Big-ticket cases, top clients and a culture of camaraderie prove a winning combination for Hogan Lovells associates across the country.
IT's nearly a decade since Hogan Lovells' inception – the firm was the product of a merger between DC’s Hogan & Hartson and London-based Lovells. It reported a year of revenue growth in 2017 that saw it join the $2 billion club, and in 2018 alone represented big-name clients like Apple, Walmart and IBM – to name just a few.
Chambers USA awards the firm over 20 nationwide rankings for areas including corporate/M&A, antitrust, international trade, privacy & data security, and appellate litigation. The firm wins a lot of recognition in DC– it’s ranked highly for corporate & private equity, healthcare, and white-collar litigation. HL is Chambers ranked in six states in total, including New York, where it gets nods for its corporate and litigation practices, among other areas. The firm's reach and reputation stretch well beyond the US: it's ranked in Chambers' UK, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Global guides, with 25 of its practices ranked at the global-wide level.
“If you’re going to do work of this caliber you should be able to enjoy it.”
DC associates in particular were drawn to the firm’s broad practice offering – "it helps maintain sustainability when the economy isn’t doing so well” – as well as the option to rotate between practices in their first year. On a more personal note, juniors were attracted to the firm’s culture, reasoning that “if you’re going to do work of this caliber you should be able to enjoy it.” Keep reading for more on the firm's culture.
Taken together, the corporate and litigation practices were home to just over half of HL's large cohort of juniors at the time of our research, split fairly evenly between the two. Other teams with a sizable number of juniors were white collar, IP, privacy & cybersecurity, antitrust, and international trade. There were also one or two juniors in teams like real estate and government contracts. DC is home to around half of juniors, and rookies here have the chance to do four-month rotations in different practice areas (including a pro bono option). New York takes another quarter, with the remainder in LA, San Francisco, Denver, Northern Virginia, Houston, Philadelphia and Silicon Valley. Each group in each office has an assigning partner, although “you end up making relationships with partners and associates and getting work through them.”
“I tend to jump in and help out wherever I’m needed."
Corporate juniors can sample M&A, securities, fund formation and life sciences work. "The firm is trying to move its focus to industry sector groups," an associate told us. "It’s putting a lot of emphasis on the fact M&A work for say the aerospace sector is completely different to M&A in real estate, for example.” Movement between subgroups was de rigueur for our sources, with one explaining: “I’ve worked as a securities junior and as an all-purpose associate on an M&A deal.Deals range from small IPOs worth tens of millions to clients that are worth billions.I tend to jump in and help out wherever I’m needed. I’ve worked on corporate governance, SEC disclosures, and filings.” Associates find themselves working with colleagues and clients across the US and beyond. “The firm does a great job of leveraging talent where it’s needed," one junior reported, "especially in cross-border transactions.” On the M&A side, sources described working with Fortune 50 clients on cross-border deals and on private M&A. “I’ve done a lot of due diligence," a second-year reported, "but recently I’ve been drafting purchase agreements and ancillary documents, as well as liaising with specialists within the firm.” Another interviewee told us: “I got into drafting pretty quickly – about six months in I drafted a partnership agreement. Before that I was mostly working on agreements and closing checklists. Now I have more of a management role: taking calls about things like securities filings, blue sky laws [regulations to safeguard investors against securities fraud] and negotiations with investors.”
Corporate clients: Dell, Cisco Systems, and Ford. Advised Greystar Real Estate on its $4.6 billion acquisition of Memphis-based college housing REIT EdR.
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Junior litigators told us they had different focuses depending on their location. New York has a flair for general commercial litigation, while DC is a hub for white-collar work. The latter practice handles “all kinds of government investigations" with lawyers "collecting data, conducting interviews, coordinating discovery and negotiating with clients.” Sources described an international client base, with reports of insiders having worked with the firm's Moscow and Warsaw offices in DC and with Japan and the UK in New York. Some cases are staffed leanly, while others draw in tons of attorneys. “On half of my cases it’s just me and one other associate," a second-year said. "The other half are gigantic cases where the number of associates is in the double digits. In those cases I’m on the bottom rung, but honestly I think that’s appropriate because I'm still finding my way around.” Day to day, juniors find themselves “managing discovery, drafting motions in limine for arbitrations, and sitting in on client meetings.” Instances of cases going to trial are uncommon but not unheard of, with one associate explaining: “When that happens it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation, with two to six weeks of doing 12 to 18-hour days."
"An all-hands-on-deck situation, with two to six weeks of doing 12 to 18 hour days."
Litigation clients: Home Depot, Hyundai, and Bank of America. Represented Uber and its subsidiaries in over two dozen federal class actions, lawsuits and arbitrations stemming from a data security incident in 2016.
