Open thread: What is it like to work in the magic circle?

Share your experiences below the line

rabbit-city

For aspiring corporate lawyers across the country, it doesn’t get much better than a career at the magic circle.

Law students can’t help but be enticed by the mystery surrounding old school stalwart Slaughter and May, or the equally prestigious international giant Clifford Chance, which even has its own swimming pool. Then there’s Anglo-German heavyweight Freshfields, a law firm complete with staff perks to impress even the choosiest of lawyers.

The big five is rounded off by Allen & Overy, whose co-founder famously advised King Edward VIII during the abdication crisis of 1936, and Barbican-based Linklaters — a global megafirm with a reputation that’s hard to rival.

Though the prestige is unquestionable, it can sometimes be hard to cut through the graduate recruitment guff and find out what it’s really like to work in the magic circle.

That’s why we’re inviting trainees and solicitors to share their experiences, anecdotes and opinions of life at the top of the City law food chain. You can throw in your two cents in the one and only Legal Cheek comments section below.

173 Comments

Anonymous

Getting whipped into shape by pedantic yet commercial/brilliant psychopaths is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it can set you up nicely for later in life.

(39)(1)
Anonymous

In 20 years I’ve never met anyone brilliant at an MC firm. All the brilliant minds are at the Bar.

(41)(39)
Anonymous

Nah the bar is for people who like hearing there own voice.

(28)(14)
Anonymous

It’s a dig at the retard that doesn’t know the difference between there and their.

(29)(3)
Bumcheeks McGuffin

“… the anonymous that can’t spell.”? “they can spell, just not grammatically correct.”? None of you are using the English language properly! If you are unable to understand why those clauses are examples of not using English properly, do not go near a legal career!

(1)(2)
Anonymous

The proper construction is: “None of you IS using the English language properly!”

It would also be correct to say, “Bumcheeks McGuffin IS a retarded twat”.

(1)(2)
Anonymous

Utter rubbish – the bar these days is full of mediocre types who kept being told that if you shut yourself in a library for long enough during university then you could … shut yourself in a library for the rest of your life.

(27)(14)
Anonymous

Except that the commercial bar does, y’know, pay about 3-5 times more than magic circle solicitors of the same seniority. Just saying.

(8)(1)
Tyrion

Probably the truest statement I’ve read on legal cheek. Short but accurate. Hat tip. Technically has set me up for life and i’ve developed good work habits. But to describe people there as unpleasant would be underselling it. Ruthless no-life having psychos who will kill you for a sniff of a bigger share of the equity.

(35)(0)
Tyrion

Still in law, not MC/US anymore.

My advice, jump before you are pushed. Hanging around until 12 years pqe to be told you won’t make partner makes less sense than moving at 4pqe into a PE fund where you will earn more in salary and bonus than all your peers who don’t make partner at a top City firm.

(22)(0)
s.32, Salmon Act 1986

Who hangs around until 12 PQE? Seriously, if you’re not on partnership track by 7 PQE at the latest, do what I did and jump ship to another MC/US Firm that will offer you an agreed promotion timetable on the way in.

Of course, if you can’t swing that sort of deal, maybe MC/US partnership isn’t for you…

(5)(6)
Anon

Why wouldn’t a US firm set you up for later in life the same way a MC firm does?

(7)(1)
Legal-lyfe, 2PQE

Former Freshfields trainee here. The two years were definitely a challenging experience: 100-hour weeks were a regular feature in the corporate team, holidays had to be cancelled at minute notice and I copped plenty of heat just for requesting a weekend trip home to celebrate my dad’s 60th birthday.

I moved over to Dechert at NQ, tired of the boiler room. The beasting turned out to be just as bad (if not worse), except that now most of my colleagues are also backstabbing turbokhunts.

Oh well.

(67)(0)
Legal-lyfe, 2PQE

You wish mate. 100% honest to God, serious as snorting coke outta a hooker’a fudgehole.

(4)(0)
Tyrion

He means he can’t believe anyone would be so silly as to reveal so much info about themselves online.

(0)(3)
Legal-lyfe, 2PQE

I understood what he meant. I’ve got nothing to hide.

