Hogan Lovells US LLP - The Inside View

All you need is Lovells, according to associates at this Anglo-American titan.

HARRY Potter uber-nerds can likely quote from memory Dudley’s tantrum in The Sorcerer's Stone after receiving 36 – not 37 – birthday presents. The marvelous Muggles at Hogan Lovells got their 37th present when they took their office count up to 37 with the relaunching of their Johannesburg practice in November 2019. HL also boasts 15 US bases and earns 20 nationwide Chambers USA rankings covering areas from your typical corporate/M&A, antitrust, and international trade to trademark niches in REITs, privacy, data security, and transportation. Hogan’s HQ is in DCand ranks highly for corporate & private equity, healthcare, and telecom; other offices pick up their own respective accolades.

“...a place where we would be able to do really cool things but also have our weekends.”

A decade on from the merger between DC’s Hogan & Hartson and London-based Lovells, Hogan Lovells continues to hold “a solid footing in the DC legal market as well as globally.” Juniors arrived at the firm looking for “a place where we would be able to do really cool things and brag about them but also have our weekends.” Many of our sources also considered Hogan Lovells a “great place to start our careers and build ourselves up. If the ground is good and watered constantly, it will grow.” Wise words, young grasshopper.

TOP READ: International trade: Five experts from Hogan Lovells tell us about their practice.

The Work

HL’s DC spectacular mothership takes the majority of juniors, with New York coming in close second; newbies can also be found in California, Denver, Northern Virginia, Houston and Philadelphia. The firm’s system for new arrivals has just been rejigged: first years now start in either the generalist corporate, litigation or regulatory pool and can specialize after nine months. As for the firm’s second and third years, more than half had ended up in corporate or litigation with the remainder dividing between IP, privacy & cybersecurity, antitrust, international trade, and white-collar; real estate, transportation, and government contracts are smaller practices at HL.

Historically, the corporate team has split between a ‘green team’ covering real estate, securities and M&A, and a ‘blue team’ of the smaller practices including funds, life sciences, tech and aerospace. The firm’s shift of focus toward industry sector groups means the department has “moved away from those distinctions,” and corporate juniors can now sample a mix of M&A, fund formations, securities, life sciences and REIT (real estate investment trust) matters. “One of the senior attorneys here was an early proponent of the REIT structure so we have many longstanding clients,” an insider revealed. “Hogan doesn’t really have rigid subgroups so you can work with a mix of teams: I could be helping on a private equity fund formation at the same time as M&A and capital markets.”

“HL is an interesting place to cut your teeth as we work on cutting-edge developments.”

Life sciences is a growing practice at Hogan Lovells, especially after an office upgrade in Boston. Sources worked with large pharmaceutical and biotech companies on licensing deals, options and asset purchase agreements covering “protein therapy and other treatment programs. HL is an interesting place to cut your teeth in life sciences as we work on cutting-edge developments like T cells," one junior suggested. In this and other corporate niches, sources noticed their responsibility levels rising over time: “I started out keeping the books and diligence projects, but in my third year I’ve taken the first pass at drafting controlling agreements, purchase agreements, reviewing comments, coordinating specialist review and counsel review.” Small deal teams are part of the formula for associate growth, with one estimating they’d done “80%” of their work with just a partner’s oversight. “I’ve got my hands dirty on pretty much every aspect of the deals I’ve worked on.”

Corporate clients:Dell, General Electric, Ford Motors. Advised Osiris Therapeutics on its $660 million acquisition by British medical technology group Smith & Nephew.

The focus of HL’s litigation practice differs by location; DC is best known for its “strong white-collar investigations group,” whereas the spotlight is on general commercial litigation in New York. That doesn’t mean young litigators are tied to one type of dispute: “There isn’t a rigid case assignment structure,” according to a DCsource. “I can work with white-collar as well as the appellate and civil litigation teams.” There’s even variety within teams – the white-collar squad “covers everything from whistle-blowers and traditional civil summary judgments to government enforcement actions.” The New York practice consists of “mostly federal state court work and there's a very robust, but small in headcount, international arbitration practice. Every single junior in New York, whether they want to or not, will end up working on an international arbitration matter.”

