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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    I am not sure about the specifics of those firms, but the reason they are not a diverse trainee experience in general is because the model is to take trainees to qualify for specific corporate/finance practice areas where they need higher quantities of cheap talent who can then develop relationships through the systems.

    They can then bring people for tax, competition, IP and even litigation/restructuring from other firms where these practices are more established and they can just bring them at 4-5+ pqe when they are at their most useful, without having to pay for their development.

    NB: I think the Jones Day experience is a bit more holistic because the London office was originally the well respected English firm 'Gouldens'
    Thanks, West Wing. That's very helpful. I am not particularly keep on US firms, although I might try applying to a few of the ones I've mentioned above.

    My sights are set on Freshfields, Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovels, Norton Rose and Ashurst. I have an interest in M&A, asset & acquisition finance, energy, competition and commercial litigation at the moment, so a firm with a broad range of practice areas would probably be the best in so far as a TC is concerned.
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    (Original post by eve_22)
    Thanks, West Wing. That's very helpful. I am not particularly keep on US firms, although I might try applying to a few of the ones I've mentioned above.

    My sights are set on Freshfields, Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovels, Norton Rose and Ashurst. I have an interest in M&A, asset & acquisition finance, energy, competition and commercial litigation at the moment, so a firm with a broad range of practice areas would probably be the best in so far as a TC is concerned.
    At the vac scheme stage I recommend applying to all sorts of firms you might be interested in. I would say it is particularly important to do a vac scheme at a US firm if that's where you want to go because they recruit more heavily from the vac scheme as they know it's important to really understand the culture of the firm before taking a training contract ther. I would also not recommend taking a training contract at a US firm without having done work experience, preferably a vacation scheme at a similar firm. In my experience they care a lot more about your personality as well in the recruitment process because in such a small office (often 80 lawyers or less), each individual joiner can make a difference to the dynamic so it matters that they choose people that will fit in and improve the culture.
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    At the vac scheme stage I recommend applying to all sorts of firms you might be interested in. I would say it is particularly important to do a vac scheme at a US firm if that's where you want to go because they recruit more heavily from the vac scheme as they know it's important to really understand the culture of the firm before taking a training contract ther. I would also not recommend taking a training contract at a US firm without having done work experience, preferably a vacation scheme at a similar firm. In my experience they care a lot more about your personality as well in the recruitment process because in such a small office (often 80 lawyers or less), each individual joiner can make a difference to the dynamic so it matters that they choose people that will fit in and improve the culture.
    I don't think I would be particularly disheartened if I didn't manage to secure a VS at a US firm. However, I feel that, by completing a VS at firms in which I have most interest, I will get a chance to prove myself and to also interview for a TC at the end of the VS. Therefore, I prefer to target mostly those firms in which I would hope to ultimately secure an offer of a TC.

    In addition, some UK firms also seem to recruit heavily from their VS; e.g. Norton Rose, CMS Cameron McKenna and, possibly, Ashurst. So doing a VS at either might actually be helpful in so far as TC application is concerned.

    I might be entirely wrong in my line of thinking, but I already know what it is that I am looking for in a firm and would therefore rather put all my effort in securing a VS at two or three out of my most preferred firms.

    I do plan to apply to some US firms, but mostly for Easter schemes (thinking Jones Day and Cleary here), as I want to leave my summer free in case I manage to secure an offer from Hogan Lovells, Herbies or Freshfields, and etc. I also plan to apply for Slaughters Easter scheme; they aren't my most favourite in the MC but I would still like to experience their culture first hand.
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    (Original post by eve_22)
    I don't think I would be particularly disheartened if I didn't manage to secure a VS at a US firm. However, I feel that, by completing a VS at firms in which I have most interest, I will get a chance to prove myself and to also interview for a TC at the end of the VS. Therefore, I prefer to target mostly those firms in which I would hope to ultimately secure an offer of a TC.

    In addition, some UK firms also seem to recruit heavily from their VS; e.g. Norton Rose, CMS Cameron McKenna and, possibly, Ashurst. So doing a VS at either might actually be helpful in so far as TC application is concerned.

    I might be entirely wrong in my line of thinking, but I already know what it is that I am looking for in a firm and would therefore rather put all my effort in securing a VS at two or three out of my most preferred firms.