(5)(1)
Anonymous

^^^ US firm trainee who wishes he could get out, I’m guessing. Suck it up, bud, 2 years and you can go to a silver circle firm, perhaps.

(5)(14)
Anonymous

TBF, having worked at both a Magic Circle firm (Trainee to 5PQE) and a US firm (5PQE to date) that description is entirely accurate… Hours are basically the same (maybe marginally more here) but pay (including bonus comparison for similar workload) is probably 20% more.

(19)(2)
Anonymous

“Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” was how Hobbes described it.

(23)(1)
Anonymous

Extremely competitive environment. Back-stabbing trainees etc. Some good people but some genuinely unpleasant. Don’t waste your life on it.

(2)(2)
Anonymous

“Slaughter and May, or the equally prestigious international giant Clifford Chance”

Lolz

(56)(9)
llb graduit

Can i getz da tc dere if i gotz a 2.2 llb from Lundun Met? plz i needz da £££

(21)(12)
Anonymous

Slaughters NQ salary of barely £70k (less than Bakers!) tells you everything you need to know about direction of travel at that once great firm.

(17)(8)
Anonymous

Yeah Slaughters these days shouldn’t really be mentioned in the same breath as the rest of the magic circle – S&M has been left behind, unfortunately.

(29)(8)
Anonymous

Don’t conflate equity partner greed with greatness. The firm is still among the most prestigious and profitable in the world, especially considering its comparably ‘puny’ size to others. Shamefully the junior salaries continue to be neglected, but the exit opportunities are second to none as far as UK shops go.

(12)(10)
Anonymous

You’re woefully misguided – they are no longer in competition with their erstwhile magic circle partners. Why? S&M can no longer hope to compete in that particular league.

(5)(8)
Insider

Rumours in the office have it Slaughters are upping NQs to £100,000 in early January 2017. They are keen to recapture the higher ground after having fallen behind.

(11)(8)
Anonymous

Can anyone else verify this? Would surely be another A&O-style game changer if true!

(1)(1)
Anonymous

I work there, he’s so full of shyte. No such rumours exist.

(4)(0)
Anonymous

Addleshaws are upping NQ salaries to a whopping £80k in January. Apparently the constant trolling from LC users forced the partners into action.

(3)(1)
RootyTooty

It’s a MASSIVE change from the gruff Top 20 firm I used to work at.

Everyone I have met/ work with are very nice. No-one has time to be grumpy – we are all too busy working.

Days are long, yes, but you work all hours in EVERY law firm.

(12)(6)
Anonymous

“Days are long, yes, but you work all hours in EVERY law firm.”

That is a lie magic circle lawyers tell themselves to try and cope.

(55)(1)
Anonymous

Bollocks. Work at a regional firm where, yes, pay is lower but so is cost of living, house prices and you actually have the time to spend your money. You work “normal hours”, i.e. usually leaving no later than 6. Plus you’re not just a cog in the machine but someone valuable to the firm.

(12)(2)
Anonymous

Hahaha. The shit the regioners tell themselves on here is hilarious.

(4)(17)
Future US trainee

Yes please! Would love to hear people’s experiences.

(4)(0)
Future US trainee

Are all US firms really alike, though? Do they all beast their lawyers? Or do some have ‘nicer’ reputations than others?

(4)(1)
Anonymous

Depends which firm. NYC/LA shops are brutal without exemption. Then there’s firms like Reed Smith or Faegre Baker Daniels, who have lesser demands.

(2)(0)
JD trainee

Then there’s Jones Day with the most hung partners in the City. I would know what I’m talking about.

(13)(2)
Anonymous

I have heard Covington has a nicer, friendlier reputation whilst still being a top quality US shop (a step above the above-mentioned firms of Reed Smith, Faegre ilk).

(11)(0)
Jones Day NQ

Jones Day is by far the friendliest. So friendly that I have intimate knowledge of every varicose vein on my supervising partner’s trouser snake. I only joined in late October.

(5)(3)
Anonymous

I so wish that happens – the raw bantz surrounding Jones Day will be delicious.

