Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Good remuneration’, ‘US-headquartered but with an organic and growing London office’, ‘excellent in corporate and restructuring’, ‘Weil is consistently at the top of the market for private equity work’, ‘level of responsibility as a trainee’, ‘small intake’, ‘greater responsibility’, ‘friendlier than other US firms’, ‘salary’, ‘great name on CV’, ‘great pro bono opportunities’, ‘international secondment opportunities (pre-Covid)’, ‘Weil’s focus on corporate, finance and restructuring work’,
What is the best thing about the firm? ‘Facilities – good canteen and now even a gym’, ‘friendly office but hard working’, ‘doing high-level work with a team that is enjoyable to work with’, ‘people are generally very understanding that you have a personal life’, ‘everyone is willing to help you understand and learn’, ‘some people are really genuinely lovely’
What is the worst thing about the firm? ‘Hours, but this is not firm specific, it’d be the same across the market’, ‘the culture of certain teams’, ‘narrow focus of the firm’s practices means that you often don’t get to do seats you want’, ‘the expectation of being available 24/7, year-round – but it’s what we signed up for (and will eventually be paid for)’
Best moment? ‘Completing my first signing and closing for a deal within three weeks of starting my first seat’, ‘as a first-seat trainee, being sent to attend a hearing by myself and report back to the team and clients on what occurred’, ‘high level of trust and confidence in me’, ‘doing associate level work in each seat’, ‘successfully defending an emergency injunction application filed against our client’
Worst moment? ‘An all-nighter for something that would have been avoidable if better organised (very frustrating)’, ‘cancelling weekend plans for work’, ‘periods of long hours, especially when working from home, have been exhausting and isolating. Thankfully they have been relatively few and far between’
The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP
Weil, Gotshal & Manges is ‘consistently at the top of the market for private equity work’ and has a ‘strong focus on corporate, finance and restructuring work’, all of which ‘translates to exposure to high-end transactional work and great clients’. A ‘commitment to trainee development and growth’, an ‘entrepreneurial culture’ and ‘great people’ also make the US firm a great place to train. Recruits are part of a small intake which allows them ‘greater responsibility’ and are compensated with a ‘very good salary’. There is a blend of ‘very hands-on training’ and formal sessions at the firm; this is ‘especially true in the banking department’, where recruits appreciate ‘a training session almost every week to help us become more familiar with the work within the practice’. But the culture can be challenging, with certain teams ‘operating under a strict hierarchical order’. Nevertheless, trainees enjoy doing ‘associate-level work in each seat’ A first-seater reported ‘being sent to attend a hearing by myself and reporting back to the team and clients on what occurred. They placed such a high level of trust in me’! One downside is that the hours can be arduous; one trainee lamented ‘periods of late nights which were exhausting and isolating’, yet Weil is the recipient of three Future Lawyer Winners medals for job satisfaction, living up to expectations and remuneration. To work at an internationally-renowned firm with a leading reputation in the finance sector, consider Weil, Gotshal & Manges
A day in the life of... Mahereen Nawaz, trainee, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP
Departments to date: Banking and finance; Private equity infrastructure
University: London School of Economics
Morning: I arrive at the office around 8.30am and first sort any emails that have come through overnight as well as check my calendar for the day. I then review my to-do list, ensuring it is updated with any additional tasks.
Once I have prepared a cup of coffee, I attend the internal private equity infrastructure team meeting, which takes place every Tuesday morning at 9.00 am – the team meeting is a great way to learn about the current matters the team is working on and also any deals in the pipeline. It also provides the opportunity to have an informal catch-up with colleagues, which is always enjoyable.
I return to my office and begin the first task of my day, drafting some corporate authorisations for a Tier 2 Management Incentive Plan. This is in relation to a motorway services group, which our client acquired earlier in March. Sharing an office with my supervisor, who is also working on the matter, means that I can often turn to him with any questions I have.
Once I have finished drafting the authorisations, I accordingly update the deal documents list to include the status of the relevant documents, which I have now drafted, as well as updating the list with any additional changes. It is a key trainee role to be able to stay on top of the progress of different work streams within a deal and to keep an updated documents list at all times.
Afternoon: At 1.00pm, I head to Café 110, our office cafeteria and join fellow trainees for lunch. This is a great time to catch up and also learn about what the other departments within the firm are working on.
Following lunch, I am briefed on a new matter relating to the refinancing of a group of entities, for which we are undertaking a red flags only due diligence exercise. This is an interesting task as I am responsible for completing the corporate due diligence and flagging any issues in the constitutional documents and statutory registers from a lender perspective. Once I have discussed my findings with the associate on the matter, I draft the relevant section within the due diligence report to set out my findings.
I temporarily pause my work to attend a training session on equity term sheets. Training is a key part of trainee life at Weil, and each practice area has their own schedule for training, both specifically for trainees and also practice area-wide, which trainees are expected to attend. I also try to attend training targeted at associates to enhance my understanding of the practice area and the key work streams involved.
Evening: I have signed up to attend an event internally, hosted by the partners within the Women@Weil committee. The aim of the event is to discuss career development and also to discuss key topics, including current and planned Weil initiatives and practical business development tips. I find events hosted internally are a great way to discuss fundamental topics with colleagues and also to meet different people around the firm.
