Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I wanted to train at a firm with a sink or swim attitude but also very supportive teams’, ‘I only applied to US firms for the on-the-job learning and remuneration. But also my experience during the interview – the partners seemed incredibly friendly, which contrasted with my experience at other US firms’, ‘small trainee intake combined with a market-leading antitrust practice’, ‘the firm’s values align with my own with respect to collaboration, innovation and determination’, ‘it had a strong reputation in the practice area I am interested in’

Best thing about the firm? ‘My opinion as a trainee is valued within the team’, ‘people are generally friendly and nice’, ‘the generally relaxed atmosphere combined with the high-quality work’, ‘the high level of responsibility awarded to trainees’, ‘the support we receive from supervisors – there is no such thing as a stupid question!’, ‘in my opinion we have a better work/life balance than trainees at other US firms’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘There is no clarity on qualification’, ‘the coffee’, ‘consistently working late into the evening/early hours of the morning and missing social events with family and friends.  However, this is very seat-dependent, and you understand there is a high possibility of this when commencing a training contract with a US firm’, ‘the lack of transparency around qualification. Diversity and inclusion in the London office could also be better’

Best moment? ‘Attending client events on behalf of the firm’, ‘attending final hearings’, ‘probably my litigation seat which has involved doing substantive work on really interesting cases. I am also about to go to Dubai on secondment!’, ‘bringing in a client!’, ‘my six months with the employment team’

Worst moment? ‘Having limited communication with my supervisor for almost two months’, ‘the hours around completion of an M&A transaction’, ‘periods of long hours’, ‘working with a team that used me as a PA in addition to all my other work. It was a bit demoralising’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan Lewis stands out because it is a ‘US firm but without a sole focus on transactional work’. Normally, on-the-job learning and impressive remuneration are a given for lawyers at firms headquartered across the pond, but at Morgan Lewis there is also a ‘huge emphasis on collaboration, innovation and determination’. The firm is a Future Lawyers Winner for its excellent vacation scheme and generous salary. Trainees are given ‘a lot of responsibility’ at Morgan Lewis and appreciate that there is a ‘focus put on our business development and career development’ from early on. Although training is ‘less structured’, recruits generally find themselves doing much more substantive tasks than the trainees on the other side of transactions and cases’. As one respondent elaborated: ‘from day one I have been given the opportunity to correspond with clients and draft substantial documentation’. Recruits greatly enjoy ‘working on highly-complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions’, which they find ‘both challenging and exhilarating’. ‘Working on a huge deal with the head of the team in my corporate seat’ and ‘attending a final hearing’ were exhilarating moments, whilst dealing with ‘the hours around completion of an M&A transaction’ was more challenging. The qualification process and the lack of transparency surrounding it is a source of frustration for trainees. What’s more, ‘because a lot of the teams at Morgan Lewis are small, there isn’t always a NQ position available in the department you want to qualify into’. But, for those who do get offered a job post qualification, the prize is ‘big-ticket work’ with friendly supervisors in an ‘ambitious firm’. For the winning combination of a ‘small trainee intake, great salary, prestige, big clients and a friendly culture’, consider Morgan Lewis. 

About the firm

The firm: With over 30 offices across North America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, Morgan Lewis provides comprehensive corporate, finance, transactional, regulatory, litigation, investigations and dispute resolution services to clients ranging from emerging businesses to global public companies and across all major industries.

The deals: Advised Air Street Capital on the launch of its second AI fund; advised TAWAL on its €1.22b acquisition of a telecoms towers business; advised Bank of America on a debt-for-nature blue bond offering for Gabon; advised Prudential plc on bond issuer substitutions and US commercial paper program; advised global hospitality brand Selina on its SPAC merger.

Managing partner: Frances Murphy

Other offices: Boston, Century City, Chicago, Dallas, Hartford, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orange County, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Princeton, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Washington, Wilmington, Almaty, Astana, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Tokyo, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Brussels, Frankfurt, London, Munich, Paris.

Who we are: At Morgan Lewis, we work in collaboration around the world – always ready to respond to the needs of our clients and craft powerful solutions for them. From our offices in strategic hubs of commerce, law and government, we work with clients ranging from established, global Fortune 100 companies to enterprising startups.

What we do: Morgan Lewis’ London office offers a wide range of business and commercial law services, including: competition; corporate; data protection and cyber security; debt and equity capital markets; finance and restructuring; labour and employment; investment management; intellectual property; outsourcing and technology; structured transactions; tax; and dispute resolution. Morgan Lewis has strength in a number of business sectors, including life sciences, financial services and technology.

What we’re looking for: Morgan Lewis is seeking candidates with a consistently strong academic record, including a minimum of AAB at A Level (or equivalent) and a 2(1) (predicted or gained) in their undergraduate degree. We look for a range of prior work experience, volunteering and extra-curricular activities. In particular, we are looking for candidates to show us their commercial awareness, team spirit, resilience and passion for a career in law.

What you’ll do: Trainees complete four six-month seats over the course of the training contract. They can expect to receive high-quality, challenging assignments and the opportunity to work directly with senior lawyers across a range of practices and industry groups. The work will be varied, complex, and will most likely involve working across a variety of jurisdictions.

Perks: 25 days’ holiday p/a, life assurance, private medical and dental insurance, long-term disability insurance, season ticket loan, pension, cycle to work scheme, employee assistance programme and the option to take qualification leave at the end of the training contract.

Sponsorship: Candidates who have accepted a training contract offer with Morgan Lewis will receive a maintenance grant (paid in instalments), as well as the full payment of fees for both the PGDL and SQE. The firm does not provide retrospective funding for law school fees or maintenance grants.

Diversity and inclusion