(17)(0)
Anonymous

Lots of time spent in the pool, net in hand, as the managing partner laughed his head off at me as his latest dirty deposit evaded my capture.

(21)(0)
LOOK AT ME!!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!

To the people complaining about MC, do you imagine high street practice is any better?

Sure, you get your 9-5 for a whopping £35k a year salary, but the partners are equally horrible and aggressively demanding.

You’re given more work than you can possibly do with no support, you’re expected to find time to grow the department somehow and take on even more work, write articles for the weekly newsletter, the firms website, and cover anyone who’s ill, and the phone will never ever stop ringing.

In all honestly I don’t think there is a single solicitor not having a nightmare at the moment, MC or otherwise.

(28)(6)
Anonymous

This. I’ve had the (mis)fortune of working as a paralegal in house, with a big London corporate, and I’m now doing my TC at a regional firm. From what I’ve seen, all areas of law, and all law firms, are fairly rubbish environments, so much so that I’m planning to move away from law when I qualify.

(11)(1)
Allen Partridge

Some departments at Allen & Overy do not appear to acknowledge the weekend.

(20)(2)
Anonymous

Hellish and miserable but will set you up for the rest of your life.

(1)(1)
Anonymous

Yes surely worth it for the many exit opportunities if you should choose to take them.

(1)(0)
In houser

The truth is that much of the so called ‘magic circle’ is hype built around a slightly ridiculous nickname. Training at a magic circle firm makes sense if you want to specialise in banking or finance work, because these firms (along with some US firms) have the best connections with the banks, but not if you want to do another area of law. Being an employment lawyer or IP lawyer in the magic circle is basically a support staff role.

(28)(3)
Junior barrister

I work with MC sols sometimes. A few times, I’ve got chatting to those with equivalent levels of post-qualification experience than me it often transpires that they’ve been working late into the night and on weekends. Whenever I express sympathy they usually say something like, oh yes but I know you barristers work just as hard, if not harder… Hard to tell if they’re being polite, or genuinely believe this. And it’s not exactly politic for me to put them right. But it’s definitely not true. I couldn’t work MC hours.

(17)(4)
Anonymous

So you’re doing yourself the disservice of writing about incidents in which your betters have deigned to be polite about your cute little job?

(5)(29)
Anonymous

Articulate and quick to understand as the rest of your profession, I see.

(4)(21)
Another junior barrister

Jealousy gets you nowhere in life, Anonymous.

(21)(2)
Anonymous

“Betters”? Do you know how dumb some MC trainees are?

(16)(3)
Anonymous

Your sols have to work longer hours than you. They’re stupider and slower than you.

(6)(5)
Another junior barrister

Absolutely. I work much less than my MC friends but make at least as much. The quality of life is incomparable. They are virtually all eyeing the door if they haven’t already run through it. When I have to work hard, I make more money. When they have to work hard, they make more money for someone else.

I couldn’t do it, it’s like selling your soul.

(19)(4)
Anonymous

Really? I’d always assumed that barristers work really long hours. I did some mini pupillages with criminal sets back when I was studying law, and they seemed to have incredibly hectic schedules. If I can ask, how many hours do you work on average?

(8)(0)
Another junior barrister

I wouldn’t recommend the criminal bar as it’s terrible pay but generally the people attracted to the criminal bar would never consider the MC, it’s an entirely different kettle of fish. Anecdotally the hours at the criminal bar are better than the MC and people enjoy the work more, but as I say the pay is terrible and most people struggle with that and are trying to jump ship. Hectic is probably the right word though in terms of last minute instructions, being in and out of court, travelling around the country etc etc.

The Bar’s hours outside the criminal bar are different for every barrister but that’s kind of the point – you are master of your own destiny. I did at the start work silly hours but that was my own choice/fault. For the most part I didn’t mind it because it meant I was getting paid more and/or advancing my career (whereas MC trainee friends were missing long-planned holidays to pull all-nighters mindlessly highlighting 1,000 page contracts for their supervisors, and getting nothing out of it except resentment). Now I work pretty much 5 days a week and I couldn’t complain about my earnings relative to my quality of life. I mean I’m sure if you want to earn £800k a year at Wilberforce you will be working all of the hours that God sends, but you’re earning £800k…!

