Form career-bolstering links sooner rather than later at this globally connected firm with roots in London.
Given that it bridges the gaps between global markets and offers its associates plenty of cross-border work, it's quite fitting that this firm is affectionately dubbed ‘Links.’ Our associate sources were quick to tell us about their firm’s “true multinational presence” and “large global affairs,”with one proudly declaring: “I haven’t worked on a single matter without an international aspect. Either the client is based overseas or we’re working with our other global offices. This is our advantage over other bigger New York firms.”
“I haven’t worked on a single matter without an international aspect.”
Links may not be as big in the US as its larger competitors – the firm has two bases, one in New York and one in DC, and 141 US lawyersoverall – but its global network of offices rivals some of the mightiest behemoths in Manhattan. It has a total of 29 offices across pretty much every continent, so Links is well-placed to advise on some of the juiciest global matters out there. Chambers Globalrates Links as one of the best firms in the world when it comes to banking and finance, capital markets, corporate/M&A, and projects and energy work (among many other highly ranked areas, including dispute resolution). Links also has a whopping 50 (plus) rankings in Chambers UK, reflecting its strength on its home turf: the firm traces its roots back to London in 1838 and is part of the UK’s prestigious ‘magic circle’ set of law firms.
In the US, it’s Links’ bankruptcy and restructuring expertise that really stands out in Chambers USA, but the firm's antitrust and derivatives Stateside practices also come in for praise. Incoming associates do have a range of practices to potentially join, with options including corporate, investment funds, capital markets, dispute resolution,t ax, and energy and infrastructure. What’s more, sources especially enjoyed the fact that they could work on jurisdiction-hopping matters within a “tight-knit environment”where “it’s possible to know everyone in the US offices.”The vast majority of the associates on our list were based in New York, with just a couple plying their trade in DC.
Strategy & Future
“We’re looking to grow substantially in the US,” says Thomas McGrath, Links’ US global practice head. Transactional areas – like M&A and private equity – are key growth targets according to McGrath, who adds: “We have excellent practices in our US offices and are looking to bring them to scale across the board and identify sectors that are likely to grow, such as tech, healthcare and renewable energy.”Recent partners hires have helped Links to bolster its government investigations and cybersecurity practices. “We recently launched our US data, cyber and privacy group and it could not have been more timely. This is an area that is seeing a massive expansion in legislative and enforcement activity.”
With an eye on the role of tech in the future, McGrath tells us that “being agile is essential to our business and our agile working policy has allowed us to change the way we work to meet the needs of our people and our clients. We believe that helping our associates manage their careers alongside their life goals, makes them happier, healthier, more motivated and productive."
“You have to take the initiative and speak to the right people.”
Associate-partner relationships are a crucial link in the chain of juniors’ careers, and our sources gave them a thumbs up: “Partners are keen to partake in juniors’ professional career development. We’re not just viewed as another junior body.” Phew. This interviewee added that partners and senior associates are “invested in making sure you know the skills and are progressing as you should be.” Proactivity is key, however, with one junior highlighting that “you have to take the initiative and speak to the right people.”One drawback of working remotely was that more informal feedback was harder to come by: “It’s harder when you can’t just knock on someone’s door to ask a question.”
Alongside formal training programs, juniors mentioned that client secondments and opportunities to attend external conferences were on the menu to boost career development. A mentorship program pairs each associate up with a partner, who generally meets with their mentee once a quarter: “We would talk about my assignments and the kind of work I wanted to do,” one source recalled. “There’s been more lateral movement lately,” a junior noted, while others expressed mixed views on the chances of making partner at Links. “It’s not an impossible prospect,”said one dispute resolution interviewee, “people are promoted internally to counsel and then partner. Our group has been expanding rapidly.”
A summer pool, a refreshing breeze... yes, we’re talking about the ideal summer associate program in suitably air-conditioned offices. At Links, summer associates get to dive into the firm’s pool system where they have the chance to make a splash. The pool system spills over into the first six months of associates’ first year, which allows them extra time to test the waters before committing to a practice area. However, “people quickly match up with partners and mentors in certain practices,” we heard. At the end of the pool system, associates rank their practice preferences. Links’ dispute resolution group, and groups that fell under the 'finance' umbrella, took on the most juniors on our list, followed by areas such as corporate and antitrust.
