DC’s hulking great Hogan may have grown into an international giant, but its attorneys say it's as much about sharing the Lovells.
Most of the young lawyers that flock to DC are looking for government contracts or litigation work – that’s not always the case at Hogan Lovells. “I wanted to do corporate BigLaw in DC,” one noted. “This is the firm that has the largest corporate practice.” It is indeed the highest-ranked homegrown firm for M&A and private equity in the capital according to Chambers USA; Hogan’s also highly regarded for its corporate practice nationwide and picks up additional top rankings in food and beverages, privacy and data security, international trade, REITs and transport.
The hulking Hogan Lovells of 2020 (a top 10 firm in the US by revenue) was born from a 2010 merger between London’s Lovells and DC outfit Hogan & Hartson. Newcomers are most likely to begin work in the HQ, which houses three times more junior associates than any other US office. New York is the next biggest recruiter; the rest of the firm’s juniors are spread across almost all of its network of 15 US bases. More so than its market position, “the people and the culture” were the primary selling points for most. “People weren't bragging about hitting 3,000 hours their first billable year, like at another firm I interviewed with,” one reminisced. “I made the right choice.”
Rather than sitting in any one practice area, summers are encouraged to pick and choose from an all-department assignment board; sources said “if you specify a preference, you will get a mentor, who introduces you to the practice group you’re interested in.” In DC, this laissez-faire approach continues into your first year, where associates simply choose one of the broad streams of generalist corporate, litigation or regulatory. In all other offices, first-years are assigned from the start, although the New York office may be shifting to the DC system soon.Work allocation depends on group and location: corporate sources in DC told us “there are two partners who coordinate staffing on new cases. I’m also getting repeat business from partners who I like working with and who like working with me.” Smaller groups like antitrust were more rigid; one source explained that “everyone checks you’ve got enough work and will assign more when you’re looking for it.”
“…a push for a national-staffing approach.”
Once upon a time the firm’s broad corporate practice was “carved out of REIT work. That was the niche, but it’s since grown and expanded.” Nowadays Hogan is a transactional titan acting for mega clients in the automotive and mobility, aerospace, defense, government services, diversified industrials, real estate and technology industries. The firm recently worked on one whopper of an M&A transaction in 2020, involvingthe $40 billion sale of British-based software and computing company Arm to US multinational NVIDIA. “Capital markets, M&A, private equity, bankruptcy and finance” were all accessible to juniors, but those in DC noted that “REIT is a huge part of everyone’s work. Even if you don’t end up working on it as a senior associate, you will as a junior.” They also grappled with “a lot of government-facing work and, because of our regulatory practice, pharmaceutical transactions.”
Associates were pleased to see “a push for a national-staffing approach,” allowing for more work variety in each office (the litigation group is also potentially looking to do this as well). “Folks in DC aren’t limited to work originated in this office,” for example. In theory, “if there’s a deal that’s come out of Silicon Valley and you have the skills and time, there’s no reason not to be on it.” Sources said they had indeed worked on matters “coming out of several offices” as a result of the new model. Several agreed that “one of the benefits is you get a good balance between tasks that push you ahead of your level, and the admin that only juniors can do in terms of pricing.” One associate summarized their time in corporate so far: “I’ve done a fair bit of drafting and client interfacing. Partners in the group are invested in developing skills and the ability to run things yourself.”
Corporate clients: Facebook, Walmart, eBay. Represented the Special Committee of Carey Watermark Investors in a merger to form a $4.6 billion nontraded REIT.
“The work is very global” for associates in litigation. One boasted about their friends in high places: “On a weekly basis I’m working with people from China, Brussels and Hong Kong.” They and other litigators cut their teeth on “foreign practices work; lots of false claims in healthcare; securities cases; and general commercial litigation, fraud disputes and representing companies in front of the Securities and Exchange Commission.” Even with all this variety, sources said “the team acts as one” and found themselves getting “substantive work” early on. “There are tasks like document review associated with junior associates, but as you gain experience you get more responsibility.” Meatier jobs included helping with DOJ presentations, drafting compliance reviews and interview outlines and “significant client contact” throughout cases.
Litigation clients: YouTube, Airbnb, Ford. Acted for Uber in class action suits brought in California following a 2016 breach of the personal information of millions of riders and drivers.
