Calling all London Associates

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Londoncalling020

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:34 am

Calling all London Associates

Postby Londoncalling020 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:00 pm

.
Last edited by Londoncalling020 on Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 27, 2017 3:49 pm

Londoncalling020 wrote:Trying this in the legal employment forum...

Mid-Level at a V-10 (if that matters) looking to make the jump across the pond. Doing general corporate work, know most of the work in London is high-yield. Was hoping to get some information from those in the know:

1. Which firms to target? Which ones are known as total sweatshops? I've heard bad things about CSM and Kirkland but only anecdotal.

2. What are the current COLA numbers for the big players? My understanding is that the American firms will go up to 100k but looking at 50K or less for the magic circle.

3. How does it all net out, in your experience, between COLA the generally high cost of living, and higher taxes?

4. Any particular pros and cons you've experienced so far?

Deeply grateful for any answers to the above. This information is hard to find.

Cheers.


I recently looked into London also, but it didn't happen in the end, so I can't relate any personal experience working there, but legalcheek.com gives some info on average hours works, I think. There are also some older threads that address COLA, if you take the time to look for them. The one piece of info I can personally give is I was offered a 100K COLA at a Magic Circle firm, and a sub-100 COLA offer from a V10, so I don't think there's a hard rule for US vs. UK firms in terms of COLA level. The London-side associates I spoke to told me that they netted out a clear positive after taxes over NYC, and that was before the post-Brexit currency changes.

Londoncalling020

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:34 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Londoncalling020 » Fri Jan 27, 2017 4:44 pm

.
Last edited by Londoncalling020 on Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
MCFC

Platinum
Posts: 9695
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:46 pm

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby MCFC » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:02 am

Some of these names are clearly made up but this is interesting. http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/10/revea ... ice-times/

Londoncalling020

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:34 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Londoncalling020 » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:28 am

MCFC wrote:Some of these names are clearly made up but this is interesting. http://www.legalcheek.com/2016/10/revea ... ice-times/


.
Last edited by Londoncalling020 on Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 29, 2017 12:29 pm

Any London us associates can let us know if they worked with recruiters and if there are any visa/permit issues they faced. Easier to switch within your firm or go to a different one?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:24 am

Londoncalling020 wrote:Trying this in the legal employment forum...

Mid-Level at a V-10 (if that matters) looking to make the jump across the pond. Doing general corporate work, know most of the work in London is high-yield. Was hoping to get some information from those in the know:

1. Which firms to target? Which ones are known as total sweatshops? I've heard bad things about CSM and Kirkland but only anecdotal.

2. What are the current COLA numbers for the big players? My understanding is that the American firms will go up to 100k but looking at 50K or less for the magic circle.

3. How does it all net out, in your experience, between COLA the generally high cost of living, and higher taxes?

4. Any particular pros and cons you've experienced so far?

Deeply grateful for any answers to the above. This information is hard to find.

Cheers.



1. The total sweatshops are the most likely to hire someone in your shoes, unfortunately, but that may not be a bad thing for you. Some of those sweatshops have the work to support keeping people on if they're willing to keep doing it, rather than putting you in a position where they won't have a place for you 2-3 years down the road. (Anecdotally, many of the non-sweatshops I'd recommend working at just don't need mid-levels right now in this market, especially not mid-levels who can't be slotted in to immediately run deals if things pick up.)
2. Look at both COLA and FX calculations, which vary firm to firm. Some US firms have higher COLAs, but will leave you with less cash net because of the exchange rate they apply to your pay. (i.e. If they pay based on a 5-year moving average FX or a benchmark that's 20% higher than the current one.) Also, a number of firms are re-visiting these things at present, so if you've got a better vibe from one group vs. another, you may not want to make your decision solely on that basis. (Some firms have, for example, dropped COLA this year substantially given the FX changes.)
3. My netting out has been distinctly higher in London vs. NYC, but I also live more cheaply here than some and don't do too much expensive travel back to the States. If you're hopping back and forth multiple times a year or sending kids to private school, etc. you could easily rack up the expenses. This is also based on the favourable FX trends since I came over here. The COLA used to be there for a reason, and it's hard to predict whether that will flip again.
4. I love London, plan on staying here for a good long while at least, and generally my quality of life has improved dramatically across the board since coming over. Better workplace environment, more client face time, more weekends and a great network of British friends/family. As an ex-pat who wants to stay, having a friend/colleague group that's not primarily other ex-pats has been crucial. It's hard integrating and some of the bureaucracy can be stressful, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Right now the exciting adventure is in trying to sort out retirement planning and how much the US gov't will screw me on sale of my house here when we move to a bigger one.

