The Legal Cheek View
About as international as it gets, King & Wood Mallesons is formed from three recent mergers between top City of London player SJ Berwin, Chinese market leader King & Wood, and Australian giant Mallesons. The UK and Europe arm plays a major part in operations, accounting for around a third of global revenue, and the London office has a strong identity in its own right that dates back to its SJ Berwin days.
With a highly-regarded corporate practice, this is a very good place to train with a supportive vibe and close knit trainee cohort. One tells us: "The trainees here are a pretty decent bunch. Of course you are closer with some than others, but people will generally lend a hand if needs be. One of my fellow trainees in a different department was happy to perform a company search for me and send me the results via text when I was working off-site and my blackberry had died."
However, there has been upheaval at management level of late, with the 2016 profits announcement delayed as partners recapitalised the firm as part of a “strategic plan to strengthen its EUME business”. The move comes after some fluctuating financial results over the last few years.
KWM's junior ranks have largely been insulated from this, as illustrated by the £6k pay rise the firm recently handed to London NQs – taking their salaries up to £70,000. Meanwhile, our sources tell us that this continues to be one of the busier firms, with a deal-driven culture that can mean long hours. One reports: "[Work-life balance] varies between departments/matters/supervisors. I've had stints of regular 11pm (and later) finishes, but only done one all-nighter. There are some departments where you can be out before 8 most of the time."
This all takes place in one of the City's loveliest offices – KWM's London gaff is situated on the banks of the Thames and has one of London's most spectacular roof terraces. But forget the world class views, what really gets KWM rookies going is the firm's free lunch policy in its canteen which allows lawyers to eat for gratis for a standard meal or pay a mere £1 for a deluxe option.
"Free (or £1) lunch is a good perk. Saves me about £20 per week," reflects one delighted trainee.
13 & 15 December 2016; 10 January & 12 January 2017
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