Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP

Address: 160 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4QQ




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘I wanted to work for a US firm’; ‘six-seat rotations’; ‘small trainee intake’; ‘international work’; ‘interesting practice areas’; ‘white collar criminal work’; ‘the level of responsibility given to trainees from the get-go’; ‘pro bono commitments’; ‘trainees receive decent client exposure’; ‘corporate and litigation work’; ‘secondment opportunities’; ‘LPC funding package’; ‘remuneration is pretty competitive’; ‘engages in high-level financial services work’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The international quality of most of the work’; ‘quality of training is very good’; ‘pro bono commitments’; ‘trainee remuneration’; ‘everyone around you is willing to help you’; ‘the relatively small size of the office means over the two years you meet most people which is nice’; ‘the laid-back environment’; ‘the small intake’; ‘the more hands-on training experience’; ‘the level of responsibility given to juniors’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Worrying retention rates’; ‘the hours are tough in some departments’; ‘occasional lack of support’; ‘it’s not very diverse’; ‘the culture can sometimes be aggressive and hostile’; ‘not much social life’; ‘café could be better’; ‘the working hours are demanding’; ‘there’s been a significant number of lateral hires which could lead to discord amongst the team’; ‘it’s not always clear if trainees will be kept on post-qualification’
Best moment? 
 '‘Secondment to France’; ‘helping on the corporate reorganisation of a large pharmaceutical company’; ‘attending court in my litigation seat and being involved in preparing for trial’; ‘meeting clients’; ‘when you get to the stage that you can offer an opinion or potential solution to your supervisor or a client’; ‘closing a major transaction with a prestigious client at their offices’
Worst moment?
 '‘Having to compile bibles and bundles’; ‘dealing with unreasonable people’; ‘a seat in a department I did not enjoy’; ‘the occasional long hours’; ‘embarrassing myself and my supervisor by inadvertently circulating the wrong documents in a draft form externally’; ‘several very quiet periods’'

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

Mufasa (The Lion King) – strong, respectable and a leader who you can learn a lot from

The verdict

The firm

Global firm Dechert continues to perform strongly across the corporate and commercial disciplines and represents blue-chip clients on M&A deals, tax, investment funds matters and private equity transactions. With offices across the globe, the teams are well-versed in dealing with cross-border matters. 

The star performers

Acquisition finance; Brexit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: corporate occupiers; Debt capital markets; Emerging markets; Employment: employers and senior executives; Equity capital markets; EU and competition: Trade, WTO, anti-dumping and customs; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Fraud; Hedge funds; Intellectual property; Partnership; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Private equity: transactions – high-value deals; Private funds; Property finance; Regulatory investigations and corporate crime; Retail funds

The deals

Acted for the Kingdom of Bahrain in its $3bn combined issuance of bonds and trust certificates, which is the country’s largest-ever syndicated debt deal; advised Bicycle Therapeutics Limited on its £40m Series B equity financing round; advised the China-based company Alibaba Group on trade mark protection and disputes regarding other rights across Europe, Georgia and the Caribbean; advised Ares Management and RBS on a senior debt financing package to support Phoenix Equity Partners’ acquisition of a majority stake in the Forest Holidays Group; assisted Biocon with its collaboration with Sandoz towards the development of biosimilars in the fields of immunology and oncology

The clients

Ares Capital Management; Barbican Insurance Group; Barclays; BNY Mellon; Cambridge Assessment; Columna Capital; Hayfin; JPMorgan; Société Générale de Banque au Liban; The Folio Society

The verdict

Dechert’s six seat rotation system was a significant factor in trainees’ decision to train at the firm – they love that they can experience a ‘broader, more varied training contract’. Also persuading them to join Dechert was the firm’s ‘white collar crime department’ and international secondment opportunities, for which it holds a Lex 100 Winner medal. US firms are notorious for expecting long hours, but Dechert recruits claim their ‘hours are good compared to other American firms’ – ‘supervisors understand that there’s a life outside of the office’. ‘Lean teams and a small intake’ promotes a ‘training experience that’s more personable – you’re not just a no-name trainee’, and new joiners get ‘good hands-on experience’. ‘Being involved in quality work and getting recognized for your contribution’ was extremely satisfying for one trainee. Others highlighted their ‘experience of being on international secondment’ and ‘closing a major transaction with a prestigious client at their offices’ as their favourite moments. ‘The moment you feel like you’ve got this’ was also listed as a joyous occasion. Though trainees enjoy a great two years at the firm, the current cohort expressed anxiety over the firm’s current retention rate. The ‘lack of diversity’, ‘tough hours in particular departments’ and ‘having to do a financial services seat’ were also issues recruits had to contend with. CSR and pro bono work is ‘taken very seriously’ at the firm and employees are encouraged to meet the ’25 hours annual target’. There are plenty of opportunities to get involved and ‘it’s easy to do so’. To work with ‘intelligent and committed lawyers’ in a ‘great-sized office, large enough to not be claustrophobic and small enough to not feel lost’, apply to Dechert.

 A day in the life of...

matt shelley

Matthew Shelley third-seat trainee, Dechert LLP 

Departments to date:  Corporate and securities, employment, complex commercial litigation

Degree:Ancient History 

8.45am:  Every morning I aim to get to the office before my supervisor, allowing me the opportunity to check any unseen emails and plan for the day ahead. I always consult my calendar to see if I have any meetings or calls scheduled during the day.

