Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

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legalassassin
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Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby legalassassin » Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:50 am

I will be applying this cycle (fall) and I'm curious to know what type of programs I should be aiming for if this is my goal. Should I focus on International Law programs? I would really love to work overseas in the UK after graduating law school. I know a lot of firms that recruit have London based offices, but do new graduates get these positions? And yes I did do a search but not much on the topic itself (most was about internships and law school abroad).

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robin600
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby robin600 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:15 pm

legalassassin wrote:I will be applying this cycle (fall) and I'm curious to know what type of programs I should be aiming for if this is my goal. Should I focus on International Law programs? I would really love to work overseas in the UK after graduating law school. I know a lot of firms that recruit have London based offices, but do new graduates get these positions? And yes I did do a search but not much on the topic itself (most was about internships and law school abroad).

Notre Dame's one year study abroad in london program might be for you. I'm sure with all the london faculty you could make some great contacts.

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merichard87
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby merichard87 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:18 pm

What are your numbers?

The better your numbers, the better school you can get into, the better the opportunities you get are.

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mallard
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby mallard » Sat Jul 03, 2010 2:25 pm

Go to the best school you get into, unless you don't get into any schools good enough to give you a reasonable chance of doing this, in which case don't go to law school.

Brassica7
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby Brassica7 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 3:14 pm

How good a school do you need to go to in order have a reasonable chance of landing a job in London?

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merichard87
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby merichard87 » Sat Jul 03, 2010 7:50 pm

I would say T14 and T20 with connections.

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rayiner
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby rayiner » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:03 pm

An attorney I work with was an associate at a London firm. Graduated from vandy/Texas/ucla, but in the boom.

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Son of Cicero
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby Son of Cicero » Sun Jul 04, 2010 4:29 am

merichard87 wrote:I would say T14 and T20 with connections.

New exercise: Assume someone won't believe you if you don't establish a basis for your remarks. Try to avoid citing things you heard from "partners."

sophie316
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby sophie316 » Sun Jul 04, 2010 10:00 am

There is not that much data out there on this but from the research I have done(I'm a british student at a US law school intending to return home either immediately after law school or within 5 years) I would say the credited response is definitely go to the best school you can get into and then try and get the best grade you can(this seems to be the standard advice for anything). If you're really dead set on London and have the numbers CLS is a great choice because they have joint JD/LLM and JD/LLB programs with three London universities(you're going to need stellar LS grades for those programs though).

How long do you want to practice in the UK for? Are we talking permanent move or you like the idea of living there for a year or two? If you want to permanently relocate that will help but you're probably going to have to have a very good explanation and show ties to London. Plenty of people want to go and spend a couple of years living in London making US salary(which is a decent chunk more than people at the same level educated in the UK will be making FYI), getting European vacation time and experiencing living overseas, but firms are generally going to want someone who they think will stick around and is not just looking for an extended vacation.

Don't take international law classes unless they interest you, it won't make any difference for getting hired. The only ones that could be of use in practice are things like conflicts but it would really depend what practice area you're shooting for.

Don't just look at US firms look for UK firms with US offices(Freshfields, Linklaters, Allen & Overy, Clifford Chance). I think these, and some US firms will let you split the summer between London and NY, however I have yet to get any kind of definitive read on how this would affect the chances of getting an offer at either office(I'm assuming spending the whole summer in 1 place is probably better because you get to know more people but I could be wrong). Herbert Smith is another British firm that actively recruits JDs although they don't seem to have a US law practice in the states so you would not be able to change your mind and transfer back to the US. You're also going to have to look outside of OCI as most firms do not recruit for their London offices at OCI(I think there are like 5 or 6 at my school this year).

If you're interested in getting dual qualified, its reasonably easy: pass the bar, work for 2 years, take an exam(becoming a barrister is harder though, that is just for a solicitor).

Long story short you're going to need to be competitive to get hired at one of the top firms and on top of that need connections and really sell your desire to live in London as more than just wanting to be an 'international lawyer' for a while.

ps if any of the above is wrong please someone correct me. There's not that much info out there and this is what I've gleaned from the internet/career services(who also seem to know very little about this)

creatinganalt
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby creatinganalt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:03 pm

^

Agree with this. The OP needs to look at the bios of the firms in UK branches of US firms and see how they progressed. Most are t14 or British.

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acadec
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby acadec » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:23 pm

mallard wrote:Go to the best school you get into, unless you don't get into any schools good enough to give you a reasonable chance of doing this, in which case don't go to law school.

this should be copy/pasted into every thread in this forum.

