How to get a Hogan Lovells training contract
People considering applying to Hogan Lovells will probably have an interest in one, if not all, of the following: a firm with a broad range of practice areas and plenty of specialisations; a top global practice with overseas and client secondments; an environment that combines high-quality work with an approachable attitude.
Get vac to where you belong
About 50% of trainees complete a vac scheme with the firm before joining. Hogan Lovells hosts two every summer – each is three weeks long and takes up to 25 participants. The firm also runs a two-week scheme during the winter for final-year non-law students as well as a week-long programme during the spring for first-year law students. Students get to experience a week in three of the five different divisions – corporate, finance, IP, government regulatory and litigation, arbitration and employment) – and attend socials like an evening with mentors, a drinks reception and a final dinner.
There are also a number of workshops on business-related topics, library and IT research training and presentations from both partners and trainees. “The people that stand out are the ones who go out of their way to understand the work and meet people,” recruiters told us.
Finding your form
All the advice you'll need on filling out the application form is on Hogan Lovells' graduate careers website, so you've no excuse for silly mistakes like spelling the firm’s name wrong.
When it comes to the interview, prepare yourself for discussions on a number of subjects. Commercial awareness is key, so make sure you’ve done a good amount of research into the type of work the firm does on the regular and who makes up its client base.
Those invited to the assessment day will have to take a critical thinking test. Check out the practice version on the firm’s website. The day’s various activities also include a group exercise and an interview with two partners. “The interview itself was not stuffy,” reported one trainee, while another said that “the firm was quite interested in all the other things I’d done outside academia.” The less strenuous aspects of the day include a lunch with current trainees and a guided tour of the office.
Up to 60 trainees are recruited each year, whittle down from around 1,500 applicants. The firm typically has bags of Oxbridge grads on its vac and training schemes, so beware the competition. Recruiters stressed that they seek to recruit from a broad range of universities and invest "significant time and resources in doing so."
The firm attended law fairs at more than 20 universities in the autumn of 2012, and that year's trainee intake included graduates from 14 universities. The firm also conducts around 140 on-campus events at universities around the country each year.
Brainy folk with good grades
You will need to show a consistently strong performance at university leading to a minimum of a 2:1 degree. Come with a First and you’ll earn yourself an award from the firm.
The mature approach
In conjunction with Birkbeck College School of Law, HL has developed a bespoke event that gives mature students access to the firm to find out more about a career in law. The programme is also supported by a financial prize provided by the firm, which is awarded to a student who has shown exceptional academic ability. An open day is organised each year at the beginning of June.
More on the old Hogan & Hartson
When the H&H-Lovells merger was announced in December 2009, it raised quite a few eyebrows in the legal community. Taking such an entrepreneurial strategic leap during a recession was seen as risky business, and most firms' line at the time was that they were hunkering down and sticking to the work they knew best. But the decision was taken, and Hogan Lovells became something of a trail-blazer. A host of other firms went on to catch merger fever, with Hammonds, Denton Wilde Sapte and Norton Rose all courting overseas partners. As one associate told us: “There was a real sense of optimism. This was the first truly transatlantic merger, a real game-changer, leading a revolution of creating enormous pan-global law firms.”
Exciting as it may be for those already at the firm, others may want to know a little more about the background to this union before committing to the application process. So here are your questions answered:
Who was Hogan & Hartson?
Hogan & Hartson started life in 1904 as a one-man operation in Washington, DC, making it the oldest firm based in the capital. Its founder, Frank J. Hogan, developed a national reputation as a trial lawyer, and litigation always remained a strong suit of the firm. Even pre-merger Hogan & Hartson could count itself among the leading national and international firms, with more than 1,200 attorneys spread across 27 offices in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia. The 13-location US domestic network may have hosted the majority of those lawyers, but there’s no question that with 14 overseas outposts – which accounted for 22% of the attorney workforce – Hogan & Hartson was a bona fide global operation.
Pre-merger, Chambers USA recognised Hogan for its work across the US. The firm's rankings at the time showed California's strength media and entertainment work, while New York and Maryland stood out for litigation, corporate/M&A and healthcare. In Northern Virginia the corporate/M&A practice has represented clients from the telecommunications, healthcare and life sciences sectors, while Miami's worked with Caracas and DC on Latin American investments – the firm has advised the likes of Wal-Mart, Pemex and Fox International on activities in that region.
With 500 lawyers in its DC headquarters it should come as no surprise that government and regulatory work are another legacy Hogan strength. A few years back the firm defended weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin in a series of disputes over the award of defence contracts, one of which was worth $1.2bn. The firm's standing in the policy arena was further underlined in 2009, when several Hogan attorneys were appointed to posts in the Obama administration.
When did all this happen?
The first whisperings that a merger was afoot were heard around early October 2009. News that partners had approved the merger came out on 15 December, with only a few technical details (leadership, practice areas, offices) to be ironed out before finalisation. The merger came into force on 1 May 2010.
What was the point?
We asked London’s former managing partner Andrew Gamble about the thinking behind Lovells’ decision to join forces with Hogan & Hartson. Here’s what he had to say: "We had been looking for a merger for some time with a view to expanding our reach. We already had a good spread of offices, but when it came to the US, even though we had offices in Chicago and New York, they were relative minnows. North America is by far the biggest legal market in the world. In order to catch a share in that market and secure our operations alongside other firms, we saw this merger as the best move. Doing it on your own is immensely difficult both in terms of investment and culture. We looked at a number of firms, but Hogan & Hartson was the best fit, particularly in terms of culture. The firms were roughly the same in terms of size and profitability, so it would not be the case of one dominating the other. From their side, they too recognised that one of the effects of globalisation was that economic power was becoming more dissipated, and they needed to have a much more global offering. They didn’t have the strength that we had in internationalising our operations, and we represented a great footprint in the rest of the world. So both in terms of size, strategy and people, we found a good fit."
Where are the main offices now?
These days UK employees all reside under one roof in the magisterial Atlantic House on Holborn Viaduct. Its atrium features a huge indoor sculpture, the 94 ft high 'Libra' by Angela Connor. Across the pond, the merged firm is now represented across the US, where it has offices in Baltimore, Colorado Springs, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Northern Virginia, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Washington, DC. In terms of emerging markets most bases have been covered. Hogan Lovells is on the ground in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Hanoi, Beijing and Shanghai, while the European network covers most major cities, including Berlin, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Prague and Budapest.