Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Weil, Gotshal & Manges has powerhouse practices in restructuring, private equity and litigation, and in addition to being a major player in UK law, has a huge presence across the Continent. The firm’s London office is the second biggest after its New York HQ, and its largely UK-qualified solicitors are amongst the highest earners in the City.
- Exposure to high quality and challenging work
- Supportive network of trainees due to the small intake
- Close knit culture – everyone knows everyone
- Lots of direct interaction with clients and high levels of responsibility for trainees
- Top of the City pay scale
- Excellent Women@Weil network
- Not much socialising outside of work
- Lack of interaction between departments at times
- Some practice areas are rather small in the London office
- Trainees don’t always get their chosen seats
International firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges boasts powerhouse practices in restructuring, private equity and litigation – major contributors which have elevated the firm’s worldwide revenue past the $1 billion mark in recent years. Although enduring some rough waters since its UK outpost was opened in 1996, the firm has since stabilised and even managed to counter the market by flourishing through the recession.
Today, the firm’s London office is its second biggest and most significant after its New York HQ. More than 90% of its 100+ lawyers are UK qualified and they are amongst the highest earners in the City: newly qualified solicitors earn a salary of £97,000 per year (including pension)! The result of the firm’s London endeavours is that its office is now at the heart of many of Weil’s major efforts, especially cross border corporate deals.
Founded in 1931, Weil’s work remained solely domestic until the 1990s. Although London now acts as its European headquarters, its first international forays were in Russia, followed by Brussels in 1992. Weil previously had a presence in London, courtesy of Nabarro Nathanson’s office, but it didn’t take the leap to go it alone until 1996. Heavy investment and an aggressive lateral hire strategy marked its inception. The firm is continuing to grow with the addition of new partners joining from rival firms, such as Clifford Chance, Linklaters and Jones Day.
Weil is not only a major player in UK law – the North American firm has dedicated significant resources to global expansion over the past 15 years. Weil now has over 1,200 lawyers in 20 offices, spread across the US, Europe and Asia. In 2009, the firm opened its first Middle Eastern office in Dubai, marking its debut with one of the biggest deals in the region – the merger of TV channels Showtime and Orbit.
In recent years, the firm has placed emphasis on its niche strengths rather than broadening its scope – a strategy that has paid off. And while the banking and finance teams hold their own with the big boys, the firm’s litigation and arbitration teams also have a strong reputation. Weil secured the mandates to advise on some of the world’s largest defaults: Parmalat, General Motors and WorldCom. Furthermore, the firm boasts significant practices in capital markets; and with a client list including Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank, the work is as high-profile as it comes.
Weil’s pro bono efforts are renowned for being pervasive firm-wide, with even senior figures contributing to the philanthropic cause. In 2005, Weil launched a policy requiring each associate to perform at least 50 hours pro bono work a year. And if that wasn't enough, Weil has helped Oxfam set up a chain of fair-trade coffee shops and also works with numerous charities such as the disabled children’s charity KIDS.Read all 164 employee quotes
Weil, Gotshal & Manges is one of the top international law firms in London, so securing a training contract can prove to be a tough undertaking. The firm’s annual intake consists of between 12 and 14 trainees, and Weil looks for candidates who can demonstrate excellence beyond the minimum 2:1 from a top university. According to current trainees, the firm seeks ‘commercially-minded’ and ‘independent thinkers’ with ‘strong technical skills, as well as social skills’. Furthermore, Weil only takes on candidates it believes can handle responsibility, because due to the combination of ‘the ‘[firm’s] small size and its big ticket work… each and every trainee must pull their own weight’.
The recruitment process may be stringent, but it is also known to be friendly and cohesive in drawing the best out of candidates. Applicants are required to fill in an online application form and, if successful, will need to complete an online verbal reasoning test. The next stage consists of an initial interview with a partner and an associate.
Ace the first interview and you’ll be invited to a full assessment day, where you’ll have ‘a presentation, group discussion, drafting exercise and a second interview with a different partner and associate’. This is your chance to shine… Deliver focussed answers on why you want to work for Weil and demonstrate a strong interest in corporate and finance work, as well as a good understanding of the firm’s history and noteworthy deals. Weil looks for candidates with an active extracurricular side to their CV, so be sure to cover your ‘interests outside of work’ in addition to demonstrating ‘a solid grasp of the firm and London office's outlook’. Current trainees advise applicants to be prepared to ‘stand up to a lot of pressure, both at interview and in the job’.
Trainees at Weil undertake four six-month seats, with finance and corporate being compulsory. Almost all of the firm’s departments are an option for the remaining two seats, and the ‘choice is there if you make it known early what you want,’ states one trainee. Seats abroad are possible, with Paris and New York currently available. Secondments to clients or other European offices are also sometimes an option.
As is the case with many law firms, a vacation scheme is a brilliant door-opener; it will give you an inside look and feel for the firm, all the while providing the opportunity to demonstrate your enthusiasm and commitment.
Weil offers a two-week vacation scheme every Easter and summer and typically welcomes 20 students. If you are one of the lucky few to make it through the hiring process, you will be given an opportunity to work in two different practice areas. There you will share an office with a lawyer and assist them with their everyday work – participating in deals or attending client meetings is not uncommon according to Weil’s summer students. You’ll also be offered training sessions to help you develop both soft and technical legal skills; overall, a great stepping stone if you’re looking to secure a training contract.
Weil Graduate Recruitment Info
Graduate Recruitment Advisor
Tel: +44 (0)20 7903 1000
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013 (Law students/grads), 31st July 2013 (Non-law students/grads)
Vacation Schemes: 31st January 2013
Note: Non-law students in their final year will be considered early for training contracts and maybe invited to an interview in Feb/March 2013. However, Weil will also happily accept and consider non-law applications right up until the final closing date of 31st July 2013
No. of lawyers firm-wide: 1,200+
No. of lawyers in London: 107
London partners: 24
London associates: 77
London trainee intake: between 12 and 14
London trainees retained: 70% (Sept 2012)
Approx. no. of applications per year:
Vac schemes: 518
Training contracts: 714
1st year trainee: £41,000
2nd year trainee: £45,000
Newly qualified: £97,000
1 year PQE: £100,000
2 years PQE: £103,000
3 years PQE: £112,000
Business Finance & Restructuring
Corporate (M&A and Private Equity)
Employment/Employee Benefits (including Pensions)
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Real Estate & Environment
As a trainee, there are reviews every three months, and then every six months as an associate (with the main review occurring once a year).Junior solicitor, Private EquityHelpful?
A very high importance, and there is a 50 hour pro bono requirement from lawyers.Junior solicitor, Private EquityHelpful?
I find that partner communications are very good at the firm. As with every law firm, many decisions are made behind closed doors, but there is generally good chance for upward review and we are kept up-to-date on a regular basis on office developments.Junior solicitor, Private EquityHelpful?
Trainees do four seats across areas such as corporate, finance, litigation, employment, IP/IT, property, capital markets, restructuring and competition. Trainees submit choices and these are taken into account, but really the best way to get the seat you want is to speak to the partners in that department, especially if it is a small department. The compulsory departments are corporate and finance (although the latter can be satisfied by doing a capital markets or restructuring seat). The seats abroad are in New York and Paris.Second year traineeHelpful?
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110 Fetter Lane
London EC4A 1AY
Tel: +44 20 7903 1000
No. of worldwide offices: 20