Revealed: The firms that offer the most client secondments

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By Legal Cheek on

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

Bristows 88%
Squire Patton Boggs 80%
Mayer Brown 75%
Reed Smith 50%
Walker Morris 50%
Baker McKenzie 47%
Shoosmiths 47%
CMS 36%
DWF 36%
Charles Russell Speechlys 35%
Eversheds Sutherland 35%
PwC Legal 35%
RPC 35%
Dentons 33%
Fieldfisher 28%
Mills & Reeve 28%
Clifford Chance 25%
Ince & Co 25%
Bird & Bird 24%
DAC Beachcroft 24%
Womble Bond Dickinson 24%
Clyde & Co 23%
Pinsent Masons 22%
TLT 22%
DLA Piper 21%
Norton Rose Fulbright 21%
Hill Dickinson 19%
Taylor Wessing 19%
Withers 17%
Hogan Lovells 16%
Herbert Smith Freehills 15%
Berwin Leighton Paisner 14%
Browne Jacobson 13%
Burges Salmon 13%
Stephenson Harwood 13%
Osborne Clarke 12%
Simmons & Simmons 12%
Allen & Overy 10%
Freshfields 10%
Jones Day 10%
Kirkland & Ellis 10%
Dechert 9%
Travers Smith 9%
Addleshaw Goddard 7%
Linklaters 7%
Ropes & Gray 7%
Irwin Mitchell 6%
Mishcon De Reya 6%
Ashurst 5%
Shearman & Sterling 5%
Slaughter and May 4%
Trowers & Hamlins 4%
Macfarlanes 2%
Forsters 0%
Gowling WLG 0%
Howard Kennedy 0%
K&L Gates 0%
Latham & Watkins 0%
Watson Farley & Williams 0%
Weil Gotshal & Manges 0%
White & Case 0%

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.


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

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