“As a first-year associate, I haven’t worked on a single large team except when focusing on document review,” a Big Apple interviewee told us. “I’ve handled enormous amount of drafting, assisted on mediations and liaised with opposing counsel.” The word from DC was similar: “Once the team gets to know you, they’re more than willing to give you tasks” above your pay grade. “I was just able to write a whole summary judgment by myself!” As for junior necessities, document review “is very much a cross-office affair. InNew York we work closely with Denver, DC, Houston andLos Angeles.”

Litigation clients:Uber, Google, Jaguar Land Rover. Won a denial of class action certification for Hyundai in cases alleging brake defects.

Career Development

The firm has just introduced a Pathways career development program and early reviews were... not good. “Inauthentic, awkward and contrived” were some of the words our interviewees used to describe the new plan. “It seems as if they’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.” Aiming to replace formal reviews with annual and quarterly conversations with an assigned partner to promote a culture of ongoing feedback, interviewees suggested that “it’s turned into associates running around and collecting comments, putting all the responsibility on us. I don’t think you can drive culture from an associate level; you need partner buy-in and even they don’t know how the system works.” The firm let us know that responsibility does not fall exclusively onto associates, and that most partners do actively give feedback. As the program is still relatively new, the firm encourages associates to give feedback and uses their input to improve Pathways.

“There’s a giant directory of every client and contact the firm has ever dealt with.”

More positively, we heard that the firm is open to associates discussing future career plans and “they realize that not everyone will stay here. There’s a giant directory of every client and contact the firm has ever dealt with and a yellow book of Hogan alumni; they work to help you decide which is the best exit route for you.” The DCoffice has a partner dedicated to career counseling: “You can set up a confidential call and bounce any ideas you may have off them.”

Pro Bono

Associates can also bounce their own ideas for pro bono work if they find it themselves. "It’s rare, but if you make a good case for it, it’s doable.” Because not everybody has the initiative (or time) to find their own pro bono cause, each office houses a dedicated pro bono associate. “We do everything under the sun, which is one of the things that pulls individuals to Hogan Lovells,” a junior said. The firm deals with issues like landlord/tenant and affordable housing disputes and collaborates with organizations like KIND and CAIR. “InDC we do a lot to help the homeless in the city. When the temperature goes below freezing the shelters open and we help monitor things,” a litigator there said.

“I think every US Hogan office really tries to give back to the community,” another junior beamed. “My understanding is that we all support our local nonprofits more often than doing international pro bono.” There’s a minimum requirement of 20 pro bono hours for associates but many of them reach 200 – “it’s great experience and you can get a lot more client contact on pro bono deals” if you’re in corporate especially. In DC, first years can dedicate four months solely to pro bono.

Pro bono hours

  • For all US attorneys: 87,544
  • Average per US attorney: 83

Hours & Compensation

Billable hours:2,000 target

Most Hogan offices fill up at 9am; associates head home by 6:30pm on an average day. “Corporate transactional work tends to be stop and go,”leading to some later nights. “It’s pretty unpredictable so you’re expected to be checking your phone,” a source said. “I’ve worked till 3am once or twice but that is definitely an exception.” Litigators can plan ahead with more certainty: “I usually know in advance if I have to work a weekend. Nothing will pop up while I’m at the bar on a Saturday night unless it’s super urgent.” The size of the firm means “it isn’t difficult to get someone to cover you” if you’ve got a hot date to shoot off to.

“Nothing will pop up while I’m at the bar on a Saturday night.”

Each department – and each partner – has a different attitude to agile working for associates. Litigators in New York were “surprised at how little face time is required. The partners are very reasonable.” It was a different story in the corporate department, where “face time is very much valued and being in the office is important.” The firm has just rolled out a new timekeeping policy, requiring associates to log their hours efficiently – “it could affect your bonus if you don’t keep up.” If associates reach 1,850 billables in a compensation year they can then count an unlimited number of pro bono hours as billable. 

