Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP

Address: 40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DS




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘The prestige, the people and the pay’; ‘I wanted the possibility of being immediately integrated into a team of associates’; ‘I wanted to be part of an international firm where trainees become part of an international team’; ‘top quality work and top quality pay’; ‘thoroughly enjoyed my vacation scheme experience’; ‘top firm in the City’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The culture and inclusiveness’; ‘the diversity of work’; ‘I have felt integrated into the departments in which I have sat’; ‘the people’; ‘the quality of the work in general and the responsibility given to trainees due to the small teams’; ‘lots of client contact at trainee level’; ‘high quality of work’; ‘the responsibility I have been given’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘The hours in certain departments’; ‘it seems very difficult to have a work/life balance, especially as an associate. Trainees are a bit more sheltered from the late hours’; ‘tough hours at times’; ‘long days and late nights’; ‘the hours (although I don’t think they are any worse, and are indeed better, than other law firms, even some of those outside the Magic Circle)’
Best moment? 
 '‘Helping with the filing of case of an oil and gas dispute’; ‘part of the small team to attend an ICSID hearing in Paris’; ‘closing dinner with clients to celebrate the closing of a deal’; ‘assisting on a deal with a tight timeframe. I was given the opportunity to be involved in the transaction from start to finish and the opportunity to take on significant responsibility’
Worst moment?
 '‘Printing contracts for a physical data room at 3am’; ‘being left in charge of a task which I had never done before. I worked through the night and could not quite achieve the result that was expected’; ‘leaving a family occasion at 8am on a Sunday to work on the closing of a deal until 3am the following morning’'

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

Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) – always has a creative solution, is loyal to its cause, and sometimes with a devilish edge

The verdict

The firm

US firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s London office advises on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, financings, restructurings and tax matters, and has experience in international arbitration and litigation, white-collar crime, employment and financial regulation. The firm advises clients on complex matters often involving both UK and multijurisdictional law. 

The star performers

Acquisition finance; Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans; BlackRock Fund Advisors; Commercial litigation; Corporate and regulatory; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Corporate tax; Debt capital markets; Equity capital markets; Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory); Fraud: white-collar crime; Globalworth real estate investments; High yield; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; International arbitration; M&A: upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Private equity: transactions – high-value deals; Oil and gas; Private funds; Public international law; Regulatory investigations and corporate crime

The deals

Advised on Twenty-First Century Fox’s acquisition by Walt Disney Company, including its related pre-merger spin-off; acted for Exxon Mobil on its $2.8bn acquisition of 25% indirect interest in the Area 4 block of the Rovuma Basin from Eni; provided the regulatory input to Vantiv on its $10.4bn acquisition of Worldpay Group plc; acted for Hg Capital (the lead investor) in the consortium acquisition of Visma Group Holdings from KKR for $5.3bn; won a US$1.2bn arbitration award on behalf of NTT DOCOMO (Docomo), Japan’s largest telecoms company, in an LCIA arbitration against India’s Tata Sons, which breached its contractual obligation to find a buyer for Docomo’s shares in Tata’s Indian mobile phone venture

The clients

Armstrong World Industries; Banco Comercial Portugues; Cineworld Group plc; HCP; IC Power; Old Mutual Plc; Roust Trading; Société Générale; TMF Group; Westfield Corporation

The verdict

Trainees at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom can expect to undertake work ‘which is more crucial to the deal’. The ‘small trainee intake and relative office size’ lends itself well to ‘high levels of responsibility’ where recruits can get ‘more deeply involved’ in ‘high-quality work’. Trainees are ‘definitely not kept at the periphery’ of deals and will not occupy their time solely with ‘paper pushing’. What’s more, hard work is rewarded at the US firm: ‘when you do well, it is noticed’. Highlights such as ‘working in a team of three at an International Chamber of Commerce arbitration in Paris’ and ‘working on a large-scale Competition and Markets Authority investigation’ go some way in explaining why Skadden is named a Lex 100 Winner for quality of work and living up to expectations. Top-drawer work is served up with a side dish of ‘tough hours’, however, and ‘associates are worked very hard’ which makes it ‘difficult to maintain a healthy work/life balance’. Reports of a ‘40-hour unbroken stint in the office’ and ‘working weekends and very late nights’ support this. But this is a compromise for working in an environment where ‘every day brings different research tasks, drafting questions and client interactions’. Skadden has also scooped up a Lex 100 Winner medal for its ‘exceptional’ international secondments, with the New York placement in particular winning favour. Pro bono activities are also ‘readily available’ at the firm, with recruits encouraged to take on work such as ‘giving advice on family law issues, like domestic violence’. If ‘high levels of responsibility, a high quality of work and high levels of remuneration’ appeal to you, apply to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

 A day in the life of...