“I took the first crack at fund organization documents.”
Structured finance & derivatives, capital markets, restructuring & insolvency, energy & infrastructure, financial regulation, and banking are just a few of the subgroups that fall under thefinanceumbrella. Juniors we spoke with described working on matters relating to regulatory issues, as well as developments in fintech and blockchain. A source found themselves advising clients on US derivatives laws and foreign exchange swaps, and told us they had “direct communication with partners and clients.” Over in the investment funds group, there are a range of funds to work with, including real estate and venture capital entities. “I quickly gained more responsibility,” said one junior. “I took the first crack at fund organization documents and got substantive drafting experience.”
Investment Funds clients:Oasis Management Company and Morgens, Waterfall, Vintiadis & Co.
Juniors in corporate told us that they’d worked on a mix of private M&A deals, corporate governance matters and even a bit of capital markets-related work. “Corporate gets very busy,” a source informed us, “and you can get staffed on long-term deals.”One interviewee “enjoyed reading the contracts in a deal and getting to know the business involved, as opposed to dealing with just the finance aspects.”Drafting due diligence reports and memos, conducting research, tracking down precedents and taking notes on calls were all on the agenda for associates here. Those in taxwere able to assist on deals taking place in various departments, whether they were “helping to structure a merger to ensure that the right tax provisions are negotiated and drafted,”or sharing their knowledge on equity offerings and sponsor-side funds work.
Corporate clients: Mayflower Wind Energy, Curetis, ENGIE. Advised Qatar Investment Authority on its portfolio company’s $750 million acquisition of corporate travel management business, Egencia.
In dispute resolution, juniors are staffed on general commercial litigation and arbitration matters. We heard that the New York office is the place to go for cross-border commercial disputes, while DC had more white-collar and government investigations work. One source “quickly became an expert in a specific sector due to repeat work. Partners now ask for my opinion on strategies.”Some of the work can be advisory in nature, which gave sources the chance to put together tables outlining US cybersecurity regulations for clients. Elsewhere, associates had helped to produce discovery applications and drafted briefs.
Dispute resolution clients:Metro Bank, Société Générale, TDK Electronics. Currently defending Strides Pharma and its related entities in one of the largest product liability cases recorded, which has over 100,000 claimants and 40 defendants in total.
Hours & Compensation
Billable hours: no requirement
Links associates are not shackled to a billable hour requirement; if you’re working as hard as most of your colleagues, then you’ll be in good standing and eligible for bonuses. An associate explained that a mix of billable, pro bono, and business development hours are all factored in when calculating bonus eligibility.
“The pressure can be high."
At the time of our calls, Links’ corporate department was particularly busy, with one source citing regular weekend and evening work given “the current market situation.” This wasn’t the case everywhere though, with an interviewee in dispute resolution flagging that they “don’t typically work on a weekend – only when I’m on a new matter or one that has become busy.”The main point to be aware of is that “the pressure can be high” across the board, but thankfully our interviewees generally felt that vacations were widely respected: “A person on vacation doesn’t get contacted!”
Links’ agile working policy requests that associates come into the office between 50% and 80% of the time, although office-based working was not a requirement at the time of our calls due to the pandemic.
Pro bono rules? Keep it 100 (but also do more!). Yes, Links associates are required to complete a minimum of 100 pro bono and non-legal volunteering hours each year, which can all be counted towards their overall billables. If associates don’t hit this target “it can impact your bonus at the end of the year, but if you’ve been too busy people do take that into consideration.”There’s also no cap on the number of pro bono hours that associates can do.
“It’s awesome to be able to help those truly in need.”
There are a range of pro bono opportunities available for juniors, varying in scale and location. Finance associates described working on smaller matters with non-profits in New York, but also larger cases involving international clients and human rights laws. Over in dispute resolution, associates worked on asylum cases, death penalty matters, and veterans' issues with the NVLSP (National Veterans Legal Services Program): “It’s awesome to be able to help those truly in need,”one humbled associate summed up.
