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Slaughter and May

Living Wage
Work 020 7600 1200
Fax 020 7090 5000
Beijing, Brussels, Hong Kong, London

Address: One Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8YY




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘The extremely high quality of work and great reputation’; ‘premium placed on intellectual skills’; ‘associates are always willing to give feedback on work’; ‘the multi-specialist approach’; ‘prestige and quality of training’; ‘calibre of clients’; ‘really enjoyed the interview, which was based around me and my achievements’; ‘the people I met on the winter workshop’; ‘its academic reputation’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The people – they’re friendly and normal and you could happily have a couple of pints with them’; ‘unique working practices’; ‘nature of the work – complex and high-profile’; ‘people generally have a great sense of humour’; ‘high-end work in a relaxed environment’; ‘individuals’ willingness to go the extra mile’; ‘big transactions for household names’; ‘being challenged daily’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Limited organised firm social events’; ‘the negative reputation it receives for being the best’; ‘the hours’; ‘the hierarchy’; ‘the culture of never saying no to clients and to never challenge unrealistic deadlines’; ‘the canteen – expensive and unhealthy’; ‘junior associates are poor at delegating’; ‘working culture can really vary across departments depending on senior partners in each group’
Best moment? 
 '‘Providing advice to clients on my own research in meetings’; ‘secondment to Tokyo’; ‘the Christmas party’; ‘being given sole control of a piece of pro bono work’; ‘attending a high-level, multi-jurisdictional strategy meeting in litigation’; ‘a partner letting me take the reins on a matter while he was away’; ‘being made to feel like a valued part of the team’
Worst moment?
 '‘A period of mainly administrative work’; ‘having to work late because of other people’s bad time management’; ‘dealing with different deadlines for various people’; ‘one or two 4am departures from the office spring to mind’; ‘dull, menial tasks’; ‘being referred to as ‘your trainee’ or ‘the trainee’’; ‘proof reading on a Saturday’; ‘a month of finishing at 10pm’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Monica (Friends) – obsessed with excellence, seems a bit scary but is actually good, kind and loyal

The verdict

The firm

Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May has an excellent reputation for mergers and acquisitions, corporate tax and commercial litigation. The firm’s client case includes governments, entrepreneurs, funds, banks, retailers and entertainment companies. Slaughter and May has additional offices in Brussels, Beijing and Hong Kong. 

The star performers

Acquisition finance; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Competition litigation; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Corporate tax; Derivatives and structured products; EU and competition; Employee share schemes; Equity capital markets; Financial services; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; IT and telecoms; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Pensions; Power (including electricity, nuclear and renewables); Securitisation; Tax litigation and investigations

The deals

Acted on Actelion’s $30bn takeover by Johnson & Johnson; handled a global bond liability management exercise for BHP Billiton, which included a $2.5bn debt repurchase plan; handled the principal UK actions and European follow-on litigation for British Airways in a major global multi-party litigation, following on from the air cargo cartel investigation; acted for The Salvation Army in the multijurisdictional procurement and rollout of a cloud-based accounting and ERP platform; assisted Drax with the issuing of $300m senior secured notes

The clients

American Express; Arsenal FC; BUPA; Cathay Pacific; Coca-Cola; Google; Ladbrokes Coral; Rolls-Royce; Tata Steel; Walmart

The verdict

The ‘multi-specialist approach’ of Slaughter and May ‘means consistently varied work’. The Magic Circle firm has a ‘reputation for excellence’ and is considered ‘the best platform for starting a career in law’. An ‘exciting atmosphere’ pervades, with trainees reporting best moments such as ‘having a deal on the front page of the Financial Times after an all-nighter’ and ‘taking the lead with a partner in acquisition negotiations’. Respondents enjoy the ‘stronger focus on intellectual work than ‘churn’ work’. But references to the firm’s ‘hierarchy’ were common, with some trainees feeling as though they are at ‘the bottom of the pile’. Whilst the hours can be long, respondents assured us that they have ‘never been kept late for the sake of it’ and ‘do not feel the need to hang around’ if they don’t have any pressing work. ‘The firm invests more time in trainees and their personal development’, as evidenced by the abundance of training which ‘is carried out by partners and other fee-earners who can speak from actual experience’. Recruits were less positive about ‘getting ten hours’ sleep in six days’ and ‘mundane’ work such as ‘highlighting sections of thousands of chatroom messages’ and document review. Unusually, Slaughters does not have a billable hours target. This helps to ‘foster a team mentality’ and results in a lack of competition between trainees, so much so that the firm is a Lex 100 Winner for confidence of being kept on. There are also some great overseas placements on offer at Slaughters’ partner law firms. For the opportunity to undertake ‘high-end work in an intellectually-stimulating environment’ where ‘everyone is passionate and committed to excellence’, research Slaughter and May.