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webbylu87
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby webbylu87 » Thu Jul 15, 2010 12:48 pm

My opinion is that it's not likely unless you have existing connections in London or you are T6. (I went to a UK university for undergrad and we had recruiters from all the Magic Circle firms (Freshfields, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Clifford Chance, etc...) who were looking to recruit individuals for training contracts.) I think it might have been possible 3-5 years ago but TBH the job market in the UK is just as bad, if not worse than it is here. So many of my friends who are completing masters in London and other top 10 UK schools are striking out on jobs and training contracts. There are so many UK-based students competing for those spots, I don't see firms bending over backwards to fight through the work visa requirements which have become even more strict in the last year and will continue to become so especially with the Tories in power.

This is just my opinion though and of course there are always exceptions. This is from someone who wouldn't mind returning the UK and will probably still always have that as an option in mind. Also, I have been told that if you're looking to work in a foreign office, this is often something that is done 3-5 years after you join the firm. It's hard to do immediately merely because you haven't proven that you're worth the extra investment and complications.

Pearalegal
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:31 pm

Sort of interesting comparison between a US branch of a UK firm and a UK branch of a US firm.

List of US law schools represented in Freshfields' DC office:

T6:
Chicago (2)
Harvard

T14:
Berkeley
GULC (4)
Cornell
Michigan
UVA

Other (DC Schools):
GW (2)
Washington and Lee
Catholic
George Mason
William and Mary

Other (Just Plain Other):
Kansas
Iowa

List of US law schools represented in Covington and Burling's London office:

T6:
Stanford
Columbia (2)
Harvard (2)
Yale

T14:
UVA

Other (not enough to split up into categories):
BU
W&M
Utah

creatinganalt
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby creatinganalt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:52 pm

^

The Utah person at least is an earlier generation.

The reality is that most of the people there are UK educated and (in case it's not clear to non Brits) all have stellar credentials. Seriously.

Pearalegal
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:56 pm

creatinganalt wrote:^

The Utah person at least is an earlier generation.

The reality is that most of the people there are UK educated and (in case it's not clear to non Brits) all have stellar credentials. Seriously.


Agreed, my main point was actually just to show how few US JD's are hired in a London branch.

However, I'm not sure why you're pointing out that the Utah grad is a partner. Covington does have a strong connection to Utah and BYU for whatever reason.

creatinganalt
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby creatinganalt » Thu Jul 15, 2010 1:58 pm

Pearalegal wrote:
creatinganalt wrote:^

The Utah person at least is an earlier generation.

The reality is that most of the people there are UK educated and (in case it's not clear to non Brits) all have stellar credentials. Seriously.


Agreed, my main point was actually just to show how few US JD's are hired in a London branch.

However, I'm not sure why you're pointing out that the Utah grad is a partner. Covington does have a strong connection to Utah and BYU for whatever reason.


Sorry, not to deny any link. Just to note that getting hired in this market may be more difficult than a generation ago. The legal market in London is horrific at the moment. I don't know if it is worse than the US market but because getting a job is so much more closely linked to getting qualified, a lot of people are stuck waiting for training contract programmes to reopen.

Pearalegal
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Jul 15, 2010 2:00 pm

creatinganalt wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:
creatinganalt wrote:^

The Utah person at least is an earlier generation.

The reality is that most of the people there are UK educated and (in case it's not clear to non Brits) all have stellar credentials. Seriously.


Agreed, my main point was actually just to show how few US JD's are hired in a London branch.

However, I'm not sure why you're pointing out that the Utah grad is a partner. Covington does have a strong connection to Utah and BYU for whatever reason.


Sorry, not to deny any link. Just to note that getting hired in this market may be more difficult than a generation ago. The legal market in London is horrific at the moment. I don't know if it is worse than the US market but because getting a job is so much more closely linked to getting qualified, a lot of people are stuck waiting for training contract programmes to reopen.


Oh, agreed.

sophie316
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby sophie316 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:15 am

I was talking to someone whose friend did a JD(dual US/European national) and worked at a magic circle firm in NYC before transferring to the London office after a year...they pay same salary, COL allowance AND all of their rent in London. Sweet deal.

I do think you're probably better off shooting for UK firms w US offices rather than the other way around, they're less well respected in the US relative to London and thus probably marginally easier to get hired at(I guess the counter being they hire fewer people so maybe it balances out).

FWIW the impression I've gotten this summer is that it is easier to get hired by a tip top UK firm w a JD than for a training contract w an LLB or a conversion course, but it does seem like the immigration laws are tightening and I'm sure if you're an EU citizen it would be easier.

