List of Top Law Firms in the UK? Watch

Reema
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Is there an actual comprehensive list of the top city law firms in the UK out there? I keep hearing about the 'top 20', the 'white shoe', the 'magic circle' - but are these just generally known via firms' reputation or is there actually a way in which they are measured?

Also, does anyone know how difficult it is to get an MC/Top 20 Vacation Scheme?
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superdillon
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(Original post by Reema)
Is there an actual comprehensive list of the top city law firms in the UK out there? I keep hearing about the 'top 20', the 'white shoe', the 'magic circle' - but are these just generally known via firms' reputation or is there actually a way in which they are measured?
Haven't come across the expression: "the white shoe", so can't explain that one.
The "magic circle" of Law firms are the top 5 firm in London. They are:
Allen & Overy
Clifford Chance
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Linklaters
Slaughter & May

(Original post by Reema)
Also, does anyone know how difficult it is to get an MC/Top 20 Vacation Scheme?
Quite difficult is the short answer.

Magic Circle firms in particular are (and can afford to be) quite 'picky'.
As you have a non-law background, you can apply for a vacation scheme in the final year of your current undergraduate course.
For the Magic circle firms (and probably for most/all top 20 firms) you can be expected to have achieved a very good First and Second year performance in your Non-law degree and should be on course for at least a 2:1.
At a recent Slaughter & May vacation placement (which I didn't go to) practically everyone who was studying Law and those studying Non-law had a 1st class first/second year performance. So that should give you some idea of the competitiveness and the standards required.

Aside from the academic requirements, you should have a good extra-curricular side to things and be able to do well in interviews.
Most firms also have some other kind of tests which you will be required to do as part of getting on vacation placements.

Good Luck
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Lewisy-boy
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Slaughters arent MC, all the MC have a network of their own international offices and are the biggest firms ... the fifth one is A&O as slaughters operate thru alliances rather than through their own offices.

I thought slaughters ran separate vac schemes for non-law ppl... but i have read the websites of so many firms it could be anyone!
They are extremely hard to get, you do very well to even reach the interview stage... but on this point superdillion is correct ... the point of how hard it is to get.

Also I havent heard the term "white shoe" either , should I?
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kidney thief
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White shoe firms are the new york wall street firms, right? White and Case; Cleary Gottlieb, Skadden Arps et al?
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Lewisy-boy
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Oh OK, that kinda makes sense.
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superdillon
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(Original post by Lewis-HuStuJCR)
Slaughters arent MC, all the MC have a network of their own international offices and are the biggest firms ... the fifth one is A&O as slaughters operate thru alliances rather than through their own offices.
Slaughter & May is MC. What do you mean A&O is the "fifth one"? Have included A&O on the list above.

(Original post by Lewis-HuStuJCR)
Also I havent heard the term "white shoe" either , should I?
Have just checked it out and found out the following:

Global Quartet is a reference to all of the firms that I stated above except Slaughter & May as it hasn't really looked to merge or increase its size like other MC firms have.

White shoe firms (aka Charm Circle firms) is a reference to the leading New York firms, inc those mentioned by Kidney thief above.

Golden Circle is a term used by some prominent business and Law magasines to refer to a 'second tier' of law firms i.e. those just out of scope of being magic circle. Examples, I think, would include Baker & McKenzie, CMS Cameron McKenna, Norton Rose etc..
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Lewisy-boy
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dammit im getting blind man, i swear my eyes are screwed up i totally missed that, heartfelt apologies.
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KaiserSoze
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(Original post by superdillon)
Slaughter & May is MC. What do you mean A&O is the "fifth one"? Have included A&O on the list above.
Slaughter & May are pretty much as magic circle as you can get; they're generally regarded as being the most selective of the big 5 (even if they're not as large as the others in terms of people, check out the value of the deals!)
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Reema
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Oh, ok. Thanks guys for the information .
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Lewisy-boy
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If Slaughters are so selective how come they called up a guy I know who hadnt even applied to them and made him a TC offer even though he only has a 2.2 degree (genuinely true story guys, and most people are befuddled by how this happened).
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KaiserSoze
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(Original post by Lewis-HuStuJCR)
If Slaughters are so selective how come they called up a guy I know who hadnt even applied to them and made him a TC offer even though he only has a 2.2 degree (genuinely true story guys, and most people are befuddled by how this happened).
Oxbridge occassionally lets in people with lower grades based on a number of other factors; does that mean they are not selective?

