Latham & Watkins

The Legal Cheek View

The biggest law firm in the world by revenue has had a very good year, with turnover and profit per equity partner (PEP) up by 6.5% and 8% respectively. The numbers are huge: revenue now stands at $2.823 billion (£2.19 billion), the most ever generated by a law firm in one financial year, and PEP at $3.06 billion (£2.38 million).

With seven years of consecutive growth under its belt, in which time it has managed to become not only huge but unlike some of its rivals also spectacularly profitable, Latham & Watkins is clearly doing something very right. A clue to what this is lies in these numbers: while net profit has increased 80% since 2009, the firm’s total lawyer headcount has only risen by 21%. If you are considering joining Latham, be prepared to work hard.

“When a deal or matter is on, the long hours are constant,” confides an insider at the firm which scored a D in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 for work/life balance. Another describes the hours like this: “7 on a good day, you don't on a bad day”. At least there’s no face-time culture here: “When they have nothing on, trainees are encouraged to leave.”

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Key Info

Training contracts 24
Latest trainee retention rate 95%
Offices 31
Countries 13
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 9:32am
Average leave time 8:38pm
Annual target hours 1,900
Annual leave 20 days


First year trainee salary £46,000
Second year trainee salary £48,000
Newly qualified salary £124,000
Profit per equity partner £2,380,000
GDL grant £8,000
LPC grant £8,000


UK female associates 45%
UK female partners 15%
UK BME associates 21%
UK BME partners 7%