Hogan Lovells - True Picture

It's been five years since the mega-merger between City firm Lovells and DC hotshot Hogan & Hartson, and trainees say HogLov has reached that anticipated “happy point.”

Mind the gap

Happy, happy, happy – that's the vibe we're getting from Hogan Lovells this year. After a couple of years of posting static or slipping results, the firm's global turnover has risen by a promising 5.2%. On top of that a new CEO, Steve Immelt, took the reins in July 2014, replacing former co-CEOs Warren Gorrell (of American-led Hogan & Hartson) and David Harris (of City staple Lovells), and signalling the consolidation of the two firms' integration following their merger in 2010.

HogLov has made good on its ambitions in the emerging markets sphere, opening up a São Paulo branch in early 2014, joining forces with Mexican firm BSTL in August 2014, and merging with South African firm Routledge Modise. According to insiders, the latter move will “affect the London office more than others – we're closely connected to the work originating from Africa.” Closer to home, the firm launched a new low-cost centre in Birmingham in 2014 to deal with all the dreaded doc review and due diligence that emerges from its City base. Trainees welcomed the news, confident the operation will “make our lives easier and our work even more interesting.” Now the firm's presence stands at 45 offices spread over 24 countries, and while management still has its eye on expansion, our sources suggested any growth in the future will “likely be done organically.” Next stop Australia?

In London we hear that “closing that gap between us and the magic circle” is high on the agenda, a goal the firm plans to achieve by beefing up its corporate and finance capabilities. “Lovells was historically famous for its litigation practice, but post-merger our corporate department has become huge. Now we're aiming to compete and get bigger and better deals.” In February 2014 HogLov took a step towards this by nabbing former Allen & Overy corporate partner Don McGown, a man known for both his electrifying stage presence (he famously managed charity productions of Oklahoma! and Carmen via A&O's music programme) and his prowess in the M&A field.

Best laid plans?

HogLov's five main practices are corporate, litigation, finance, intellectual property and government regulatory, all of which score highly in Chambers UK. Sources were keen to emphasise that “we primarily do corporate, finance and litigation work, so if you come here looking to do lots of niche seats, you'll probably end up disappointed.” Trainees are required to complete either a corporate or a finance seat, and while offerings like competition, public law and employment are available, they're notoriously hard to land. Those who'd triumphed made it clear that stating an interest from the get-go is an absolute must. Said one: “I wrote it on my application form, mentioned it in interviews and as soon as I started met the partners and senior associates in that department.”

Fortunately, as insiders went on to point out, the options available within the corporate, finance and litigation arms are plentiful. “It's not like everybody's doing the same standard corporate work; there are tons of seats to choose from: real estate, financial institutions, private equity...” In place of a contentious seat, some trainees complete a short course instead, but the firm has a strong preference for rookies actually undertaking a stint with a disputes team.

Seat allocation goes as follows: new joiners express a preference for their first seat before they join – “it's a bit of a stab in the dark” – and once they're at the firm go on to attend a series of introductory lectures on other available groups. They then note six preferences including secondment, from which a fixed seat plan is formulated. Our interviewees either raved or ranted about this system depending on whether they'd been allocated the seats they wanted. On the cons side was the argument that this approach “takes away some of your power to determine your career progression,” though the pros contingent countered this with the opinion that “it's nice to know what's coming up so you can plan accordingly.”

Around half of the trainees end up going on either an international or client secondment at some point during their training contract. There are between eight and ten overseas seats available each rotation, though with 30-ish trainees in each intake, competition for these can be tough. New York and Hong Kong in particular tend to be oversubscribed, and for a stint in Paris, for example, A level in French would work in your favour.

As for client secondments, there are usually 20 or so available each rotation; recent destinations include John Lewis and ExxonMobil. Our sources gave these the thumbs up, praising the way “people view you as a fully fledged lawyer – you get to manage your own time.” Luckily there's plenty of support from the firm's business development department while new recruits are away.


Chambers UK top-ranks the firm's litigation practice within the 'elite' band, placing it alongside Freshfields and Herbert Smith Freehills as one of the best in the City. The likes of Barclays, ExxonMobil and Vodafone dot the client roster, and cases here are often high-value and high-stakes. Take BTA Bank's £6bn-plus claim against its former chairman, Mukhtar Ablyazov, for instance, which has spurred more than 100 hearings in the UK and is the largest set of fraud proceedings currently before the English courts. Seats within the department often straddle different areas – 'D3', for example, encompasses corporate litigations, fraud and insolvency disputes. Trainees are encouraged to sample the various strands available and work with many people.

Sources with experience on the pensions litigation side told of attending trials for global cases, and we also heard from those who'd dabbled in fast-paced and disclosure-heavy commercial cases. International arbitration is particularly popular with trainees – sources here enthusiastically described gearing up for hearings at the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and participating in oil and energy-related matters. Real estate litigation, meanwhile, drew praise for the fact that “you can actually respond to client queries here because the cases are small enough that trainees don't have to be kept one step removed.”

