The Legal Cheek View
K&L Gates can best be summed up as defying expectations. Being headquartered in the US, where lawyers work notoriously long hours, you might expect it to be a round the clock kind of place. But actually the firm offers some of the best work/life balance in the City of London. With 46 offices in 18 countries, K&L Gates must be international secondment heaven, you would assume. But oddly the firm offers virtually zero opportunities to its trainees and junior solicitors to spend time abroad.
It’s safe to say that the firm with some of the most variable scores in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey is a bit of an enigma. With its roots in London stemming from legacy City outfit Nicholson Graham & Jones, which was brought into the K&L Gates fold in 2005, the firm is now one of the top 20 biggest in the world, yet the City office retains a certain Englishness.
Strengths include those BigLaw staples of corporate, high-end litigation and real estate, while the firm also has well-regarded niches in sports law and electoral law.
Trainees get solid training albeit with a fair bit of grunt work thrown in. The atmosphere is apparently “friendly and collegiate” while partners are “happy to answer any questions and generally very approachable”. Junior lawyer money is pretty standard for a UK corporate law firm, but well off the rate of many US rivals.
Where K&L Gates insiders express most excitement is at the firm’s delightful London office, which has a private terrace overlooking St Paul's Cathedral. One tells us: “The office is beautiful, modern, and has access to a roof top bar. The private terrace is fantastic for summer lunches.”
The firm canteen is also highly-rated, apparently serving “a wide variety of great food”. For K&L Gates’ secondment-starved rookies, this may be the best taste of the unknown they get.