9.30am:  I catch up with my supervisor and get an idea of which work streams we are going to prioritise for the day ahead. We are currently working on a large piece of litigation for an overseas client and this means that catch-up calls are scheduled on an almost daily basis, be that with the client or with counsel assisting. I make notes during the call, formalising it into an attendance note afterwards and picking up any typical trainee tasks. In my current seat the substantive work tends to be researching points of law or preparing a first draft of various documents such as particulars of claim, a draft order or a witness statement.

11.30am:  After a couple of hours of researching how to serve a claim form outside the jurisdiction I receive a call from the Partner on the case. He asks me to urgently ring round a handful of barrister’s chambers and get an idea of which QC’s are available, what their hourly rates are and whether they can assist us. Secondly, he asks me to find out where in the world a superyacht belonging to one of the parties is currently located so that he can get an idea of where this individual holds valuable assets.

1.00pm:  I head out with another trainee and buy some lunch. Often at lunch time, I will go to the gym or get some fresh air. The firm has a good café and sometimes I go there to catch-up with other trainees.

2.00pm:  As I get back to my desk I bump into an Associate who says she is under time pressure and needs some documents filing at court as soon as possible. Before I leave I am told that we are filing an injunction with the Foreign Process Section to be served via the relevant authorities on parties in Latvia and Cyprus. With this in mind I quickly look up what this general process entails and make a note of the address I am heading for.

3.30pm:  Having returned with my stamped cover letter from the Court acknowledging receipt I hand it over to the Associate who is incredibly grateful for me stepping in last minute. I get back to my desk, respond to a couple of emails before heading to an Uncorked committee meeting downstairs. In the meeting we discuss ideas for our next trainee-lead networking event with the aim being to introduce friends and contacts from relevant industries to the firm and form relationships that might develop into a client-lawyer relationship further down the line.

4.30pm:  I attend a short meeting with the Graduate Recruitment team to discuss my upcoming secondment to the Dublin office, where I will spend four months doing Financial Services work.

5.30pm:  After catching up with my emails and finishing a piece of research which is due the next day, I turn my attention to a Dechert OnPoint which I am drafting. This is essentially a publication distributed to clients alerting them to new legal developments within their industry. I had recently read a judgment of the Commercial Court granting an anti-suit injunction to halt overseas proceedings for breach of an arbitration agreement. I try to communicate the facts of the case as clearly and concisely as possible.

7.00pm:  Having sent my draft OnPoint to one of the Partners, I ask my supervisor if he needs help with anything this evening. Once given the all clear, I draw up a to-do list for the following day and head for a drink with a friend in the IP team.

About the firm

Address:160 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4QQ

Telephone: 020 7184 7000

Fax:020 7184 7001

Managing partner:  Camille Abousleiman

Managing partner:  Gus Black

Managing partner:  Jason Butwick

Managing partner:  Miriam Gonzalez

Other offices: Almaty, Austin, Beijing, Bonn, Boston, Brussels, Charlotte, Chicago, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hartford, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Moscow, Munich, New York, Orange County, Paris, Philadelphia, Princeton, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Washington.  

Who we are: Dechert is a global specialist law firm with 900+ lawyers across 27 offices. Focused on sectors with the greatest complexities, legal intricacies and highest regulatory demands, we excel in delivering practical commercial judgement and deep legal expertise for high-stakes matters. In an increasingly challenging environment, clients look to us to serve them in ways that are faster, sharper and leaner without compromising excellence. We are relentless in serving our clients – delivering the best of the firm to them with entrepreneurial energy and seamless collaboration in a way that is distinctively Dechert.

What we do: Our lawyers in London are active in all Dechert’s core practice areas of corporate and securities, financial services and investment management, finance and real estate, white-collar defence, complex commercial litigation, international arbitration and intellectual property, as well as business restructuring and reorganisation, employment, international trade and EU government affairs, EU and UK competition and tax. We are also one of the few law firms equipped with a full-service US corporate practice in London, with the capability to advise domestic and international clients on a broad spectrum of US regulatory and transactional issues.

What we are looking for: A genuine interest in business, commitment, personality and ambition.

What you'll do:Dechert trainees will complete the majority of the required PSC courses during their induction, as well as undertaking the firm’s new hire induction and IT training programme. Trainees will also attend various talks from the firm’s practice areas and soft skills sessions on a range of topics, such as legal writing and negotiation. At each seat rotation there is department-specific training giving you an introduction to the practice, the team and the work.

Perks: Gym membership/subsidy, life assurance, pension scheme with company contributions, private health and dental care, season ticket loan and subsidised restaurant.

Sponsorship:LPC and GDL full fees and £10,000 maintenance grant.


Facts and figures

Total partners: 43 (London)

Other fee-earners: 91 (London)

Total trainees: 20

Trainee places available for 2021: 10


First year: £45,000

Second year: £50,000

Newly qualified: £110,000

 Application process

Apply to:Graduate recruitment and trainee development team.

How: Online application.

What's involved:Online application form, video interview, assessment day, face-to-face interview, written exercise and an office tour with a current trainee solicitor.

When to apply:

(Dechert recruits trainees exclusively through its vacation schemes)

Spring vacation scheme: By 31 December 2018.

Summer vacation scheme: By 31 January 2019.