 A day in the life of...

emily mcmorrow

Emily McMorrow trainee solicitor, Slaughter and May 

Departments to date:  Competition, dispute resolution and real estate

University:University College Dublin 
Degree:Bachelor of Civil Law with Economics 

7.00am:  I start my morning by attending a gym class with a couple of other trainees.

8.30am:  We make our way to the staff restaurant, and eat breakfast together.

9.00am:  I grab a coffee and head up to my desk in the dispute resolution group. I catch up on client news updates, read my emails and write a list of tasks to complete over the course of the day (although depending on what comes in, that doesn’t always go to plan!).

9.30am:  I’m currently working on a UK competition litigation matter, following a European Commission cartel decision. Overnight our client has been served with a follow-on damages claim. I research the procedural requirements for responding to the claim, and update the rest of the team on our procedural deadlines. I alert one of our ‘Best Friend’ firms to the claim, as they are working with our client on a corresponding European claim.

11.00am:  My supervisor organises a team meeting to discuss our strategy and next steps. I take notes during the meeting, and update the action list, before circulating it to the team.

12.30pm:  I head to a local primary school, where I volunteer as a reading partner to one of the students. After this, I make my way to the food market on Whitecross Street, which is just behind the office, and grab some lunch to take back to my desk.

1.30pm:  My supervisor is also working on an international anti-corruption and bribery investigation. She asks me to draft speaking notes ahead of her meeting with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). I draft the notes and send them to my supervisor.

3.00pm:  Training is a core part of any trainee’s working life at Slaughter and May. I head down to a session given by an associate in my group on international arbitrations. She gives first-hand examples of scenarios she’s encountered and practical advice. There are also sessions held at all levels of the firm and by a cross-section of internal and external speakers (one day you’ll attend a strategy talk by a partner about Brexit, and the next it will be a talk from an external speaker to mark International Women’s Day).

4.00pm:  Up against a deadline, my next job is to dash to the Commercial Court to serve court documents, before it closes for the day.

4.30pm:  When I get back to the office, I see that our client has received a letter from the respondents in its pre-action debt claim. I join a call with our client, in which an associate updates them on the letter and our proposed next steps. The client confirms its instructions for our response. I take a detailed note of the call.

5.30pm:  After the call, the associate asks me to draft our letter of response. I am new to this matter, and begin by reading our previous correspondence with the respondents, and researching the points raised in the letter. After drafting our letter of response, I proof read it thoroughly before sending it to the associate.

7.00pm:  After checking my emails for a final time and ensuring my time recording is up to date, I check in with my supervisor to see if there is anything else which needs to be done today. The answer is no, so I head to the local pub for a catch up with other trainees from my intake.

About the firm

Address:One Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8YY

Telephone: 020 7090 4454

Senior partner:  Steve Cooke

Other offices: Beijing, Brussels, Hong Kong plus relationship firms in all the major jurisdictions. 

Who we are: Slaughter and May is one of the most prestigious law firms in the world. We advise on high-profile and often landmark international transactions. Our excellent and varied client list ranges from governments to entrepreneurs, from retailers to entertainment companies and from conglomerates to Premier League football clubs.

What we do: We are a full-service law firm to corporate clients and have leading practitioners across a wide range of practice areas including mergers and acquisitions, corporate and commercial, financing, tax, competition, dispute resolution, real estate, pensions and employment, financial regulation, information technology and intellectual property.

What we are looking for: We look for candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds with a high 2:(1) at undergraduate level from any university, and take an equal mix of law and non-law graduates. We take great store in drawing strength from diversity. With 111 different degree courses from 83 different universities and 31 nationalities represented among our lawyers, our culture is extremely broad.

What you'll do:During the two-year training contract, trainees turn their hand to a broad range of work, taking an active role in four, five or six legal groups while sharing an office with a partner or experienced associate. All trainees spend at least two six-month seats in our market-leading corporate, commercial and financing groups. Subject to gaining some contentious experience, they choose how to spend the remaining time.

Perks: Private medical insurance, money purchase pension scheme with life cover, interest-free loan, childcare vouchers, interest-free season ticket loans, personal accident cover, subsidised staff restaurant and coffee bar, special membership terms for health club, corporate entertainment benefits, cycle to work scheme, qualification leave and enhanced family leave pay.

Sponsorship:GDL and LPC course fees and maintenance grant.


Facts and figures

Total partners: 112 worldwide

Other fee-earners: 430 worldwide

Total trainees: 152 worldwide

Trainee places available for 2021: 80-85


First year: Â£44,000

Second year: Â£49,000

Newly qualified: Â£80,000

 Application process

Apply to:Janine Arnold, senior manager – trainee recruitment.

How: Through our online system (

When to apply:See website for application dates.

What's involved:As part of the application process, you will be asked to complete a short form and attach your covering letter and CV.

 Vacation schemes

We offer open days, workshops and work experience schemes to enable you to gain an insight into life as a commercial lawyer. Full details of these opportunities can be found on our website.

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