Aberrations aside, S&M do seem to be the first class student's firm of choice - not only their own people but other MC firm's graduate recruitment staff I have spoken to agree that they attach more weight to academic results than the other firms.
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Lewisy-boy
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Well he was the law soc pres and ran an event for slaughters which they were so impressed by they made him an offer, he had to reject it though as he had already signed another contract. Rumour has it that daddy pulled some strings with Addleshaws where he is working now, but he has the "gift of the gab" and i could see him being an extremely good lawyer even though his academics are not so great, that may have been his redeeming quality.
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Purple
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(Original post by Lewis-HuStuJCR)
Well he was the law soc pres and ran an event for slaughters which they were so impressed by they made him an offer, he had to reject it though as he had already signed another contract. Rumour has it that daddy pulled some strings with Addleshaws where he is working now, but he has the "gift of the gab" and i could see him being an extremely good lawyer even though his academics are not so great, that may have been his redeeming quality.
What uni did he go to?
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Lewisy-boy
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Nottm. A 2.2 is fairly common from notts, far more common than at most law schools... only 40% of ppl got a 2.1 in my year for 2nd year.
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ellewoods
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(Original post by Lewis-HuStuJCR)
Well he was the law soc pres and ran an event for slaughters which they were so impressed by they made him an offer, he had to reject it though as he had already signed another contract. Rumour has it that daddy pulled some strings with Addleshaws where he is working now, but he has the "gift of the gab" and i could see him being an extremely good lawyer even though his academics are not so great, that may have been his redeeming quality.
Overlooking the "Daddy pulling strings" rumour, and at the risk of starting another debate, I strongly believe that the "gift of the gab" is underrated, and that the best lawyers are not necessarily those with the best academics!

Its a shame that it would be so difficult, time consuming and expensive to interview every applicant for vac schemes and TCs, because great lawyers may be missed because of the emphasis on academics. I know these are so so important too, but as Lewis pointed out, some applicants may have other strong redeeming qualities!
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superdillon
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(Original post by ellewoods)
Overlooking the "Daddy pulling strings" rumour, and at the risk of starting another debate, I strongly believe that the "gift of the gab" is underrated, and that the best lawyers are not necessarily those with the best academics!

Its a shame that it would be so difficult, time consuming and expensive to interview every applicant for vac schemes and TCs, because great lawyers may be missed because of the emphasis on academics. I know these are so so important too, but as Lewis pointed out, some applicants may have other strong redeeming qualities!
Hmm, next you will be saying that its ok to tell the firm that you God has forgiven you for your poor academic performance and that they should offer you a training contract/vac scheme based on that!
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Lewisy-boy
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Yup, and there were certainly no strings pulled at slaughters ... he is exactly the kind of guy I can see sitting at a table and concluding a deal, beinga brilliant negotiator etc and he will be ... just not brilliant at academics. and lets face it, how much of your degree is actually relevant to practice? learning cases and spieling them out etc is not what a client wants to see, they just want the solution not the theory behind it etc which is what you need to get a 2.1/1st... so in a way its totally fair. just makes you think "wow, they must really see something in this guy!"
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ellewoods
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(Original post by superdillon)
Hmm, next you will be saying that its ok to tell the firm that you God has forgiven you for your poor academic performance and that they should offer you a training contract/vac scheme based on that!
I'm so glad you're not just pulling my point down for the sake of it Superdillon :rolleyes:
I hope you don't ever need somebody to give you a break based upon your lovely qualities and skills and talents relevant to law - sometimes people *just* miss that 2:1 yet would make a cracking lawyer. Maybe not MC, but they'd be an asset to a firm. It's rare, but people with 2:2s do sometimes get good TCs because they've come to a firms' attention via some other route ie by giving a presentation at the Law Fair or something, and their skills are noticed. (as demonstrated by the guy that Lewis talked about in an earlier post)
Lucky I'm all set isn't it :rolleyes:
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superdillon
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(Original post by ellewoods)
I'm so glad you're not just pulling my point down for the sake of it Superdillon
Heavens, No, I would never do that, particularly not to you Ellewoods
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Lewisy-boy
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what kind of law you in ellewoods? is it family or am i confused with someone else.
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