Formed in September 2010 – from the merger of US-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal and the UK’s Denton Wilde Sapte – SNR Denton has 33 locations in 18 different countries. With DWS’s well-established finance and corporate practices and Middle Eastern presence, and SNR’s heavyweight clients, the future looks bright for this firm.
Friendly, enjoyable place to work.
- High profile and international work
- Friendly and supportive culture
- Approachable partners and helpful solicitors
- Excellent mentoring
- Good opportunities for overseas seats
- No competitiveness between the trainees
- Sometimes long and unpredictable hours – trainees are expected to stay when busy, though encouraged to leave when not
- Level of client contact for trainees varies considerably between departments
- Can be difficult to find the time for training when busy
SNR Denton is the result of an amalgamation of US-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP (SNR) and the UK’s Denton Wilde Sapte LLP (DWS). When the combination became effective in September 2010, the new firm boasted 1,400 employees across 18 countries, with 33 locations over four continents.
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP was founded in Chicago in 1906, and built a reputation for serving the needs of many of the world’s best known businesses, non-profits and individuals. At the time of the merger with DWS, SNR had 11 offices across the States and additional outposts in Brussels and Zurich.
SNR was known as a leader in providing innovative legal services across a number of practices, most notably: financial institutions and services, insurance, manufacturing and industrials, healthcare and life sciences, technology, media and telecommunications, real estate, and energy and utilities. SNR’s impressive inventory of clients included names from the acme of industry – from Citibank to The Boeing Company, and General Electric Company to McDonald’s Corporation.
DWS was formed in 2000 by the merger of the then strongest mid-market law firms in the UK. The attempt was to combine the corporate division of Denton Hall with the strong banking practice of Wilde Sapte. The result: a firm that steadily built a reputation in finance, media, energy and real estate with an expertise in the Middle East. DWS’s ancestry can be followed back to Sam Denton – who established his firm in 1788 and Thomas Wilde, who founded what was to become Wilde Sapte with partner Samuel Archer Hussey in 1785.
DWS had a firm foothold in the emerging markets of the Middle East and Africa since the ‘60s, and also built a strong presence in Central Asia – becoming the largest international law firm operating in the region. To complement its international offices, DWS had a series of associate firms forming its notable African network, as well as alliances with St Petersburg firm Duvernoix Legal in Russia, and AK Counsel in the key energy market of Turkmenistan. DWS’s finance practice had a strong reputation in banking circles and it was one of the first ports of call for insolvency and asset management advice. The firm’s corporate practice included both major and marquee clients, such as the FA Premier League, Shell, Sainsbury’s and Virgin.
The new entity, SNR Denton, unites the complementary practices of the two consolidated firms, with a focus on meeting evolving client needs in eight key industry sectors – financial institutions and funds; energy, transport and infrastructure; insurance; real estate, retail and hotels; technology, media and telecommunications; health and life sciences; manufacturing; and government.
SNR Denton provides in-depth legal expertise in numerous practice areas, including: litigation, disputes, internal investigations and international arbitration; corporate/M&A; venture capital/private equity; securities; finance; structured finance; tax; policy, regulation and public policy; restructuring and insolvency; intellectual property; outsourcing; employment and pensions; competition; trusts and estates.
SNR Denton is committed to pro bono work and the firm’s involvement in this area includes anything from representing death-row inmates to working on asylum matters and civil rights. The firm has also been a supporter of groups such as UNICEF, the International HIV/AIDS Alliance and Human Rights Watch. In the UK, the SNR Denton UK Charitable Trust is dedicated to funding various charities, particularly those with a London or Milton Keynes link.Read all 420 employee quotes
Fancy working for a mid-sized City firm with a strong banking practice and international seats? Then read on, as SNR Denton may well be the right choice for you.
SNR Denton is particularly interested in hearing from ‘well-rounded candidates who haven't just spent time studying. The firm wants people with a personality.’ Although a strong academic background is a must, the firm hires from a wide range of universities and doesn’t target any particular types. However, word has it that ‘you need to show that you can think on your feet and are able to pick things up quickly’. Social skills and team spirit are also highly valued, as is commercial awareness and confidence. Due to the firm’s international presence, language skills certainly help you stand out from the crowd. But ultimately, the firm wants candidates who are enthusiastic, friendly and willing to work during stressful periods. Trainees also recommend you try your best to take part in the firm’s vac scheme, as this puts you in a better position at the interview for a training contract.