Pro bono hours
- For all US offices: 10,550
- Average per US attorney: 73
Most of the associates we spoke to had international backgrounds or interests; many had traveled or could speak multiple languages, which came in handy for the international aspects of the work. This source summed up the general feeling and motivation among our associate interviewees: “I liked the fact that it was a British, international firm – I'd love to work abroad one day!”
“I have a voice and my opinions are taken into consideration.”
Juniors agreed that the firm's culture meant “people were more understanding of vacation and sick days. At other firms, there may be a certain pressure to work through these things.”Although the pandemic may have hindered in-person activities, our interviewees were determined to preserve their links. Associates sang their praises for virtual karaoke nights which, by the sounds of it, are now quite a tradition. Now that folks are returning to the office, there was also the chance for regular evening drinks or office lunches. This junior noted that their voice was heard elsewhere too: “Absolutely I have a voice and my opinions are taken into consideration. There are informal and formal polls, associate forums, associate representatives... our voices are heard.”
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
As part of the firm's 'Race Action Plan', Linklaters’ US offices set a target to achieve (in 2021) 50% minority ethnic representation in its first-year associate class, with 10% of that total representing black candidates. McGrath tells us that the firm exceeded that target in 2021 and in 2022. Our associate sources confirmed that the Race Action Plan had been “a big focus of attention”at the firm, with one interviewee telling us that “the US head reached out to chat about training for minority lawyers and we were able to give feedback on how to improve it. The firm did a great job recruiting the new summer class.”
On the partnership side, Linklaters announced a target to have 15% black and minority ethnic partners across its US and UK locations by 2025, and five times as many black partners globally by 2027.
The first stage: recruitment on and off campus
OCI applicants interviewed: 394
Interviewees outside OCI: undisclosed
Linklaters USA conducts OCI interviews at Brooklyn, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, University of Michigan, NYU, University of Pennsylvania, St John’s, and UVA. It also does resume collections at American, Cardozo, Fordham, and Stanford, and participates in the MABLSA Job Fair, and NEBLSA Job Fair. Partners, counsels and senior associates usually conduct the interviews. At each school, interviewers see approximately 20 to 70 students.
Hiring partner Doug Tween tells us: “During our initial interviews we try to focus on the following core competencies: motivation and commitment to excellence, organizational and commercial awareness, intellect and analytical ability, working with others, and communication skills. The best interviews are with candidates who can explain how they satisfy those competencies with specific experiences.” Overall, Linklaters is looking for “intelligent, curious, energetic, team-oriented people who will help us succeed going forward.”
Top tips for this stage:
“This can vary from student to student, but in general we are looking for well-rounded individuals with a combination of strong academics, relevant work experience, leadership positions, and examples of working effectively as part of a team. Language skills are a plus.” – Doug Tween, hiring partner
“Be familiar with the firm and what we do. Look at the website, research social media, speak with students who have summered with us in the past. Come to our recruiting events and talk to people. Listen and be prepared with questions that demonstrate you’ve done your homework. Come in with energy and enthusiasm.” – Tween
Applicants invited to second stage interview: undisclosed
Callback interviews include five separate meetings. Students meet with one member of HR or recruitment, two partners/counsel, and two associates, each for half an hour. Interviewers here ask behavioral questions that home in on particular competency areas. Tween tells us “at this stage of the interviews, we are interested in delving deeper into the candidates’ past experiences and behaviors to help us get a better sense of what motivates them, how they work with others, and how they have handled challenges in the past.”
Top tips for this stage:
“At this stage of the interview process, you should be able to clearly identify why you are interested in the firm. Doing some research on the firm and your interviewers will enable you to make connections with the people you meet and convince them of your interest.” – Tween
“Be ready to talk about your resume, but also about current events. And perhaps most importantly: be prepared with your own, thoughtful questions.” – Tween
Our summer associates are part of a pool and typically work with several practice groups throughout the summer. They may also have an opportunity to spend the summer in one of our overseas offices or spend time in more than one office. As well as helping on billable matters, summer associates are expected to work on pro bono assignments. They also attend training sessions throughout the summer to prepare them for practice and introduce them to the firm. Summer associates typically share offices with associates, and each summer associate is assigned a partner/counsel mentor and an associate mentor. Summer associates have informal catch-ups with their mentors over the course of the summer, and they also receive two formal appraisals during the program, one at the midpoint and one at the end of the summer.