Over in the corporate department, M&A is a strong suit. Trainees here can enter groups linked to specific sectors. Those who'd taken up a seat in insurance M&A enjoyed working closely with industry experts on multi-jurisdictional matters such as Enstar's $262.6m acquisition of Atrium, which involved lawyers as far afield as Singapore, the USA, Canada and Brazil. Such deals see trainees undertake general research tasks, draft sections of contracts and attend negotiation meetings. Those with experience in the retail banking group – “the regulatory side of corporate” – found themselves dishing out advice on new payment technologies and consumer credit regulation. “It's quite technical, but they teach you really well here – by the end of the seat, I was drafting advice notes and helping deliver training sessions to clients!” According to our sources, the advice-driven group “lends itself to more consistent hours than transactional-focused ones.”

Tax, share schemes and pensions seats also fall under the corporate umbrella and are more narrowly focused than the aforementioned ones. “You'll get involved with aspects of the big corporate deals, but there's also specialist advisory work ticking over.”

Tough competition

HogLov earns numerous finance-related rankings from Chambers UK, including nods for its banking, capital markets and asset finance work. The latter team is “relatively small in comparison to the rest of the practice” and handles a good whack of work in the aviation and shipping realms. Clients include “all the top banks” – among them BNP Paribas, Barclays and UBS – and financings are often “innovative and complex,” like the firm's recent oversight of aircraft lessor ALAFCO's first US EXIM-backed bond financing of two Boeing planes for Garuda, Indonesia's national airline. Trainees' role during such matters is to liaise with foreign counsel, oversee document signings and “make sure everything's ready for completion.” In project finance, meanwhile, deals typically involve a consortium of banks or institutional investors, and work spans both the lender and borrower side – “and not just within the primary market; we also work in the secondary market on infrastructure projects.” Trainee work on this end is largely administrative, though there is the chance to take a crack at first drafts of fee letters and legal opinions.

In the "coveted" IP department, trainees can choose from the patent, brands or TMT sub-teams. The former handles a good number of disputes within the mobile phone market – it currently acts for five of the top ten smartphone manufacturers, with HTC recently soliciting HogLov's assistance in a dispute with Nokia. Some of the cases can last for years, so trainees are often taken along to trials which involve disputes they aren't directly working on. Over in brands, it's all about trade mark work for household names like ASOS and Mars. Trainees here spend much of their time “reviewing trade mark watch notices and reporting back to the client – there's quite a lot of contact, mainly by e-mail.”

Spots in the competition and public law groups are highly competitive. The latter team spends its time assisting corporate clients looking to challenge government decisions, and advising on public bodies on procurement matters. “It's really interesting – there are judicial review proceedings as well as advisory and lobbying work. We're in contact quite regularly with the Brussels office as much of the work is European.”

That's soooo post-merger

“I got my training contract just before the merger was announced, and now that I'm sitting in this post-merger world, it seems no different to the firm I first applied to,” said one trainee, summing up the general attitude of our interviewees regarding the firm's transition from Lovells to HogLov. (Students be warned: we can call the firm 'HogLov', because we're an informal and slightly irreverent careers guide, but don't ever call the firm this to its face especially on application forms or in interviews.) Another source observed of the merger: “We've got the best of both worlds – the friendly environment Lovells was known for is still very much intact, but now it's strengthened by a global network of lawyers and clients across various jurisdictions.” Lest you think there's any divide between legacy Hogan & Hartson lawyers and those from Lovells, consider this trainee's account: “It took me at least five months to realise which partners came from which firm – they've really integrated in that respect.” Fortunately, the Yankee side did not bring over a “stereotypically American” approach to hours. “There's no culture of constant 2am finishes here. And if you do have to work long hours, it's always met with gratitude from partners and associates.”

Trainees are assigned contact partners upon starting their training contract “so we can bounce ideas off them and talk about our career trajectory. It's nice to have someone there to give you advice about your development.” The firm's ears are open to input from its junior lawyers as well: management recently made amendments to the secondment application form off the back of trainee feedback, and at the time of our calls trainees were involved in a survey about the training contract. “We've had focus groups and filled out confidential questionnaires – we can address anything we like.” Interviewees also pointed to the establishment of a new board role for equity partners under the age of 45, which they said “shows the firm is thinking about the next generation and its views.”

With 125 trainees, when all is said and done it can be understandably difficult to wrangle everybody together for impromptu socialising. Luckily there's a very conveniently placed wine bar in the basement of HogLov's Chancery Lane digs, so nobody has to go too far to unwind after a hard day's work. Interviewees told us intakes tend to band together – “just like you would in a university year group” – with some hitting the town on a weekly basis. As far as firm events go, the summer party is by far “the big affair” of the year. The past few have been held at the HAC Artillery Garden and featured a fun fair, among other delights. “It's nice to get the dresses out!”

