Analysis

Revealed: The firms that offer the most client secondments

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As a trainee you could get the chance to do a stint at Goldman Sachs, Google or Gillingham Council

Google, HSBC and Amazon’s London offices

You might think you’ve only made it in the City if you get chosen to go on an international secondment to Dubai or Hong Kong. But you don’t have to board a plane and move your life overseas for six months to find something to write home about. There are plenty of client secondment opportunities in the UK, which are just as exciting. But how common are they? As part of the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18, we asked over 2,000 rookies whether they’d done a stint with a client. Here are the results.

Legal Cheek Trainee & Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 — chance of client secondment

LAW FIRM% CHANCE OF CLIENT SECONDMENT
Bristows88%
Squire Patton Boggs80%
Mayer Brown75%
Reed Smith50%
Walker Morris50%
Baker McKenzie47%
Shoosmiths47%
CMS36%
DWF36%
Charles Russell Speechlys35%
Eversheds Sutherland35%
PwC Legal35%
RPC35%
Dentons33%
Fieldfisher28%
Mills & Reeve28%
Clifford Chance25%
Ince & Co25%
Bird & Bird24%
DAC Beachcroft24%
Womble Bond Dickinson24%
Clyde & Co23%
Pinsent Masons22%
TLT22%
DLA Piper21%
Norton Rose Fulbright21%
Hill Dickinson19%
Taylor Wessing19%
Withers17%
Hogan Lovells16%
Herbert Smith Freehills15%
Berwin Leighton Paisner14%
Browne Jacobson13%
Burges Salmon13%
Stephenson Harwood13%
Osborne Clarke12%
Simmons & Simmons12%
Allen & Overy10%
Freshfields10%
Jones Day10%
Kirkland & Ellis10%
Dechert9%
Travers Smith9%
Addleshaw Goddard7%
Linklaters7%
Ropes & Gray7%
Irwin Mitchell6%
Mishcon De Reya6%
Ashurst5%
Shearman & Sterling5%
Slaughter and May4%
Trowers & Hamlins4%
Macfarlanes2%
Forsters0%
Gowling WLG0%
Howard Kennedy0%
K&L Gates0%
Latham & Watkins0%
Watson Farley & Williams0%
Weil Gotshal & Manges0%
White & Case0%

Notable client secondments include tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, and megabanks including Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Lloyds, RBS, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank. But you’ll have to fight for these, with many firms requiring trainees to put in an application explaining why they should get to spend six months in such glamorous surroundings.

Footie fans will be pleased to know that client secondments at Premier League football clubs are relatively common. Rookies across different firms have scored seats at Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City among a host of clubs. Our survey responses show that secondments at media clients are also most definitely a thing, with ITV, BBC and Fox Networks Group all giving opportunities to trainees.

Top pharmaceutical companies, such as GSK, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, are another popular destination. Other standout destinations include Unilever, Nestlé, Volkswagen, Jaguar Land Rover, Heathrow Airport, Carillion and, er, the now defunct Monarch Airlines.

The 2018 Firms Most List

Many law firms offer secondments to charities too, and this year trainees have been drafted in to help out and gain experience at the likes of The Howard League, Liberty and Reprieve.

But if you leave client secondment applications to the last minute, you could find yourself doing time in less glamorous places. Corporate law firms frequently lend their young to local councils, which often have large legal budgets, while for every sexy multinational there’s a less sexy medium-sized company operating out of a non-descript industrial estate. Still, appearances can be deceptive and the experience can actually be very valuable. As one trainee temporarily based with a client in Slough tells us: “Not a great location but not as bad as I expected!”

Finally, it’s worth noting that client secondments take place at different stages in lawyers’ careers at different firms. Some in the list above that offer none to trainees present their associates with plentiful opportunities to spend time with clients.

Previously

Research: The firms that offer the most international secondments 2017-18 [Legal Cheek]

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