Hogan Lovells

Deep-seated London roots, a well developed international network, solid growth and happy staff, make Hogan Lovells a serious alternative to the Magic Circle and a contender for the title of the City's most approachable firm.

7.7 / 10 30 reviews Overall Satisfaction

Exciting but demanding.

448 employee reviews - read more


  • Variety of the work, clients and practice areas
  • Friendly atmosphere and approachable colleagues
  • High level of responsibility for trainees
  • Excellent training, both legal and soft skills


  • The uncertainty of the hours, and you are expected to work weekends when busy
  • Sometimes no transparency over decisions
  • Solicitors and partners are very busy which can make it hard to receive informal training
  • The bonus programme is a bit obscure

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Take two judicial giants – one US, one UK – meld them together and what do you get? Hogan Lovells: a transatlantic behemoth with 2,500+ lawyers, 47 offices across the globe, and revenues of $1.03 billion. Formed following the merger of Hogan & Hartson and Lovells on 1st May 2010, Hogan Lovells advises many of the world’s largest corporations, financial institutions and governmental organisations. The firm regularly acts on complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions, as well as large commercial disputes. London is the firm's largest single office.

Due to the nature of its conception, Hogan Lovells' roots can be traced down two separate paths... Frank J Hogan opened his practice in 1904, quickly rising to prominence for his work in the Teapot Dome scandal of the 1920s (during which US government officials were convicted of accepting bribes from big oil companies). As a result of his successes in high profile political cases, the firm’s founder garnered a reputation as America’s leading trial lawyer. Frank was joined by Nelson T Hartson in 1925, and they eventually went into partnership together in 1938, forming Hogan & Hartson.

The firm excelled in numerous fields over the years, expanding into North and Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In 1970, Hogan & Hartson notably became the first major firm to establish a separate practice devoted exclusively to pro bono legal services. And by the time of the firm’s merger with Lovells, Hogan & Hartson had grown into the largest firm based in Washington, with 26 offices worldwide.

Lovells’ history stretches back even further than its fellow progenitor to 1899, when John Spencer Lovell set up his own legal practice. He was later joined by Reginald White, and then in 1924, by Charles King. Together the three formed Lovell, White & King and moved the office to Holborn Circus. In 1966, Lovell, White & King merged with Haslewoods, a firm with an illustrious history and revered clients such as the Treasury Solicitor and Lord Nelson. In 1988, the firm joined forces with Durrant Piesse, a banking and financial powerhouse, forming Lovell White Durrant. But the firm was by no means finished there… not by a long way! In 2000, it merged again, this time with Germany’s Boesebeck Droste, and Dutch firm, Ekelmans Den Hollander. After this period of expansion, the firm took the decision to cut its name to simply Lovells.

The turn of the millennium brought further alliances throughout Europe, helping Lovells to develop and expand across the Continent. New outposts opened in Hungary, Italy, Singapore, Shanghai and Madrid. Before the Hogan & Hartson merger, Lovells’ insatiable thirst for growth stretched to the Middle East, and in 2007 the firm opened a new office in Dubai. In 2009, Lovells opened an office in Hanoi, Vietnam, and began to focus on developing its real estate practice in the Middle East. Then, on December 15th of that year, the firm announced its agreement to join forces with Hogan & Hartson.

The strengths of this transatlantic firm are extensive, and include banking and finance, corporate, capital markets, dispute resolution, insurance, real estate, IP, government regulatory and project finance. Hogan Lovells’ litigation department is one of the best around, and the firm also boasts an eminently well respected real estate practice. Hogan Lovells enjoys a strong reputation with the banks and financial institutions in London, and can name Barclays and JP Morgan among its clients, as well SAB Miller, ITV, BBC, Ford, Vodafone and the Royal Mail.

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Hogan Lovells is one of the most applied to law firms in the UK, receiving around 1,500 applications each year. This gives the firm the luxury of being able to pick from the cream of the academic crop. As ‘they look for academic consistency over a long period’, candidates need to demonstrate strong A-Levels (or equivalent) and have at least a 2:1 (or equivalent) consistently throughout their degree. Determination, ambition, an interest in commercial issues, and a flexible, resilient and adaptable approach are definite prerequisites. Yet, one of the firm’s main strengths is that it does not have a ‘type’ and ‘looks to recruit candidates from all backgrounds, both law and non-law graduates’. According to one trainee, Hogan Lovells ‘generally likes well-rounded individuals who are professional, intelligent and have good interpersonal skills’.

