Hogan Lovells - The Inside View

You will Love ll be here if mammoth global practices across litigation, regulatory, and corporate areas appeal. 

As the lovechild of a 2010 merger between two ambitious firms – DC's Hogan & Hartson and London’s Lovells – Hogan Lovells has well and truly established itself as a global heavyweight. Having joint HQs across DC and London was a draw for our internationally-minded sources, as was the firm’s “broad practice, which incorporates so many industries.” The focus for HL is on those globally relevant sectors such as finance, tech, life sciences, transport, and energy. When it comes to practices, HL is widely celebrated for its international trade, international arbitration, government, and privacy and data security know-how (as the firm’s Chambers USA rankings indicate). While the firm’s litigation practices often receive a lot of attention, we should point out that HL’s corporate, finance, and regulatory arms are huge areas for the firm and absorb a lot of its lawyers. Strengths on this side include regulatory work in the energy, telecoms, and food and beverages sectors, as well as transactional might in areas like corporate/M&A, private equity, and tech

Another point to note: pre-merger Lovells was affectionately dubbed ‘Lovely Lovells’ in the UK and for good reason – it was known as one of the nicest broad-stroke international firms to join in the City of London. That reputation is intact today and evident on the US side of the pond, too: “I heard good things about the culture of the place, and that has definitely held up in practice among associates and partners at the firm.” Another source told us that “Hogan has lived up to how it was advertised – it's been a delightful realization!” 

TOP READ - learn about becoming an international trade lawyer with Hogan Lovells

Strategy & Future

Despite the challenges of the last few years, Hogan Lovells is looking to continue to expand where they see opportunities for growth with corporate and finance practices having seen strong progress over the last couple of years. Key areas of strength for the firm, international arbitration, litigation, automotive and sports and entertainment work have performed similarly well, and HL has recently created new positions to help catalyze growth globally in their core industry sectors. New York partner Phoebe A. Wilkinson will take the role of Global Managing Partner for Growth alongside Munich partner, Patrick Ayad. In the US the firm intends to continue its focus on three markets with eyes set on a burgeoning tech sector in California, energy and life sciences in Texas, and New York’s integral financial hub.

The Work   

“They don’t try and put you in a box,” an associate was glad to tell us. “At Hogan, you can do whatever you want as a summer – there are no restrictions on the kinds of assignments you can take on.” Although juniors join a specific practice when they start at the firm, the fluid approach to work allocation within these groups remains. “There are coordinators who oversee everything in your office and practice,” one insider told us, but associates are still expected to take initiative and reach out “if there’s something you’re interested in – for some people that more free-market approach could be a disadvantage, but it lets you shape the work you do and the people you want to work with!” Newcomers are also matched up with a senior associate to help make sure their workloads aren’t overbearing, but as associates approach the mid-level point they’re expected to move toward a more organic process of hopping on matters. 

“...even as a second year there’s plenty of client exposure.” 

While most offices hire associates directly into a practice group, in the DC office corporate juniors “spend the first 18 months in a general pool and can do assignments for everyone." One source commented that the system is ideal because “when you start out you don’t know anything!” Juniors do start with simpler tasks such as helping to complete signature pages, but “even as a first year you get chunkier drafting and advising opportunities – obviously we’re not giving complex legal advice at that point and we are supervised, but I didn’t expect to be doing that!” HL is “pretty leanly staffed in corporate,” which means that “even as a second year there’s plenty of client exposure on matters where you’re just working with one partner.” Within the funds space, sources had been “helping with the entire process, from setting up funds to negotiating with investors to overseeing the dissolution of the fund.” A bonus here was that “there’s a lot of interface and correspondence with the investors and by the mid-level point you’re learning how to manage a client.” 

Corporate clients: Intel, Walmart, Facebook. Advised Oracle on its $28.3 billion acquisition of Cerner. 

"Being integrated on high-level legal work from day one? It was a very pleasant surprise!” 

The litigation practice similarly eases juniors in: “As a first year you’re not settled into an area until around your ninth month.” The DC office was also felt to be the most formal when it comes to work allocation: “There’s a weekly email that goes around, and each week you’re connected to an assignment chart” that gives partners an idea of associates’ capacities. “It’s a large department with a lot of experts across industries,” a source noted, adding that there are strong teams in cyber, automotive and transport, and biosciences and pharma litigation. HL also has a particularly bustling healthcare practice and “a strong regulatory department, which litigation works well with on matters where there’s overlap.” Typical assignments across the board for litigators included preparing discovery, drafting motions, and communicating with clients. This interviewee enthused that “we’re tasked with substantive work almost immediately. Being integrated on high-level legal work from day one? It was a very pleasant surprise!” 

