Hogan Lovells makes training contract offers early as it cancels summer vacation schemes

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Exclusive: Some candidates offered winter vacation scheme places

Hogan Lovells has cancelled its 2020 summer vacation schemes and made training contract offers early in response to the virus pandemic, Legal Cheek can reveal.

The firm was due to run two, three-week long summer vacation schemes in its City of London headquarters from 15 June to 3 July 2020 and 13 to 31 July 2020.

Hogan Lovells confirmed to Legal Cheek it had informed candidates yesterday that its two summer vacation schemes have been cancelled.

“Owing to the impact of COVID-19 we have taken the decision to cancel our two summer vacation schemes. This decision was not taken lightly, but our priority is to safeguard all the students confirmed to attend, as well as our own people,” a spokesperson for the firm said, adding:

“In considering our approach to this unprecedented situation we sought to create certainty where possible. Therefore, after careful deliberation, we have either offered the opportunity to attend our winter vacation scheme or, where appropriate, made training contract offers.”

It said the decision on whom to offer a training contract was based on their application, interview and performance during the assessment day. While it didn’t confirm the exact number of training contract offers it made in this way, Legal Cheek understands the majority were offered a training contract. The firm recruits around 50 trainees each year.

Hogan Lovells told Legal Cheek it has not rejected candidates it didn’t make training contract offers to outright but instead offered them a place on their winter vacation scheme. The exact dates for the winter scheme are yet to be decided but it is likely, the firm said, to take place in November or December 2020. If a candidate takes this option they will be part of the next application round and be considered for a 2023 training contract start date. They will be remunerated the usual £450 following completion of the scheme.

An unprecedented situation calls for law firm grad rec teams to seek out new ways to curb the virus disruption on their trainee recruitment programmes. Legal Cheek understands other City law firms are now facing tough decisions as to whether to go ahead with their summer schemes.

A handful of law firms have so far confirmed their summer vacation scheme plans.

Tuesday’s news told us that Clifford Chance‘s 2020 summer vacation scheme will go ahead, virtually, in view of the virus pandemic. The magic circler’s virtual version will comprise three days of classroom-based online learning and an optional, two-day work shadowing placement in December this year. Interns will be considered for training contracts following the completion of both schemes.

Shoosmiths became the first firm late last month to cancel its summer vacation scheme. The national outfit said it will be “arranging alternative ways to engage with [its] people” and stressed to students who submitted a vacation placement application in this year’s round that they will still be considered for training contracts.

The 2020 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

Hogan Lovells previously issued a positive statement to training contract hunters amid the continued coronavirus disruption.

In an open message to law students the firm said it understood the “challenging issues” they are faced with in relation to teaching, exams and grade assessment, adding:

“We at Hogan Lovells have long believed that academic performance is just one of many indicators of potential. We value students from diverse backgrounds and life experiences who have demonstrated a drive for excellence, a passion for community involvement, and compassion for others. We seek candidates who can raise the game of the whole team and can look beyond themselves in seeking the best outcomes for our clients. These principles will continue to guide our hiring decisions and will be even more important at this most unusual time.”

“When the time is right for you to think about future employment, we encourage you to tell us your story so we can get to know you,” the statement concluded.

View a list of law firm schemes postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 so far. This page will be updated as we receive new information.

Has your scheme been affected by the coronavirus? Let us know at

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How do you really distinguish quality of candidates based on interviews and applications you conducted months ago? Lucky to those offered the TCs though



Quality is pretty easy to establish for these biglaw firms. By the time you get to the assessment centre you’re already deemed to have the qualifications. From that point in it’s just about fit e.g. would I hate spending 12 hours on a doc review with this person and could I put them in front of clients (eventually). Those who got the vac scheme offers likely would make the grade anyways. Any remaining personality deviation will be destroyed in the firm melting pot.

Seeing how HL would probably only expect to keep 40-45 out of the 50 a year (but obviously hope to keep more), I’m sure things will be business as usual by the end of this cohort’s TC.



I agree with you in respect of your point that most candidates will have the required qualifications by the time they reach AC, however, the AC itself is far more than a personality test. I remember when I received my feedback from two magic circle firms that it was extremely detailed both in regard of what I said and how I said it. Having said that, I wasn’t offered the first TC so maybe I’m bitter!



what do you mean exactly by ‘what you said and how you said it’? Were you being rude or making odd comments because obviously grad rec and the partners would find that unacceptable



Sorry, I probably wasn’t clear. I meant more inasmuch as whilst they were analysing whether I’d fit in on a personality level, they were also paying close attention to the substance of my answers to their questions, and my delivery. I think the partner interview is more heavily balanced towards substance and the HR towards delivery, but that’s just how it was for me. It all worked out fine in the end, though.