The firm is “very encouraging and committed to pro bono,” we heard. “You can count 150 hours toward your billable target, as long as you hit 1,850 in paid work,” with the bonus that “you can have unlimited hours after you hit 1,850 in client billables.” The firm sends out “emails and organizes events to help its associates engage with pro bono work.” Hogan Lovells has made a strong push toward “racial and social justice,” leading to opportunities for juniors: “I’ve done some immigration work, but also used my corporate skills to work with nonprofits.” We heard from transactional attorneys who jumped at the chance to “work with social entrepreneurs. On day one I got assigned to work with one on various matters and have since stayed with that client.”
“You can have unlimited hours after you hit 1,850 in client billables.”
“There’s a 25-hour target for pro bono, but you won’t have a partner calling you up to chase you,” insiders confirmed. In DC, one potential stop during the first-year rotation scheme is a pro bono pod, and “and all the hours you do during that rotation count toward your billable target.” Hogan Lovells also encourages its non-lawyer staff to get involved in community services.
Pro bono hours
- For all (US) attorneys: undisclosed
- Average per (US) attorney: undisclosed
Hours & Compensation
Billable hours: 2,000 target
With a commitment to working globally, does that mean associates are up at all hours of the night? “The hours can be variable,” one admitted, “though I think the increased opportunity makes it worthwhile. If I can live and work in once city but work on deals for another, I’m all for that.” Our associate survey pointed to an average of 55 hours working a week, though the variation ran from 40 to 90 hours for the busiest. “The team is cognizant that clients can be in different locales and so there’s a kind of cutoff when it’s considered ‘too late’,” insiders said. “There’s a pretty decent hours balance.” The firm’s new-ish timekeeping policy requires associates to log their hours efficiently to get a bonus.
“Outside of those periods, I’m never afraid I’m going to get an impromptu call over the weekend."
We also heard the firm doesn’t have a “‘we expect an answer immediately!’ culture,” butthat can go out of the window a little during “all-hands-on-deck” situations. “Outside of those periods,” associates were surprisingly chill: “I’m never afraid that I’ll get an impromptu call over the weekend. I went to a bachelorette party and two young associates from other firms took their laptops with them, I’ve never had to do that.” Juniors also enjoyed “unlimited vacation,” which they agreed was easy to take “so long as you don’t have a meeting.” Across our survey the average came to just eight vacation days a year.
“I interviewed with a lot of firms and got a lot of offers,” one of our associate insiders humblebragged. “Every time I was with Hogan Lovells I was having fun and didn’t feel I had to change my personality or sense of humor, and I could speak freely.” Others who “wanted BigLaw and to stick around for the long term” found the firm struck the right balance. “It felt less formal than similar workplaces and I really clicked with that,” according to one. “I wanted a firm with the prestige to fulfill my ambitions but also a decent atmosphere. Some firms have a churn and burn attitude; the people here have a warm, open demeanor.” For a more colorful summary, we heard a story one junior had about their colleague: “They felt comfortable wearing polka dots in the office. It’s not all cold, conservative clothing or attitude.”
“…crack jokes and laugh at themselves. It’s not a holier-than-thou attitude.”
Normal circumstances in the DC office come with 5pm Friday drinks and monthly happy hours; other locations have their own social traditions. Seizing these opportunities to bond with others outside their practice, associates said that even partners “crack jokes and laugh at themselves. It’s not a holier-than-thou attitude.” Top tip: several juniors suggested “there was a big benefit to come into the firm as a summer, so you can get to know everyone.”
Diversity, Inclusion & Career Development
While the vast majority of sources spoke highly of the culture, many felt “the firm has issues” when it comes to diversity. That’s not for lack of effort on its part: “Hogan Lovells wants to be a leader and is pushing toward it,” combining implicit bias training with “diversity town halls where management takes any and all questions.” The firm recently set targets to have 15% of its global partnership made up of minorities and 4% comprised of LGBTQ+ people by 2025 (there’s also a 30% female global partnership target set for 2022).
There were some complaints about “implicit bias in both work allocation and mentorship.” A junior explained: “I’ve had a very positive experience this year, but some partners only seek out diversity when there’s pressure from the client.” Sources added that for those associates, even if they received “good feedback, they don’t get approached for more work. You don’t hear from them until you’re asked to work for a client whose GC is from an ethnic minority themselves.” The headline? Hogan Lovells has done well in terms of “getting diverse attorneys through the door,” but continues to suffer from “retention issues.”
“I want to be at a firm long-term to get partnership or seniority, and it’s easier to make partner here than at other firms.”