HL recently introduced a new Pathways career development program which includes “flash feedback,” consisting of “little ten-minute reviews with the people you work with. It’s designed to be faster so you can incorporate it quicker.” One typical associate felt: “I’ve found every single partner has had my career interests at heart. Sometimes there isn’t time to make that come through, but I’ve never felt that any partner or senior associate didn’t care.” There's formal training too. For example, a junior litigator told us: “Last year I had a week-long intensive training on taking and defending depositions. We have that kind of training in even years and in odd years we have soft skills training.” Another junior praised the firm's mentoring: “I have a partner and associate mentor whose purpose it is to have lunch with me monthly and discuss how I’m doing, who I’d like to work with and areas I’d like to shore up.”
"The firm recognizes not everyone will want to be a partner.”
In addition to providing more feedback, the Pathways program has also “taken steps to provide guidance about whatever career path associates choose. The firm recognizes not everyone will want to be a partner, so if you’re thinking about going in-house, instead of leaving sheepishly the firm will help you out to keep the relationship going.” We note that in 2019 Hogan Lovells has 69 summers, while it made up 30 partners globally, so it's fair to say that a good number of associates will opt to pursue opportunities outside of partnership (either at Hogan Lovells or elsewhere).
“Hogan Lovells is pretty dedicated to the idea that we should all enjoy our jobs,” one associate said. “I’ve never seen anyone get yelled at or elbowed out," another interviewee reported. "At the end of the day this is a BigLaw firm, not an amusement park, but it’s a very friendly place to work.” In DC, we heard: “I laugh with my colleagues every single day. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how much people care about our health and having some work/life balance. I’ve found partners prioritize our wellbeing and push back externally to take care of the team if we’re overworked.”
Associates described the culture in New York as “more buttoned up” compared to DC, explaining that “you’re expected to stay in the office later and wear a suit, whereas in DC it’s business casual.” We heard about monthly bar nights as well as weekly happy hours for associates, and people generally agreed that “the firm goes out of its way to make being here as fun as it can be.” Sources also praised the firm’s response to upward criticism: “You can tell management really pays attention to information passed up from associates.”
Hours & Compensation
The billing target is 2,000 hours. A corporate second-year told us: “I’m not sure about hitting the target, but this is not somewhere where I shudder at the thought of not reaching it.” A litigator reported: “I started off slow and making up for it was brutal. It’s not unusual for me to work until ten at night and sometimes past midnight.” Not everyone had this 'peaks and troughs' experience. A white-collar junior told us: “Because our cases last weeks or months rather than days it’s easier to have a predictable workflow.” Even those with more erratic schedules told us: “It never feels like people are just dumping work on you. If I’m here until 3am there’s usually a partner or senior associate here too, which gives a real sense of camaraderie.”
“It never feels like people are just dumping work on you."
Flexible working is permitted, and each associate is given a laptop so they can work from home. But we did hear: “It’s important to be sensitive to different teams and partners. Some people want face-time and some don’t care. You may find yourself needing to adjust your sleep schedule accordingly!” A corporate associate told us: “I was on a deal with an accelerated timeline and I just didn’t have enough hours in the day. I explained it to the people I was working with and they brought more people on and everyone got to go home and sleep. You have to be honest about where you stand as no one wants you to burn out.”
HL met the 2018 salary hike, and bonuses are allocated on a lockstep basis. Most interviewees had no complaints about compensation, but someone in Denver wasn't so impressed: “We feel especially isolated because we were the only office that didn’t get the recent pay rise.” Since we conducted research the firm has now adjusted the Denver salary to $190,000.
Diversity & Inclusion
All the associates we spoke to agreed that while the firm “has been getting better at recruiting diverse candidates at a junior level” there are still issues when it comes to retention. “There aren’t enough female partners, partners of color, or LGBT people at the higher levels,” one asserted. Diversity initiatives include affinity groups for African Americans, Asian Americans, Latin Americans, women, and LGBT people. There's also a First Generation Professionals affinity group to get involved in. The firm recently hosted a diversity retreat attended by “lawyers from all over the Americas and Europe.” We also heard the women’s affinity group recently held a two-day event which included meetings and discussions on navigating women’s issues, as well as events including “how to approach clients with confidence and a meditation session.”
Associates must dedicate 20 hours minimum to pro bono each year. Once they've logged 1,850 hours of paid work they can use pro bono to get them to their hours target. Each office has a dedicated pro bono associate, and sources across the board praised the firm’s efforts. A junior litigator told us: “We’ve represented clients ranging from individuals to entire states.” Matters might relate to immigration, the death penalty or domestic violence. A corporate junior reported: “I asked for transactional opportunities and was able to advise small mom-and-pop shops on corporate formations, due diligence and research memos.”
"I was able to advise small mom-and-pop shops on corporate formations."
