Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any other?  ‘International appeal and remuneration’, ‘it had everything I was looking for in one place’, ‘smaller intake, good compensation, unparalleled reputation in the financial world’, ‘the nature of the work, culture of the firm and emphasis on pro bono’, ‘prestige, salary and client base’, ‘small trainee intake and quality of work’, ‘reputation and level of work it does’

Best thing about the firm?  ‘Quality of work and clients’, ‘friendly culture’, ‘strong UK feel for a US firm – the work is largely derived from UK origins’, ‘the work, friendly culture and level of responsibility given to trainees’, ‘working with industry titans’, ‘everyone is extremely friendly, has been exceedingly supportive whilst working from home, and are always happy to help and answer questions, no matter how busy they are’, ‘the culture’

Worst thing about the firm?  ‘Work/life balance’, ‘the hours’, ‘the working hierarchy is a bit rigid in some departments’, ‘there could have been more engagement with trainees whilst working from home during the pandemic’, ‘the long hours can impact on your social life’, ‘lack of support at times’, ‘late nights’

Best moment?  ‘Being given responsibility to interact directly with clients’, ‘spotting an issue and saving a deal from not closing properly’, ‘winning our client’s employment tribunal matter after pulling a last-minute all-weekend shift of work to redraft all statements of case’, ‘launching a new pro bono partnership’, ‘training presentation given to the corporate department’, ‘having a first go at drafting the transaction documents for a deal’, ‘successfully running a closing in six jurisdictions at once’

Worst moment?  ‘Late nights feeling overwhelmed by work’, ‘doing 9am – 3am for a few weeks in a row’, ‘a period of what felt like non-stop closings; everyone was really tired and the work was admin-heavy’, ‘feeling a bit lost working on a very complex deal – I could have done with more support’, ‘never having been into the office’

The Lex 100 verdict on Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP

An American heavyweight in financial markets, Weil, Gotshal & Manges London LLP is more than just an outpost of a famous law firm. The firm has an ‘unparalleled reputation in the financial world’, and trainees particularly love the fact that Weil ‘has a strong UK feel for a US firm, as the work is largely derived from UK origins’. The ‘international appeal’, ‘prestige’ and ‘impressive client base’ were but some of the factors which convinced recruits to apply and subsequently join the firm. As one trainee comments: ‘it had everything I was looking for in one place’. Weil is the deserving recipient of four Lex 100 Winner medals this year for its salary, inclusiveness, confidence of being kept on, and social life. Training is described as being ‘largely on the job’, which suits some trainees more than others, though ‘this does vary from team to team’. Culturally the firm is friendly and accommodating: ‘everyone is extremely helpful, has been exceedingly supportive whilst working from home, and people are always happy to help and answer questions, no matter how busy they are’. Long hours are not uncommon, however, and more than one trainee said that the work/life balance was the worst thing about the firm. ‘Weeks of 3am finishes’ and ‘several competing deadlines’, occasionally left recruits ‘feeling pressured’. Some teams are reported to have a hierarchical working structure too. On the plus side, there is a ‘continuous stream’ of pro bono opportunities, which are ‘plentiful and interesting’. Indeed, ‘launching a pro bono partnership’ was one trainee’s best moment. To work with ‘industry titans’ in a firm which offers ‘top-quality work, a friendly culture and a high level of responsibility for trainees’, research Weil, Gotshal & Manges.

About the firm

Managing partner: Michael Francies

Other offices: Boston, Dallas, Houston, Miami, New York, Princeton, Silicon Valley, Washington DC, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Frankfurt, Munich, Paris.

Who we are: With approximately 1,100 lawyers across the US, Europe and Asia, 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 co-ordinated legal advice to help its clients achieve their sophisticated goals and objectives.

Established in 1996, Weil’s London office is the largest of its European offices and the hub of its European practice. The office is a leading player in the UK legal market and is consistently regarded as one of the most successful London offices of a US-based law firm. The firm supports a varied client base of European, US and global private equity houses, corporates and financial institutions on domestic and cross-border matters.

Weil’s strategy is focused on long-term investment in recruiting and retaining exceptional talent at all levels. The firm’s people celebrate diversity and inclusion, and its award-winning pro bono programme is deeply ingrained in the firm’s culture.

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. The majority of the firm’s work involves multidisciplinary teams across the specialist fields of competition, corporate governance and compliance, employment, intellectual property, management incentives, pensions, real estate, tax and technology, leveraging the expertise of its full-service capabilities for its clients.

What we’re looking for: A career at Weil is challenging, technical and requires trainees to work under pressure. With this in mind, we are looking for bright candidates who can use their initiative, are comfortable in the spotlight and who thrive when challenged and placed out of their comfort zone. Successful candidates will need to be business-minded with plenty of entrepreneurial flair and commercial acumen, as well as the ability to work effectively in a team. We are looking to recruit candidates from all universities and degree disciplines. Our academic requirements are AAB at A-Level or equivalent and a 2(1) degree (obtained or predicted). We review all application forms holistically, which means if you fall slightly short of our academic requirements but demonstrate great potential, you will still be considered.

What you’ll do: Weil’s training contract is designed to help you reach your potential as quickly as possible through constant exposure to high-calibre work. We take an open and transparent approach to progression with a structure that makes sure you get the best start to your legal career. As a trainee you will work on some of the most complex and sophisticated matters. The work will be varied, exciting and from the very start, you will be in the spotlight – tackling the problems our clients face.

During your training contract, you will complete four six-month seats, one of which will be in corporate and one in finance. In each of your four seats, you will share an office with your supervisor, which means you will always have someone to guide you in your day-to-day work. The mentoring and support you receive as a Weil trainee mean you can progress and reach your goals sooner than most law firms. You will be allocated a partner mentor, who will be your go-to for advice and guidance throughout the full two years of your training.

Vacation schemes 2022: A vacation scheme is a great way to experience first-hand what life is like as a Weil trainee. You will work alongside associates, carrying out real trainee tasks and responsibilities while gaining a greater insight into one of the firm’s practice areas. You will be mentored and supported throughout the scheme, and to help you get even more of an insight into life at Weil, there will be various talks and workshops. We also organise a number of social events, so you can get to know Weil’s lawyers and staff in a more relaxed setting. You can apply for a vacation scheme if you are able to start a training contract in 2023 or 2024. Remuneration is £500 per week.

Fast track scheme 2022: Our two-day, fast track scheme is a fantastic way to gain an insight into the legal profession and understand the work of a trainee at Weil. Perform well on the scheme and you will be automatically interviewed for a 2023 vacation scheme. You can apply for a fast track scheme if you are a first-year law student, second-year law student on a four-year course, or a penultimate year non-law student. Remuneration of £100 per day.

Insight days (in person): Meet our people and get a better understanding of our firm and culture. During an insight day you will hear from our trainees, associates and partners about life at Weil. You can apply for an insight day if you are an undergraduate, graduate or postgraduate from any degree discipline.

Virtual experience programme: Gain hands-on experience of the typical tasks a trainee would get involved in while working in our private equity, banking and finance, and restructuring teams. This internship is free, self-paced and open to everyone. No application is required.

Virtual events: At our virtual events, you’ll have the chance to meet our people, build your network and discover our culture, as well as ask any questions you have about the application process. Visit https://ukrecruiting.weil.com/meet-us for a list of upcoming events.

Sponsorship: PGDL: £12,000, LPC: £12,000, SQE 1 & 2: £12,000.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are more than just words. They embody a commitment that has been at our core since the firm was founded. We strive to honour this commitment and create a culture where our differences are respected, celebrated and valued.