    I do plan to apply to some US firms, but mostly for Easter schemes (thinking Jones Day and Cleary here), as I want to leave my summer free in case I manage to secure an offer from Hogan Lovells, Herbies or Freshfields, and etc. I also plan to apply for Slaughters Easter scheme; they aren't my most favourite in the MC but I would still like to experience their culture first hand.
    You seem to have a well thought-through plan! I got interviews at Cleary, Jones Day, White and Case without doing vac schemes there so actually either way it doesn't matter too much even if you want to apply for TCs there. I have gone with the UK firms ultimately though as I prefer the culture. I actually think doing a vac scheme at the firm you want to go to is also overstated. I didn't do a vac scheme at either of the firms where I am currently holding offers, nor any of the others that I got interviews at, and the people on my Hogan Lovells vac scheme don't seem to have been advantaged by doing one there - a considerable number of them didn't get offers.
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    You seem to have a well thought-through plan! I got interviews at Cleary, Jones Day, White and Case without doing vac schemes there so actually either way it doesn't matter too much even if you want to apply for TCs there. I have gone with the UK firms ultimately though as I prefer the culture. I actually think doing a vac scheme at the firm you want to go to is also overstated. I didn't do a vac scheme at either of the firms where I am currently holding offers, nor any of the others that I got interviews at, and the people on my Hogan Lovells vac scheme don't seem to have been advantaged by doing one there - a considerable number of them didn't get offers.
    Thanks I have been waiting for this for a while and this is going to be a very significant year for me, what with all the VS applications and etc. I already have my Herbies, Freshfields and Hogan Lovells applications ready for submission, and I have written out my answers to questions such as 'why X firm' and 'why commercial law' already, so that I can save some valuable time by not having to do all the research come Oct/Nov. I also keep an eye out for deals and etc. that my preferred firms are working on at the moment, so that I can talk about them in greater detailed later on. I hope that this will spare me the stress that comes with having to do it all last minute.


    It may well be that the importance of doing a vac scheme at a firm in which one hopes to secure a TC is overstated, but I think there are some advantages, if only in terms of finding out what the firm is actually like. Having had a chance to visit both Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose on open days, I already had an opportunity to see what their culture is like; however, I believe that spending a few weeks at the firm is quite different to being there just for an open day.

    Both of the firms you have your TC offers with, however, are amongst the top 5 I am targeting for a VS, so I might call on you for help at a later stage

    By the way, I had a question regarding VS's. Norton Rose and Ashurst don't open their applications until quite late and I am thinking that by then a lot of firms might have already interviewed for their summer schemes; e.g. Freshfields do it quite early, I think. Anyhow, I was wondering, how do people deal with this? Let's say I apply to Herbies, Hogan Lovells and Freshfields in October and (miraculously) get a few offers; given that I like the firms, am I supposed to then accept them and just not apply to Norton Rose and Ashurst? It all seems a bit complicated from that point of view, as I imagine that one wouldn't just play his chances by not taking up the offer of a VS or two, just to wait to apply to NR, who might then reject him....
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    (Original post by eve_22)
    Thanks I have been waiting for this for a while and this is going to be a very significant year for me, what with all the VS applications and etc. I already have my Herbies, Freshfields and Hogan Lovells applications ready for submission, and I have written out my answers to questions such as 'why X firm' and 'why commercial law' already, so that I can save some valuable time by not having to do all the research come Oct/Nov. I also keep an eye out for deals and etc. that my preferred firms are working on at the moment, so that I can talk about them in greater detailed later on. I hope that this will spare me the stress that comes with having to do it all last minute.
    Extremely sensible! I wish I had your mindset last summer.

    It may well be that the importance of doing a vac scheme at a firm in which one hopes to secure a TC is overstated, but I think there are some advantages, if only in terms of finding out what the firm is actually like. Having had a chance to visit both Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose on open days, I already had an opportunity to see what their culture is like; however, I believe that spending a few weeks at the firm is quite different to being there just for an open day.
    Definitely, but once you do a vac scheme at a similar firm like Norton Rose/Hogan Lovells which aren't too dissimilar I think you can get a flavour for them without doing a vac scheme. Also you meet people on the vac schemes who have done other placements and they can tell you what it's like.

    By the way, I had a question regarding VS's. Norton Rose and Ashurst don't open their applications until quite late and I am thinking that by then a lot of firms might have already interviewed for their summer schemes; e.g. Freshfields do it quite early, I think. Anyhow, I was wondering, how do people deal with this? Let's say I apply to Herbies, Hogan Lovells and Freshfields in October and (miraculously) get a few offers; given that I like the firms, am I supposed to then accept them and just not apply to Norton Rose and Ashurst? It all seems a bit complicated from that point of view, as I imagine that one wouldn't just play his chances by not taking up the offer of a VS or two, just to wait to apply to NR, who might then reject him....
    I think most firms don't interview until much later. Hogan Lovells and Clifford Chance both come to Oxford and Cambridge at the end of January and they reserve lots (read, most) of their spaces for this. If they give you an offer you should just count yourself lucky! This is hardly the biggest problem if it happens.
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    (Original post by The West Wing)