As for moving via firm/recruiter, it depends heavily on the market conditions and where you are in your career/what your skillset is.
For visa issues, I always note that if you want to stay long-term, it's crucial to get on a Tier 2 General as soon as possible (if you can get your firm to pay for it) or a Spouse Visa so you start accruing that time towards ILR. Too many people I know came over on Tier 2-ICT only to decide 3 years in that they wanted to stay and they needed to re-set the clock and have none of that time count. Any reputable firm should cover visa costs/processing/immigration lawyers/etc.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:58 am

American in London

1. Heard bad things across the board about CSM and CC. Everywhere else your mileage will vary. If you are coming straight from the states though the places that will be interested in you are probably places where they need a mid-level to slot in and immediately start running deals. You will probably be just as busy as in the US.

2. I think all American firms are over 50k, a few at 100k. Some magic circle are lower than 50k but some are in the same range as US firms. US firms generally pay in USD though while MC firms often pay in GBP. This will matter almost as much as COLA amount, especially given recent GBP movement. Many firms will also be adjusting this soon based on Brexit and FX moves.

3. You will come out ahead at the current exchange rate if you are paid in dollars. In pounds, you will probably lose if you have significant dollar expenses. Taxes are not that far off NYC when you include state and city taxes. All in I think it's 40% taxes and 50% after taxes, healthcare, max pension. London is more expensive than NYC but net pay will be several K above what you would net in NYC so it more than offsets.

4. It's biglaw. Better weekend travel options but you can't really go home for the weekend or visit friends in the US. August is usually slower. Generally get experience above your class rank but if you are in Biglaw you know this is a double edged sword. I'd guess most people bill 1800-2200, but probably a lot more people flying under the radar with 1200 here than in NYC (and they can probably pull it off for much longer).

Overall I'm glad I came, more pay for the same work and London is every bit NYC's equivalent.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:00 am

Do firms also include a housing allowance separately from COLA?

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 30, 2017 9:34 am

Anonymous User wrote:Do firms also include a housing allowance separately from COLA?


No firm does this anymore that I'm aware of. Heard it used to be a thing ages ago, but not anymore.

Londoncalling020

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:34 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Londoncalling020 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:35 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Londoncalling020 wrote:Trying this in the legal employment forum...

Mid-Level at a V-10 (if that matters) looking to make the jump across the pond. Doing general corporate work, know most of the work in London is high-yield. Was hoping to get some information from those in the know:

1. Which firms to target? Which ones are known as total sweatshops? I've heard bad things about CSM and Kirkland but only anecdotal.

2. What are the current COLA numbers for the big players? My understanding is that the American firms will go up to 100k but looking at 50K or less for the magic circle.

3. How does it all net out, in your experience, between COLA the generally high cost of living, and higher taxes?

4. Any particular pros and cons you've experienced so far?

Deeply grateful for any answers to the above. This information is hard to find.

Cheers.



1. The total sweatshops are the most likely to hire someone in your shoes, unfortunately, but that may not be a bad thing for you. Some of those sweatshops have the work to support keeping people on if they're willing to keep doing it, rather than putting you in a position where they won't have a place for you 2-3 years down the road. (Anecdotally, many of the non-sweatshops I'd recommend working at just don't need mid-levels right now in this market, especially not mid-levels who can't be slotted in to immediately run deals if things pick up.)
2. Look at both COLA and FX calculations, which vary firm to firm. Some US firms have higher COLAs, but will leave you with less cash net because of the exchange rate they apply to your pay. (i.e. If they pay based on a 5-year moving average FX or a benchmark that's 20% higher than the current one.) Also, a number of firms are re-visiting these things at present, so if you've got a better vibe from one group vs. another, you may not want to make your decision solely on that basis. (Some firms have, for example, dropped COLA this year substantially given the FX changes.)
3. My netting out has been distinctly higher in London vs. NYC, but I also live more cheaply here than some and don't do too much expensive travel back to the States. If you're hopping back and forth multiple times a year or sending kids to private school, etc. you could easily rack up the expenses. This is also based on the favourable FX trends since I came over here. The COLA used to be there for a reason, and it's hard to predict whether that will flip again.
4. I love London, plan on staying here for a good long while at least, and generally my quality of life has improved dramatically across the board since coming over. Better workplace environment, more client face time, more weekends and a great network of British friends/family. As an ex-pat who wants to stay, having a friend/colleague group that's not primarily other ex-pats has been crucial. It's hard integrating and some of the bureaucracy can be stressful, but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Right now the exciting adventure is in trying to sort out retirement planning and how much the US gov't will screw me on sale of my house here when we move to a bigger one.