Culture, Strategy & Future

“Hogan’s party culture is like a middle-aged dad having fun at a BBQ,” one junior grinned. If attending monthly pub nights (“supposedly a London tradition”) and hanging out with colleagues at an associate happy hour every Friday are the typical antics of a middle-aged man, then count us in. Team New York located to a brand-new office space in April complete with “a bright, airy cafe space and a really cool terrace.” Associates in DC tend to enjoy competitive tournaments at their office ping-pong table, or just “getting together to celebrate everything from the end-of-year billable party to the Kentucky Derby.”

“Super chill – that’s just the HL jam.”

The firm’s cultural temperature is “super chill – that’s just the HL jam. We’re all personable and friendly.” As a gesture of goodwill toward associates in DC, partners compromised on their office spaces “so we could have more windows. I think that shows they really care about us, which is really refreshing.” Reports from New Yorkwere a little different, and one source felt “there’s an obvious divide between partners who were here before the Hogan and Hart merger in 2008, and those who arrived after it. The older partners are fantastic and approachable but those who joined since the merger are a little bit more stereotypical BigLaw and demanding.” Firm-wide management is “pushing for more of a national practice model,” hopefully resulting in a more united front in the future. “They’re trying to reorganize groups in terms of expertise, but the cross-office model is still in the early stages,” according to one junior insider.

Diversity & Inclusion

Our sources felt that HL is “making a concerted effort in the recruitment and retention of diverse talent. We’re also hoping to get Mansfield Rule certification soon.” An ‘Allverse Diversity Conference’ has been a recent boon for the cause: “They invite attorneys from across the world toDC for a two-day conference of diversity and inclusion training and fantastic speakers sharing their experiences. It’s a good example of how the firm put their money where their mouth is.” Not everyone praised the event as strongly: “It’s a great conference, don’t get me wrong, but it happens and then there’s 364 days of basically lip service,” one junior argued. “There’s definitely more that needs to be done.” Hogan Lovells has done more recently to address attorneys’ mental health and an in-house counselor offers free, confidential sessions. “A number of associates and partners went down to Texas to help immigrants following changes to the border process, it was a very intense time.” We heard that “the firm encouraged everyone to meet the counselor afterwards and they all found that service really helpful.”

“It’s a good example of how the firm put their money where their mouth is.”

Get Hired

The first stage: recruitment on and off campus 

OCI applicants interviewed: 1,459

Interviewees outside OCI: 70 

Hogan Lovells interviews at almost 40 law schools across the US, and hiring partner Timothy Lloyd tells us that “most of our summer program hires come from on-campus meetings but we also consider candidates from write-in applications, lawyer referrals and law school resume collections.” Interviewing teams are usually made up of a partner and an associate, and because students have limited work experience, Lloyd tells us: “We look for other evidence of the ability and drive to successfully develop a legal career while practicing at a high level. Our screening interviews focus on the students’ initiative, interpersonal skills, judgment and analysis, and communication skills.” Demonstrating a sincere interest in the firm is also important, and Lloyd notes the firm offers “many outreach activities on law school campuses and hosts rising 2L summer receptions in a lot of our US markets.” Associates agreed: “If we have a reception and you happen to be in town it shows you’re making an effort to meet people and do your own research.” 

Top tips: 

"A little bit of preparation can go a long way. Conveying a clear and specific basis for their interest in the firm can help distinguish a student from the other applicants." – hiring partner Timothy Lloyd 

“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 which are huge in DC, 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: 387 

At the callback stage, students get to meet a combination of partners and associates. Lloyd tells us: “We understand it’s important for students to come away from the interview process feeling they can make meaningful distinctions between firms and decide where they will be happy and successful, so we strive to tailor each applicant’s schedule to the student’s practice and other interests.” The questions at this stage follow a similar theme to OCIs, although Lloyd notes that there’s an added focus on “understanding better how students believe they might contribute to our client-focused teams.” Research is also vital at this point, and Lloyd advises interviewees to “reach out to former HL summer associates from their school.” 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: 

"We want to be sure to address the student’s interests, too, so they need to come to the callback with a good idea of what they are trying to accomplish in the interviews and how they will distinguish among employers." – hiring partner Timothy Lloyd 

Summer program 

Offers: 161

Acceptances: 50 

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.” As well as office-specific training, 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.” Lloyd encourages summers 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: 

"Be proactive; lawyers actually enjoy mentoring summer associates and passing on their knowledge. The firm offers so many opportunities to develop your skills and to give back to our communities – take advantage of all you can." – hiring partner Timothy Lloyd 

And finally…  

Lloyd tells us that “the vast majority of our summer associates return to the firm as associates following graduation from law school or a judicial clerkship." 

