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 others? ‘Small teams mean more responsibility and ownership of work’, ‘quality of work and remuneration’, ‘American roots’, ‘reputation in property law’, ‘everyone I met was friendly and approachable – there was definitely a collegiate atmosphere’, ‘the culture is great’, ‘quality of the lawyers, work and client base’, ‘interest in funds and private equity’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The open culture’, ‘everyone, no matter how senior, is invested in my training’, ‘being able to approach senior management and the flat hierarchy’, ‘the quality of the work’, ‘the partners are very supportive and this filters down to the associates’, ‘high-quality training, high levels of responsibility and a lot of client contact’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The hours’, ‘the lack of a support network given that you are often the only trainee in your department’, ‘no canteen/local food options are limited in the evening’, ‘no gym’, ‘the hours can be long’, ‘limited international secondment opportunities’

Best moment? ‘The firm cycle ride to Paris’, ‘being able to do the seats I wanted and pick PSC electives which suit my qualification aspirations’, ‘working on a fundraising and being invited to the client drinks following the first closing’, ‘liaising with multiple parties from different jurisdictions in order to complete a deal before the deadline’

Worst moment? ‘Staying late to prepare 60 transfer documents for a transaction’, ‘being pressured to get things done quickly whilst managing a large workload’, ‘a basic lack of empathy in the case of one or two superiors’, ‘working until 3am the night before a fund closing because an investor wanted to make some last-minute amendments to the fund documents’

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. The firm has more than 1,000 corporate and litigation lawyers worldwide. Goodwin’s London office is home to more than 75 real estate and private equity lawyers who provide an integrated legal service offering across offices and geographies.

The deals: Advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets on the structuring and fundraising of its €6 billion fund, Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 6; assisted Kennedy Wilson Europe (part of the NYSE listed Kennedy Wilson group), on its joint venture arrangements with AXA Investment Managers – Real Assets; advised Y Combinator’s Continuity growth fund as lead investor on a Series F investment of £113 million into Monzo Bank Limited, a digital mobile-only bank based in the United Kingdom focused on disrupting the traditional banking sector; advised Advent International on the successful completion of its $17.5 billion fundraising for Advent International GPE IX Limited Partnership; acted for BridgeBio Pharma (Nasdaq: BBIO), a Palo Alto-based company that finds, develops, and delivers breakthrough medicines for genetic diseases, who sold 20.5 million shares priced at $17, raising $348.5 million; advised Glennmont Partners on the successful closing of its Fund III, which has raised €850 million to invest in clean energy infrastructure projects in Europe, the largest amount that has ever been raised for a green energy only fund with a pan-European mandate.

The clients: Advent; Ares Management; Baumont Real Estate; Capital Dynamics; Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts; Glennmont; HIG Capital; Investcorp; Macquarie; NREP.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Commercial property; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Corporate tax; Private equity: transactions; Private funds; Property finance; Real Estate funds

The verdict

Goodwin Procter is renowned for its specialism in funds and private equity. The US firm’s practice areas are ‘focused and deeply integrated with one another’. A smaller trainee intake sees recruits gain ‘exposure to great work and people’, although this also means that they are ‘expected to hit the ground running straight away’. Another benefit of the modest-sized cohort is that ‘everyone knows you and you never feel like just a number on a spreadsheet’. The work on offer is ‘technically advanced’, with plenty of opportunity to ‘get involved with the type of real-life tasks you will be doing once qualified’. Impressively, Goodwin has been awarded Lex 100 Winner medals in the job satisfaction, living up to expectations, quality of work, salary, inclusiveness and supervisor approachability categories. Grumbles included the ‘limited support staff’ and the ‘limited opportunities to spend time abroad as a junior’. Trainees also begrudged the lack of canteen. In terms of work highlights, ‘spotting something during due diligence which proved to be fundamental’ and ‘stepping in and organising the exchange of contracts for a closing while an associate was away’ were singled out. The hours can be intense though; several recruits cited instances of ‘staying in the office until 3am preparing documents’ and having to deal with ‘cold takeaway food when working late’. Hopefully the ‘extensive support’ trainees receive from their teams make up for this, at least in part. To sum up, Goodwin Procter boasts ‘American wages but a European culture, with top legal brains – the dream’. If this sounds like the firm for you, start your research now.

A day in the life of… Samantha Lamontagne, trainee solicitor, Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP

Samantha Lamontagne, Goodwin Procter (UK) LLP

Departments to date: Private investment funds, corporate real estate, private equity

University: Queen's University (Canada); The City Law School (London)

Degree: Political Science and Sociology (Double-Major); Graduate-Entry LLB (Honours) 2 year-programme

9.00am: I arrive at the office, review any emails that have come in overnight, and make any amendments to my to-do list for the day. I usually pop into the kitchen afterwards to get my first cup of tea of the day.

9.30am: We have been assisting our Paris office with a due diligence report with respect to a UK company in the target’s group structure. I make some amendments to our section of the report after reviewing newly added documents in the data room, and I prepare Q&As ahead of a call with the seller’s management team.

10.30am: I review the original signatures that have arrived through the post in relation to a deal we recently closed, cross-referencing against the documents list to ensure we aren’t missing anything vital (such as the stock transfer forms). I then send various forms to Companies House for filing, and prepare the index for the transaction bible.

12.00pm: I meet with a senior associate in the team for a briefing on a new matter, where we are instructing our client (a minority shareholder) on a proposed offer for its shares by the majority shareholder in the company. I then research the squeezing-out provisions under the Companies Act 2006 to assist with answering our client’s queries following a draft memo we prepared.

1.00pm: I meet with another trainee for a quick lunch break outside, to enjoy the fleeting September sun.

1.30pm: I attend a meeting as a member of the firm’s Pro-bono and Community Service Committee, where we discuss new initiatives and strategy for the upcoming year.

2.15pm: I return to my desk and note I have a new email from our private investment funds team, asking if I’m available to join a call with the client we have been advising in relation to incorporating a new private UK company. The client is based in New York, and the call will be at 6.30pm UK time.

2.30pm: After preparing for the call, I continue drafting some documents to effect a share restack as part of a new joint venture arrangement following completion of a deal we closed recently.

3.30pm: I meet with an associate I worked with in my first seat for a quick coffee break outside.

4.00pm: I receive a call from a colleague asking if I can assist with some due diligence on a new matter in the life sciences group, and I start reviewing the corporate documents in the data room. I prepare a summary email to the associates on the team, flagging any concerns at this stage and requests for further information from the sellers for our review.

6.25pm: The partner from the funds team informs me I will be leading the call with the client (but thankfully our corporate PSL is sat next to me, just in case!). The client and I run through the documents I prepared, and we discuss the PSC register and other matters.

7.00pm: I quickly run through my to-do list, and as nothing else is urgent, I write my narratives for the day, close time and head out to meet friends for drinks at The Ned – conveniently located nearby…

About the firm

London office co-chairs: Samantha Lake Coghlan, Paul Lyons

Other offices: 10 offices in the US, Europe and Asia

Who we are: Goodwin is a premium global law firm with more than 1,200 lawyers across 10 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.