Squire Patton Boggs (SPB) was formed in 2014 from the merger between two ostensibly American outfits, Ohio-based Squire Sanders and Washington DC-based law firm and political lobbying specialist Patton Boggs. But the firm has deep roots in the UK through Hammonds, a once big name in British legal circles, which Squire Sanders took over back in 2011.
Hammonds was an international law firm headquartered in Leeds, with a significant presence in Manchester and also a London office, that grew big in the nineties and noughties — hence SPB’s continuing strength in these parts of the country and the fact that it offers a substantial 25 training contracts. The Hammonds legacy also explains why SPB pays British junior lawyers UK rates rather than US MoneyLaw salaries.
The global firm has had a good year, with revenue up 6% to just shy of the billion dollar mark – underlining just how big this business is — and profit per equity partner jumping 15% to reach $670,000 (£537,000). Indeed, US-based managing partner Steve Mahon described it as SPB’s “best year ever”.
The firm’s results in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 suggest a happy ship, where the training experience seems to be very much in Hammonds’ mould of steady and trusted big corporate law firm. “Overall the training has been good although some seats have allowed me to have a greater, more varied experience than others,” one current trainee reports. There are also “some really interesting bits of work”, but inevitably “there is some lower level work involved too”.
Partners are nice: “The open-door policy is very much enforced. And whilst you are fully aware of who the senior partners are, they are as approachable as anyone else. Hierarchy is definitely not played on as much as it could be!” And peers are supportive: “The only trying period was “NQ interview season” — and even then everyone was very supportive of each other.” The social life, however, seems to have taken a sharp turn for the worse since last year, plunging from A* to a lowly C grade in this year’s survey.
SPB runs a six rather than four seat rotation, which rookies seem to like, with a major plus being that one of these seats is almost guaranteed to be a client secondment. There are some great destinations, including FTSE 100 companies, luxury retailers, Chelsea FC and fast-growing start-ups like On the Beach. Meanwhile, around 20% of trainees do an international secondment. The opportunity to spend time in the US is rare, with legacy Hammonds’ offices in Brussels and Paris the most common destinations.
What you won’t get at SPB is amazing money (see below) or stellar perks. “Having spoken to other trainees at other firms, I feel we do not get many ‘perks’ at our firm. This is certainly something that could be improved — e.g. more perks relating to healthy living/gym membership, better and subsidised canteen etc,” one trainee tells Legal Cheek. But the new Leeds office is very fancy, and the London base is also pretty good, while Manchester will be much better after the firm takes up space in the Spinningfields business district in the coming months.