V10 partner now in Europe AMA

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:46 pm

Do exit options (primarily USA, but also curious about European options) improve or deteriorate by a move to London if you are doing capital markets.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Wed Mar 01, 2017 4:12 pm

Simpson has a top tier lev fin practice here with a biggish team - lots of opportunities for US lawyers in high end work. Gibson are more generalist, which tends to means less US specialist needs. And Cravath seem to mainly exist in London to service their US clients local law needs rather than seriously trying to grow their own European practice.

For exits, I have seen London associates go to clients both here and in the US. As ever there are lots of opportunities for those who can build and work a network of contacts and in-house is a bit more agnostic than law firms as to jurisdiction of qualification since they want you (at least in the good jobs) for your commerciality as much as your technical expertise

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 01, 2017 5:09 pm

My finance is from England. We are both litigators, and that will never change. I saw you said something about taking the equivalence examination. If we wanted to move there, what if any, career prospects would two U.S. litigators have? I have trial experience in biglaw, and she's at a midlaw firm doing employment work. Would it just be hang your own shingle type of thing?

Thanks,

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Thu Mar 02, 2017 4:56 am

Litigation is very different here and not just because you need to get to grips with different civil procedure but because of the solicitor/barrister divide in the UK. Most advocacy is outsourced by law firms to barristers (the guys in the wigs and gowns) so litigating here is not at all like in the US. The US lawyers I do know who engage in contentious work are usually arbitration specialists.

Having said that there are a couple of US litigation shops who have made big inroads here in the past few years (led by Quinn) but I think they have done so primarily by hiring top local laterals and building relationships with the top barristers' chambers. It's all a bit medieval...

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 05, 2017 12:52 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Curious about opportunities for U.S. based restructuring lawyers (at KE/Weil if it helps).

Bump.. Still interested in this..

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 05, 2017 1:41 pm

Is going to the London office with the hopes of ending up in a cushy in-house job in continental Europe (as someone who doesn't speak any European language) unrealistic?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:42 am

What is the work like for Nordic countries? I know very few firms have offices, and those that do are in Sweden with maybe a tiny, tiny few in Oslo. Also, what are the opportunities like for working with Norwegians/Swedes from London/Belgium/Germany?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 06, 2017 10:44 am

I am a London based solicitor of a US firm (one of Covington, Morgan Lewis, Ropes & Gray, Dechert, White & Case who do not pay equivalent salaries in London for UK solicitors as in the US). I am curious about salaries - some US based firms matched the NY market at $180k or its then conversion in £s. However, I am at a firm that pays around the £95/100k mark. Is there a reason for this split in London as compared to the equivalence across these firms in the US? And do you see this changing in the future - would be very pleased to be bumped up a few £10ks!

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Mar 06, 2017 6:58 pm

Thank you for doing this.

Do you have any advice for US associates beginning their career in London? Also, you mentioned above that junior associates get churned and burned, can you expand more on this? What can an associate do if they find themselves in this situation?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:03 am

This has already been referenced above, but would you consider a highly qualified US litigator coming off clerkships who was interested in investigations and arbitration? Also interested in the Paris office if you have any insight there (I'm a French speaker). What sort of experience level or added qualifications would you look for in such a candidate? Would a litigator have to have arbitration practice experience, or would substantial academic study and interest plus some white collar practice experience suffice?

Thanks again for taking q's.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:30 am

Restructuring (like transactional) could be possible if you get in at a junior level, are here for the long term and prepared to cross-qualify at some point. But as a senior lawyer, you will need to re-learn from scratch as the toolbox is completely different. No Chapter 11 here - instead you are working with a different banktruptcy regime for every European jurisdiction the company operates in and the main aim is to stay out of bankruptcy court. The most common consensual workout method at the moment is a UK based scheme of arrangement. However, that may change after Brexit as workouts rely on certain EU laws to "shift" European companies to the UK for restructuring. It's very very technical and the best workout lawyers have experience of deals in all the most common jurisdictions. It's a very interesting area but pretty much impossible to jump into at a senior level.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:33 am

Cushy jobs in continental Europe are hen's teeth. You may in-house into a laidback 9-5 in Amsterdam or Munich but it will likely be pretty dull work and not especially highly paid.

We don't see that much Scandinavian work in London. The Nordic banks are strong and have a very tight relationship with local borrowers, so that only the very biggest deals need access to the wider capital markets. Most things in that region get done under local law with no need for international specialists.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 5:52 am

The reason for the salary split is partly historic - the firms that were serious about building a real business in Europe needed to attract the best people from the English firms, both partners and associates. 15 or even 10 years ago, US firms in London were considered a very risky career proposition as people thought they wouldn't be able to break the magic circle stranglehold on high-end work or that they might just close-up shop at the first sign of a downturn. In order to counter those fears, a few firms disrupted the market by paying NY salaries (generally 30-50% higher than London salaries) across the board. But other firms couldn't see a business case for paying 'above market' and feared it would dent profitability too much and prove unsustainable. Also, in most areas you could hire good English lawyers at local or "mid-Atlantic" rates (somewhere between London and NY pay) to do all the work so why would you pay a premium to US-qualified juniors who had nothing to add?