DC first-years can do a four-month rotation devoted entirely to pro bono. “It has been the absolute highlight of my time here,” one source enthused. In 2018 associates spent a week in Dilley, Texas, representing women and children during the family separation crisis at the border. “It was incredible and frustrating and fulfilling in all kinds of ways,” we heard. “I worked 16-hour days in a trailer in the middle of Texas for a week, but I’d go back in a heartbeat.” We also heard of pro bono juniors “working on wrongful conviction cases with minimal oversight from partners. I really appreciated being able to run the show as a younger associate.” Finally, one interviewee told us about cross-office pro bono work: “There are no borders when it comes to getting help from other offices and practice areas. If pro bono work requires travel we will be flying coach, but the firm will fly us to where we’re needed.”
Pro bono hours
- For all attorneys: 96,807
- Average per attorney: 90
Strategy & Future
Associates told us: “The firm is trying to move its focus into industry sector groups. It’s putting a lot of emphasis on the fact that M&A work in the aerospace sector is completely different to that in real estate, for example.” Regional managing partner Eve Howard agrees: "Focusing on industries resonates more with clients, rather than focusing on corporate or litigation, for example. By bringing the best of the firm across areas of law and specialties we can provide a more positive experience for clients and for the lawyers who become experts in those industries." Howard adds that "we’re continually looking to grow our corporate practice in New York – that’s a high priority. At the end of 2017 we expanded into Boston and it’s a litigation-based group now, so our focus is to build that out and grow into the corporate, intellectual property and perhaps the government regulatory space."
The first stage: recruitment on and off campus
OCI applicants interviewed: 1,485
Interviewees outside OCI: 62
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 student’s initiative, interpersonal skills, judgment and analysis, and communication skills.” Background research is highlighted, and Lloyd emphasizes that 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 for this stage:
"A little bit of preparation can go a long way. Demonstrating a clear and specific basis for their interest in the firm can help distinguish a student from the other applicants." – hiring partner Timothy Lloyd.
Applicants invited to second stage interview: 476
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 for this stage:
"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 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 arrange 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 for this stage:
"Be proactive; lawyers actually enjoy mentoring summer associates and passing on their knowledge. Finally, 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."
Interview with regional managing partner Eve Howard
Chambers Associate: How would you describe the firm’s current market position?
Eve Howard: We’ve had a robust year and we’re feeling optimistic going into 2019. We’re particularly strong in our trade practice and our privacy and cybersecurity work, and we’ve also seen an uptick in our capital markets work. Global volatility and some of the current political tensions work in the favor of lawyers and we’re certainly seeing that.
One of the things we’re focusing on in particular is taking a much more client-centric approach to our practice. We’re rolling out a program designed to improve the client experience, and we’re doing that around our continued industry sector focused approach which is something we’re setting the trend in. Focusing on industries resonates more with clients, rather than focusing on corporate or litigation, for example. By bringing the best of the firm across areas of law and specialties we can provide a more positive experience for clients and for the lawyers who become experts in those industries.
CA: Are there any broader trends that are currently shaping the volume or type of work conducted in your firm's practices?
EH: Trade tensions around the world are contributing to the huge demand we’re seeing in our trade practice, not only around China but around Brexit and our strong presence in London where we have a well-known Brexit taskforce.
CA: Which practices/sector focuses/offices have you earmarked for growth over the next year and why?
EH: We’re continually looking to grow our corporate practice in New York – that’s a high priority. At the end of 2017 we expanded into Boston and it’s a litigation-based group now, so our focus is to build that out and grow into the corporate, intellectual property and perhaps the government regulatory space. We think it has a lot of synergy with our strong presence in the life sciences industry and the clients we have there already.
CA: What do you hope the firm will look like in five years' time?
EH: Five years is like an eternity in this industry. Our firm relies on the ability to grow revenues in a market that’s ever more competitive and flat. We do this by leveraging our industry sector expertise and winning work from other firms.
CA: What are your reflections on diversity and inclusion in the legal profession?
EH: In my job and my life I spend a lot of time thinking about diversity and inclusion. I wouldn’t be in my job today had it not been for my ability to structure a work arrangement to fit with different stages of my life, including having children. I 100% attribute my being here today and the position I’m in to the firm’s flexibility. We do well in gender diversity here; we’re a leader in terms of the number of women in leadership positions, and we have a lot of women coming up that will also assume leadership roles. Our focus going forward is not only on maintaining our position on gender but also focusing more on racial, ethnic and LGBT+ diversity. That’s where we have more room for improvement, and where we’ve made a concerted effort to improve. It involves making investments and efforts in the early careers of diverse lawyers and making them understand the value we place on having them here. It goes beyond putting people on pitches. It’s about making sure we’re really walking the walk at all levels. Putting diverse teams forward makes us better at our jobs and better respected by our clients. Not only is it simply the right thing to do but it’s a business imperative too.