As for moving via firm/recruiter, it depends heavily on the market conditions and where you are in your career/what your skillset is.
For visa issues, I always note that if you want to stay long-term, it's crucial to get on a Tier 2 General as soon as possible (if you can get your firm to pay for it) or a Spouse Visa so you start accruing that time towards ILR. Too many people I know came over on Tier 2-ICT only to decide 3 years in that they wanted to stay and they needed to re-set the clock and have none of that time count. Any reputable firm should cover visa costs/processing/immigration lawyers/etc.


This is really great information. Thanks for sharing. Would you mind sharing your thoughts on which firms are sweatshops, and which ones have a good reputation?

Londoncalling020

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:34 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Londoncalling020 » Mon Jan 30, 2017 12:45 pm

Anonymous User wrote:American in London

1. Heard bad things across the board about CSM and CC. Everywhere else your mileage will vary. If you are coming straight from the states though the places that will be interested in you are probably places where they need a mid-level to slot in and immediately start running deals. You will probably be just as busy as in the US.

2. I think all American firms are over 50k, a few at 100k. Some magic circle are lower than 50k but some are in the same range as US firms. US firms generally pay in USD though while MC firms often pay in GBP. This will matter almost as much as COLA amount, especially given recent GBP movement. Many firms will also be adjusting this soon based on Brexit and FX moves.

3. You will come out ahead at the current exchange rate if you are paid in dollars. In pounds, you will probably lose if you have significant dollar expenses. Taxes are not that far off NYC when you include state and city taxes. All in I think it's 40% taxes and 50% after taxes, healthcare, max pension. London is more expensive than NYC but net pay will be several K above what you would net in NYC so it more than offsets.

4. It's biglaw. Better weekend travel options but you can't really go home for the weekend or visit friends in the US. August is usually slower. Generally get experience above your class rank but if you are in Biglaw you know this is a double edged sword. I'd guess most people bill 1800-2200, but probably a lot more people flying under the radar with 1200 here than in NYC (and they can probably pull it off for much longer).

Overall I'm glad I came, more pay for the same work and London is every bit NYC's equivalent.

.
Last edited by Londoncalling020 on Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
nunumaster

Silver
Posts: 915
Joined: Fri Mar 21, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby nunumaster » Mon Jan 30, 2017 1:05 pm

Good thread. Tag.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:11 am

Londoncalling020 wrote:Really helpful, thank you. Any firms stand out for you in the market as having really good reputations? Understand that I might not have a choice, but still trying to develop a sense of the London biglaw market.

Also, in your experience, where do most Americans in London live? Any neighborhoods you would recommend? Thanks again.


It's England so the traditional V# doesn't really apply. Even lawyers will only be vaguely aware of many American firms, whereas Slaughter and May or Allen Overy are well known and well regarded. Because COLA varies, there is a real pay difference among firms so it's not like choosing a firm in the US where everyone pays the same and you are left trying to make a decision based on factors you don't know and cannot properly evaluate. Just go wherever will pay you the most, unless there is a serious issue.

Associates live all over the city. Islington is nice, Kensington is nice but expensive, East London kind of has a Brooklyn vibe, south of the river is getting more popular. A lot will depend on where you work as that will determine your commute and how much you can spend on housing.

User avatar
dannyswo

Gold
Posts: 3776
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:27 pm

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby dannyswo » Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:20 am

Londoncalling020 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:American in London

1. Heard bad things across the board about CSM and CC. Everywhere else your mileage will vary. If you are coming straight from the states though the places that will be interested in you are probably places where they need a mid-level to slot in and immediately start running deals. You will probably be just as busy as in the US.