(7)(0)
MC 1PQE

I work pretty much the same hours as my counterparts at US firms, for less pay.

Honestly looking to switch over.

(12)(7)
Anonymous

alternatively, why not move somewhere for *gasp* less money, and try to have a life?

(6)(2)
Alpha king

Fuck off what a ridiculous idea.
Let me guess homie, high street?

(2)(3)
Hulk Lad

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)
MC 1PQE

Down vote all you like. When you’re all talking about how the hours are so much worse at the US firms, who do you think is on the other side of the deal? It’s usually us.

(12)(5)
Anonymous

no sympathy. If you didn’t look into the firm first or do work exp there more fool you

(1)(2)
Bobby

There is no way to know what a firm is like before you are being paid a salary there as a trainee or more. I’ve said before on these threads, I had the fortune of 4 vacation schemes at City firms. The 2 weeks at each were quite simply exceptional. Dinners in posh restaurants, cooking lessons, tours of London, drinks, and most of all pleasant partners, associates and trainees. Everyone seemed so happy, shiny and well paid. After 3 months in as a trainee, people change and show you their real personalities.

(34)(1)
Anonymous

Did a vac scheme with one of the magic circle and my supervising associate barely said a word to me for two weeks/shut down my questions at evey opportunity because ‘he’d just taken on a big deal’.

(5)(0)
Jones Day 3PQE

My supervising partner shut me down with his gargantuan leadpipe. I didn’t mind, I’m a managing associate now.

(21)(0)
MC

Trained at a SC firm and moved to a MC firm at qualification. Transition was extremely painful. Wouldn’t recommend it.

(13)(0)
Anonymous

Painful, as in the hours and the expectations? Or just the people?

(0)(0)
MC

Both the expectations and the people. The SC firm didn’t sufficiently equip me with the skills to meet the expectations of the MC firm and the MC firm wasn’t very forgiving.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

If you were born in the wrong body, however painful, you had no choice but to transition.

(2)(3)
Anonymous

So with all the negativity, is there anyone who enjoys it, and would encourage it as a career choice?

(6)(1)
Magic Circle Trainee

Yes! It’s been enjoyable and very rewarding for me so far – genuinely feel I am being trained very well.

(15)(5)
Anonymous

The negativity is just because there are far more people who wish they were there than are actually there.

(20)(6)
Anonymous

Worked for three of the five MC firms. If you are willing to work exceptionally hard and are smart enough then you will be given plenty and varied opportunities and development that will open more doors than probably anywhere else you could train at. But you will sacrifice part of your life to get those opportunities and prove yourself. Expectations are probably too high, too often, but generally the culture is ok even if there is a strong element of conforming to some pretty traditional attitudes.

(16)(0)
Anonymous

Most excellent. Who wrote that article? Not a topping, bagging, leading or trousering in sight and high English used throughout. Well just one top at the end.

I’ve only been away a week and the site is transformed , but QTOI? Let me just check for insanity elsewhere?
And will this post be removed? (Drum roll)

This post has been moderated because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(2)(0)
Anonymous

I’ve worked at 2 MC firms and had broadly similar experiences. A fantastic name on your CV that for some reason other employers go wild for and zero control over your career both in terms of work/life balance and actual work.

I went into a “specialism” (i.e. not corporate or banking) and found myself at a disadvantage to those from other firms in that same field with a similar PQE. Fee-earners are disposable and are required to fill the gaps in the firm rather than pursue their own career goals. If you have a particular practice area in mind you would do better hunting out a firm that does just that.

2 years doing IP at Bristows or Taylor Wessing is better for your IP career than 6 months doing IP (but actually IT/outsourcing/corporate support) and 1.5 years of irrelevant banking/corporate work at a MC firm.

(12)(2)
Oxbridge Bunny

Yes but the problem is that IP is very popular at IP firms (unsurprisingly). So competition is very high and you may end up not doing it. No reason to avoid, but the whole “I’ll do loads of IP at a firm with a big IP reputation” isn’t necessarily true. At least for Taylor wedding, where it really is only one departments among many in a full service firm. Can’t comment for bristows.

