Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Squire Patton Boggs

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Squire Patton Boggs

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The people across the firm made the decision for me’; ‘very open and friendly culture’; ‘my amazing vacation scheme experience made me want to work here’; ‘the firm is true to its values’; ‘large international law firm with a regional presence’; ‘genuine collegiate culture’; ‘international opportunities’; ‘the six-seat training contract was an interesting opportunity to get a varied experience’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Quality of training’; ‘the opportunity to work with a broad range of high-profile clients’; ‘everyone that I’ve worked with has been very welcoming and friendly’; ‘the amount of support that is offered’; ‘how welcome you are made to feel as a trainee’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Seems a bit resistant to change’; ‘the coffee in the kitchens’; ‘office politics’; ‘some seats aren’t available due to the team being smaller’; ‘occasionally having to work long hours’; ‘there aren’t always opportunities for secondments in every seat rotation’

Best moment? ‘Being offered a seat in the Paris office’; ‘being given the autonomy to essentially run a matter and being the main point of call for the client’; ‘getting to know trainees in the other offices’; ‘working with Premier League footballers on commercial deals’; ‘co-ordinating a completion of a banking transaction with the Beijing office’; ‘my first solo completion’

Worst moment? ‘Having to prepare several documents for an urgent court issue in the first week of my seat with limited supervision’; ‘making one or two mistakes at work’; ‘my first seat change was very disorientating; ‘the occasional late night and run-off-your-feet day’; ‘major page-turning and exhibit checking exercise in arbitration team’; ‘not knowing what roles will be available on qualification’

The Lex 100 verdict on Squire Patton Boggs

The firm: International law firm Squire Patton Boggs has offices in 20 countries over five continents and is one of the largest law firms in the world by total headcount. The firm advises a diverse mix of clients from Fortune 100 and FTSE 100 corporations to emerging companies, and from individuals to local and national governments.

The deals: Acted for the sellers of Bullitt Group Limited and certain members of the management team in the £120m sale of the company to Exponent Private Equity; acting for Cathay Pacific in the EC cartel investigation in the Airfreight case; assisted Telegraph Media Group on its contract with PA News concerning the daily supply of data and images for use in their print and online publications; advised PNC Business Credit on a £30m ABL facility to premium wine and spirits wholesaler Enotria & Coe; acted for LMAX Exchange on its £22m buy-out of Paddy Power Betfair.

The clients: Bank of America; Birmingham City Council; Cancer Research UK; London Taxi; Manchester Airport Group; Zone Limited; TrueLayer; Vp.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Asset-based lending; Brand management; Commercial property; Competition litigation; Employment: employers and senior executives; Environment; EU and competition: trade, WTO, anti-dumping and customs; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Fraud: civil; Gaming and betting; Health and safety; IT and telecoms; Licensing; M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m-£250m; Pensions; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Private equity: transactions – mid-market deals; Securitisation; Sport

The verdict

Squire Patton Boggs’ ‘global presence’ and ‘unique inclusive culture’ lured recruits. Applicants were excited by the prospect of ‘working in the Paris and Brussels offices’ and intrigued by the ‘six-seat training contract’, seeing it as an opportunity to gain a varied experience. Many claim to have ‘warmed to the firm’s friendly welcoming environment’ and those inspired by vacation scheme experiences confirmed that ‘the firm is true to its values’. It is unsurprising then that Squire Patton Boggs is a Lex 100 Winner for inclusiveness and approachability. The ‘promise of a healthy work/life balance’ attracted trainees, but some see this as a compromise for salary and feel that ‘remuneration is not necessarily in line with firms we are meant to be direct competitors of’. Trainees feel that ‘the firm genuinely cares about your personal development’ and that ‘everyone is valued and has a role to play in the team’. Many were glad ‘it was easy to bond with people in the team’, especially since the ‘three-week induction’, which they felt ‘made such a difference’ to their training experience. As trainees are given ‘a lot of autonomy in some seats’, best moments relate to high-profile work and client contact. This includes ‘helping a partner with a pitch and winning’, ‘working on a high-profile adjudication’ and ‘running client meetings alone’. ‘Struggling to meet deadlines’, ‘the occasional late night’ and ‘spending weeks only preparing bundles’ frustrated trainees. Undoubtedly, ‘the people’ stood out as the best thing, although the ‘very limited international secondment opportunities aside from Brussels and Paris’ disappointed some newbies. If a ‘down-to-earth firm’ where ‘the openness of the partnership is unrivalled’ sounds good to you, consider Squire Patton Boggs.