So how do you apply? Simply submit your online application, ensuring you emphasise your extracurricular activities to distinguish yourself from the hordes of other applicants. Those who make the cut will have to master two rounds of interviews. Though before the first interview, you will be asked to complete an online questionnaire, focussing on your preferences and style of work. The first interview will be conducted by HR and involves competency-based questions, a review of your skills and anything else you put on your application form. Also, you best prepare for a Watson Glaser test too.
The second interview is held by partners. Before the interview begins, you will be given some information on a business case. Using this information, you will have a short time to prepare a presentation to give during your interview. In addition, your interviewers will test your business awareness and determine whether you have the necessary interpersonal and communication skills to interact well with clients. The ‘partner interview can be hard to predict and very challenging’ so ‘expect a grilling on your CV, competencies and why you want to work at SNR’. Intimidating as this may sound, the interview is described as relaxed by many candidates, and you are made to feel very welcome. Current trainees advise candidates to ‘prepare for an interview like you would for an exam – with the main topics being you and the firm’. And remember ‘to always back up opinions with arguments and logic. The key is not necessarily the content of your answer, but your manner and method of articulating it.’
Make the final cut, and you can expect to complete one of your four six-month seats in the banking department or one of its sub-groups. Other departments on offer include real estate, dispute resolution, corporate, technology, media and telecommunications, energy, infrastructure, employment, pensions, and competition – so you really are spoilt for choice. Trainees also get a chance to ‘spend a seat seconded to a client’ or even in one of the SNR’s offices abroad (Paris, Dubai, and Muscat are the current options).
One trainee tells us that ‘if you are able to get on a vacation scheme then you will be in a better position when interviewing for a training contract’. You should make up your mind of as to where you’d like to do a vac scheme – London or Milton Keynes – and send off your application in good time. Both offices run a week-long placement during the summer, and the London office also offers winter open days.
As a summer student, you’ll most likely shadow one of the firm’s current trainees. There will also be some social events to keep you busy, but keep in mind that the London office only accepts applications from law grads/students in their penultimate or final year. Non-law students shouldn’t feel left out though, as the Milton Keynes summer placement (for those of you interested in a potential training contract opportunity in Milton Keynes) and London’s winter open day offers candidates from non-law disciplines a taste of what it’s like to work for SNR Denton.
SNR Denton Graduate Recruitment Info
Tel: +44 (0)20 7320 6775
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013 (Law students/grads), 30th March 2013 (Non-law students/grads)
Vacation Schemes (summer): Applications close 31st January 2013
Winter open day: Applications close 18th Nov 2012
No. of lawyers firm-wide: 1,400+
No. of lawyers in the UK: 434
UK Partners: 120
London Associates: 206
London Trainee intake: 25
Milton Keynes Trainee intake: 5
Trainees retained: 83% (Sept 2012)
Approx. no. of applications per year: 1,300
1st year trainee: £37,000
2nd year trainee: £40,000
Newly qualified: £59,000
1st year trainee: £25,500
2nd year trainee: £27,500
Newly qualified: £39,000
Banking & Finance
Bankruptcy & Restructuring
Employment, Pensions & Benefits
Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Public Policy & Regulation
Trusts & Estates
Average of 9 - 9.5 hours per day so around 47.5 per week. Fairly flexible in terms of hours, (arrive between 9 - 9:30 am and leave whenever suitable).Helpful?
First round interview with HR: competency based questions. Second round interview with partners: business case study and then interview about your application form. No surprises with the interview: as far as interviews go it was an enjoyable experience.Second year traineeHelpful?
Obviously the difficulty increases as your career progresses, but there seems to be a good availability of NQ positions for trainees at the moment. It takes dedication, commitment and confidence to become partner.Helpful?
HR are very approachable and will do their utmost to ensure that the trainees get the seats they want.Second year traineeHelpful?
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