(1)(2)
Future Freshfields trainee

I can’t lie, reading all of this makes me think maybe I shouldn’t do my TC at all.

(12)(0)
Alpha king

If you can’t hack it, go back to your cabbage, you wettie.

(12)(3)
Wolf of Fleet Street

Fuark bruh, savage bantz. Big dick swinging all round!

(15)(0)
🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧 Farageführer 🇬🇧🇬🇧🇬🇧

You won’t survive at Freshies mate, they serve betacucks for breakfast there.

(3)(5)
LD

1) – I’m starting MC next year
2) – I am leaving at 3PQ
3) – I am opening a cat cafe

Doors are opened

(17)(4)
Anonymous

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.

(0)(0)
Anonymous

MC third seat trainee here. I don’t think I’ve met a “psychopath” yet. On average, the hours are more demanding than a lot of other jobs. However I find it useful to always remind myself there are jobs with more antisocial hours and with lesser pay e.g. stacking shelves on night shifts – there are a lot of people who do this to earn a living all over the country. And no, no one is beyond doing these sorts of jobs. If you think you are, and also considering a career as a corporate solicitor, you might want to drop the ego – these are the types of trainees that will find the adjustment most difficult. Admittedly, I’m only on my third seat, but I’ve found it’s about perspective. Training at a MC firm is a privilege and some people easily lose sight of how lucky they are. Having a degree from a particular university, an excellent CV or any other accolade doesn’t entitle you to such an opportunity – it can be taken from you as quickly as it’s given to you. Those people who thought they’d find happiness in the status of working at a MC firm are already beginning to become miserable and less appreciative of their situation. In summary, if you’re expecting to define yourself or find confidence in being a solicitor then you’ll be disappointed. If you see it for what it is – a job – and are willing to put up with the occasional difficult character and long night, it’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask me. (Roll on sour comments from kids without any substantial first hand experience of working in the MC…)

(60)(1)
Anonymous

Privilege is probably a bit extreme. It is just a well paid job.

(9)(12)
Anonymous

Agreed. I would just add that most City trainees have lived a life of privilege. They can’t really relate to the idea of people working nights at Tesco to support their families. I accept that this is a generalisation, since there are clearly trainees from less fortunate backgrounds. Many trainees at City have a sense of entitlement, because they’ve been told from day 1 that the top jobs have their names written all over them.

I’ve come across tons of trainees who hadn’t had a proper job (full time/part time job) before their TC. I’m not including things like working at Oxfam on the weekend..

(22)(1)
Anonymous

If you’re in a position to pick the MC/US elite as a career prospect, then you can pretty much choose any career path you want, given that you’d presumably be at the top end of your peer group academically. I agree that most arent so fortunate – look at the children working 16 hours days in garment factories and construction sites in ‘third world’ countries. Working in an office is not really that bad, no matter what your job, especially for a 6 figure salary in your 20s.

(13)(0)
Anonymous

Privilege? Lol what are you on about, you’re glorified spell-checking machine.

(7)(10)
Anonymous

Except it’s glorified spell checking that opens a lot of doors. I take it you’re unemployed mate?

(5)(1)
Anonymous

Don’t you mean, “you’re a* glorified spell-checking machine”?… Cheer up baby boy, Irwin Mitchell might take you if you try your very best. If not, you could just continue to be a miserable internet troll.

(5)(3)
Anonymous

Lol, so many chippy wannabe trainees here. Keep the dreams alive boys.

(3)(1)
Anonymous

What about advisory departments at MC? Hours/culture still awful or better than transactional?

(1)(0)
Trainee

Doing a seat in a MC advisory department was great. The hours were brilliant, finishing 7.30 at the latest, and a great bunch of people. And I certainly agree on the privilege point, you have fantastic perks, start on a salary more than the majority of people will ever earn, and it opens doors to great places. It’s obviously very hard work, but if you came into the job thinking it wouldn’t be, then you’re an idiot.