Kirk Boyz

I have heard some MC firms give unreasonable feedback with excuses about minor things on why they didn’t offer you a vac scheme or TC. Slaughter and May is notorious for that



43 000 workers layed off at Disney in FL+; and even with the post – Brexit increase in work, would that many be kept on? Partners here and there are taking (?) massive cuts to drawdowns, and workers being asked to buy months of leave.



Commented about this yesterday on this site and got massively downvoted and called a liar. Loooool.

Does suck for those who didn’t get the offer. Not sure how they determined who deserved the TC offer and who didn’t. I really bonded with my interviewer, surely that is more a matter of luck than anything…



You got downvoted because you’re being a classless bore.



Downvoted because people on LC didn’t want to believe it


Shrek 2 is the best

Enjoy the TC, I hope it makes you happy. Dear lord, what a sad little life, Tia (or whatever your real name is you utter gremlin). You ruined it for the other candidates completely so you could have the TC and I hope now you can spend your trainee salary on lessons in grace and decorum. Because you have all the grace of a reversing dump truck without any tyres on.



Logan Hovells…



Can you get any more cocky and annoying about this? I too got a TC offer from them on Monday but won’t be acting like an idiot just because of it and posting everywhere ”YAY CORONA” like a 5-year-old. Get a grip.

Makes me question how low the bar for getting a TC really was.


US Firm Associate

To be fair, I would look into this I was Hogan’s HR. Considering how small the pool of suspects is, should not be hard to trace him.

If a person behaves so inadequately before they have even stepped foot in the firm (and leaks information before firm’s official announcement), they would probably continue to do this while working there.



Agreed, let’s hope they sniff him out.



“Yay Corona” is inappropriate. Please engage brain.



Unlucky to those who got munched by the coronavirus.

That’s life – and it’s an important lesson, well worth learning early on.

I suggest you nail the LLB, get as a good a mark you can get (at least a 2.1), then spend the year working in a McDonalds, when they reopen.

Save the money, whack it off the student loan, and learn what you can. I am told the filet o’fish is tricky to put together, and make sure you pronounce it “feel-ay”, just like a restaurant.

You will learn more about life and customer service from that one year in McDonalds than 3 years in some crowded law lecture theatre, or a year on the LPC, or on a training contract.

Do it. It will make you a better person and a better lawyer. Good luck, LLB class of 2020!


Old Codger

Totally sensible advice in today’s dire situation, +1.



I would be curious to know what the terms of the offer are. Are they still requiring graduates to accept quickly or have they extended the deadline. The former would be a good way to lock in good candidates who are afraid they won’t get anything else from other recruitment cycles. They could then defer the TCs if needed.



Isn’t Hogan Lovells a bit of an odd firm – presumably really tough hours, a bit less pay than the MC and way less than US firms.

Why do people apply there?


GDL student, 2 application cycles, 30+ apps, 1 mc offer

you have either never been through a training contract application cycle or you were one of the extremely lucky few who converted a vac scheme/got a training contract offer on one of their first few attempts if you are dismissing Hogan Lovells as a place to work.


My 2 cents

Well, Hogan Lovells pay 90k so just a tiny bit less than magic circle firms and have a better work life balance whilst still having top clients, so pretty good deal IMO.



Wonder which other firms will also use this measure. Hopefully Clifford Chance will take inspiration rather than offering that crappy 3 day online course



I wonder for firms that are waiting to do assessment centres for candidates who can no longer hold open days/VS will opt to do an online approach and those that do well get a TC or a 2nd interview for a TC …unprecedented times!


US 1st year

One thing is for sure – some real shithouses will slip through the net and turn up in the 2021 and 2022 trainee classes


Trainee at MC firm

Yeaah, welll you get shithouses everywhere..some more than others lol



I wonder which firms will follow suit. My guess is the UK firms are more likely to do so than the US ones considering the UK firms hire a lot more % of their vac schemers.


LPC student

Some US firms also hire exclusively from VSs e.g. Gibson Dunn, Skadden, Jones Day so will be interesting to see what approach they take as they prefer to have prospective trainees get a feel for the firm.


If need be, they’ll just freeze trainee programme and go back to poaching NQs. It worked well enough for them a few years back


3rd year llb

Lol did a summer vac scheme there last year. HL is a decent shop – the office is grand (at least the lobby for sure), and not all offices have moved to open-plan so still has a british charm to it. Everyone is really positive, and partners are approachable, work is mid-high end market. Bit of confusion over US-london management with Stephen Brogan from america ruling over the london office but overall, seemed like a fantastic place to work. Obvious downside is pay, and even salary rises are dismal. But hey, I saw senior associates leaving at 7 on the dot most days (at least in int’l arb and real estate) so seemed decent.

