Katten Muchin Rosenman

The Legal Cheek View

Looking for a hands-on training experience, with plenty of transactional work and supportive colleagues? Then let us tell you about US law firm Katten Muchin Rosenman. The firm has its roots embedded in Chicago, where it first set up shop in 1974, before quickly expanding to Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. In 2002, an all-American merger with New York white-shoe player Rosenman & Colin gave the firm its current name, as well as the extra firepower needed to take its legal expertise this side of the pond, with the firm breaking ground in London in 2005.

Since then, Katten has continued to expand across the US, opening a string of offices in locations like California and Texas, whilst keeping its international offering fairly nimble — opening only one more global office in Shanghai in 2012.

And this steady approach to expansion has proved a success, with the firm recording a 4% uptick in revenues this year to $743 million (£583 million). It also recorded a rise in profit per equity partner (PEP), which now stands at an impressive $2.032 million (£1.59 million). These financial results follow a particularly impressive 2021, when demand in transactional work generated a 10.4% boost in revenue, and PEP broke the $2 million mark for the first time in the firm’s history.

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The London office, which plays host to around 40 lawyers, offers “a good variety of UK and international work”, specialising in transactions, asset management, finance and financial restructuring. Trainees can expect to work on deals with the Global Loan Agency Services (GLAS) which Katten advised on the share sale in offshore energy services provider Telford Offshore in March 2023. Or you could be working with venture capital funds like Niya — which was the lead investor in a $20 million financing of Mexican fintech company Kapital that Katten advised on earlier this year.

The firm operates the standard six months across four seats training contract, but these can occasionally be ‘split seats’, offering rookies the chance to work across a wider variety of practice areas. The TC is designed to be more flexible to your interests, as well as the firm’s desire to create rounded lawyers with as broad an experience as possible of different industries and clientele. A new learning and development officer has been appointed to help with this in the UK office.

There’s stiff competition in London, with the firm only recruiting around six trainees each year, but those that do make it through the doors can expect to be rewarded handsomely. First year trainee salary stands at £50,000, rising to £55,000 in year two. NQ rates start at £115,000, and you can expect quick progression with the firm’s first London trainee making senior associate this year! What’s more, the firm have managed to retain all but four of their London trainees at qualification level since they began offering training contracts seven years ago.

The small intake size can also be a blessing, as current trainees note that it means “you can benefit from a lot of responsibility at the junior level.” Rookies often find themselves working across from more senior lawyers at Magic Circle and other US firms: “You may find yourself punching above your level as a trainee during the latter half of each seat, negotiating with associates on the other side” — with appropriate supervision of course.

And this supervision isn’t just appropriate, it’s great, according to the insiders we spoke to. “Partners, senior associates and associates are willing to take the time for your development”, says one. As expected at a US firm, there is a lot of on-the-job training, but some teams do have a “very structured” training programme and, even when this isn’t the case, team members are always “willing to explain each task and the wider context,” according to one rookie.

This helpful atmosphere extends all the way from fellow trainees, who are said to be “very supportive, friendly and willing to answer questions”, to the partners who “always have their doors open and are approachable.” The firm’s open-door policy means that “there is not that fear that you are disturbing them when you need them”, one trainee told Legal Cheek. Rookies say that it’s “generally a sociable bunch” with fortnightly office events, a football team, and a netball team that has recently joined a league. There’s also a “really fun” annual rooftop drinks event at a 5* hotel in London for existing and potential clients that trainees can help host — more champagne anyone?

Work-life balance “depends on the practice area and the market”, but insiders tell us it is fairly good for the most part. “As part of the finance team, we tend to work longer hours which is expected in the City. In transactional seats, workflow may fluctuate, and it often depends on your clients and the market”, a current junior informs us. Billables are set at 1650 annually, which includes 150 hours of pro bono or citizenship work.

Trainees also have the opportunity to WFH two days a week, although the firm is flexible about this. The WFH set-up is apparently tip-top with one source telling us: “We are provided with the usual WFH items, such as two screens, phone, laptop, keyboard, mouse etc. I have received a tailor-made chair specifically for my height. We also have a generous allowance to purchase any specific items, such as earphones, printers, desk etc.”

Although many juniors seem keen on attending Katten’s office at Paternoster House, which is just a stone’s throw from St Paul’s Cathedral, The Old Bailey and Channel 4’s First Dates restaurant! Rookies share an office with either a partner or one/two more senior associates and there’s even a free vending machine, which is a “nice perk” one trainee notes.

Speaking of perks, Katten also offers a gym, and a separate health and wellbeing allowance, private medical care, physio sessions, taxi and food allowance when working late, and an invite to the annual Christmas Carols at St Pauls which “has had a host of celebrities present”, one spy reveals. Dinner at fancy restaurants such as Sexy Fish and Sushi Samba is also said to be the norm near deal closings and trainees also occasionally receive one-off benefits such as concert tickets — with one trainee bagging front row tickets to Post Malone at the O2 this year! At NQ level, associates are also said to be flown out to the US for a training business trip, with similar jaunts continuing every two years post-qualification.

The firm’s legal tech is “good enough” for trainees and meets expectations across the board. The firm’s dedicated Innovation team in the US are also said to be looking into the use of AI, so don’t be surprised if that tech makes it across the pond very soon!

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Legal tech

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2023-24 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


First year trainee salary £50,000
Second year trainee salary £55,000
Newly qualified salary £115,000
Profit per equity partner £1,590,000
PGDL grant £15,000
SQE grant £15,000

In addition to an £15,000 grant, those studying the PGDL or SQE have their tuition fees paid in full.


Average start work time 08:51
Average finish time 19:25
Annual target hours 1,650
Annual leave 25 days

Average arrive and leave times are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2023-24 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK. Annual target hours include 150 hours of pro bono or citizenship work.


Chances of secondment abroad 0%
Chances of client secondment 10%

Secondment probabilities are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2023-24 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.

General Info

Training contracts 6
Latest trainee retention rate 100%
Offices 10
Countries 3
Minimum A-level requirement ABB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1


UK female associates 48%
UK female partners 25%
UK BME associates Undisclosed
UK BME partners Undisclosed

Universities Current Trainees Attended