I return to my office and check through my emails to see if any tasks have come through while I have been away from my desk. One of the deals that I am working on involves liaising with our Jersey counsel for matters in respect of the Jersey-incorporated Topco entity in the acquisition stack. I need to get a copy of the updated Topco statutory registers following completion of the acquisition to ensure the relevant updates have been made – I send an email reminder to them of this. It is a key trainee task to keep track of any post-completion work to be actioned, and to liaise accordingly with different parties and counsel to ensure that matters are progressed.
I then update my daily to-do list accordingly and head home for the evening.
About the firm
Managing partner: Michael Francies
UK offices: London
Overseas offices: 15 – Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Dallas, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, Miami, Munich, New York, Paris, Princeton, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Washington, D.C.
Who we are: With approximately 1,100 lawyers across the US, Europe and Asia, Weil operates according to the ‘one firm’ principle, allowing it to bring the right mix of firmwide skill and local market presence to deliver co-ordinated legal advice to help its clients achieve their sophisticated goals and objectives.
Established in 1996, Weil’s London office is the largest of its European offices and the hub of its European practice. The office is a leading player in the UK legal market and is consistently regarded as one of the most successful London offices of a US-based law firm. The firm supports a varied client base of European, US and global private equity houses, corporates and financial institutions on domestic and cross-border matters.
Weil’s strategy is focused on long-term investment in recruiting and retaining exceptional talent at all levels. The firm’s people celebrate diversity and inclusion, and its award-winning pro bono programme is deeply ingrained in the firm’s culture.
What we do: Weil provides clients with legal expertise at the highest level across its key practices of private equity and M&A, funds, banking and finance, structured finance, restructuring, and disputes and investigations, and has been involved in some of the most significant, high-profile and prestigious mandates across all its legal specialisms. The majority of the firm’s work involves multidisciplinary teams across the specialist fields of competition, corporate governance and compliance, employment, intellectual property, management incentives, pensions, real estate, tax and technology, leveraging the expertise of its full-service capabilities for its clients.
What we’re looking for: A career at Weil is challenging, technical and requires trainees to work under pressure. With this in mind, we are looking for bright candidates who can use their initiative, are comfortable in the spotlight and who thrive when challenged and placed out of their comfort zone. Successful candidates will need to be business-minded with plenty of entrepreneurial flair and commercial acumen, as well as the ability to work effectively in a team. We are looking to recruit candidates from all universities and degree disciplines. Our academic requirements are AAB at A-Level or equivalent and a 2:1 degree (obtained or predicted). We review all application forms holistically, which means if you fall slightly short of our academic requirements but demonstrate great potential, you will still be considered.
What you’ll do: Weil’s training contract is designed to help you reach your potential as quickly as possible through constant exposure to high-calibre work. We take an open and transparent approach to progression with a structure that makes sure you get the best start to your legal career. As a trainee you will work on some of the most complex and sophisticated matters. The work will be varied, exciting and from the very start, you will be in the spotlight – tackling the problems our clients face.
During your training contract, you will complete four six-month seats, one of which will be in corporate and one in finance. In each of your four seats, you will share an office with your supervisor, which means you will always have someone to guide you in your day-to-day work. The mentoring and support you receive as a Weil trainee means you can progress and reach your goals sooner than most law firms. You will be allocated a partner mentor, who will be your go-to for advice and guidance throughout the full two years of your training.
Perks: In addition to a £500 wellbeing allowance, the firm offers a flexible benefits package which you can tailor to your individual needs
Sponsorship: We offer full sponsorship of the PGDL and SQE 1 and 2 in addition to an annual maintenance grant of £20,000 per year of study.
Vacation schemes 2023: A vacation scheme is a great way to experience first-hand what life is like as a Weil trainee. You will work alongside associates, carrying out real trainee tasks and responsibilities while gaining a greater insight into one of the firm’s practice areas. You will be mentored and supported throughout the scheme, and to help you get even more of an insight into life at Weil, there will be various talks and workshops. We also organise a number of social events, so you can get to know Weil’s lawyers and staff in a more relaxed setting. You can apply for a vacation scheme if you are a penultimate-year student, finalist or graduate from any degree discipline. You will be paid £500 per week, plus a contribution towards accommodation costs will be made to those living outside London, in addition to travel expenses being reimbursed.
Fast-track scheme 2023: Our two-day fast-track scheme is a fantastic way to gain an insight into the legal profession and understand the work of a trainee at Weil. Perform well on the scheme and you will be automatically interviewed for a 2024 vacation scheme. You can apply for a fast-track scheme if you are a first-year student from any degree discipline. You will be paid £100 per day, plus a contribution towards accommodation costs will be made to those living outside London, in addition to travel expenses being reimbursed.
Insight days: Meet our people and get a better understanding of our firm and culture. During an insight day you will hear from our partners, associates and trainees about life at Weil. You can apply for an insight day if you are a second-year student, penultimate-year student, finalist or graduate from any degree discipline. Travel costs will be reimbursed.
Virtual experience programme: Gain hands-on experience of the typical tasks a trainee would get involved in while working in our private equity, banking and finance, and restructuring teams. The virtual experience programme is self-paced and open to everyone. No application is required.
Virtual and in-person events: At our events, in addition to developing your commercial awareness, you will have the chance to meet our people, build your network and discover our culture, as well as ask any questions you have about the application process. View our upcoming events.
Diversity, equity and inclusion
Diversity, equity and inclusion are more than just words. They embody a commitment that has been at our core since the firm was founded. We strive to honour this commitment and create a culture where our differences are respected, celebrated and valued.