Research: The firms that offer the most international secondments 2017-18

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By Legal Cheek on


As part of this year’s Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, we asked over 2,000 trainees and junior lawyers at the leading UK firms about the opportunities they’d had to spend time abroad on the job.

The results — which we’ve broken down by firm, to give wannabe lawyers a general picture of what they can expect — varied widely, with some outfits sending all rookies overseas while others keep them in the nest for the duration of their training.

It’s worth noting that fewer international opportunities at trainee level doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing at the qualified solicitor stage. Just as some firms view secondments abroad as an important part of developing a global mindset, there is a school of thought which sees them as an unnecessary distraction from the training process. Indeed, on occasion secondments are restricted to associates of several years post-qualification experience. With that in mind here are the results.

Watson Farley & Williams 100%
White & Case 100%
Allen & Overy 79%
Clifford Chance 68%
Shearman & Sterling 68%
Baker McKenzie 53%
Herbert Smith Freehills 49%
Dechert 48%
Stephenson Harwood 47%
Linklaters 41%
Norton Rose Fulbright 41%
Freshfields 40%
Jones Day 38%
Trowers & Hamlins 36%
Fieldfisher 35%
Withers 33%
Clyde & Co 32%
DLA Piper 30%
Berwin Leighton Paisner 29%
Dentons 29%
Hogan Lovells 27%
Slaughter and May 27%
Ashurst 26%
Reed Smith 26%
CMS 25%
Forsters 25%
Ince & Co 25%
Hill Dickinson 24%
PwC 24%
Ropes & Gray 24%
Mayer Brown 21%
Kirkland & Ellis 20%
Squire Patton Boggs 20%
Bird & Bird 18%
Bristows 18%
Eversheds Sutherland 16%
Gowling WLG 15%
Latham & Watkins 14%
Charles Russell Speechlys 12%
Simmons & Simmons 12%
Pinsent Masons 11%
Burges Salmon 9%
Howard Kennedy 9%
Weil Gotshal & Manges 8%
Addleshaw Goddard 7%
Macfarlanes 6%
Mishcon De Reya 6%
RPC 6%
Travers Smith 6%
Taylor Wessing 5%
Bond Dickinson 4%
Mills & Reeve 4%
Browne Jacobson 0%
DAC Beachcroft 0%
DWF 0%
Irwin Mitchell 0%
K&L Gates 0%
Osborne Clarke 0%
Shoosmiths 0%
TLT 0%
Walker Morris 0%

As part of our survey we also asked the trainees and junior lawyers about where they had been lucky enough to go — and received hundreds of comments in response. The Far East, particularly Hong Kong and Singapore, is among the most common destination, although as firms expand their networks to Australia increasingly rookies are getting the chance to spend time in Sydney as well.

The Middle East is also big, with Dubai and Bahrain favourite locations; as is Europe, with UK trainees regularly heading to the continent’s big capital cities, with secondees often speaking local languages. The US is another hotspot, with the prime location this year deemed to be San Francisco, where a host of lucky trainees have done tech-focused seats. New York is another common place to spend time, particularly for those training at the London offices of US firms.

Rarer are placements in South America, Central Asia and Africa, where most firms have less well developed networks. A word of warning: consider what time of year you’ll be doing your secondment, because some places can get very hot (and cold).

Finally, look out next week for our client secondment results, a category which we have gathered data on for the first time this year.

For all the key information about firms, including what they pay and their full results in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, check out The Firms Most List.

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