It’s easy to forget that one of the biggest names in global corporate law has only been around in its current form since 2010 – when London’s Lovells merged with Washington DC’s Hogan Hartson. At the time of the merger there was much speculation over what the new name would be, with Love Harts and HogLove the most memorable suggestions, but the firm sensibly settled on Hogan Lovells. The combined megafirm now has 49 offices in 26 different countries, including a substantial presence in South America and Asia as well as Europe and the US.
Offering one of the best combinations of scale and quality outside the magic circle – with revenue last year of a whopping £1.53 billion and global profit per equity partner at nearly £1 million (the UK figure is £760,464) – Hogan Lovells specialises in about every practice area you can imagine. This is particularly attractive to students in that it allows them to keep their options open while training and then qualify into a first rate team. There are also opportunities for international secondments across a wide range of offices. Current trainees have spent time in New York, Dubai, Hong Kong and Johannesburg, among other locations. Client secondments are fairly common too, with trainees spending time at the likes of Citibank, Merck Sharp & Dohme and Prudential.
In addition, Hogan Lovells also has one of the leading pro bono and corporate social responsibility operations in the City, with a wide variety of clients including the British Paralympic Association. Plus its chair, Nicholas Cheffings, is currently head of City law diversity scheme PRIME.
Junior fee-earning work varies widely, but as you would expect at an elite outfit like this the adminy tasks are interspersed with more challenging assignments. One insider sums up the situation: “This can vary massively – litigation seats can become bundlemania but equally can give rise to opportunities to draft research notes and witness statements. It depends on the team and partners that you are working for.” Another adds: “Very good at starting with the basics and building up to associate-level work.”
Levels of responsibility increase sharply in the associate ranks – where NQ pay rates have recently been increased to £75,000. Make it that far and you have a decent chance of reaching the top of the firm, with Hogan Lovells boasting a good reputation for promoting its own to partner level.
What is probably most striking across the firm is its consistency. Although it misses out on A*s, Hogan Lovells scored an A in every category of the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18. “Everyone from NQ to Global Chair is very friendly,” one trainee tells us, summing up the well-balanced nature of the place. The hours – with an average 9:18am start and 7:40pm leave time – signal a similar message.
Finally, the office is one of City law’s more impressive workplaces – and boasts that much-desired feature: an in-house gym (which is apparently pretty good). There is a staff cafeteria, too, which is acclaimed for its excellent desserts, and the firm’s meeting rooms are stocked with some of the most delicious cookies in legal London.