Can’t go wrong training there, but then again if you want top-notch training, Silver and MC (and of course some US shops) are better by far.

Oh, and I got rejected for the TC after the scheme. Was trying too hard to be a people-pleaser – never works. Now waiting to start my TC at an MC next year, so was a lesson well-learnt and it worked out after all.

All the best to the new joiners ! Stay safe, and count your lucky stars.



Arrogance, insecurity, and a veiled attempt to seem wise beyond your years/an expert of the legal field, all wrapped up in one comment. That’s very impressive “3rd year llb”


3rd year llb

Arrogance – perhaps; can work on that.

Insecurity – definitely; rejection hurts.

Attempt to seem wise beyond my years – was my honest opinion on the firm though – no frills/pretence. Take of it what you will.

Also – stay safe Anon!



An arrogant LLB-er! Undergraduate arrogance is never justified, especially outside of Oxbridge.


No longer in law school

There is nothing more 3rd year llb than calling a law firm a “shop”..


3rd year llb

true – smth I picked of reading too many legal forums instead of my law books tbh


A Torney

It is “picked off”.



Once you’re done masturbating, I suggest you wipe yourself down with a warm towel.


3rd year llb

thanks for the tip



ok Mr “I just read chambers student and want to show off my (lack of) insider knowledge.” HL is wayyyy better than MC – literally double the revenue and no. of offices, and double the smiles – wanna be a true international lawyer or just some paper pusher who knows the printer layout better than his own personality at the MC.



3rd year llb




Cool story bro



This comment is genius level parody of 3rd year students that think they know everything.

If it isn’t parody, then please take a step back. You haven’t even started your TC yet, stop trying to come across as an insider of the profession. If you start day one and try to seem as smart as you think you are, the people at the firm will smell the bullshit from a mile away.

Seriously, as much as I want to mock you for your comment (and I really do, you’re a student and you refers to firms as shops… ), this is genuine advice. Humble yourself.


Sorry what

I’ve literally never heard of Stephen Brogan….



Is money law (K&E etc.) more lucrative than investment banking?



F*ck off Gary.


3rd year llb

Certainly if you look at the long-term. In the short-term, IB wins. Here’s why.

IB has a high percentage of their salary in bonuses, and (assuming you make it through analysts/associate ranks) soon as a VP/MD you’ll easily be making millions a year at the BBB (bulge-bracket banks), or at specialists like Evercore. But the vast majority of IBers never stay – nobody can sustain that level of mind-numbing purposeless work for long – it’s seen as a stop-gap before pursuing greener pastures.

However, certainly a larger proportion of the legal workforce stay in their careers in the long-term, and that’s where the dividends pay off. Assuming you enter law for the right reasons, ‘money law’ can certainly be more lucrative than IB in the long-term. However, the fact that you’re discussing about ‘money law’ shows that your purpose for entering the law isn’t ideal, assuming money is the only reason.

Of course the most lucrative option would be to rob a bank. Money heist might help. Ciao. Anyway just my 2 cents.



3rd year LLB – you are such a troll I love it. Your chat is genuinely nauseating. Keep up the good work!



Cool story brah, changed my life



Clap clap clap

The jimmies rustle softly



Does anyone know if they just straight rejected all direct training contract applications? All the people I know of (including myself) who applied through this route got rejections a few days back, which happens to coincide with this decision to hand out TCs to future vacation schemers….!

I don’t want to jump to conclusions before I know all the facts but that would be a very dissatisfying way to be out of out of the race if that’s happened, especially having done two vac schemes and having been applying for TCs with a full time job!


3rd year llb

I doubt they did just reject all direct TC applications. I have friends who did assessment centres this year Feb and got direct offers at the beginning of March itself. Of course I’m sure the later assessments in March/April can’t be done due to covid, which might explain the rejections.

Please do not consider yourself ‘out of the race’. I also did 2 vac schemes, and know countless other peers who have done more vac schemes without an offer. I even have a friend who literally did an undergrad at oxford and a postgrad at cambridge and was a paralegal for more than a year before securing a TC. They (gender neutral) are now a future trainee at an MC.

The fact is you GOT those vac schemes ! Which is an achievement in itself, that can be used to your advantage. Direct apps are still ongoing till July for most other firms, and I’m sure they will have online assessment centre replacements soon, certainly for the bigger firms. Obviously I can’t just peddle ‘kumbaya’ and make it all sound rosy. But if you really have conviction and keep at improving your craft; it actually does work out sooner or later. Trust this complete stranger.



But everyone knows that Oxford law followed by Cambridge LLM is a slacker route in 90 per cent of cases. That would be a big red flag. It is a BCL or Ivy League.



Am I Right???


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