Agile working is one of the biggest changes in the way we practice law; it’s completely embedded now whereas it used to be more novel. It’s almost a nonevent, which is exactly where you want it to be because the highest levels partners are working agilely all the time, whether they’re travelling or working from home. People realize that productivity can happen anywhere. Saying that, there is a fine line between agile working and what you lose if everyone works remotely – like collaboration. As a firm, and particularly here in D.C. we have made a point to promote collaboration and really engage with each other when we are in the office, including through centrally located hives and common areas. We try to put up parameters about what doesn’t cross the line and results in the loss of our creative culture.
CA: What are the main challenges that law firms and their lawyers will have to navigate/adapt to in the future?
EH: Well, if you believe what you read in the press we’re long overdue for an economic downturn. It behooves leaders to think now about how we can be stronger and that’s something our leadership is actively talking about. Another challenge is that while in the course of my 30 years there’s been a lot of change, the pace of change has accelerated and will continue to do so. New areas of practice like AI and cybersecurity didn’t exist 20 years ago. It’s just one of the challenges to know where the industry is headed and aligning the strategies to deal with them.
CA: What achievement are you most proud of?
EH: I’m most proud of having been a leader in the area of diversity and inclusion and agile working, as a way of showing to more junior lawyers how you can successfully navigate different demands in your life over a long career.
CA: What's been the most valuable lesson you've learned in your career?
EH: The most valuable lesson I’ve learned is to be agile, and I don’t mean in a reduced working sort of way but in terms of developing skills and becoming an expert. That means being agile about what the industry may bring and seizing opportunities to develop in the market rather than settling into what’s worked in the past. Another is collaborating with great talent – that’s the most powerful tool we have and that’s what I enjoy most about my job; being able to collaborate with the best in the industry. It’s a case where two plus two equals five.
555 Thirteenth Street, NW,,
- Head Office (US): Washington, DC
- Number of domestic offices: 14
- Number of international offices: 36
- Worldwide revenue: $2.119 billion
- Partners (US): 378
- Associates (US): 478
- Main recruitment contact: Irena McGrath, Chief Recruitment Officer - Americas (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Hiring partner: Timothy A Lloyd, Esq.
- Diversity officer: Leslie Richards-Yellen, Director of Inclusion - Americas
- Recruitment details
- Entry-level associates starting in 2019: 73
- Clerking policy: Yes
- Summers joining/anticipated 2019: 100 1Ls: 20, 2Ls: 80, SEO: 2
- Summers joining/anticipated 2019 split by office: Baltimore: 3, Boston: 3, Denver: 6, Houston: 5, Los Angeles: 5, Miami: 4, Minneapolis: 1, NY: 20, Northern Virginia: 3, Philadelphia: 4, San Francisco: 0, Silicon Valley: 3, Washington: 44
- Summer salary 2019: 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.
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 2019:
American University, Baltimore, 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, Northwestern, NYU, Pennsylvania, Stanford, Texas, UC Berkeley, UCLA, USC, UVA, Vanderbilt, Washington & Lee, William & Mary
Summer associate profile:
Hogan Lovells’ summer program is very competitive, and we select our participants each year from among many highly qualified candidates. We seek candidates whose records demonstrate outstanding academic performance, and excellent written and oral communication skills. We also look for other indicators of likely success at Hogan Lovells, such as demonstrated leadership skills, strong motivation, good judgment, the ability to work well with others, and an interest in community involvement.
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 participated in a two-week program in the London office. All US Summer Associates attend a conference in Washington 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 dinners and team building exercises, US Summer Associates get to know their colleagues from other offices and make life long connections.
Recruitment website: www.hoganlovells.com/careers-us
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2019
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 4)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
- Environment (Band 2)
- Intellectual Property (Band 2)
- Litigation: General Commercial Recognised Practitioner
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 2)
District of Columbia
- Antitrust (Band 3)
- Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 1)
- 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)
- Real Estate (Band 3)
- Tax Recognised Practitioner
- Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 2)
- Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 5)
- Healthcare (Band 3)
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring Recognised Practitioner
- Corporate/M&A: Highly Regarded (Band 4)
- Healthcare (Band 3)
- Insurance: Transactional & Regulatory (Band 3)
- Litigation: General Commercial: Highly Regarded (Band 3)
- Media & Entertainment: Corporate (Band 3)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 2)
- Litigation: General Commercial Recognised Practitioner
USA - Nationwide
- Antitrust (Band 4)
- Appellate Law (Band 2)
- Capital Markets: Derivatives Recognised Practitioner
- 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 Recognised Practitioner
- International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions (Band 2)
- International Trade: Trade Remedies & Trade Policy (Band 1)
- Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation Recognised Practitioner
- Leisure & Hospitality (Band 3)
- 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)