(3)(0)
Anonymous

From my experience and from speaking with colleagues it is almost certain that those in the advisory teams (e.g. tax or employment) have a better experience in terms of hours and culture but there are two caveats:

1) While you are shielded from the worst of it you are certainly not immune. Junior lawyers in particular may find themselves as the sole tax/employment adviser on a deal run by corporate. In such a scenario the corporate partner expects you to have the same availability as your corporate counterparts (i.e. 24/7). Also, it’s not uncommon for juniors in the advisory teams to get roped into 6+ months helping out a busy litigation department with a disclosure exercise (where your hours and the culture will match a litigation dept).

2) Everybody knows the culture in the advisory teams is better than in litigation/transaction groups but as the MCs don’t actually specialise in advisory work there are far fewer places available. On qualification the advisory groups are massively oversubscribed and so getting in can be a challenge in itself. Simple numbers, maybe 1 NQ spot with 4 going for it in tax vs an unlimited amount in corporate and a firm that very much wants you to be a corporate lawyer.

Essentially if you manage to beat the odds and get into a team with a good culture and then stick it out for 5+ years then it’s probably one of the best offerings in the city.

(8)(0)
Anonymous

Tax is oversubscribed? That’s interesting – I’m a lawyer in Mainland Europe and wanting to do tax can get you into an MC equivalent even if you do not have the credentials for it because no one wants to do it.

(1)(0)
Anonymous

I’m due to start my TC at a smaller City firm in September 2018, and I think it is purely about perspective. I chose not to apply for MC firms not because I was shit scared of the hours, but more because I valued the work/life balance more than others. Neither choice is a wrong one, I just think provided you’ve committed to the right decision for you, that’s all a person can do.

For some people, that frenetic, high-pressure like will certainly match their ambitions and the eventual rewards will justify those sacrifices. Personally I wasn’t willing to go to a US/MC firm because I value my life outside of the career highly! Alas, less money and less ‘prestige’ *vom*, but ultimately a higher chance of happiness in the job.

(11)(1)
Wannabe trainee

Any hints as to where are you joining in September 2018? 🙂

(1)(0)
Anonymous

He said ‘smaller’ city firm, not one of the City’s stalwarts.

(9)(0)
Anonymous

All wrong! I like this game though, trying to work out whether I’m capable or not depending on which firm I’m going to…

Why would you like to know wannabe trainee?

(2)(0)
Wannabe trainee

Just to get an idea what firm do you consider as a ‘smaller City firm’. It sounds like a nice place to work at.

(1)(0)
Anonymous

Because they don’t pay their security guards enough. Those office buildings are so dodgy at night!

(16)(0)
Anonymous

Because the middle market is getting hammered at the moment.

(1)(0)
Northumbria llb

Northumbria llb here, will I get a TC at an MC or SC?

(1)(6)
Anonymous

Just what is going on here? Legal cheek comments section are renowned for roasting any uni that isn’t oxbridge or bristol and maybe Manchester, where is the damn abuse for fuck sake?

(0)(1)
Anonymous

It’s just a bunch of twats that have a blinkered view of the world and consequently have no real idea about how anyone outside their social circle lives.

(6)(0)
Anonymous

Wait so that doesn’t represent the legal profession? People don’t take one look at your university and then bin your application because it’s not prestigious?

(0)(0)
Dink

Your trolling is still obvious even though you’ve moved on from the LLB thing – not subtle enough.
Failed troll.

(2)(0)
Albert the Administrator

You better hurry mate, they might not be open for business next Monday anymore.

(4)(1)
Anonymous

Off topic. You should probably forget about either of these if you can’t follow the thread of an argument.

(4)(2)
Future MC Trainee

This thread seems to be quite glum in terms of what to expect.

On a happier note, I’m very much looking forward to starting my TC, I understand that the hours will be tough and that life outside the firm will be bleak for the first few years at least, but I’m also excited about the opportunity. I think if you’re fully aware (or as aware as you can be before you’ve started) that the work/life balance is crappy and the workload is a lot then you can’t be surprised by the reality. MCs don’t sell themselves as anything else so why expect anything less?