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gwuorbust
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby gwuorbust » Sun Jul 18, 2010 10:50 am

someone correct me if I am wrong but I believe that for working in the UK it really is biglaw or bust. From my understanding the very largest of firms pay about the same as in the US. As another poster said for the magic circle then you are looking at about the same pay as NYC. For not-as-large law firms (the mystical mid-law as we would call it here in the US), those jobs, based off my limited research, do not exist in much quantity. Based on some reports I saw once non-biglaw firms in UK pay something like 35-55 euros (depends on the conversion rate but like 50-90k/year BUT you have EU COL :shock: ).

IMO nobody should bank on getting a mid-law job regardless of where in the world you are since they are so difficult to define, more or less acquire. That doesn't mean it can't be done but attending a school at sticker where getting one of those mid-law jobs is a stretch, and your only other alternative is doc review off craigslist, is not a good idea. If the OP is looking at schools like CLS then that is not an issue and s/he should go the the best school or, if debt adverse, the best combination of schlrly and rank. It seems most differences in regard to placement into certain areas (human rights law, intl law, etc) are less a function of 'quality of the specific program' and mostly based on overall quality of the school (Read: ranking).

sophie316
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby sophie316 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 11:20 am

gwuorbust wrote:someone correct me if I am wrong but I believe that for working in the UK it really is biglaw or bust. From my understanding the very largest of firms pay about the same as in the US. As another poster said for the magic circle then you are looking at about the same pay as NYC. For not-as-large law firms (the mystical mid-law as we would call it here in the US), those jobs, based off my limited research, do not exist in much quantity. Based on some reports I saw once non-biglaw firms in UK pay something like 35-55 euros (depends on the conversion rate but like 50-90k/year BUT you have EU COL :shock: ).

IMO nobody should bank on getting a mid-law job regardless of where in the world you are since they are so difficult to define, more or less acquire. That doesn't mean it can't be done but attending a school at sticker where getting one of those mid-law jobs is a stretch, and your only other alternative is doc review off craigslist, is not a good idea. If the OP is looking at schools like CLS then that is not an issue and s/he should go the the best school or, if debt adverse, the best combination of schlrly and rank. It seems most differences in regard to placement into certain areas (human rights law, intl law, etc) are less a function of 'quality of the specific program' and mostly based on overall quality of the school (Read: ranking).


For the most part there's a pay gap between what US and UK trained associates make(esp during the first two years for UK based ones since they're still training). Becoming qualified as a lawyer in the UK is substantially cheaper, so it pays less. Lots of people who do a conversion course actually don't pay anything because they get a contract w the firm first, the firm pays for their two years of courses and then the person goes and trains at the firm for two years.

For comparison purposes:

Freshfields London UK practice:

1st year trainee: £39,000
2nd year trainee: £44,000
Newly qualified: £59,000

Allen and Overy London UK practice:
1st year trainee: £38,000
2nd year trainee: £42,200
Newly qualified: £60,000
1 year PQE: £65,000
2 years PQE: £71,500
3 years PQE: £84,000

Clifford Chance London UK practice:

1st year trainee: £37,400
2nd year trainee: £42,200
Newly qualified: £59,000
1 year PQE: £68,700
2 years PQE: £82,200
3 years PQE: £89,500

But US firms pay more ie Skadden UK practice in London:

London
1st year trainee: £40,000
2nd year trainee: £43,000
Newly qualified: £94,000

White and Case London:

1st year trainee: £41,000
2nd year trainee: £43,000
Newly qualified: £72,000
1 year PQE: £82,000
2 years PQE: £97,000
3 years PQE: £108,000

Cleary London:

1st year trainee: £40,000
2nd year trainee: £45,000
Newly qualified: £92,000
2 years PQE: £97,000
3 years PQE: £106,000


If you're working in the US practice you;ll make standard US salary. For magic circle firms:

Year 1: $160,000
Year 2: $170,000
Year 3: $185,000
Year 4: $200,000
Year 5: $210,000

But you also get a COL adjustment, and I dont know how much that adds.

So you're making more than the people at your level who are UK qualified. But then you're also paying back a ton more in loans.

I haven't looked into it and to be honest I've never been quite sure what the exact defining line between big and mid law is , but I'm not sure how many 'midlaw' UK firms have a US practice. If you want midlaw you'd probably have to dual qualify and then work doing UK law, but you would spend a lot longer paying off your loans bc you will make UK salary.

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alirod12
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Re: Goal: Associate in London based US Firm

Postby alirod12 » Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:30 pm

Does being married to a Brit constitute a "strong tie"?




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