Becoming an international trade lawyer

Find out from Hogan Lovells' experts how to carve out a path for yourself in this bustling area.

Hogan Lovells US LLP

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

  • Head Office (US): Washington, DC
  • Number of domestic offices: 14
  • Number of international offices: 36
  • Worldwide revenue: $2.25 billion
  • Partners (US): 374
  • Associates (US): 526
  • Contacts 
  • Main recruitment contact: Irena McGrath, Chief Recruitment Officer - Americas (irena.mcgrath@hoganlovells.com)
  • Hiring partner: Timothy A Lloyd, Esq.
  • Diversity officer: Leslie Richards-Yellen, Director of Inclusion - Americas
  • Recruitment details 
  • Entry-level associates starting in 2020: 68
  • Clerking policy: Yes
  • Summers joining/anticipated 2020: 80 1Ls: 18, 2Ls: 62, SEO: 2
  •  Summers joining/anticipated 2020 split by office: Baltimore: 4, Boston: 3, Denver: 4, Houston: 4 Los Angeles: 6, Miami: 2, Minneapolis: 1, NY: 12, Northern Virginia: 4, Philadelphia: 3, Silicon Valley: 4, Washington: 33
  • Summer salary 2020: 1Ls: $3,650 per week (in most offices)
  • 2Ls: $3,650 per week (in most offices)
  • Split summers offered? Case by Case
  •  Can summers spend time in an overseas office? Case by Case

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; government 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 associatepartner relations and early client contact.

Law Schools attending for OCIs in 2020:
American University, Baltimore, Baylor, Boston College, Boston University, Catholic University, Columbia, Colorado, Cornell, Denver, Duke, Florida, Florida International, Florida State, George Mason, George Washington, Georgetown, Harvard, Howard, Maryland, Miami, Michigan, Minnesota, NYU, Pennsylvania, Stanford, Texas, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, UVA, Vanderbilt, Villanova, William & Mary

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: With guidance from lawyer coordinators and mentors, students do meaningful client work and participate in training programs designed to develop and enhance legal skills. Summer Associates have opportunities to attend closings, depositions, and legislative and administrative hearings and meet with alumni and clients serving in prominent roles in government and business. Five US Summer Associates with strong interest in our transnational practices participate in a two-week program in the London office. All US Summer Associates come together and participate in a conference where firm leaders 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 group team building exercises, US summer associates get to know their colleagues from other offices and make lifelong connections.

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

This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2020

Ranked Departments

    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Intellectual Property (Band 2)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 2)
    • Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 1)
    • Healthcare: Pharmaceutical/Medical Products Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Immigration (Band 4)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 3)
    • Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
    • Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 5)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
    • Healthcare (Band 3)
    • Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
    • Media & Entertainment: Corporate (Band 3)
    • Antitrust (Band 4)
    • Appellate Law (Band 2)
    • Corporate Crime & Investigations (Band 4)
    • Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 1)
    • Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 2)
    • Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) (Band 3)
    • Environment (Band 3)
    • FCPA (Band 5)
    • Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 1)
    • Government Contracts (Band 2)
    • Government Relations (Band 2)
    • Healthcare (Band 2)
    • International Arbitration (Band 3)
    • International Trade: CFIUS Experts (Band 3)
    • International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions (Band 2)
    • International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy (Band 1)
    • Life Sciences (Band 2)
    • Privacy & Data Security (Band 1)
    • Privacy & Data Security: Healthcare Spotlight Table
    • REITs (Band 1)
    • Securities: Regulation (Band 4)
    • Transportation: Aviation: Regulatory (Band 1)
    • Transportation: Road (Automotive) (Band 1)
    • Litigation: General Commercial (Band 2)
    • Corporate/M&A (Band 2)