Survey Results - Trainee feedback on K&L Gates

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on K&L Gates

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘International reach’, ‘small trainee intake, high level of responsibility from the outset of the training contract’, ‘the work/life balance and friendly colleagues’, ‘the opportunity to work directly with partners, which you don’t get at firms with larger intakes’, ‘the office, and the terrace overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Because (with the exception of corporate) there is a maximum of one trainee in a department, trainees generally get a greater variety of work from a larger number of fee earners’, ‘as one of a smaller group I constantly feel as though my training is being valued and I am given good exposure to important work, and client-facing tasks’, ‘the firm is very inclusive, open and friendly. All supervisors are approachable and make time to help my growth and development’, ‘the approachability of partners who genuinely want to see you succeed’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Not as many NQ opportunities’, ‘the lack of social interactions’, ‘the canteen’, ‘pushy associates who overload you with work without being sensitive to other work you have going on’, ‘there are often very few people in the office, and although that varies from department to department, in mine there are often days where I am the only person in, or there are only two or three of us, which isn’t great for on-the-job learning’

Best moment? ‘Being given the opportunity to work on really complex and challenging tasks’, ‘working on a two-week-long arbitration’, ‘being the main point of contact for a client in an employment tribunal hearing, ‘being heavily involved in case management as a first seater and being heavily relied upon by the barrister in the case’, ‘running my own client meetings, ‘attending a final hearing in the Rolls Building’

Worst moment? ‘Endless monotonous tasks during one seat’, ‘I worked on one matter where I felt I wasn’t being supervised/monitored closely enough. Once I addressed this, it was fine’, ‘realising I had made a mistake in correspondence that had already been sent’, ‘working weekends at short notice and not being able to have weekday plans’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on K&L Gates

K&L Gates ‘combines the sensibilities of British and American law firms in the City: a small intake, high responsibility, client contact, international work and a good culture’. K&L Gates ‘prides itself on having a fully-integrated global platform, and it truly does – every piece of work I have done has had an international element, and the biggest cases I have worked on have been in other jurisdictions. This is what drew me to the firm and this is what I love about it’, said one recruit, echoing the sentiment of many others. What’s more, ‘because of the smaller intake’, trainees ‘get more one-on-one supervision, greater opportunities and more responsibility from an early stage’. K&L Gates is a Future Lawyers Winner for supervisor approachability and international secondments. The things trainees dislike most about the firm are ‘the uncertainty over NQ opportunities’ and the ‘limited social interaction: there are often very few people in the office (although this varies from department to department), which isn’t great for on-the-job learning’. Trainees hated ‘realising I had made a mistake in correspondence that had already been sent’, and felt stressed whilst ‘working on one matter where I felt I wasn’t being supervised/monitored closely enough’. Best moments captured the high levels of responsibility enjoyed by recruits and included ‘completing substantive work such as the drafting of witness statements, position papers and statements of claim only four to five months into my training’, and ‘drafting large sections of a position notice for a client which defended a claim for an extension of time. The financial penalties were in the tens of million dollars’. For a ‘US firm with a UK feel’, boasting ‘international reach’ and a ‘reasonable work/life balance’, research K&L Gates.

About the firm

The firm: K&L Gates is one of the largest law firms in the world with more than 40 offices located in key capital cities and world commercial and financial centres across five continents. At K&L Gates, we foster an inclusive and collaborative environment across our fully integrated global platform that enables us to diligently combine the knowledge and expertise of our lawyers and policy professionals to create teams that provide exceptional client solutions. We marry process with vision, success with dedication, and method with passion.

Managing partner: Antony Griffiths (managing partner, London, Brussels, Dubai and Doha offices and managing partner, Europe and Middle East).

Other offices: Austin, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Brisbane, Brussels, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Doha, Dubai, Dublin, Fort Worth, Frankfurt, Harrisburg, Hong Kong, Houston, Kansas City, London, Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Melbourne, Miami, Milan, Munich, Nashville, Newark, New York, Orange County, Palo Alto, Paris, Perth, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seattle, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Washington DC, Wilmington.

Who we are: K&L Gates fosters an inclusive and collaborative environment across its fully integrated global platform.

What we do: K&L Gates is active in the areas of corporate/M&A, capital markets, private equity, restructuring and insolvency, banking and asset finance, structured finance, derivatives, aviation, debt capital markets, Islamic finance, funds, financial services regulation, antitrust, competition and trade regulation, public policy, real estate, planning and environment, intellectual property, technology transactions, construction, energy, infrastructure and resources, insurance coverage, regulatory, tax, employment, litigation, international arbitration, investigations, enforcement and white-collar crime, plus other forms of dispute resolution.

What we’re looking for: We are looking for highly motivated, intellectually curious individuals with an interest in commercial law, looking for comprehensive training.

What you’ll do: A thorough induction scheme: emphasis is placed on early responsibility and client contact. Pro bono and CSR activities are encouraged.

Perks:  Life assurance scheme, group income protection, gym membership, group pension plan, season ticket loan, medicentre, employee assistance program, cycle to work and eye test.

Sponsorship: SQE sponsorship of £13,000.