2. I think all American firms are over 50k, a few at 100k. Some magic circle are lower than 50k but some are in the same range as US firms. US firms generally pay in USD though while MC firms often pay in GBP. This will matter almost as much as COLA amount, especially given recent GBP movement. Many firms will also be adjusting this soon based on Brexit and FX moves.

3. You will come out ahead at the current exchange rate if you are paid in dollars. In pounds, you will probably lose if you have significant dollar expenses. Taxes are not that far off NYC when you include state and city taxes. All in I think it's 40% taxes and 50% after taxes, healthcare, max pension. London is more expensive than NYC but net pay will be several K above what you would net in NYC so it more than offsets.

4. It's biglaw. Better weekend travel options but you can't really go home for the weekend or visit friends in the US. August is usually slower. Generally get experience above your class rank but if you are in Biglaw you know this is a double edged sword. I'd guess most people bill 1800-2200, but probably a lot more people flying under the radar with 1200 here than in NYC (and they can probably pull it off for much longer).

Overall I'm glad I came, more pay for the same work and London is every bit NYC's equivalent.


Really helpful, thank you. Any firms stand out for you in the market as having really good reputations? Understand that I might not have a choice, but still trying to develop a sense of the London biglaw market.

Also, in your experience, where do most Americans in London live? Any neighborhoods you would recommend? Thanks again.

Non-lawyer thoughts: I've lived in London for almost 4 years now.
Notting Hill is big for Americans. St John's Woods is also because of the American School in London - lots of international and Embassy families. This is a great primer on London prices:
http://www.timeout.com/london/blog/this ... ion-092915

The neighborhood for you will vary on what you're looking for and what you can afford. I think living central is worth every penny.

Londoncalling020

New
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:34 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Londoncalling020 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 2:05 pm

dannyswo wrote:
Londoncalling020 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:American in London

1. Heard bad things across the board about CSM and CC. Everywhere else your mileage will vary. If you are coming straight from the states though the places that will be interested in you are probably places where they need a mid-level to slot in and immediately start running deals. You will probably be just as busy as in the US.

2. I think all American firms are over 50k, a few at 100k. Some magic circle are lower than 50k but some are in the same range as US firms. US firms generally pay in USD though while MC firms often pay in GBP. This will matter almost as much as COLA amount, especially given recent GBP movement. Many firms will also be adjusting this soon based on Brexit and FX moves.

3. You will come out ahead at the current exchange rate if you are paid in dollars. In pounds, you will probably lose if you have significant dollar expenses. Taxes are not that far off NYC when you include state and city taxes. All in I think it's 40% taxes and 50% after taxes, healthcare, max pension. London is more expensive than NYC but net pay will be several K above what you would net in NYC so it more than offsets.

4. It's biglaw. Better weekend travel options but you can't really go home for the weekend or visit friends in the US. August is usually slower. Generally get experience above your class rank but if you are in Biglaw you know this is a double edged sword. I'd guess most people bill 1800-2200, but probably a lot more people flying under the radar with 1200 here than in NYC (and they can probably pull it off for much longer).

Overall I'm glad I came, more pay for the same work and London is every bit NYC's equivalent.


Really helpful, thank you. Any firms stand out for you in the market as having really good reputations? Understand that I might not have a choice, but still trying to develop a sense of the London biglaw market.

Also, in your experience, where do most Americans in London live? Any neighborhoods you would recommend? Thanks again.

Non-lawyer thoughts: I've lived in London for almost 4 years now.
Notting Hill is big for Americans. St John's Woods is also because of the American School in London - lots of international and Embassy families. This is a great primer on London prices:
http://www.timeout.com/london/blog/this ... ion-092915

The neighborhood for you will vary on what you're looking for and what you can afford. I think living central is worth every penny.


.
Last edited by Londoncalling020 on Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
dannyswo

Gold
Posts: 3776
Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2016 4:27 pm

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby dannyswo » Tue Jan 31, 2017 3:44 pm

Londoncalling020 wrote:Thanks, Danny. You have any thoughts on living around Canary Wharf and that part of town? Looks like a lot of firms are nearby.

