London biglaw

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descartesb4thehorse
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London biglaw

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:35 pm

Any advice on how to target London biglaw? I'd prefer magic circle firms instead of getting a transfer from a US firm. Assuming I don't get Columbia, which would be my best bet, any advice on whether I should shoot for prestige (a mid-lower T-14) or accessibility (going to ND and doing their year-long abroad)?

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fatduck
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Re: London biglaw

Postby fatduck » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:01 pm

how are you with a bowstaff?

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Jack Smirks
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Re: London biglaw

Postby Jack Smirks » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:02 pm

I'd be down for a London Magic Gathering circle. PMd.

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kapachino
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Re: London biglaw

Postby kapachino » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:19 pm

It would probably be better to go to a UK law school. Think about it...you're going to learn the American legal system inside and out, intern at American firms, but practice in London? It's not very practical. A friend of mine is practicing big law in London now, and she attended a UK law school after doing UG at Berkeley.

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ahduth
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Re: London biglaw

Postby ahduth » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:27 pm

fatduck wrote:how are you with a bowstaff?


Naw, I'm 100% down on this, I'd move to London. UK firms seem better run anyhow. But asking in this forum how to get a Magic Circle job is crazy.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: London biglaw

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:41 pm

ahduth wrote:
fatduck wrote:how are you with a bowstaff?


Naw, I'm 100% down on this, I'd move to London. UK firms seem better run anyhow. But asking in this forum how to get a Magic Circle job is crazy.


I perhaps didn't phrase it right. I don't mean "please find me a magic circle job", I meant that is what I'm aiming for, as anyone shooting for actual British biglaw would be. I'd be happy with any British biglaw, with magic circle obviously at the top of that list. I'm not trying to get advice on how to get a job with transfers to the UK a possibility.

Unless you meant "because people on TLS won't know shit about that", which I'd disagree with. There have been threads about it in the past, but not for a year or more, so I thought my situation might be useful for people who want to talk about it. And you're more than welcome to.

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things fall apart
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Re: London biglaw

Postby things fall apart » Wed Jul 06, 2011 9:25 am

I think your best bet would be to go to a British school (City, Mooregate). First of all you can get a training contract and make 40k+ while being a trainee, but also because they will pay for your school and assuming you're a good worker you have a job right after you qualify.

The magic circle is obviously small (5 or so I believe), and it is extremely hard to get into. Unless you do something specialized within Finance Law very little translates to the point where a lawfirm would not pay for you(assuming you're American) to practice instead of hire a Brit.

I have met a few Americans from Allen & Overy who work in their London office but they all do very specific financial law. Care to add any more information as to your plans or are you an American with the broad interest in "working big law abroad[London]."

Additionally magic circle firms do not pay as well as an American equivalent. And if you don't make the magic circle and go somewhere like DLA Piper they rates are just not equivalent to American wages (and obviously wanting big law has a lot to do with $£$). Once you qualify you should be somewhere around 60-70k for a few years(with higher taxes) while your American colleague will be making double that for slightly more hours.

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piccolittle
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Re: London biglaw

Postby piccolittle » Wed Jul 06, 2011 1:15 pm

I'd like to end up in London biglaw as well. It is extremely competitive to get a training contract from a UK school at any firm, not to mention the Magic Circle. Plus, the system then takes a lot longer.

My strategy (and I have no idea how this will work out) is to target the MC firms in their NY offices, which aren't as well regarded here as they are in Europe. Hopefully then I can make a transfer into the London office or go in-house in London after putting in my time. I've also heard that international transfers are pretty easy to get from firms here, but I'm not sure if that also applies to transfers to London.

eta: While ideally I'd like to end up in a UK firm because of the culture, the London office of a US firm of my choice would be pretty amazing too. I'm not sure if the salary is a direct conversion or not, but if so, you'd have a pretty good starting package there.

alumniguy
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Re: London biglaw

Postby alumniguy » Wed Jul 06, 2011 2:06 pm

Some basics are in order. First, if you are an American trained lawyer, you will most likely only be hired to practice American law. You will of course be working on international deals, even British deals, but you'll likely be responsible for the American/international component of the transaction and there will be counterpart British lawyers working on the British/international component of the transaction. It is highly unlikely that any Magic Circle firm is looking to the U.S. law school market for entry level hiring in their London practices, with the only exception being their U.S. based locations looking for U.S. talent (and possibly farming out those U.S. entry level associates to their London home offices if work flow requires it).