Linklaters hosts many social events for summer associates, the most notable being the midsummer retreat to London. “The retreat brings the entire global summer associate class together in London for several days to see the office and learn more about the firm and how we work together to serve our clients,” Tween explains. “The retreat is also an opportunity for the summers to meet our London-based attorneys and get to know their summer associate classmates who are working in different offices. And of course, they also get to do some sight-seeing as a class and experience London.”
Back home in the US, associates informed us of social events ranging from “an axe throwing class and a museum hack tour to exploring nice restaurants.”
The firm tells us nearly all summers return as junior associates. In the New York and Washington offices, juniors are placed in a general pool during their first six months at the firm. At the end of that period they express their preferences and are then placed into specific practice areas.
Top tips for this stage:
“The best way summer associates can impress and make the most of their summer experience with us is by being proactive and engaged; demonstrating that they are excited to learn and be a part of the team; and focusing on contributing and doing their best.” – Tween
“Take the opportunity to meet and work with as many people as possible and explore a variety of work.” – Tween
Tween tells us: “Know what distinguishes Linklaters from other top-tier law firms, and be able to explain why Linklaters is the firm for you.”
1290 Avenue of the Americas ,
- Number of domestic offices: 2
- Number of international offices: 29
- Worldwide revenue: £1.67bn
- Partners (US): 58
- Associates (US): 165
- Main recruitment contact: Jennifer Katz-Hickman
- Hiring partners: Penelope Jensen, Antonia Sherman and Douglas Tween
- Recruitment details
- Entry-level associates starting in 2022 (US Practice): 20
- Clerking policy: Yes
- Summers joining/anticipated 2022: 22 (1Ls: 2, 2Ls: 20)
- Summer salary 2022: 1Ls: $ 3,900/week 2Ls: $ 3,900/week
- Split summers offered? No
- Can summers spend time in an overseas office? Yes
Main areas of work
Antitrust/competition, banking, bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency, capital markets, corporate/M&A, data solutions, cybersecurity and privacy, dispute resolution, energy and infrastructure/project finance, executive compensation and ERISA, financial regulation, investigations and white collar crime, investment funds, structured finance and derivatives, tax
Linklaters has been advising the world’s premier companies, financial institutions and governments on their most important and challenging assignments for over 175 years.
With more than 2,800 attorneys based in 31 offices in 21 countries, we deliver an outstanding service to our clients anywhere in the world. Our US practice in New York and Washington, DC, is reinforced by a global network of US lawyers extending across the world’s major business and financial centers, including: Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, São Paulo, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.
Our team of US-qualified lawyers delivers integrated advice across multiple legal regimes and market practices, covering transactional, regulatory, disclosure, compliance, litigation and liability management issues globally.
American, Brooklyn, Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Emory, Fordham, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Michigan, NYU, Penn, St John's, UVA
Recruitment outside OCIs:
Judicial clerks and student applicants from schools where we do not interview on campus are encouraged to apply via our application portal on our website: https://careers.linklaters.com
Summer associate profile:
We look for people who can make the most of all we have to offer: those who will work hard, learn quickly and take responsibility early. You will need analytical intelligence, a high level of attention to detail, creativity, and the people skills required to work well with colleagues and clients. It is also important to have a genuine interest in business and the financial world, a high level of commercial awareness, and the desire to be part of a global network.
Summer program components:
Our summer associates typically gain experience in a variety of practice areas and may have the opportunity to spend time in more than one office. Summers are given real responsibility and are expected to participate in pro bono work in addition to working on billable matters.
In addition to our dedicated summer associate training program, we also encourage our summers to attend training sessions offered to associates. Each summer associate is assigned a partner and associate mentor and receives two formal appraisals, at the midpoint and end of the summer.
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2022
- Antitrust (Band 4)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
USA - Nationwide
- Antitrust: Cartel (Band 3)
- Derivatives (Band 3)
- Privacy & Data Security: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
- Private Equity: Fund Formation (Band 4)
“I was a finance lawyer for many years and loved it, yet I’d never taken a secured transactions course in law school. And if you would have told me years ago that one day I’d self-identify as a technology lawyer, I never would have believed you.”