P.S as somebody who has worked their ass off to get a TC and knowing the training will set me up for life, I’m also feeling pretty privileged

(10)(1)
MC Trainee

money is good and will get much better

hours are bad and i have no control over them

work is terrible in that it is administrative but will get marginally better

(5)(0)
Anonymous

‘money is good and will get much better’ how so? Just wondering.

(0)(0)
Slaughter and Gay 4th Seater

Who are HSF? Is it one of though “High Street Firms”

(5)(2)
4th Seat MC Trainee

How you find it depends on the choices you make within the firm. No amount of money would make me want to qualify into the corporate department, where the word “long hours” doesn’t really express enough how horrific the hours can be (and correspondingly, you find a lot of no-life workaholics there).

However, In other departments (e.g. the advisory ones) I think your pay-to-work-life-balance ratio is probably one of the best out there. When I did a seat in an advisory department my honest-to-God average finish was about 7-7.30pm. That was occasionally supplemented by weekend work and late nights, but they were not a constant feature. Not 9-5, but I’m 100% willing to do that for the pay. The Partners were genuinely appreciative of hard work, and definitely did not want you to sacrifice your life outside of work.

(7)(0)
Bobby

This guy gets it. Outside of corporate and banking, hours can be more manageable. Certainly not 9-5 like other professions, but 9-7.30 is very reasonable for City lawyers and some weekend work or late nights is doable. I like the fact that we as lawyers are being paid for our intellect and ability rather than corporate/banking where you are just churning through paper and producing documents. You get this more in areas such as pensions, life sciences, commercial/IP and employment. With the latter two, if you end up at a City corporate shop you may get beasted on the DD front so obviously choose wisely there.

(5)(1)
Anonymous

It’s like this in offshore jurisdictions like Channel Islands and BVI, even in corporate and banking, as the focus is very much on advisory rather than transactional.

(4)(0)
An actual lawyer

How many seats did they have in your office 136?

(0)(0)
Anonymous

What’s the inside feeling on Freshfields’ office move?

(0)(0)
Future Links trainee

‘money is good and will get much better’ how so? Just wondering. Are they likely to try to close the gap with the US firms or not? I guess the thing that makes it likely is that only one need to make the jump and the rest should follow suit

(0)(0)
Realist

Erm I think she just meant that money gets better as you stay longer. Your optimism will stand you in good stead…

(0)(0)
Bumcheeks McGuffin

What’s it like to be a cliched chosen private school educated white boy with a nice combed hairparting and not very original look for fear of being individual sitting there trying to slip out a fart in your office and hope the stressed out older version of you with whom you share an office who bullies your ass and is off with a client but back shortly doesn’t notice because you’re too busy in your 15 hour a day shift to go and take a sh*t for fear of looking like you’re slacking, but you should because you can always catch up on emails while you’re squeezing out the remains of the horrible law firm mass-catered subsidised lunch masquerading as gourmet food in a generously-proportioned firm toilet, at least I can cry in the cubicle when I’m sure it’s empty, what time is it you haven’t seen daylight in two days, but that’s cool, this pain is for long term gain, my credit’s good, I’ll be able to upgrade the flat and the material comfort I now find myself in I tell myself it salves the grinding hours and life that I’m putting into this job, one day I’ll be able to ease off the gas, not like that partner who got massive stroke one month before retiring never got to enjoy the wealth he’d sold his life for, there must be some way I can help the world, this firm and its clients are all that’s wrong and f*cked up with the world, I’m sick of being forced to turn a blind eye, one day I’ll escape and do something to help save it, in the meantime must be the best, can’t let my old schoolmates beat me, can’t disappoint parents, girlfriend won’t love me if I don’t bring home the bacon, she really likes my status, can’t get sacked will have to become a smelly hippie living off benefits in a commune, will be a shame to my family, must keep working maybe make partner one day?

(24)(1)
Linklaters trainee

Holy fuck, this guy gets it. It’s as if I was reading my own monologue. Or even an epitaph?

10/10 mate, you should seriously consider working on your obvious literary talents.

(10)(1)
Anonymous

just do legal aid, the hours are better and it’s incredibly great

(2)(0)

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