As far as I know, British based firms don't hire American trained law students for training contracts (which is a two year "apprenticeship" program that is equivalent to the U.S. "summer associate" model). British firms hire British law students for these training contracts and this is the primary method to obtain employment for British law school students. As the British legal education system is different than in the U.S. - it is an undergraduate degree - I'm not sure that it would make any sense to attempt to become a British "trainee". Trainees are paid considerably less than U.S. associates and once a British lawyer is "qualified" (i.e., a trainee who has finished a two-year training contract), salaries go up, but still not to U.S. associate levels.

Second, the easiest route to a London biglaw job is likely to find a job with a U.S. based firm that has a substantial office in London. Such firms have relatively large numbers of U.S. trained lawyers working in London and typically look to their summer associate classes/entry level classes to fill entry level positions throughout their international offices. Start researching the London offices of U.S. firms with an international/London footprint and see if you can determine which firms have a large U.S. trained associate roster. These should be the firms you target at OCI. I would certainly reach out to the recruiting offices at these firms to determine whether entry level hiring for a London office is an option.

My guess is that this is going to be rather difficult to land, but certainly not impossible. There is a fair amount of randomness involved and if you let it be known that you are willing/looking forward to starting in London, it will probably increase your odds significantly. Also, if your firm allows summers to rotate to the London office, you should try to do so. Making contacts with the attorneys in those offices will be the easiest way to get your foot in the door for entry level hiring.

Edit: If you get a T-14, then you should take it over Notre Dame. While the semester/year abroad sounds interesting, I don't think it will help much unless (i) the internship is at a biglaw shop and (ii) you do well enough academically to get hired as a summer associate at a firm that has a London office. Assuming everything else is constant, a T-14 will open up more doors than ND in biglaw.

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: London biglaw

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:29 pm

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I guess I should add a bit about my story for those who have asked. I am an American with an English SO who is kindly sitting on his hands while I figure out my life. I've spent significant time in England, and we have decided that we want to end up there. Because of his position in British government that can't translate into an American job, it would be a lot easier for everyone involved if I did just do an English program and apprenticeship, but I harbor no doubts how difficult that might be. My UG degree isn't law or pre-law, so I don't even have a background right now in any law, let alone British law.

If the British equivalent were not an LLB, I would almost certainly be going to a British school. But since I can't get another undergrad degree nor an LLM until I have a JD, my goal in this application year is to get to the best school that might offer me a chance at London. The ideal for us is certainly a gig at a London firm immediately after graduation, but I would be more than happy to work at an American firm's London office. The reason I was against it in OP is because it seems like a risky move; if one requests international, it may take some time, or they might ask you to go to Tokyo or Beijing. I specifically want London right now because of my SO and his life there.

I'm not averse to doing some kind of obscure financial or tax law if that's what it takes. I definitely want corporate over litigation anyway, which seems to brighten the landscape of London prospects a bit. (Earlier threads seem to indicate that Americans will never be hired for litigation abroad, but people will come to Americans to do international transactions.) I also don't mind making a relatively shit salary to my American peers if it means living in London. Won't be as easy to pay off the loans, but living in London would lessen the one-income pressure off of me, and if it gave me more time with my SO and friends, I'd definitely take that trade-off.

Again, thanks for the advice. I'm definitely going to keep this all in mind when looking into OCIs for the schools I get into.

alumniguy
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Re: London biglaw

Postby alumniguy » Wed Jul 06, 2011 5:32 pm

descartesb4thehorse wrote:Thanks for the advice everyone.

