Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I liked the firm’s emphasis on the culture of collaboration, its commitment to pro bono and its inclusion of women in senior management’, ‘top-quality work, especially in the employment space’, ‘friendly interviews’, ‘small intake but interesting work’, ‘amazing NQ salary’, ‘small teams’, ‘the friendly culture which was evident from my interview day, the strength and range of practice areas and the chance to be part of a growing London office’
Best thing about the firm? ‘Friendly colleagues’, ‘everyone is able to be themselves and, as long as you do your work, there do not seem to be unreasonable expectations made of people’, ‘some of the partners provide incredible learning opportunities’, ‘trainees really get a lot of responsibility’, ‘you are working alongside highly intelligent and friendly lawyers’, ‘the strength of the non-corporate/finance practice areas, which is unique for US firms’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘Information flow’, ‘lack of clarity over anything trainee related, especially the qualification process and how likely a trainee is to qualify into their desired department’, ‘uncertainty about places for qualification’, ‘HR and seat allocation – they do not seem to take into account your preferences’, ‘as a US firm the hours can be long; you need to be constantly “on” and “available”’
Best moment? ‘Leading a multi-million-pound transaction with a partner while the supervising associate was away’, ‘attending court and arbitration hearings for cases in which I had significant involvement’, ‘working directly with a partner in an associate-level role’, ‘receiving great feedback from associates/partners’, ‘being part of a deal from the initial kick-off call to closing’
Worst moment? ‘Staying until 3am to prepare documents that were later deemed unnecessary’, ‘I was in a transactional seat during a quiet period and felt like I was doing more business development than client work’, ‘feeling out of my depth when closing a deal very early on in my seat’
The Lex 100 verdict on Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Much more than a US firm outpost, Morgan Lewis & Bockius UK LLP has a longstanding connection to the UK legal market with an ‘emphasis on the culture of collaboration’. The firm has a ‘commitment to pro bono and supports inclusion of women in senior management’. The firm’s international scope lets trainees work ‘alongside highly intelligent and friendly lawyers’ doing ‘top-quality work’. Trainees highlight the firm’s culture as ‘very inclusive and non-hierarchal’ and commend ‘the strength of the non-corporate and finance practice areas – which is unique for US firms’, plus its notable reputation in employment matters. The firm boasts a ‘small intake’ who receive ‘interesting work’ and can achieve an ‘amazing NQ salary’. In terms of training, the approach is to focus on experience with ‘trainees really getting a lot of responsibility’ and some of the partners provide ‘incredible learning opportunities’. One trainee adds that ‘everyone is able to be themselves; as long as you do your work, there do not seem to be any unreasonable expectations made of you’. Negatives identified include slow ‘information flow’, vague qualification process, and the hours; ‘the hours can be long, you need to be constantly on and available’ with ‘3am finishes’ sometimes on the cards. But this is hardly unusual for a US firm with the level of responsibility afforded. Pro-bono activity is highly encouraged and counted as billable work. If you are interested in a US firm, but want a broad range of work outside of financial and corporate seats, Morgan Lewis & Bockius could be right for you.
The firm: With 31 offices across North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, Morgan Lewis provides comprehensive corporate, finance, transactional, regulatory, litigation, investigations and dispute resolution services to clients ranging from emerging businesses to global public companies and across all major industries.
The deals: Represented long-time Nasdaq-listed client Yandex, one of Europe’s largest internet companies and the leading internet search engine and ride-hailing provider in Russia, in an equity offering with gross proceeds of $1.06bn; scored a landmark victory in the UK Supreme Court for Sainsbury’s (a major British retailer) against the payment card company Visa – prior to the relevant proceedings there had been no English or European ruling that Visa’s multilateral interchange fee is a restriction of competition; advised Prudential plc, a London-based international financial services group with stock exchange listings in London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New York, on an offering of $1bn in aggregate principal amount of 3.125% notes due 2030; represented MSP Sports Capital in the £185m investment in McLaren Racing – initially, MSP will acquire an approximately 15% stake in the Formula 1 team that will increase to a maximum of a 33% shareholding by the end of 2022; advised MUFG Bank on its agreement with Ripcord Inc to implement a service based on Ripcord’s robotics and AI technology to digitise paper documents for MUFG Bank customers’ convenience and business process efficiency.