    Definitely, but once you do a vac scheme at a similar firm like Norton Rose/Hogan Lovells which aren't too dissimilar I think you can get a flavour for them without doing a vac scheme. Also you meet people on the vac schemes who have done other placements and they can tell you what it's like.
    That's probably right. Either way, I'll be happy with whatever I get

    (Original post by The West Wing)
    I think most firms don't interview until much later. Hogan Lovells and Clifford Chance both come to Oxford and Cambridge at the end of January and they reserve lots (read, most) of their spaces for this. If they give you an offer you should just count yourself lucky! This is hardly the biggest problem if it happens.
    That's actually quite promising, then! Do you know if any other firms come to interview on campus? I heard that Slaughter & May also do that; is that right?

    Also, do you remember how many questions were there on the HL application form? They gave us three, but amongst those there isn't anywhere you could explain why you are applying to them in particular, and I am just thinking if they kept that one from us....

    Thanks!
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    Norton Rose and Ashurst don't open their applications until quite late and I am thinking that by then a lot of firms might have already interviewed for their summer schemes; e.g. Freshfields do it quite early, I think. Anyhow, I was wondering, how do people deal with this?
    This is the other side of the game. As well as candidates competing for TCs, firms are competing for the best candidates (who will receive multiple offers.

    But until you reach that point you won't know if you are hunter or hunted.

    Even the best candidates will struggle to do more than a few VS because of date clashes. Firms know this. You also have to take into consideration the time taken to prepare for and attend interviews, balanced against keeping on top of your degree. People have also said that after 3 consecutive VS you become exhausted and punch drunk, without really learning anything new.

    I may be wrong but I wonder if Norton Rose and Ashurst deliberately delay their selections, so that those whose first preference is the MC are out of the way (as an analogy, Warwick don't interview prospective English undergrads until Oxbridge have made their selection).

    I think you have to ask yourself why are you really applying for VS? To establish what kind of firm you want to work for? To get an early shot at a TC interview with that firm? To be able to answer the "why this kind of firm" question.

    A few other random thoughts.

    A partner at Freshfields told me that MC firms are more alike than unalike. Grad recruitment at MacFarlanes told me they hadn't made offers to many of the previous VS intake because they didn't seem to take it that seriously. I know people who have done VS with TC in the bag because the money is quite good. Do not underestimate the extent to which VS are recruitment exercises to try and woo the best candidates - hence the wining and dining and excursions. The are not necessarily a true reflection of what it will be like to be a trainee at that firm.
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    (Original post by peachmelba)
    This is the other side of the game. As well as candidates competing for TCs, firms are competing for the best candidates (who will receive multiple offers.

    But until you reach that point you won't know if you are hunter or hunted.

    Even the best candidates will struggle to do more than a few VS because of date clashes. Firms know this. You also have to take into consideration the time taken to prepare for and attend interviews, balanced against keeping on top of your degree. People have also said that after 3 consecutive VS you become exhausted and punch drunk, without really learning anything new.

    I may be wrong but I wonder if Norton Rose and Ashurst deliberately delay their selections, so that those whose first preference is the MC are out of the way (as an analogy, Warwick don't interview prospective English undergrads until Oxbridge have made their selection).

    I think you have to ask yourself why are you really applying for VS? To establish what kind of firm you want to work for? To get an early shot at a TC interview with that firm? To be able to answer the "why this kind of firm" question.

    A few other random thoughts.

    A partner at Freshfields told me that MC firms are more alike than unalike. Grad recruitment at MacFarlanes told me they hadn't made offers to many of the previous VS intake because they didn't seem to take it that seriously. I know people who have done VS with TC in the bag because the money is quite good. Do not underestimate the extent to which VS are recruitment exercises to try and woo the best candidates - hence the wining and dining and excursions. The are not necessarily a true reflection of what it will be like to be a trainee at that firm.
    As always, thanks for valuable input. I really appreciate it.

    You may well be right in saying that Ashurst and Norton Rose are waiting until quite late to open their applications so that all those who prefer MC firms are out of the way and do not apply 'just because' they want the extra cash or have nothing else to do. That, of course, may equally be a generalisation and some people are, of course, interested in experiencing both MC and SC.

    I want to do a VS, firstly, to get a taste of what working for a big City law firm is like. I have read a lot about it, but I am yet to experience it in practice. That's why doing a VS or two is quite important to me at this stage. Secondly, I also want to get the added benefit of a so called 'exit' TC interviews with the firms I will be hopefully doing my VS's at. I also want to be entirely sure, come TC offer/PFO time, that it is that particular firm in which I want to train and, hopefully, stay on after the qualification.