Hogan Lovells looks to recruit people who will perfectly match the firm’s culture, which is described as unpretentious, hard-working and ambitious. The firm boasts an impressive client list and thus excellent communication skills are required to ensure smooth client interaction. One trainee advises that ‘candidates should also be aware that most people applying will be from similar universities and backgrounds, and that outside interests are a key way to distinguish yourself from the competition’. If you have been a member of a club or team at your university, make sure to mention it in your application to help stand out from the crowd.

The recruitment process is transparent and known to be tough, but fair. It involves submitting an in depth online application form, comprising a dozen or so questions. This will be followed by an online Watson Glaser test. Successful candidates will be invited to an assessment day, which will re-test your analytical skills and critical thinking via a 45-minute paper-based version of the Watson Glaser test. For training contract applicants there will also be a group exercise which forms a pivotal part of the hiring process since it is aimed at testing both your commercial awareness and your team working ability. It is certainly important to make an effort by getting involved in the team work, whilst also being clear in expressing your own opinion.

Next up is the final hurdle which consists of an interview with two partners, or one partner and the Associate Director of Legal Resourcing. The interview lasts around 45 minutes, focusing on your application form as well as legal and business issues. As one trainee puts it: ‘the interviewing partners are trying to decide whether they would be happy to work closely with you’ and find out more about your personality, as well as your knowledge of business affairs. Although you will have to face demanding questions, the interview is ‘not designed to be a hostile or intimidating atmosphere’. Instead, the firm is keen to not ‘make the process more formal or stressful than it would otherwise need to be’. Candidates are not expected to know everything, but show ‘a willingness to learn and an attitude to ask the right questions at the right times’.

A final note: You will also be given the chance to have a chat with current trainees over lunch to find out what it is really like to work at the firm, so make sure you think of a few questions you may not have asked the partners!


Vacation Schemes

vacation scheme at Hogan Lovells will give you the opportunity to work in three of the firm’s practice areas including Corporate or Finance and Litigation. You will definitely not be asked to make tea or coffee for your supervisor as you’ll be too busy working! Students are expected to attend meetings, conduct some legal research and do some drafting. You may also be asked to interact with clients and the workshops/training on offer will have you expand your presentation, advocacy and corporate knowledge and skills.

Schemes available:
Winter vacation scheme (December non law final year students/graduates only)
First year spring vacation scheme (April first year law students only)
Summer vacation schemes (June and July penultimate year law students only)

To read a law student's experience of the Hogan Lovells summer vac scheme, click here.


Hogan Lovells Graduate Recruitment Info

Graduate Recruitment Team
Email: graduate.recruitment@hoganlovells.com
Tel: +44 (0)20 7296 2000

Application Deadlines:

Training Contracts:
31st July 2013 (Law students/grads), 30 April 2013 (Non-law students/grads)
Summer Vacation Scheme (penultimate year law students):
Applications will open from 1 October 2013 for 2014 opportunities 
Winter Scheme (final year non-law students):
Applications will open from 1 October 2013 for December 2013 opportunities
Spring vacation scheme (first year law students):
Applications will open from 1 October 2013 for 2014 opportunities
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No. of lawyers firm-wide: 2,500+
No. of lawyers in London: 557
London partners: 152
London associates: 325
London trainee intake: 60
Trainees retained: 78% (2012)
Approx. no. of applications per year: 1,500


# 8 in Top 50 Law Firms (7.38/10)

# 1 in Pro Bono (8.97/10)
# 4 in Offices & Dress (8.72/10)
# 8 in Level of Stress (6.07/10)
# 9 in Diversity (7.93/10)
# 9 in Formal Training (8.29/10)
# 10 in Interview Process (7.6/10)
# 13 in Green Initiatives (6.62/10)
# 14 in Hours (7.06/10)
# 14 in Salary (7.55/10)
# 15 in Informal Training & Mentoring (7.69/10)


1st year trainee: 39,000
2nd year trainee: 44,000
Newly qualified: 63,000

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Mixed. Some people give a lot of feedback, some positive, some people like to take credit for your work - this happens everywhere I assume.

Read all reviews in Informal Training & Mentoring

Lovely offices, great location. Smart casual dress code. The best cookies in the meeting rooms!

Read all reviews in Offices & Dress

Could have less paper filing.

Read all reviews in Green Initiatives

A combination of the breadth of practice areas, the individuals I met at interview, the global focus of the work and its reputation.

Read all reviews in Why your firm?


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London Office:
Atlantic House
Holborn Viaduct
London EC1A 2FG
Tel: +44 (0)20 7296 2000

No. of worldwide offices: 47
Colorado Springs
Ho Chi Minh City
Hong Kong
Los Angeles
New York
Northern Virginia
Rio de Janeiro
San Francisco
Silicon Valley
Washington, DC

*Associate office