That doesn’t mean junior associates didn’t want to commit to their career at Hogan Lovells. “I want to be at a firm long-term to get partnership or a senior position,” one clarified, “and it’s easier to make partner here than at other firms.” Some of our savvy sources noted the near 1:1 ratio of partners to associates, which typically suggests partnership is more achievable than at higher-churn outfits. “At Hogan Lovells, you can make partner in eight to ten years – if you hit your stride, work for it and develop good business with everything falling into place."
To help these ambitious high-flyers earn their wings, the firm offers formal and informal mentorship opportunities among other programs. Juniors recommended expressing "an interest in partnership pretty early to plug into those programs" (although those who take some more time to decide are still able to participate in these programs). One of the most popular options was Hogan Lovells’ Pathways: “You’re assigned to an attorney in your practice group to reflect on the past year, gather feedback from others you’ve worked with and set goals going forward.” The Pathways mentor is then available to help the associate achieve their goals.
Strategy & Future
Like many firms, Hogan Lovells took steps to protect its business during the COVID-19 pandemic, unfortunately cutting 4% of its business services staff in the US and Mexico. Associates were most likely to describe the firm’s strategic and commercial mindset as “risk-averse” and “conservative” but didn’t see this as a bad thing given the current state of the world: “We’re in a more confident spot now than at the start of the global pandemic. Management are now concerned that they might not have enough people, rather than worried about lack of work.” Interviewees noticed an “openness to change in the post-pandemic world” but a continued “focus on being global. I can see us expanding in both developed and emerging markets.”
“Management are now concerned that they might not have enough people, rather than worried about lack of work.”
The first stage: recruitment on and off campus
OCI applicants interviewed (2020): 1,459
Interviewees outside OCI (2020): 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.”
"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 (2020): 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.”
"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
Offers (2020): 161
Acceptances (2020): 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.”
"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
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."
Hogan Lovells US LLP
555 Thirteenth Street, NW,,
- Head Office (US): Washington, DC
- Number of domestic offices: 15
- Number of international offices: 36
- Worldwide revenue: $2.25 billion
- Partners (US): 374
- Associates (US): 526
- Main recruitment contact: Patrice Hayden, Director of Associate Recruitment (email@example.com)
- Hiring partner: Timothy A Lloyd, Esq.
- Diversity officer: Rosevelie Marquez Morales, Diversity & Inclusion Director – Americas
- Recruitment details
- Entry-level associates starting in 2021: 58
- Clerking policy: Yes
- Summers joining/anticipated 2021: 76 1Ls: 13, 2Ls: 63, SEO: 2
- Summers joining/anticipated 2021 split by office: Baltimore: 3, Denver: 4 Houston: 4, Los Angeles: 5, Miami: 2, New York: 7, Northern California: 4, Northern Virginia: 4, Philadelphia: 5, Washington: 38
- Summer salary 2020: 1Ls: $3655 per week (in most offices) 2Ls: $3655 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; global 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 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: 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 deigned to introduce them to our practices, our alumni, 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 group learning pods, 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.
Recruitment website: www.hoganlovells.com/careers-us
This Firm's Rankings in
USA Guide, 2021
- Antitrust (Band 4)
- Bankruptcy/Restructuring (Band 2)
- Corporate/M&A: Deals in Asia (Band 1)
California: San Francisco, Silicon Valley & Surro
- 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 2)
- Real Estate (Band 4)
District of Columbia
- 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)
- Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 3)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
- Tax (Band 5)
- Telecom, Broadcast & Satellite (Band 2)
- Healthcare (Band 3)
- Litigation: General Commercial: The Elite (Band 1)
- Corporate/M&A & Private Equity (Band 5)
- Corporate/M&A (Band 1)
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 1)
- 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)
- Media & Entertainment: Corporate (Band 4)
- Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations (Band 3)
Texas: Houston & Surrounds
- Litigation: General Commercial (Band 5)
USA - Nationwide
- Antitrust (Band 4)
- Appellate Law (Band 2)
- 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)
- FCPA (Band 5)
- Food & Beverages: Regulatory & Litigation (Band 1)
- Government Contracts: The Elite (Band 3)
- Government Relations (Band 2)
- Healthcare: The Elite (Band 2)
- International Arbitration: The Elite (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 3)
- Life Sciences: Regulatory/Compliance (Band 1)
- Privacy & Data Security: Healthcare Spotlight Table
- Privacy & Data Security: The Elite (Band 1)
- Projects: Agency Financing (Band 2)
- REITs (Band 1)
- Retail (Band 4)
- 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 2)