Slaughter and May advises on international transactions and is regarded as one of the most prestigious global law firms.
There are clear differences between us and other global law firms.
At Slaughter and May we train each of our lawyers to be a multi-specialist equipped to advise on a broad range of legal matters, which at other firms would be handled by a number of different lawyers. We think that by broadening your training and experience, you will be a better lawyer. We have built a reputation for delivering innovative solutions to difficult problems. This reputation has been earned because each of our lawyers advises on broad legal areas, combining experience gained on one type of transaction to solve problems in another. In this way, our lawyers have a varied and interesting workload and ample opportunities to develop close relationships with clients.
Nearly all of our work has an international element and we have offices in London, Brussels, Hong Kong and Beijing. In other jurisdictions we prefer to remain agile by leading unified, hand-picked teams of lawyers from market-leading law firms. All the firms we work with across the world have a reputation for excellence and independence that mirrors our own.
At Slaughter and May we also take a different approach to time; there are no set billing or time targets. Some ideas take a matter of seconds but are can save companies millions of pounds a year. The type of work we do is not always measurable in minutes. In this way, our lawyers are free to work collaboratively, sharing expertise and knowledge, so that they can concentrate on what matters most - the quality of the work and client service.
During the two-year training contract, trainees turn their hand to a broad range of work, taking an active role in four, five or six legal groups while sharing an office with a partner or experienced associate. Most trainees spend at least two six-month seats in our market leading corporate, commercial and financing groups. Subject to gaining some contentious experience, they choose how to spend the remaining time.
Our overseas offices and close working relationships with market-leading law firms in other jurisdictions mean there are opportunities for trainees to apply for a secondment in their second year. Previous secondments have included Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Oslo, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Stockholm, Tokyo and Toronto.
We have approximately 80 vacancies for trainee solicitors each year. Starting salaries begin at £43,000 for the first year of training, and rise to £48,000 in the second year. We look for candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds with a good 2:1 at undergraduate level from any university, and take an equal mix of law and non-law graduates.
Our trainees come from a range of universities - it is the quality of the candidate, not the university, that is important to us. We like people with:
To thrive in this environment, you will also need enthusiasm, commitment and willingness to accept responsibility.
All future trainees must study the LPC at BPP Law School in Holborn, London. Those who have not studied law at university will also be required to study the Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP.
During your first two weeks there is an induction programme introducing you to the way Slaughter and May works and giving you an opportunity to develop essential skills, such as learning how to use its research resources. This is followed by an extensive training programme.
To help you decide which area of law you are most interested in, you will spend time in different practice areas where you will gain experience in both contentious and non-contentious work.
Every month a partner will review your progress and, at the end of each seat, you will be given a full appraisal. You will also receive regular informal feedback. All of these reviews are designed to benefit you. They provide a collaborative forum in which to discuss your progress and ways to develop your legal knowledge, skills and experience.
Pamela Hutcheson studied Classics at the University of Melbourne and Cambridge University. She started her training contract in September 2013 after completing the GDL and the LPC. Pamela is currently in the second seat of her training contract, working in one of our Corporate groups.
A typical day might involve attending conference calls and internal meetings to discuss issues or to delegate tasks. My role is usually to undertake a piece of legal research or work with documents in relation to a particular transaction. The advantage of sharing an office with my supervisor is that I have exposure to his role in managing the flow of work, identifying issues and advising clients - there is often a lot happening around me to observe.
Typical tasks include reviewing contracts as part of a due diligence exercise; or writing the first draft of a document in relation to a transaction, such as a contract or a set of board minutes. The firm has a searchable database of precedents that provides a useful starting point, and experienced colleagues are always on hand for advice. I have also researched current affairs and developments in a particular sector; put together a pitch document on the firm's experience in particular transactions; attended an AGM and watched the shareholders interact with the board; and attended negotiation meetings where I kept note of the different sides' arguments and points of agreement, and offered occasional translation assistance.
There can be busy periods, where I might work until midnight for a few days and come in over the weekend. But there is no face-time culture - when things are quiet, you are not expected to stay late.
Sharing an office with my supervisor means that I can always ask questions if they arise. It also gives me a high-level perspective on the matter I am working on or on other matters within the group.
Asking for feedback is encouraged and is a good opportunity to find out what areas you should focus more of your attention on, and to discuss what other types of work you would like to become involved in. You can request a mid-seat review so that you have a chance to implement feedback in the second half of the seat.
There are plenty of opportunities to get to know your colleagues outside the office and it can make a profound difference to how you settle in. My group holds regular drinks events as well as a summer party and ad hoc drinks to celebrate a deal closing. I have also played in its annual cricket match, which was great fun - although I managed to get out three times, which I understand is not normally possible according to the usual rules of cricket!