee social and head to the coffee shop next door. Each year the Goodwin trainees receive a budget to spend on social activities of our choosing. This is great, as it allows us to pick a date when we are all available. The last two activities were archery-tag and a meal/drinks at a local restaurant.
3.30pm: Upon re-arrival in the office, I review a response from the associate in respect of the subscription agreements which I had reviewed earlier in the day. After reviewing her comments I then reach out to the subscribers to flag the issues and ask them to send through revised drafts.
4.00pm: I spend the next few hours completing some work on a private placement verification exercise. This is something which I had mentioned to my supervisor that I wanted to do, so I was very grateful when he asked around the team to see if anyone had this in the pipeline. Once completed I send my draft to the associate leading the matter for comments.
6.00pm: I check-in on a pro bono initiative which I have signed up for through our charity of the year. I discover that I have been paired with a student at a local university to act as mentor, and so I draft and send an introduction email. I then also check on the status of my innocence project work – a very rewarding pro bono initiative.
6.30pm: As nothing further is required for the day I amend my rolling to-do list, and release the time which I have recorded throughout the day. I then head out of the office to meet some friends.
About the firm
London office co-chairs: Samantha Lake Coghlan, Paul Lyons
Other offices: 13 offices in the US, Europe and Asia
Who we are: Goodwin is a premium global law firm with more than 1,200 lawyers across 13 offices in the US, Asia and Europe.
What we do: Our London office has market-leading practices in private equity, real estate and technology and life sciences. These key business units are supported by our finance, funds, real estate (corporate and private investment), commercial (IP and data protection) and tax teams.
What we’re looking for: We are looking for intellectual, ambitious and motivated individuals who can contribute to our continued growth and success.
What you’ll do: Our size and continued growth allow us to offer our trainees and associates increased responsibility and meaningful client contact from the outset. We work in small teams, which gives our lawyers the opportunity to work directly with, and be mentored by, senior colleagues, and to develop a network that will be an invaluable part of their future career development.
Perks: Private medical and dental insurance, travel insurance, virtual GP, life assurance, income protection, pension, cycle scheme, gym subsidy, fresh fruit deliveries.
Sponsorship: We offer full sponsorship of both the GDL and LPC, together with a maintenance grant of £8,000 for the GDL and £10,000 for the LPC.