V10 partner now in Europe AMA

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LondonCallingV10

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:16 pm

I started out wanting to be a partner (more people did back in my day when the lifestyle was nothing like as brutal). Then when it got very tough about four or five years in I decided I couldn't take it any more and changed practice area slightly with a view to better positioning myself for an in house exit. Lucked into a good team, nice clients who liked me and better hours. Made partner because the economy and firm politics were all aligned in my favour at the right moment. Then a couple of firm moves and geographical moves followed - each time at relatively low risk because it was to work with people I knew and liked from deals.

I've been very lucky and do believe the demands are much tougher these days (I am so old I didn't even have a blackberry for the first few years). The only bits of it I attribute to my own efforts is that I have always taken pride in doing good quality work and I get on with most people - decent emotional intelligence.

LondonCallingV10

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:26 pm

A few questions in one:

In some practice areas the London and US offices quite often collaborate on deals - more common in the high end practices working for global clients. Those firms also often run associate academies/all firm conferences every year in the US so you get to network. Plus extra trips for firmwide LGBT networks or similar. The more 'English' firms (bigger offices, often the product of a US/UK merger, like Hogan Lovells, DLA Piper, Reed Smith) you might as well be in an English firm as you might never come across a US colleague.

I don't hear much about Cleary. They made a 'push' a couple of years ago hiring some partners with reasonable pedigree to grow the practice but they don't turn up that often on big deals from what I see. But I don't see everything!

Bars - I am probably too old to help! Lots of people like private members' clubs like Shoreditch house or the Arts club or the high rise places like Sushi Samba. Occasionally I hear tell of speakeasy underground joints and molecular cocktails in Farringdon from the trendier associates but I cannot claim expertise...

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 10, 2017 9:39 pm

LondonCallingV10 wrote: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.


This was very useful, thank you!

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 29, 2017 2:40 pm

LondonCallingV10 wrote:I started out wanting to be a partner (more people did back in my day when the lifestyle was nothing like as brutal). Then when it got very tough about four or five years in I decided I couldn't take it any more and changed practice area slightly with a view to better positioning myself for an in house exit. Lucked into a good team, nice clients who liked me and better hours. Made partner because the economy and firm politics were all aligned in my favour at the right moment. Then a couple of firm moves and geographical moves followed - each time at relatively low risk because it was to work with people I knew and liked from deals.

I've been very lucky and do believe the demands are much tougher these days (I am so old I didn't even have a blackberry for the first few years). The only bits of it I attribute to my own efforts is that I have always taken pride in doing good quality work and I get on with most people - decent emotional intelligence.


Thanks for all the helpful comments, very interesting.

Obviously only a small minority of associates can/will/want to become a partner, but it seems like the professional arc for most US partners outside the US is that they started their careers in the States and then moved abroad with some substantial level of experience. Do you think this is because foreign offices just weren't as prominent or developed until recent years? I'm wondering if it's just the reality that having most or all of your career abroad, such as in London, basically means you've foreclosed on partnership.

nzmich

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby nzmich » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:09 am

This thread is legit!

LondonCallingV10

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:19 am

Glad to be of use!

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 12:47 am

This thread is perfect -- thanks.

I'd love your advice if you wouldn't mind. I'm at a large churn/burn firm in NY doing M&A and cap markets -- first year associate but my fiance wants to move London (has family there and such). She wouldn't want to move until next year. I'm not really tied to NY so could be wherever -- I'm perfectly happy to head to London if possible. Do you have any suggestions/perspective as to:

a) Is my best bet to just ask my firm if I can move over to their London office?
b) If that fails, should I just be peppering London offices of US-firms with applications?
c) Timeline-wise, given that we wouldn't move for another year, should I just sit on my hands for awhile and wait?
d) Are US practices in London typically paying a cost of living adjustment these days?

LondonCallingV10

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Fri Apr 28, 2017 5:39 am

Firms won't recruit you a year ahead so I think your best bet at this stage would be to make yourself as attractive as possible to the US team of a London office so that, when the time comes, you can approach both your own firm and other likely firms in a persuasive manner.

Cap markets (leveraged/high yield bonds) are the key area for US juniors in London so try to get as much experience on similar products as you can in your current role. It won't be quite the same as the European market but there is sufficient overlap that at your level you can understand the process. If your firm subscribes to Xtract, start familiarising yourself with the market trend reports for both US and European issues. That will give you enough background to appear well informed and smart at interview.

After that it will be a question of how busy the bond market is and whether firms are looking for bodies. This year has started off much better than last but hard to say a year out how things will look. If you turn up at a busy moment and look as though you could be useful someone will hire you. Will be an even better chance if you have a strong firm pedigree, preferably with one of the firms that does lots of high yield in London (e.g. Latham, Simpson, kirkland, millbank, Weil). COLA is not as common as it used to be but again a product of market conditions. If you turn up at a busy moment you will have a better chance of not only getting in but also of negotiating a better package. But a NY salary in London at current exchange rates is pretty good even without a COLA...