    As an example, a friend of mine from Oxford (same degree result so far, similar EC's) submitted approx. 10 apps for VS's, got invited to interviews soon after and secured 3 VS's, and cancelled the rest of his interviews. He received 3 TC offers from MC firms. So it seems to be possible.

    I have to admit that I am most drawn towards towards SC firms (Herbies, Hogan Lovells and Norton Rose in particular); however, this is based on my research, visits to the firms, but no practical experience at either MC or SC. I am attending a networking event at the end of this month with Hogan Lovells, Herbert Smith, Freshfields, Slaughter & May and a few other firms, so hopefully I will be able to pick up more information to solidy my choices and reasons that stand behind them.

    I do, however, see it as a reasonable thing to try and do one VS at an MC firm, if I can, as this will allow me to base my decision of MC v SC on some actual, practical experience at the firms as opposed to research/brochures and etc...
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    Norton Rose and Ashurst don't open their applications until quite late and I am thinking that by then a lot of firms might have already interviewed for their summer schemes; e.g. Freshfields do it quite early, I think. Anyhow, I was wondering, how do people deal with this?
    Very sensible, as always.
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    (Original post by peachmelba)
    Very sensible, as always.
    I'm sorry, I don't think I understood what you meant by that. Are you referring to NR and Ashurst as having very sensible recruitment techniques?
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    I'm sorry, I don't think I understood what you meant by that.
    apologies pasted the previous cut instead of this!!:
    I do, however, see it as a reasonable thing to try and do one VS at an MC firm, if I can, as this will allow me to base my decision of MC v SC on some actual, practical experience at the firms as opposed to research/brochures and etc...
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    (Original post by peachmelba)
    apologies pasted the previous cut instead of this!!:
    No worries Thanks for clarifying this.
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    I wouldn't say its worth it, a relative of mine was senior partner at clifford chance...his family disintegrated, he never saw them.
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    (Original post by Hesselius)

    To conclude, Magic Circle salaries are broadly similar to those at most other City law firms. If money is a prime motivator for you, US Firms are in an entirely different league, with Bircham McCutchen paying the most at £100,000 on qualification. The astronomical salary, however, comes with a demand for practically all your waking hours to revolve around work. So what comes first, your money or your life?
    I'll preface this with acknowledging that I know nothing of your experience. It may be far in advance of mine. However, with experience of both several US and MC firms (albeit for a limited time), the notion that US hours are much worse than MC is total fiction. In my experience and according to anyone who actually works at the appropriate firm, hours are comparable. The US sweatshop thing is usually something spun by the MC marketing machines to tempt the best candidates away from the tasty US salaries. (the final point I admit, is total conjecture but anyway...)
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    (Original post by pleb1)
    I'll preface this with acknowledging that I know nothing of your experience. It may be far in advance of mine. However, with experience of both several US and MC firms (albeit for a limited time), the notion that US hours are much worse than MC is total fiction. In my experience and according to anyone who actually works at the appropriate firm, hours are comparable. The US sweatshop thing is usually something spun by the MC marketing machines to tempt the best candidates away from the tasty US salaries. (the final point I admit, is total conjecture but anyway...)
    My experience of talking to associates who worked at US firms seems to indicate that US firms generally require longer hours and that there is much more of a work culture: apparently its common practice for people not to take holidays and get paid for them in lieu. I guess it depends who you talk to.
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    (Original post by jacketpotato)
    My experience of talking to associates who worked at US firms seems to indicate that US firms generally require longer hours and that there is much more of a work culture: apparently its common practice for people not to take holidays and get paid for them in lieu. I guess it depends who you talk to.
    I think that's indicative of the American mentality and culture. I know lots of people (in industries other than law as well) who would much rather get paid in lieu of actually taking holidays.
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    (Original post by KirstyK)
    I think that's indicative of the American mentality and culture. I know lots of people (in industries other than law as well) who would much rather get paid in lieu of actually taking holidays.
    The way I heard it put it's not a choice and it can be an expectation. I understand that this applies in some other countries (Malaysia, Japan) too.
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    At the place I did my vac scheme (a top US firm) the trainees worked from Christmas to New Year's Day, and watched the fireworks from the office while they were still working.
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    (Original post by The West Wing)
    At the place I did my vac scheme (a top US firm) the trainees worked from Christmas to New Year's Day, and watched the fireworks from the office while they were still working.
    That's pretty horrific!
 
 
 
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