Linklaters is a behemoth in the City, a true global firm with 26 offices in 19 countries and over 4800 staff. With turnover consistently tipping over £1 billion, the firm is a market leader in corporate and finance.
Constantly in the forefront when it comes to mega deals and big-ticket transactions, the firm also boasts on an impressive list of clients, from blue-chip companies to global organisations and institutions.
Linklaters has been in existence for 175 years and is an established player and well-respected City institution. Its modern avatar began in the 1990s when the firm embarked on expanding overseas with a series of alliance groups with various law firms across Europe.
A hefty 1700 hours is the annual billing target, with bonus payable being impacted by the number of hours billed. Obviously, more is better. Since core strengths are in corporate, banking and finance, largely deal-driven and of a transactional nature, aspirants should be ready, able and willing to work long hours day after day after day.
To offset the pain, the firm pays very generous salaries, and an extremely generous bonus; putting in an average of 1900–2000 will probably net you a bonus of 25–30% of your salary. The key is consistent and excellent performance, which will make an appreciable difference to the bottom-line.
Growth prospects are also quite good, an average of 20-25 new partners are inducted each year, and perks offered are first-rate. In recent times, the firm has introduced several flexi-work options, including a time-bank, where the number of hours worked are monitored and all excess time spent is accumulated and banked for employees to utilise at a later time; official ‘off days’ after hectic schedules during a deal closing can also be availed by employees.
A stint at Linklaters on your CV adds enormous market value on one’s employability. Ideally this is a place to work at and gain quality experience for a few years, and then move on; or if you’re really very, very good, you could stick around and eventually join the millionaires’ club, aka ‘the partnership’.
Their corporate division is recognised as a world leader in mergers, acquisitions, flotations, joint ventures and private equity. These are often pioneering deals. While many people associate corporate law with mergers, acquisitions and private equity, there are many other types of expertise at work here. Lawyers specialising in antitrust/competition, employment, pensions and incentives help companies with some of the toughest issues facing modern business.
Finance and Projects
Their finance practice leads the world’s strongest financial institutions practice and advises companies, funds and governments as well as banks in their funding, hedging and investment activities. Innovation and market leadership stand at the centre of our work. Our projects team leads many of the world’s most important energy and infrastructure projects.
Their commercial division offers a broad range of expertise, including litigation and dispute resolution, real estate, tax, technology, media and telecommunications, intellectual property and trusts. Most of the time, we advise corporate and financial institutions, but our trusts lawyers also work with individuals, charities and trustees.
Linklaters looks for outstanding performers, so a strong academic background is vital. At the minimum, candidates should have a 2:1 degree in any discipline.
Other important qualities or talents the firm is looking for include: commercial awareness; teamwork; strong communication skills; clarity of thought; a reasoned and analytical approach to problems or situations; an appetite for challenges and new initiatives; leadership and people management skills; meticulous attention to detail; and a social outgoing personality.
All trainees attend a one-week introduction to business prior to the commencement of the LPC. The programme covers all business related topics such as M&A, capital market, trading, etc.. This is also the time when trainees will meet and interact with each other, and with associates and partners in the firm.
The firm, in association with The College of Law, has designed a tailor-made LPC course; some modules are common to all trainees, including other law firm trainees, and the rest are exclusive to Linklaters. The common syllabus covers interview skills; professional conduct; financial services; probate; revenue law; solicitors’ accounts; and business accounts.
The exclusive programme covers research; writing and drafting; advocacy; business law and practice; property; civil and criminal litigation; debt finance; acquisitions; stock listings; and securities.
Trainees will attend four six-month seats as part of the practical training. Seats in corporate and finance and projects are compulsory; the other seats can be as per trainees’ choice and are based on availability. Client secondments or overseas placements are also made available.
Regular reviews of performance by the seat principal and the recruitment team keep trainees informed on their progress, and highlights areas requiring further improvement or which suggest moving to a better fit if the current assignment is in conflict with the trainees’ capabilities.
Linklaters runs summer vacation placements which run for two to four weeks, open to law students in their penultimate year and law graduates. A two-week Christmas vacation programme is run exclusively for non-law students in their final year, and other non-law graduates. The summer programmes are held between June and August.
The summer four-week scheme involves trainees spending time in two departments, each for two weeks, and the two-week scheme involves one department. A short induction prior to seat placement introduces trainees to firm strategy, systems, other trainees and the general background of the programme.
At each department, trainees will sit with an associate or management associate or a partner who allocates tasks and undertakes general supervision during the time the trainee spends in that department.
Other activities will include: lectures; completion of a business project; a mock client pitch; a case-study involving litigation and mediation; a case study in real estate; and various social activities. The winter scheme for non-law students takes place in December, for two weeks.
Trainees will sit with an associate or partner in one department and carry out tasks that are allotted. The other activities listed above for summer trainees will also be undertaken by the winter attendees.
For those who are not able to attend either scheme for whatever reasons, the firm holds an Open Day.
Full course fees for GDL and LPC are funded. An annual stipend of £7,000 is paid for those who study their GDL in London; £6,000 is paid to those studying outside London. The LPC at the College of Law Moorgate is paid by the firm and £5000 maintance is also provided for trainees.
First year trainees start at a salary of £37,400. Other annual benefits provided are 25 days annual vacation; pension scheme; private medical insurance; permanent health insurance; life assurance and worldwide travel insurance; on-site gym, physio and a subsidised restaurant; interest-free season ticket loan, on-site medical and dental facilities; and a concierge service.
Application forms for training contracts and vacation schemes are available online here. Law students are eligible to apply for summer vacation placements, while non-law students can attend the winter programme.
The selection process for both training contracts and vacation schemes consists of a critical reasoning test, followed by a two-level interview process. Vacation scheme applicants will have their first interview with the graduate recruitment team, an informal chat with current trainees and a tour of the offices follows. The final step is an interview with a partner.
For candidates who’ve applied for training contracts, the first round of interviews is with a management associate, followed by a chat with trainees and a tour of the offices. The second interview is conducted by a partner and also includes an exercise where a case study is provided: a company in a particular situation, with objectives and options listed and the trainee must review and analyse and present a report on what he/she thinks the company should do or act in the given situation.
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020 7456 2000
020 7456 2222
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