Litigation clients: Airbnb, Google, Johnson & Johnson. Defeated a data breach class action brought against client Bonobos. 

The white collar and investigations team sits within the ligation department, and it’s a place where “practice management are very open to you informing them of the type of work you’re interested in.” Associates can find themselves working with individual clients – like corporate executives – to Fortune 500 companies. “We handle subpoenas with the DoJ and the SEC, as well as internal cases and sometimes whistle-blower matters,” one insider outlined. “A lot of our clients are international firms that are interfacing with the SEC or the government.” Here juniors can find themselves “managing a team of review attorneys; taking and responding to discovery requests; drafting oppositions; and conducting legal research into specific questions. As a third year I’m already supervising and taking opportunities to speak with clients, field questions on certain matters, and help with strategy.” 

White-collar and investigations clients: Blue Bell Creameries, GPB Capital Holdings, Novartis. Represented Blue Bell Creameries during a federal grand jury investigation into the company’s release of ice cream contaminated with listeria and the subsequent product recall. 

Career Development   

The associates we spoke with were positive about both the quality of learning on the job and formal training sessions. “They invest a lot in training, especially at the beginning,” a source noted, highlighting litigation programs that enable you “to get early exposure to prepping and conducting depositions, so when you get those opportunities for real, you’ll feel comfortable taking that next step.” Litigation sessions were said to be targeted to year groups, “so as a first year you’ll do witness interviews, as a second year you’ll do depositions, and by the time you’re a third year you’ll be focusing on managing teams and providing mentorship.” On the whole, “they’ve really incentivized associates to engage with the training and take the time to prepare for what will be asked of them. There’s on-demand training sessions you can do, as well as an integration program to take advantage of. First years can also get billable credit for training.” 

“...writing experience, appearing in court, and hitting those targets are the things that really matter.” 

Associates are also prepped for their annual reviews and how they should run via the firm’s HL Dialogue program, a system for getting feedback from partners. Formal feedback is also “supplemented by daily feedback and conversations with supervising attorneys,” which sources found to be invaluable. Insiders were also positive about opportunities for promotion as “the firm makes it clear that if you’re gunning for the partnership there’s programming in place for seniors who are interested. Generally, I’d say that writing experience, appearing in court, and hitting those targets are the things that really matter.” 


“Hogan prides itself on being a firm full of really nice and smart people,” one junior beamed as others highlighted the lack of rigid hierarchy between partners and associates: “We had a BBQ at a partner’s house over summer!” Overall, HL “does a good job at making sure there are opportunities to socialize at work,” with interviewees highlighting weekly events that are informal and hosted without any pressure for people to attend. Plus, “these things are funded by the firm, so it gives people an excuse to come together!”  

“...my fellow associates are always looking at how we can maintain the vibe!” 

Sources felt that the firm’s culture came down to the partners: “In my office, they’ve been really intentional about recruiting people who would add to the culture, and they’ve built a really solid group of people.” This junior expanded on this theme and told us that “we’re looking for people who are pleasant to be around. Even when the work is demanding, people remain pleasant here.” Associates were impressed that “this culture still persists despite Hogan being such a massive firm – people are motivated to carry that culture forward and my fellow associates are always looking at how we can maintain the vibe!” One insider commented that “Hogan is invested not just in the development of good attorneys, but good people. This is a firm where you know the milestones in your colleagues' lives and the names of their children.” 

Hours & Compensation  

Billable hours: 2,000 target  

“I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” one junior declared when discussing how realistic HL’s billable target is. Another added: “The billable target is definitely achievable!” There are some exceptions of course, particularly as “Hogan has a lot of specialty areas in niche markets – their work can be a little more dependent on what’s going on with regulatory action at the time.” If anyone is struggling for work, we heard that help is very much on hand: “If you’re looking to hit your target, people will give you opportunities for you to do so!” Alongside standard billable work, associates can also count up to 50 hours of DE&I activities and 150 hours of pro bono towards their 2,000-hour target. 

“...how you manage your workflow is up to you.” 

Associates also told us that “people are appreciative” when juniors work outside of typical hours, and weekend work isn’t expected unless absolutely necessary. However, while “Hogan is a really nice place to work it’s still a BigLaw firm – it requires a lot of work, but they make it as pleasant as possible.” Ultimately, “the road to 2,000 hours is 2,000 hours wherever you go!” a source wisely concluded. While hours can be intense sometimes, our sources were grateful that HL does “a great job of allowing attorneys to get on and adopt the work style that works best for them – how you manage your workflow is up to you.”  