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 28, 2017 10:25 am

Very helpful -- thanks a bunch!

lawlorbust

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby lawlorbust » Fri Apr 28, 2017 11:48 am

LondonCallingV10 wrote:I started out wanting to be a partner (more people did back in my day when the lifestyle was nothing like as brutal). Then when it got very tough about four or five years in I decided I couldn't take it any more and changed practice area slightly with a view to better positioning myself for an in house exit. Lucked into a good team, nice clients who liked me and better hours. Made partner because the economy and firm politics were all aligned in my favour at the right moment. Then a couple of firm moves and geographical moves followed - each time at relatively low risk because it was to work with people I knew and liked from deals.

I've been very lucky and do believe the demands are much tougher these days (I am so old I didn't even have a blackberry for the first few years). The only bits of it I attribute to my own efforts is that I have always taken pride in doing good quality work and I get on with most people - decent emotional intelligence.


You seem like a good dood; very glad things worked out for you. So what's next?

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:27 am

Thank you for this great thread! Would appreciate any color you have on the DPW London office.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 29, 2017 12:52 pm

I'm a junior corp fin associate at a NY V10 with a London office. Love the work. Hate the hours. Is London just as bad? Thinking of moving to a secondary market that's a moderately more sane than NY but unsure if London is just as bad / worse.

LondonCallingV10

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Wed May 03, 2017 7:09 am

I don't know all that much about DPW in London as they haven't yet made a big push to grow that office. Laterals seemed to find it an ok place to work and no tales of particularly obnoxious personalities. But I don't think it is especially dynamic - they seem to be simply servicing the firm's existing US clients. That may change if they can hire a local 'big fish'.

In answer to the question about hours, there is more variation across the london market than NY and more firms where it is possible to cruise at a slower pace. However, as ever, it depends on the team you are in and the top US cap markets practices, when that market is busy, will be brutal. If you have no partnership ambitions and just want a few years on the CV then an English 'Magic Circle' firm or one of the US firms whose London office is second tier (I would say Gibson, Winston, Proskauer, Sherman, Fried Frank fall into this category though opinions may vary) may be interesting to you.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 03, 2017 9:54 am

Hi thanks for doing this. Any thought on Cahill? They send one to two junior 2nd year associates each year to their london office. I know it's tiny and a satellite, but any experience working with their UK team?

Will it be particularly difficult to return to a US lev fin team after time in UK? I think you wrote the most likely move is in-house.

LondonCallingV10

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby LondonCallingV10 » Wed May 03, 2017 3:47 pm

I haven't worked with Cahill in London I'm afraid and don't really know anything about their office.

Certainly people do move back to law firms in the US and the convergence of terms between the US/European lev fin markets is making the switch easier. It's probably better to get experience in Europe and then move to the US which is a more homogenous and straightforward market. You shouldn't leave the return until you are very senior though as there will be a period of adaptation to local process/clients that is difficult if you are supposed to be the most senior person on the deal team with no one to question. As with everything else it is market dependent - if you make your move at a busy time, firms will welcome you with less-than-perfect experience. At quieter times they can afford to be more picky.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 03, 2017 5:09 pm

Could you touch on the Investment Funds and/or PE practice areas within the London market?
Are all/most of the lawyers doing fund formation + private equity UK-qualified?
Is the competitive landscape any different than in the U.S. in terms of the firms that traditionally lead in this space (e.g. Debevoise, Simpson, Kirkland, PW)?

Thanks for this -- awesome thread!

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SmokeytheBear

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby SmokeytheBear » Wed May 03, 2017 5:12 pm

I've been lurking for a while and simply chime in to say thank you for all of the incredibly useful and candid information you have shared.

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Anonymous User » Wed May 03, 2017 5:20 pm

How hard is it to find a job as a US cap markets lawyer in France or Spain? I'm not interested in earning 300k a year.. 100-150 suffices, especially because I dont need to worry about some big exp like health care...

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Re: V10 partner now in Europe AMA

Postby Livingston » Sun Jun 11, 2017 10:55 am

Anonymous User wrote: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?



Virtually impossible in the Nordics as an American. I think there's like three or four American lawyers at firms in the whole region and it's a total crap shoot even if you have great credentials and language skills.

The Nordics are totally dominated by the local firms and the big foreign international firms (mostly based in Stockholm with small offices) basically only handle foreign clients. In Olso, the only international firms are DLA Piper and the Big4 accounting firms (which are real law firms in Europe, but mostly doing tax work), none of which employ any foreigners. There were some Brits doing shipping/projects in Oslo, but they've mostly left. There are in-house options, but still they prefer locals that have come up through the local system, even if it's a big international company and most of the work is international/in English/under US or UK law. Pay is also like 20%-30% of what you'd make in the US, but you do work less.

If you see people with foreign names at a Nordic firm, they were usually born in-country to recent immigrants or immigrated when they were kids and have native-level local language skills plus local education plus other language skills like Russian or Arabic. Outside that, people that grew up abroad but have a Nordic parent and passport and Dutch and German lawyers seem to do better than other groups.



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