A day in the life of… Christina Lewes, first-year trainee
Departments to date: Employment
8.45am: I arrive at my desk and check the emails that I have received overnight. As many of the firm’s deals have a cross-border element, I often wake up to emails from local counsel. Currently I am assisting an associate on a client’s new flexible working policy which is to be implemented across 40+ countries. I update the table I have created to track counsels’ responses.
9.00am: I review my to-do list for the day and make some final amendments to a LawFlash article that I have written for one of the partners on the EU Commission’s proposed directive on gender pay gap reporting. I send this to the partner for their thoughts before it is sent to the marketing team and published on the firm’s website.
9.30am: I dial into our daily team call. The employment law space is ever-changing, and the calls give the team the opportunity to exchange thoughts and observations on new developments, as well as anything else we think is noteworthy, such as our current favourite Netflix show!
9.50am: The team call comes to an end. I receive an email from an associate asking me to draft several individual consultation documents in connection with a TUPE transfer we are advising on.
12.30pm: I am happy with my drafting and send the documents to the associate for review. I pause for lunch, stretch my legs by going for a walk and discuss my thoughts on the location for the next trainee social with the other trainees.
1.30pm: I call the Employment Tribunal on behalf of an associate to check the status of a strike-out application in one of our claims.
2.00pm: I am working on an interesting investigation into workplace culture and a breakdown of employee relations with a partner and associate in the team. I join a call with our next interviewee and take a full note of the interview. I was responsible for drafting the interview script based on the allegations that the client has made us aware of. The script was then reviewed by the associate and partner.
3.00pm: I write up a summary of the interview for the partner. This will be used to update the client later in the week.
3.30pm: I have a catch-up call with my supervisor. These are scheduled regularly, particularly as we are working remotely. We discuss the matters that we are currently working on together, and they check in on how I am doing generally and my capacity.
4.00pm: I receive feedback on my contribution to a due diligence report for an acquisition that we are working on alongside the corporate team. The associate asks if I can assist on another task which involves reviewing IP and restrictive covenant provisions in the seller’s employment contracts.
4.30-7.00pm: I type up my notes from today’s interview and amend another interviewee’s script based on our new findings. I write up my to-do list for tomorrow and log off for the day.
About the firm
Senior partner: Jami McKeon (global)
Managing partner: Frances Murphy (London)
Training principal: Lisa Cargill (London)
Other offices: 31 globally (see website for full list)
Who we are: At Morgan Lewis, we work in collaboration around the world – always ready to respond to the needs of our clients and craft powerful solutions for them. From our offices in strategic hubs of commerce, law, and government, we work with clients ranging from established, global Fortune 100 companies to enterprising startups.
What we do: Morgan Lewis’s London office offers a wide range of business and commercial law services, including: competition; corporate; data protection and cyber security; debt and equity capital markets; finance and restructuring; labour and employment; investment management; outsourcing and technology; structured transactions; tax; and dispute resolution. Morgan Lewis has a strength in a number of business sectors, including life sciences, financial services and technology.
What we’re looking for: Morgan Lewis is seeking candidates with a consistently strong academic record, including a minimum of AAB at A Level (or equivalent) and a 2(1) (predicted or gained) in their undergraduate degree. We look for a range of prior work experience, volunteering and extra-curricular activities. In particular, we are looking for candidates to show us their commercial awareness, team spirit, resilience and passion for a career in law.
What you’ll do: Trainees complete four six-month seats over the course of the training contract. They can expect to receive high-quality, challenging assignments and the opportunity to work directly with senior lawyers across a range of practices and industry groups. The work will be varied, complex, and will most likely involve working across a variety of jurisdictions.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday p/a, life assurance, private medical and dental insurance, long-term disability insurance, season ticket loan, pension, cycle to work scheme, employee assistance programme and the option to take qualification leave at the end of the training contract.
Sponsorship: Candidates who have accepted a training contract offer with Morgan Lewis will receive a maintenance grant of £10,000 (paid in instalments), as well as the full payment of fees for both the PGDL and LPC. The firm does not provide retrospective funding for law school fees or maintenance grants.
Diversity and inclusion
Please visit www.morganlewis.com/our-firm/our-culture/diversity for information.