Ben Davies second-year trainee, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP 

Departments to date:  Litigation and international arbitration, capital markets, banking, corporate M&A (New York)

Degree:BA Politics, First Class Hons 

9.30am:  I arrive at work, say hello to my secretary Lorraine and sit down at my desk. I am currently sitting in the corporate department with associate Claire Cahoon. I have spent the last five months focusing on capital markets work, but I also voiced an interest in M&A work so I have had the opportunity to do that also. I am currently working on four different matters so I make sure each day to make a list of the tasks that I need to complete so that I am organised and manage my time effectively.

10.00am:  First things first, Claire and I have a call with Skadden attorneys in the Chicago office about a potential new deal that has come in over the weekend. Skadden has offices all over the world and I have worked with attorneys in the New York, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong offices to date. I make a note of the call and circulate to the participants a summary of what was said, including a list of action points going forward, once the call has finished.

11.00am:  Danny Tricot, a partner in the capital markets group, calls me and asks me to prepare a set of board minutes in preparation for a client’s board meeting in a few days. Danny is also the partner who oversees my training contract and after he’s finished giving me instructions we discuss my proposed secondment the following March to Skadden’s New York office. As a trainee I have the option to spend six months in either Hong Kong, Brussels or New York and I am really excited about working abroad.

12.45pm:  After spending several hours drafting the board minutes, it is time for lunch. There’s no shortage of good restaurants and bars in Canary Wharf and lunch is spent getting to know the vacation students better in a more relaxed atmosphere.

2.00pm:  Back in the office, I finish the board minutes and go and see Danny. He provides me with some minor comments and tells me to circulate the amended minutes to the client for their review. Danny is great to work for and has given me a quite a lot of responsibility on this matter while still being available in case I need to ask questions. I circulate the draft to the group and then get back to my to-do list.

2.30pm:  I begin to incorporate comments that I have received from Claire on a prospectus for a Portuguese client of ours. In the last two months, I have visited this client twice in Portugal with Claire. Working for a firm with so many international clients definitely has its perks! Other tasks on my list include preparing some slides in preparation for a partner’s pitch to a potential new client, updating a due diligence report, proof-reading an announcement of a client’s proposed takeover of another company and researching that client’s disclosure obligations under the Takeover Code. I stay on task with these for the rest of the afternoon.

5.30pm:  After I have finished my list of work for the day, I head to the monthly corporate department meeting which is chaired by the head of the group, Michael Hatchard. This meeting provides a forum for members of the department to discuss particular challenges that have arisen on their recent deals and how they were successfully tackled, and it’s also a great opportunity for a trainee to meet and interact with the whole department.

6.15pm:  After the meeting has finished I head to a vacation scheme event at a rooftop bar near St Pauls. There’s plenty of vacation scheme events over the summer and they are always well attended by a wide range of Skadden attorneys. The social scene at Skadden is great.

About the firm

Address:40 Bank Street, Canary Wharf, London, E14 5DS

Telephone: 020 7519 7000

Fax:020 7519 7070


Managing partner:  Pranav Trivedi (UK)

Other offices: Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, Los Angeles, Moscow, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto, Vienna, Washington DC, Wilmington. 

Who we are: Skadden is one of the leading law firms in the world with approximately 1,600 lawyers across the globe.

What we do: Our clients include corporate, industrial and financial institutions, and government entities. Lawyers across the European network focus primarily on corporate transactions, including domestic and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, private equity, capital markets, leveraged finance and banking, tax, corporate restructuring, and energy and projects.

What we are looking for: We seek to recruit a small number of high-calibre graduates from any discipline to join our highly successful London office as trainee solicitors. We are looking for candidates who combine intellectual ability with enthusiasm, creativity and a demonstrable ability to rise to a challenge and to work with others towards a common goal.

What you'll do:The firm can offer you the chance to develop your career in a uniquely rewarding and professional environment. You will join a close-knit and diverse team in which you will be given ample opportunity to work on complex matters, almost all with an international aspect, while benefiting from highly personalised training in an informal and friendly environment. The first year of your training contract will be divided into two six-month seats where you will gain experience in corporate transactions and international arbitration and litigation. In the second year of your training contract you will have the opportunity to discuss with us your preferences for your remaining two seats. We also offer our second-year trainees the opportunity to complete a seat in our Hong Kong or New York offices.

Perks: Bonus scheme, gym, membership, subsidy, life assurance, private healthcare, season ticket loan, subsidised restaurant.

Sponsorship:Full fees and £8,000 maintenance.


Facts and figures

Other fee-earners: 119 (London office)

Total trainees: 20 (London office)

Trainee places available for 2021: 10/12


First year: £50,000

Second year: £55,000

Newly qualified: £125,000

 Application process

Apply to:Leanne Mendham.

How: On website.

When to apply:By 31 July 2019.

What's involved:Interview and case study.

 Vacation schemes

Spring:31 March-11 April (apply by 12 January 2019).

Summer:16-27 June, 30 June-11 July, 14-26 July (apply by 12 January 2019). (Vacation schemes paid at £500 per week)