Pro Bono   

HL’s lawyers are expected to dedicate at least twenty-five hours towards pro bono and community investment, which means “every associate I know has some sort of pro bono matter they’re involved in.” We heard that there are “many immigration and humanitarian matters,” alongside class actions, AMICUS briefs, research for non-profits, and corporate pro bono opportunities such as clinics for small businesses: “It’s very easy to get to 150 hours!”  

"When it gets to the Supreme Court it’s pretty much all billable!” 

We were also told that associates can sometimes find themselves on major briefs that are being prepared for the US Supreme Court: “My colleague spent something in the realm of 600 hours on the matter.” For high-profile cases like that, “you can get put on fellowship status if the matter is significant and exceeds 100 hours, so when it gets to the Supreme Court it’s pretty much all billable!” In DC, “we have a dedicated pro bono partner and one or two associates who are very enthusiastic about the work!” These committed pro bono associates “get full billable credit for pro bono – it’s a rotational program for juniors, and alongside that we have some full-time pro bono associates.”

Pro bono hours  

  • For all (US) attorneys: 99,949   
  • Average per (US) attorney: 109   

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion   

Associates we spoke with felt “Hogan is trying its best” when it comes to its DE&I efforts, with “town halls, meetings, and mentorship programs” aimed at “fostering and maintaining relationships” across the firm. HL has a full-time DE&I director and a committee that organizes speaker events among other activities to shore up and promote diversity. Juniors were particularly positive about the firm’s recruitment and promotion of women to partner level, but also highlighted HL’s Americas Diversity Committee’s Sponsorship Program, which provides under-represented lawyers with a senior associate, counsel, or partner sponsor to boost their career prospects. “From what I’ve seen, they’re putting in the effort,” a source told us, pointing to the firm’s abundance of affinity groups (there are 11 in total) and the annualAllverse Conference, which enables the firm’s diverse lawyers and clients to network.

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

OCI applicants interviewed: 542

Interviewees outside OCI: undisclosed

Hogan Lovells interviews students who attend law schools across the US. Summer program hires come from a mix of on-campus meetings, relationship building through proactive outreach programs and networking, write-in applications, lawyer referrals and law school resume collections. The firm’s assessment of a candidate’s application focuses on initiative, interpersonal skills, judgment and analysis, communication skills, and an interest in community involvement. Demonstrating a sincere interest in the firm, the office of interest, and the practice of law is also important. Not all offices interview during formal on-campus programs and students are encouraged to apply directly starting early in the summer.

Top tips: 

“If you’re interested in a specific practice, be able to articulate it well. Since corporate is more general, that’s fine, but with practices such as privacy or regulatory, make sure you’re able to give a good reason as to why you’re interested.” – a third-year associate 


Applicants invited to second stage interview: 263

At the callback stage, students meet a combination of partners and associates. Prospective candidates should expect to meet a diverse group of lawyers representing a variety of practices. The questions at this stage build on the theme in the screening stage, with an added focus on understanding better how students believe they might contribute to the firm’s client-focused teams. All applicants at this stage are asked to take an assessment which measures traits and professional competencies. The assessment is an additional data point used in the consideration of applicants. Candidates who complete the assessment are provided a report highlighting their strengths and development priorities, which include coaching topics on how to approach these areas with a growth mindset and an exercise for setting actionable steps for their professional development.  From an associate perspective, sources agreed that “Hogan really values team players. We don’t want people who are going to throw others under the bus or be pretentious. All firms say they pride themselves on collegiality, but Hogan really does walk the walk.” 

Top tips: 

Summer program 

Offers (2023): 144

Acceptances (2023): 81

Summer associates are encouraged “to undertake projects that allow them to explore their professional interests, including at least one pro bono project, and provide them with opportunities to make oral presentations and prepare substantive written product.” In addition to practice specific, legal, and professional skills training programs, there’s a summer associate conference that lasts for three days and involves “meetings with firm leaders and interactive programming that gives a good understanding of the firm’s culture, vision, values and strategies for future success.” Summers are encouraged to be open to a range of assignments, explaining: “You never know when an assignment will spark a new interest or put you on a path that’s unexpected.” Associate sources also encouraged summers to “use your peer network. Most of my work has come from contacts I’ve met informally. People look out for each other here and there are a lot of support networks available.” 

Top tips: 

And finally…  

The vast majority of our summer associates return to the firm as associates following graduation from law school or a judicial clerkship. 