I'm assuming you're 20 something and into meeting people, nightlife and all that.
My experience in that neighborhood and probably similar neighborhoods is that they tend to have all the businesses in the area and not much housing. If there are bars in the area, they don't stay open after the happy hour crowds, a lot of businesses are closed on weekends.

I'd check out Bermondsey, especially if you're into breweries. I like Shoreditch, it's a hipster-y part of town, busy on weekends, full of vintage shops and tattoo shops. White Chapel - parts are really nice. Basically, north and west of Canary Wharf for a cool part of town, nightlife and access to things to do. My only trip out that way was going to Sir Ian McKellen's pub (The Grapes, Narrow St, London E14 8BP). It's all locals, they were kind of dicks, and there weren't any other pubs around. I'd be looking a bit further into the center of town, in Zone 1 or Zone 2.

qxfr

New
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:51 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby qxfr » Wed Feb 01, 2017 6:42 am

I'm a 6th year at a US firm in London, I've been here 2.5 years.

K&E and CSM are sweatshops, but obviously it will depend on the group you work in / the level of deal flow your firm has.

COLA for UK firms is around $50k though can be higher depending on the candidate/group (e.g., I think FF and A&O would pay $100k COLA for a strong high yield candidate). US firms are $70-$100 and a couple are higher, I think (K&E, CSM). Careful about how you are getting paid - if you are paid in USD it's fine, but if you're paid in GBP, the way they calculate the exchange matters a lot.

You end up making more money, London's not that much more expensive than New York (and not more expensive at all, with the falling pound), unless you want to buy property in central London.

There is less diversity of work, which is both a pro and a con depending on what you want to do. I specifically wanted to work in leveraged finance, so I'm quite happy with that. It's a much smaller market than New York, and you end up seeing the same firms and same people on deals. In terms of work culture, I think the British firms can also be quite brutal, but they are a bit more social (everyone shares offices which really helps getting to know people). Generally, London has more green space, more living space, and a more pleasant environment if you like parks and trees and not giant skyscrapers.

Some cons:
- London is a bit slower paced than New York, and a lot of things you'll take for granted (like stores open past 6pm or on the weekends) won't be there;
- People put up with a lot of weird inconveniences that you just wouldn't see in America - e.g., houses are drafty and poorly built, heating is usually inadequate, water pressure is weak, customer service generally is just terrible
- London real estate is shockingly expensive
- if you are a US citizen, dealing with your taxes will be quite an annoyance.

Neighborhoods:
- Traditionally, Americans would live in St. John's Wood, or Chelsea/South Ken. These areas are now prohibitively expensive.
- Nowadays, it seems like most Americans live in Angel, Clerkenwell, Notting Hill/Bayswater or Shoreditch
- I would avoid Canary Wharf unless you'll be working there.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 14, 2018 4:28 pm

Hi,
does anybody know whether COLA gets taxed.
Thanks

qxfr

New
Posts: 16
Joined: Wed Feb 01, 2017 5:51 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby qxfr » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Hi,
does anybody know whether COLA gets taxed.
Thanks
Yes, it does, at full income tax rates on BOTH SIDES of the pond.

Anonymous User
Posts: 327278
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Apr 26, 2018 8:36 am

(Semi-)related question: I'm a current 2L with a summer associate position in a major market next month. However, I'm trying to intern in London in the fall to get some international experience (in hopes of eventually moving overseas permanently). Any suggestions on finding internship placements abroad. (I've stalked LinkedIn and searched the normal SAGE, Symplicity, Indeed, etc. boards). My Office of Career Services has been less than helpful, unfortunately.

User avatar
RedGiant

Moderator
Posts: 355
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:30 am

Re: Calling all London Associates

Postby RedGiant » Mon Apr 30, 2018 5:51 pm

Anonymous User wrote:(Semi-)related question: I'm a current 2L with a summer associate position in a major market next month. However, I'm trying to intern in London in the fall to get some international experience (in hopes of eventually moving overseas permanently). Any suggestions on finding internship placements abroad. (I've stalked LinkedIn and searched the normal SAGE, Symplicity, Indeed, etc. boards). My Office of Career Services has been less than helpful, unfortunately.


Try rollonfriday.com

Check your school's alumni directory for alumni living in London. This would be very rare though, as you're not terribly useful to most firms as an intern, and they have clerks that are trained in local law.



Return to “Legal Employment�

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.