K&L Gates

The Legal Cheek View

K&L Gates can best be summed up as defying expectations. Being headquartered in the US, where lawyers work notoriously long hours, you might expect it to be a round the clock kind of place. But actually the firm offers decent levels of work/life balance, particularly for an American firm. “Provided you are good at communicating your work capacity, and have excellent time management, you will make nine out of ten early evening appointments (i.e. from 7-7:30pm onwards),” one trainee tells us.

With 46 offices in 18 countries, K&L Gates must be international secondment heaven, you would assume. But oddly the firm offers zero opportunities to its trainees and junior solicitors to spend time abroad.

It’s safe to say that the firm is a bit of an enigma. With its roots in London stemming from legacy City outfit Nicholson Graham & Jones, which was brought into the K&L Gates fold in 2005, the firm is now one of the top 20 biggest in the world, yet the City office retains a certain Englishness.

Continue reading

Key Info

Training contracts 10
Latest trainee retention rate 86%
Offices 46
Countries 18
Minimum A-level requirement AAB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Insider Scorecard

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

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Average arrival time 9:02am
Average leave time 7:21pm
Annual target hours 2,088
Annual leave 25 days


First year trainee salary £41,000
Second year trainee salary £46,000
Newly qualified salary £71,000
Profit per equity partner Undisclosed
GDL grant £5,000
LPC grant £7,000


UK female associates 51%
UK female partners 17%
UK BME associates 13%
UK BME partners 6%

Universities Current Trainees Attended