I guess I should add a bit about my story for those who have asked. I am an American with an English SO who is kindly sitting on his hands while I figure out my life. I've spent significant time in England, and we have decided that we want to end up there. Because of his position in British government that can't translate into an American job, it would be a lot easier for everyone involved if I did just do an English program and apprenticeship, but I harbor no doubts how difficult that might be. My UG degree isn't law or pre-law, so I don't even have a background right now in any law, let alone British law.

If the British equivalent were not an LLB, I would almost certainly be going to a British school. But since I can't get another undergrad degree nor an LLM until I have a JD, my goal in this application year is to get to the best school that might offer me a chance at London. The ideal for us is certainly a gig at a London firm immediately after graduation, but I would be more than happy to work at an American firm's London office. The reason I was against it in OP is because it seems like a risky move; if one requests international, it may take some time, or they might ask you to go to Tokyo or Beijing. I specifically want London right now because of my SO and his life there.

I'm not averse to doing some kind of obscure financial or tax law if that's what it takes. I definitely want corporate over litigation anyway, which seems to brighten the landscape of London prospects a bit. (Earlier threads seem to indicate that Americans will never be hired for litigation abroad, but people will come to Americans to do international transactions.) I also don't mind making a relatively shit salary to my American peers if it means living in London. Won't be as easy to pay off the loans, but living in London would lessen the one-income pressure off of me, and if it gave me more time with my SO and friends, I'd definitely take that trade-off.

Again, thanks for the advice. I'm definitely going to keep this all in mind when looking into OCIs for the schools I get into.


My experience regarding international "assignments" is that few if any associates are willing to go everywhere. More typical, is that associates have personal reasons for going to certain cities. Given your personal circumstances, you have a compelling reason for starting in London (firms don't want to hire unhappy first year associates). When I started, there were openings in several international offices at my firm and the firm "recruited" the U.S. associates to work abroad. In almost every instance, those associates that spent a portion of the summer at the foreign office were the first associates asked to return to those offices. [Caveat: the number of rotations for summer associates in foreign offices is not the same now as when I summered 5 years ago.]

Most U.S. firms employing American trained lawyers in London focus on corporate/capital markets/finance work. When interviewing, you should highlight that you are interested in these areas and are particularly interested in international deals. You are unlikely to be hired for a litigation position, but potentially may be hired for an arbitration position (although this is pretty unlikely as well). At a minimum, if the firm you summer at allows you to choose the practice areas that you rotate through or do work for, then you should focus almost entirely on these bigger/global practices (i.e., stay away from practices like tax, real estate, employment law, health law, etc.).

The real issue is that once you've gone down the JD path, you pretty much have committed yourself to practicing American law and the opportunities for American trained lawyers in London while not impossible to land, are fairly difficult. If you are looking at financing your JD through debt, I would encourage you to think twice about it. Given your personal circumstances, it is entirely possible that you will incur substantial debt and have no job prospects in London. It may make more sense to just move to London and plan on a different career path.

tvt86
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Re: London biglaw

Postby tvt86 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:50 pm

descartesb4thehorse wrote:Thanks for the advice everyone.

I guess I should add a bit about my story for those who have asked. I am an American with an English SO who is kindly sitting on his hands while I figure out my life. I've spent significant time in England, and we have decided that we want to end up there. Because of his position in British government that can't translate into an American job, it would be a lot easier for everyone involved if I did just do an English program and apprenticeship, but I harbor no doubts how difficult that might be. My UG degree isn't law or pre-law, so I don't even have a background right now in any law, let alone British law.

If the British equivalent were not an LLB, I would almost certainly be going to a British school. But since I can't get another undergrad degree nor an LLM until I have a JD, my goal in this application year is to get to the best school that might offer me a chance at London. The ideal for us is certainly a gig at a London firm immediately after graduation, but I would be more than happy to work at an American firm's London office. The reason I was against it in OP is because it seems like a risky move; if one requests international, it may take some time, or they might ask you to go to Tokyo or Beijing. I specifically want London right now because of my SO and his life there.

I'm not averse to doing some kind of obscure financial or tax law if that's what it takes. I definitely want corporate over litigation anyway, which seems to brighten the landscape of London prospects a bit. (Earlier threads seem to indicate that Americans will never be hired for litigation abroad, but people will come to Americans to do international transactions.) I also don't mind making a relatively shit salary to my American peers if it means living in London. Won't be as easy to pay off the loans, but living in London would lessen the one-income pressure off of me, and if it gave me more time with my SO and friends, I'd definitely take that trade-off.

Again, thanks for the advice. I'm definitely going to keep this all in mind when looking into OCIs for the schools I get into.



OP, I'm a Brit with an English law degree who has worked in a Magic Circle firm. I now live in the States, but a lot of my friends still work in big London firms and some work for US firms in London.

First, please feel free to contact me on the forum or by PM if there's anything I can do to help. I have a lot of sympathy for you, having been both in the transatlantic law situation and in the transatlantic SO situation, so I'd be extremely glad to help if I can.

Second, be aware that there are several potential routes you could take to practicing in England.
i. Get a JD and get hired by a London law firm to work on American transactions. Law firms definitely hire for this kind of thing, but I have no idea what the numbers/chances are.

ii. Get a JD and become an English lawyer through the Qualified Lawyers' Transfer Scheme. http://www.sra.org.uk/Solicitors/qlts.page

iii. Rather than getting a JD, apply to a school in the UK and get your LLB in Law from over there. Even though they're officially 'undergrad' degrees, they can be done, and frequently are done, by people with a foreign undergrad degree. At my school, those with undergrad degrees could get their LLBs in law in 2 years rather than the standard 3.

iv. Rather than getting a JD, take the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) in England. That is a one-year course that allows college graduates to 'convert' their degree into a law degree (pretty different from the US, right?!).

Note that if you take Option iii or iv, you'll have to follow them up with another one-year program that all aspiring English lawyers are required to take. These teach the practical and administrative sides of legal work that are not covered in your traditional studies. This program is the Legal Practice Course (LPC) if you want to become a solicitor and the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) if you want to become a barrister.

Sorry if I've missed anything in your posts that suggests you've already considered and ruled out some of these routes. Again, please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions at all.

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sanetruth
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Re: London biglaw

Postby sanetruth » Thu Jul 07, 2011 12:55 pm

This thread is super informative. Can we get an informal list started of US biglaw firms with the largest UK offices?

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piccolittle
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Re: London biglaw

Postby piccolittle » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:04 pm

tvt86 wrote:
descartesb4thehorse wrote:Thanks for the advice everyone.

I guess I should add a bit about my story for those who have asked. I am an American with an English SO who is kindly sitting on his hands while I figure out my life. I've spent significant time in England, and we have decided that we want to end up there. Because of his position in British government that can't translate into an American job, it would be a lot easier for everyone involved if I did just do an English program and apprenticeship, but I harbor no doubts how difficult that might be. My UG degree isn't law or pre-law, so I don't even have a background right now in any law, let alone British law.

If the British equivalent were not an LLB, I would almost certainly be going to a British school. But since I can't get another undergrad degree nor an LLM until I have a JD, my goal in this application year is to get to the best school that might offer me a chance at London. The ideal for us is certainly a gig at a London firm immediately after graduation, but I would be more than happy to work at an American firm's London office. The reason I was against it in OP is because it seems like a risky move; if one requests international, it may take some time, or they might ask you to go to Tokyo or Beijing. I specifically want London right now because of my SO and his life there.

I'm not averse to doing some kind of obscure financial or tax law if that's what it takes. I definitely want corporate over litigation anyway, which seems to brighten the landscape of London prospects a bit. (Earlier threads seem to indicate that Americans will never be hired for litigation abroad, but people will come to Americans to do international transactions.) I also don't mind making a relatively shit salary to my American peers if it means living in London. Won't be as easy to pay off the loans, but living in London would lessen the one-income pressure off of me, and if it gave me more time with my SO and friends, I'd definitely take that trade-off.

Again, thanks for the advice. I'm definitely going to keep this all in mind when looking into OCIs for the schools I get into.



OP, I'm a Brit with an English law degree who has worked in a Magic Circle firm. I now live in the States, but a lot of my friends still work in big London firms and some work for US firms in London.

First, please feel free to contact me on the forum or by PM if there's anything I can do to help. I have a lot of sympathy for you, having been both in the transatlantic law situation and in the transatlantic SO situation, so I'd be extremely glad to help if I can.

Second, be aware that there are several potential routes you could take to practicing in England.
i. Get a JD and get hired by a London law firm to work on American transactions. Law firms definitely hire for this kind of thing, but I have no idea what the numbers/chances are.

ii. Get a JD and become an English lawyer through the Qualified Lawyers' Transfer Scheme. http://www.sra.org.uk/Solicitors/qlts.page

iii. Rather than getting a JD, apply to a school in the UK and get your LLB in Law from over there. Even though they're officially 'undergrad' degrees, they can be done, and frequently are done, by people with a foreign undergrad degree. At my school, those with undergrad degrees could get their LLBs in law in 2 years rather than the standard 3.

iv. Rather than getting a JD, take the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) in England. That is a one-year course that allows college graduates to 'convert' their degree into a law degree (pretty different from the US, right?!).

Note that if you take Option iii or iv, you'll have to follow them up with another one-year program that all aspiring English lawyers are required to take. These teach the practical and administrative sides of legal work that are not covered in your traditional studies. This program is the Legal Practice Course (LPC) if you want to become a solicitor and the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) if you want to become a barrister.

Sorry if I've missed anything in your posts that suggests you've already considered and ruled out some of these routes. Again, please don't hesitate to let me know if you have any more questions at all.


Also, note that if you choose option iii and attend one of the U of London schools, you will be eligible to take the NY Bar. OP, I'm in your exact same shoes and am attending Columbia in the fall after getting an LLB for my undergrad... best of luck to you! :)

tvt86
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Re: London biglaw

Postby tvt86 » Thu Jul 07, 2011 1:26 pm

sanetruth wrote:This thread is super informative. Can we get an informal list started of US biglaw firms with the largest UK offices?



Off the top of my head:

Cleary Gottlieb
Jones Day
White & Case
Covington & Burling
Mayer Brown
Skadden
Latham & Watkins
Shearman & Sterling
Dewey & LeBoeuf
Dechert

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descartesb4thehorse
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Re: London biglaw

Postby descartesb4thehorse » Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:54 pm

Just wanted to thank everyone who gave actual advice here. piccolittle - congrats on Columbia! It's definitely my dream school.

It looks like, for now, I'm just going to be applying to JD programs here, and then following either step (i) or (ii) of the plan. I may look into the English programs a bit more, but when I thought about doing an LLB, I got insanely frustrated that I have a BA from a t-10 undergrad and would be, in essence, going back to undergrad. I wouldn't say it's completely off the table, but I'd rather have the JD and fight my way through the muck of London hiring but with US as a backup than jump into British law, hoping that I'd be an attractive candidate in a crappy economic market.

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Re: London biglaw

Postby santaclara12 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:51 pm

.

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piccolittle
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Re: London biglaw

Postby piccolittle » Tue Jun 19, 2012 3:04 pm

Bumping this for those who are thinking about bid lists right now. For our EIP, I'm tempted to err on the side of caution and bid only NY offices and forget London. From the documents we have been given by OCS, it looks as though the London offices coming to EIP are out of my league. Anyone have any input on how much ties will figure into the equation? Will substantial ties and commitment to going back to the UK make up for grades that are a bit out of range? Is it even worth bidding on these offices when they typically give at most 2 offers?

Also, mods, is it possible to move this to the employment forum?




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