So now we are in a position where a few super-profitable firms (Latham, Kirkland, Millbank, STB) pay NY rates to the whole office and specialise in high-end work that can sustain their margin, whereas most firms have some mixture of local, mid-Atlantic and NY rates, with some differentiating between lawyers who couldn't go elsewhere in London and earn more and those who could (e.g. US cap markets lawyers tend to get NY or close to NY rates everywhere because that is the largest market for US juniors in London).

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:07 am

By 'churn and burn' I really just meant teams operating a similar model to most NY firms, where they take a ton of associates and expect most of them to have left within 3-5 years, having worked very long hours in the meantime. The difference in London is that it will be harder to lateral or downsize to a smaller firm, the way you could in NY, since the market for US-qualified attorneys earning NY salaries is much smaller here. However, for those US juniors who were never in it for the long run and always planned to go in house, I have seen them make some very good exits - they are likely to get lots of client contact at an early stage in Europe and that can be very helpful in seeking out good in-house roles.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Tue Mar 07, 2017 6:09 am

I really don't know much about litigation I'm afraid, except that I am aware of only a tiny number of US practitioners in the arbitration space. Investigations work is on the rise here, as everywhere, but I imagine you would need a very strong knowledge of the local regulatory environment (not just the rules but the actual approach taken by the regulatory authorities) in order to be successful. Sorry not to be more helpful.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:42 pm

LondonCallingV10 wrote:By 'churn and burn' I really just meant teams operating a similar model to most NY firms, where they take a ton of associates and expect most of them to have left within 3-5 years, having worked very long hours in the meantime. The difference in London is that it will be harder to lateral or downsize to a smaller firm, the way you could in NY, since the market for US-qualified attorneys earning NY salaries is much smaller here. However, for those US juniors who were never in it for the long run and always planned to go in house, I have seen them make some very good exits - they are likely to get lots of client contact at an early stage in Europe and that can be very helpful in seeking out good in-house roles.


Same anon above who asked about churn and burn. Thanks for the insight. What would you define as good in-house in Europe? Working at banks?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:30 pm

Thanks for the reply above, OP. This is a super helpful thread and a big contribution to the community here. Hope you stay around!

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:18 am

Does anyone have any experience with the Spanish legal market? I'm starting law school in the fall in the states but my partner is Spanish and we would like to end up back in Spain at some point. What type of law should I practice to be able to have options both in the US and in Spain? Is practicing in Spain a feasible goal? Thanks so much for this thread. It is very helpful.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:35 pm

OP - Thank you very much for doing this.

I have two questions if you don't mind.

1) Do you have any idea what the lifestyle/hours would be like for a US-qualified lawyer working in leveraged finance and high-yield at a Magic Circle firm in London?

2) What would be available exits from such a position? I presume in house at banks in London/New York and back to a New York firm to do similar work would be typical. The problem is none of those sound "lifestyle" exits. Do you see people leaving for "lifestyle" exits? I trust you have any idea what I mean by "lifestyle", but I am happy to elaborate if need be.

FYI, someone I know reached out from one of the aforementioned groups and said there is an opportunity for me there.

Thanks so much!

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:20 pm

What in your experience tends to be the interaction between the larger London firms and their NYC offices?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby 2014 » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:40 pm

At what point in your career did making partner become your goal? Did you start at your original firm with the expectation that you would be there for the long haul or was your stint in big law originally intended to be short with your goals/desires evolving as your career as an associate developed?

Outside of the firm moves you actually did make, was there ever a time you were close to pulling the trigger on a different firm and/or in-house opportunity that you ultimately said no to?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:39 pm

Thank you very much for doing this.

I am interested specifically in the type of work that Cleary does out of the London office (and any comparison to their Frankfurt office), and Cleary's reputation in London/Europe.

Thanks again for any insight.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby dannyswo » Thu Mar 09, 2017 1:41 pm

LondonCallingV10 wrote:As the title says - transactional partner in London office of V10 firm. Here a few years now after starting and making partner in NY. Am very old and have worked at one V5 and two V10 firms. Happy to give the overseas perspective if anyone is interested.

Favorite bars in London?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:56 pm

Spain is very difficult I'm afraid. Economy there is in the doldrums, never really recovered from the financial crisis and no serious prospect of growth any time soon. International firms tend to have tiny offices there compared to France or Germany, and very few US firms have any presence at all.

Realistically not many prospects that I can think of for non-Spanish lawyers - we only ever go to Spanish counsel for collateral/ancillary docs on Spanish deals and there have been precious few of those recently.

Sorry

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:05 pm

Magic Circle for US lawyers pretty much means High Yield. As you probably know, when that market is 'hot', deal timetables are crazy and you will live at the printers. But when it is slow there is literally nothing to do and people tend to head off and ski/lie on a beach on the Med (depending on the season). Nice when you are young, single, no kids and want to explore Europe but there can be long stretches without any such breaks.

In terms of exits, I think 'lifestyle' is usually a compromise on either money or quality of work. There are some bank roles that pay a decent rate but are basically just NDAs and reviewing opinions. The ones that are actually deal execution will be better paid but hours will be longer.

I have seen some associates fall on their feet with random organisations like sovereign wealth funds where they end up with an interesting well paid job in a small team but many who want 'lifestyle' make huge changes and become journalists, charity workers or (in one case) a film producer.



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