Hogan Lovells

Columbia Square,,
555 Thirteenth Street, NW,,
Washington, DC,
Website www.hoganlovells.com

Main areas of work
Working at the intersection of law, business and government, across a wide range of industries, Hogan Lovells US LLP’s global practices include corporate; finance; global regulatory; intellectual property, media and technology; litigation, arbitration and employment; and pro bono.

Firm profile
By joining Hogan Lovells, you will become part of a legal practice with a long tradition of excellence that is keenly focused on the future. Working as an integrated team, our lawyers help clients address complex legal issues across a broad spectrum of industries. Our unique global platform, collaborative culture and commitment to your professional development provide an exceptional foundation on which to build a legal career. Hogan Lovells’ pioneering US Pro Bono practice began more than 40 years ago when we were the first law firm to establish a separate practice exclusively providing pro bono legal services. Our culture of inclusion, which respects and values the diversity of all of our people, enhances the quality of Hogan Lovells’ workplace and our ability to provide excellent legal services for clients. We prize our friendly, team oriented environment, which encourages professional development, good associate-partner relations and early client contact.

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2023:
Baylor Law School, Boston College Law School, Boston University School of Law, Brooklyn Law School, Cardozo School of Law, Catholic University School of Law, Columbia Law School, Duke University School of Law, Emory University School of Law, Florida International University College of Law, Florida State University College of Law, Fordham University School of Law, George Washington University Law School, Georgetown University Law Center, Harvard Law School, Howard University School of Law, New York University School of Law, Northeastern University School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law, Stanford Law School, UCLA School of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, University of Colorado School of Law, University of Denver College of Law, University of Florida College of Law, University of Miami School of Law, University of Michigan Law School, University of Pennsylvania Law School, University of Southern California School of Law, University of Texas School of Law, University of Virginia School of Law, Vanderbilt University Law School

Summer associate profile: Hogan Lovells selects our participants each year from among many highly qualified candidates. We seek candidates whose records demonstrate excellent written and oral communication skills and strong academic performance. We value students from diverse backgrounds who have demonstrated a drive for excellence, a passion for community involvement and compassion for others. We seek candidates who can raise the game of the whole team and look beyond themselves in seeking the best outcome for our clients.

Summer associate components: The Hogan Lovells US Summer Associate program provides students an opportunity to experience and learn about all aspects of the firm. With guidance from lawyers, summer associates complete meaningful client and pro bono assignments. All US Summer Associates participate in an array of training programs designed to introduce them to our practices, our alumni, our clients, and develop and enhance legal and other professional skills. Firm leaders meet with summer associates to share insights about Hogan Lovells’ pre-eminent practices and strategic plans for the future, our vision and values, and commitment to diversity and inclusion. Through integration events and interactive learning opportunities, summer associates engage in a peer learning environment that encourages the sharing of knowledge, experiences, and insights, while getting to know their colleagues from other offices and making lifelong connections.

Social media:
Recruitment website: www.hoganlovells.com/careers-us
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/hoganlovells
Twitter: @HoganLovells
Instagram: @hoganlovellscareers.us

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2023

Ranked Departments

    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A: Deals in Asia (Band 1)
    • Technology: Transactions (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Energy & Natural Resources (Band 2)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 4)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Intellectual Property: Trademark, Copyright & Trade Secrets (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Tax (Band 4)
    • Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: The Elite (Band 6)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 5)
    • Healthcare (Band 4)
    • Labor & Employment: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 4)
    • Appellate Law (Band 1)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Highly Regarded (Band 2)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations: The Elite (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: The Elite (Band 5)
    • Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 2)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • False Claims Act (Band 3)
    • FCPA (Band 5)
    • Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 1)
    • Government Contracts: The Elite (Band 3)
    • Government Relations: Congressional Investigations (Band 1)
    • Government Relations: Federal (Band 2)
    • Healthcare: The Elite (Band 2)
    • International Arbitration: The Elite (Band 4)
    • International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 3)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions: The Elite (Band 2)
    • International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy (Band 1)
    • Investment Funds: Investor Representation (Band 2)
    • Life Sciences (Band 3)
    • Life Sciences: Regulatory/Compliance (Band 1)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Privacy & Data Security: The Elite (Band 1)
    • Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 4)
    • Projects: Agency Financing (Band 2)
    • REITs (Band 1)
    • Retail (Band 3)
    • Securities: Regulation: Advisory (Band 1)
    • Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Transportation: Rail (for Railroads) (Band 3)
    • Transportation: Road (Automotive) (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)

More from Hogan Lovells: