Associates working in London for U.S. firms

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Associates working in London for U.S. firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:07 am

Anybody care to share their experiences? Currently considering a rotation in the London office of a U.S. HQ'ed firm (both for the SA and permanently upon graduation).

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Re: Associates working in London for U.S. firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:33 pm

I did a stint in the London office of a US firm this summer during my SA. I worked way harder there than I did in NY because all the US deals were seriously understaffed. The lawyers themselves also seemed to work way longer hours than both their british counterparts and the lawyers I worker with in New York. Overal the general advice I got while there was to not really consider an overseas rotation until you're at least 3-4 years in because you don't know enough before then to really survive with the smaller amount of support you get in an overseas office. The associates I worked with were 1 or 2 to a deal w a partner vaguely overseeing on something that in NY would have way more people at different levels of seniority. One woman was just her and a partner and she would spend hours trying to find answers to questions that in NY it would be easy to walk down the hall and ask someone a couple of years above you..there just isn't that there. I'm glad I did it for the summer because it made me realize I am in no rush to do it when I go back full time. However, the people that I know that did overseas rotations to other offices had way more fun because they weren't good enough at the language to really be of help so they just had an amazing time.

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Re: Associates working in London for U.S. firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 12, 2012 5:59 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I did a stint in the London office of a US firm this summer during my SA. I worked way harder there than I did in NY because all the US deals were seriously understaffed. The lawyers themselves also seemed to work way longer hours than both their british counterparts and the lawyers I worker with in New York. Overal the general advice I got while there was to not really consider an overseas rotation until you're at least 3-4 years in because you don't know enough before then to really survive with the smaller amount of support you get in an overseas office. The associates I worked with were 1 or 2 to a deal w a partner vaguely overseeing on something that in NY would have way more people at different levels of seniority. One woman was just her and a partner and she would spend hours trying to find answers to questions that in NY it would be easy to walk down the hall and ask someone a couple of years above you..there just isn't that there. I'm glad I did it for the summer because it made me realize I am in no rush to do it when I go back full time. However, the people that I know that did overseas rotations to other offices had way more fun because they weren't good enough at the language to really be of help so they just had an amazing time.



Thanks for the reply. This is very helpful. I was considering it for personal reasons and for a change of pace, but the things you just mentioned give me pause. I also assume that most of the work is capital markets focused?

Did you get any sense of COL, or whether or not the firm provided COL adjustments to U.S.-based associates working there?

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Re: Associates working in London for U.S. firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 12, 2012 7:32 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:I did a stint in the London office of a US firm this summer during my SA. I worked way harder there than I did in NY because all the US deals were seriously understaffed. The lawyers themselves also seemed to work way longer hours than both their british counterparts and the lawyers I worker with in New York. Overal the general advice I got while there was to not really consider an overseas rotation until you're at least 3-4 years in because you don't know enough before then to really survive with the smaller amount of support you get in an overseas office. The associates I worked with were 1 or 2 to a deal w a partner vaguely overseeing on something that in NY would have way more people at different levels of seniority. One woman was just her and a partner and she would spend hours trying to find answers to questions that in NY it would be easy to walk down the hall and ask someone a couple of years above you..there just isn't that there. I'm glad I did it for the summer because it made me realize I am in no rush to do it when I go back full time. However, the people that I know that did overseas rotations to other offices had way more fun because they weren't good enough at the language to really be of help so they just had an amazing time.



Thanks for the reply. This is very helpful. I was considering it for personal reasons and for a change of pace, but the things you just mentioned give me pause. I also assume that most of the work is capital markets focused?

Did you get any sense of COL, or whether or not the firm provided COL adjustments to U.S.-based associates working there?


I didn't mean to be entirely discouraging...I think you probably learn a lot very quickly because you're sort of thrown in the deep end, but generally speaking the hours/work looked pretty brutal. A friend who went to a Hong Kong office of a different firm had a similar experience. Also yes it is entirely capital markets. There is really no US litigation work overseas(a couple of firms have arbitration groups but they're mostly staffed with UK lawyers from what I gather because its waaaaay cheaper).

Also at least for my firm you had to commit to going for a minimum of 3 years if you're an associate(but contrastingly, they also force you back after that even if you want to stay bc you've settled down at that point/have a fam etc).

Where I worked did not give a COL adjustment....they just give a certain of your income at a pre-fixed very generous exchange rate(so what you're making is not subject to market fluctuations per se, but comparatively the fixed exchange rate can look better or worse depending on the market rate). Some of it is given at market exchange rate. No-one seemed to complain that they felt like they were making the less/were not able to live in a similar way to in the US.

I think its a mixed bag and definitely would recommend trying it for the summer to get a sense of if its something you would want to do longer term, but just don't go in with such rosy expectations as I had. It was a rude awakening. I missed way more summer events in London bc of work/pulled way later nights than I ever did in NY. Not that it wasn't valuable experience etc but its not a 'fun' break from the rest of the summer.

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Re: Associates working in London for U.S. firms

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 12, 2012 10:34 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I did a stint in the London office of a US firm this summer during my SA. I worked way harder there than I did in NY because all the US deals were seriously understaffed. The lawyers themselves also seemed to work way longer hours than both their british counterparts and the lawyers I worker with in New York. Overal the general advice I got while there was to not really consider an overseas rotation until you're at least 3-4 years in because you don't know enough before then to really survive with the smaller amount of support you get in an overseas office. The associates I worked with were 1 or 2 to a deal w a partner vaguely overseeing on something that in NY would have way more people at different levels of seniority. One woman was just her and a partner and she would spend hours trying to find answers to questions that in NY it would be easy to walk down the hall and ask someone a couple of years above you..there just isn't that there. I'm glad I did it for the summer because it made me realize I am in no rush to do it when I go back full time. However, the people that I know that did overseas rotations to other offices had way more fun because they weren't good enough at the language to really be of help so they just had an amazing time.


it is really wonderful to meet someone who has worked overseas before. I am thinking of starting my legal career in one of the US or UK firms in either London or Hongkong. I assume that you have met American lawyers who work there. Based on what you have seen or heard, could you tell me what are the pros and cons of starting in Hongkong or London versus starting in New York?

Thank you very much for your help.




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