A day in the life of… Gabe Pennington, trainee

Gabe Pennington, Squire Patton Boggs

Departments to date: Banking, secondment to the Paris office, litigation

University: Newcastle University

Degree: Law 2(1)

9.15am: Espresso in hand (any coffee-based variation and you will be getting a few funny looks in the City of Light), I arrive at my desk to check up on the list of tasks I have put together for the week.

9.30am: One of the main jobs I have been asked to help on is to assist several partners prepare to arbitrate at CMAP (the Paris Centre for Mediation and Arbitration). I need to review the invoices issued to our client going back to 2014 and redact any time entries that are not recoverable from the other side, along with sensitive or legally privileged information.

11.30am: This proves to be quite a time-consuming job, and I have to recalculate the total amounts due under each invoice. Once finished, I sit down to review my work with the supervising partner, who is also the chair of the firm’s corporate practice for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Working as a trainee who is not assigned to a single department means I am asked to help out across the separate teams in the office. One of the best things about the seat is that I have the chance to work with and learn from lawyers who have vastly differing backgrounds.

11.50am: Next on my to-do list is an article I have been working on for the office’s newsletter, ‘La Revue,’ which is sent out to clients every month. Having completed my research earlier in the week, I sit down to write a blog, analysing the recent decision handed down by the EU Competition Commissioner to block a merger between the continent’s two largest high-speed train manufacturers.

1.00pm: Today is the monthly meeting for the corporate team, where the department sits down for lunch to discuss the deals they are working on. On a normal day, it is very much the done thing in Paris to get away from your desk and take a leisurely lunch, which is a great opportunity to see new parts of the city’s 8th arrondissement (district) around the office.

2.00pm: On arriving back at my desk, I receive an urgent email from one of the associates in the international dispute resolution (IDR) team. We have been asked by a partner in Washington DC to draft a memo advising whether the French courts have jurisdiction over a dispute, and to advise on procedure before the courts. The associate has made a start on drafting the memo in French, and has asked me to translate and reword the document so it is easily understandable in English.

4.30pm: Having reviewed and queried the application of some of the relevant provisions in the French Civil Code, we sit down with one of the IDR partners to debate the implications for our client, and finalise the memo.

5.15pm: Before l leave the meeting, the same partner asks me to sit in on a call with a French client and a colleague in the London office. We have been asked to advise on a contract under English law to put on a dinosaur exhibition in the UK.

6.30pm: I return to my office to type up a quick summary of the phone call, and have a follow up discussion with my colleagues to discuss the next steps for the client.

6.50pm: I get back to the blog post I was working on earlier in the day, and cut it down so that it is ready for publication on the firm’s website and the office newsletter.

7.30pm: With all my tasks completed for the day, I head out of the office and jump on one of Paris’ 20,000 electric scooters for a picturesque commute home, past some of the city’s most famous sights.

About the firm

Senior partner: Jane Haxby

Other offices: 47 offices in 20 countries

Who we are: We are a global law firm that provides insight where law, business and government meet.

What we do: We provide commercial solutions by combining sector knowledge, legal, lobbying and political capabilities. With over 1,500 lawyers in 47 offices across 20 countries, we have connections on the ground wherever our clients operate.

Perks: 25 days’ holiday, death in service, life assurance, pension, income protection. Flexible benefits package which includes private medical insurance, dental insurance, critical illness cover, cashplan, Ride2Work Scheme and season ticket loan.

Sponsorship: We offer financial support for the relevant course taken.