Diversity and Inclusion

Our commitment to diversity goes far beyond rhetoric and initiatives. We seek and welcome the talents of those from different walks of life and cultural backgrounds. We strongly believe we build better teams, forge better client relationships and provide better customer service because of our diverse
team of professionals.

In 2020, the firm pledged to listen, be educated, take action, and work together to help in the fight to end inequality and foster a more inclusive society. We encourage everyone to get involved in any way that inspires them, whether by continuing to educate yourself, engage in challenging conversations, or work alongside clients and one another in the community. We also recognise the important work our people contribute around the world and have instilled the Global Diversity Hours Policy to offer nonbillable, credited hours to all lawyers for their time spent towards diversity and inclusion. The policy encourages our lawyers to have meaningful participation in diversity and inclusion efforts both within and outside the firm for the benefit of K&L Gates, its clients, and all of its constituents.

In our commitment to listen and be educated, our firmwide Diversity Committee and Women in the Profession (WIP) Committee lead numerous programmes and initiatives to further our steps as a firm to better understand our shared history and to meaningfully improve the outlook for our shared future. Launched in 2020, our firmwide speaker series, Conversations About Race and Diversity, focuses on the lingering effects of inequality and systemic racism in our society, and the importance of diversity and inclusion. Thousands of stakeholders at the firm have listened and learned from our guest speakers, making this series the most well-attended web event this firm has ever held. Past notable speakers include:

    • Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of NAACP
    • Honorable Bernice B. Donald of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
    • Reverend James M. Lawson, Civil Rights Movement activist, professor and minister
    • Clarence Dixon, Executive Director, Global Head of Loan Services and Head of UK D&I Committee of CBRE
    • Kevin Jennings, CEO of Lambda Legal
    • Professor Rajmohan Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, author, historian, and journalist
    • Honorable Tony Coelho, former U.S. representative (CA), House Majority Whip, and principal author and sponsor of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

In addition to listening and educating ourselves, we also take action to connect and support our historically underrepresented lawyers at the firm. Launched in 2020, we partner with Ms. JD, a nonprofit in the US, to offer a 12-week business training and client-engagement programme called Pathway to Success to our high-achieving women associates. The programme was piloted in the US and has since expanded to our offices in Europe. We also have initiated a similar programme for our junior women partners across our global platform. Other notable programmes include our recently launched regionwide diversity mentorship programmes that are structured to be tailored to the interests of each mentoring pairs, a region-wide diversity retreat in the US, and robust diverse pipeline programmes aimed at diverse first-year law school students.

One of K&L Gates’ diversity and inclusion goals is to build a stronger diverse community at the firm. By way of example, we have local diversity and WIP committees across our offices, including a diversity and inclusion committee in London who meet every month to plan events, and share and communicate
ideas and office initiatives. Everyone in the committee, from junior employees to partners, has a voice at the table. The London diversity and inclusion committee is composed of champions who spearhead various diversity groups for the office including women, wellness, LGBTQ+, and multicultural society groups. Our multicultural society group organises and participates in several initiatives focused on educating and celebrating our culturally diverse workforce. Some of our notable efforts include recognising and honoring cultural days, conducting a reverse mentoring initiative to help educate non Multicultural Society colleagues on the issues experienced by Multicultural Society colleagues, collaborating with RARE to implement a tracking system for social mobility and collect contextualised data for consideration as part of the recruitment process and benchmarking with Pirical for an independent assessment of the London office’s performance on recruitment, retention and promotion. We also enjoy firmwide platforms to advance our LGBTQ+ and disability efforts through our LGBTQ+ subcommittee and employee resource group as well as our disability inclusion taskforce.

Lastly, we work together with industry leaders to ensure we are current in our best practices and policies. For the 12th consecutive year, the Human Rights Campaign awarded K&L Gates a 100% score in the organisation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), and named the firm a ‘Best Place to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality.’ Our firm has also been awarded a US Gold Standard Certification by the Women in Law Empowerment Forum (WILEF) for a tenth time, recognising the high levels of success by the firm’s women as partners and leaders. In our inaugural year of participation, we are among one of only seven law firms to achieve the ‘Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion’ distinction in the 2023 Disability Equality Index by DisabilityIN. Our firm received Mansfield Rule 5.0 Certification Plus status in Diversity Lab’s latest iteration of its innovative diversity programme, recognising leading law firms that ‘have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion’. We have also frequently been named a ‘Top Performer’ and received the ‘Compass Award’ by the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD). The designations recognise active LCLD member corporations and law firms who have dedicated the most time and energy to participating in LCLD programmes and supported its mission of creating a more inclusive legal profession. Furthermore, K&L Gates, along with longtime firm client Amazon, also recently received a 2020 Corporate Pro Bono Partner Award from the Pro Bono Institute’s (PBI) Corporate Pro Bono project for their joint contributions in support of Mary’s Place, an organisation providing shelter and services to women, children and families in their journey out of homelessness.

Percentage of female associates: 46%

Percentage of female partners: 20%

Percentage of BAME associates: 25%

Percentage of BAME partners: 2.2%