The firm releases NQ job lists in April and October, and trainees are welcome to apply for a seat they haven't sat in. In keeping with HogLov's efforts to beef up its corporate and finance offerings, there have been fewer litigation jobs on offer in recent years, and the same goes for niche areas like public law. We're told the firm makes the qualification process “as transparent as possible – they talk us through it and advise us on how to prepare for interviews.” In 2014, 52 out of 67 qualifiers stayed on with the firm.

And finally...

Hogan Lovells has been on fine form of late, and it looks like that trend is set to continue. Come here if you're game to mine its core practice areas, not because you're hell-bent on becoming a competition lawyer.

You may also be interested in:

These major City firms with a strong international presence:

- Dentons
- Herbert Smith Freehills
- Norton Rose Fulbright
- Simmons & Simmons

How to get a Hogan Lovells training contract


Training contract deadline: 31 March 2015 (graduates and non-law students); 31 July 2015 (law students)

Vacation scheme deadline: 7 November 2014 (winter); 13 February 2015 (spring); 16 January 2015 (summer)

Law fairs and events 

Hogan Lovells attended 20 law fairs during the 2014 season. The firm also hosts around 150 on-campus events each year and holds 50 internal events annually. The latter are open to students from school to university age, as part of HogLov's broader social mobility initiative.

Additionally, there's an annual open day for mature students, supported by the Birkbeck College School of Law, plus three open days for first-year law students. Our sources in recruitment tell us at they're looking to add more of these in coming years. To apply for an open day, candidates complete a form, and undergo a critical thinking test and telephone interview.

Go here to see if and when representatives might be headed in your direction.


Applications for HogLov's training contract and vacation schemes are considered on a rolling basis, so we suggest applying early to increase your chances of landing a spot.

The firm receives around 1,500 training contract applications each year. There's space for up to 60 trainees, spread across two intakes (August and February).

HogLov's recruitment team recently revised the initial application form (which is used for both vac scheme and training contract applicants) – it's now shorter and contains questions tailored specifically to the firm. Make sure you've done your research on HogLov's practices, clients, and recent work; a scatter-gun approach won't make the cut. Go here for some advice from the firm on how to fill out the form.

Those who impress on paper are prompted to complete an online critical thinking test. If that goes down well, it's on to a telephone interview. This is conducted by a third party organisation, Jarred Consulting, and involves a mix of motivational, competency and commercial questions.

Assessment day 

Both vac scheme and training contract applicants who pass the telephone interview are invited to attend an assessment day. This kicks off with another critical thinking test. You can get some practice by having a crack at this example online.

The day also includes a partner-led introduction to the firm, a group exercise, lunch with the current trainees and a guided tour of the office, plus two interviews: a situational interview with an associate and a member of graduate recruitment, and one with two partners.

The situational interview was introduced in 2013 in response to trainee supervisors' concerns that incoming trainees didn't fully understand the demands of the role. “We've created a bank of scenarios based on past situations that trainees have faced. Candidates can't easily prepare for these,” says assistant graduate recruitment manager Catherine Griffiths. “This approach enables candidates to better understand what they will be involved in if they become a trainee here, and it also allows us see how they think through situations, as well as how they will conduct themselves professionally at all levels.”

As for the other interview, trainees recalled it as “not stuffy,” with one telling us “the interviewers were quite interested in the things I’d done outside academia.”

Demonstrating a decent level of commercial awareness is key to passing these interviews. Make sure you’ve thoroughly researched the type of work the firm does and who makes up its client base, and keep abreast of developments in the legal and financial sectors.

Candidates are told within five working days of the assessment day whether they've secured a vac scheme place or a training contract.

Vacation schemes 

Around 50% of each incoming trainee intake has completed HogLov's vac scheme. The firm holds two three-week placements for penultimate-year law students each summer. There's also a two-week winter placement reserved for non-law final-year students and grads, as well as a week-long programme during the spring for first-year law students. The firm has space for up to 25 candidates on each placement.

Spring schemers visit four practice areas during their placement, while winter schemers split their time between two, and summer schemers visit three. Attendees on all three shadow a mix of lawyers, and attend presentations, workshops and research training sessions. Those on the summer schemes also work on a group project that culminates in a presentation – luckily they're given some preparatory presentation skills training to help pack some punch into their delivery.

On the social side are drinks receptions, networking dinners, ping pong competitions and dragon boat races.

Trainee profile 

HogLov has long been known for bagging a ream of Oxbridge grads on its vac and training schemes. That said, the 2013 trainee cohort was comprised grads from 18 universities, forming a 60% non-Oxbridge weighting, and a healthy 16 universities were represented on the 2014 summer vac scheme.

Candidates need a consistently strong performance throughout university, with a minimum 2:1 degree result. The firm dishes out a £500 reward for those who attain a First.

Interview with training principal David Moss

Student Guide: It's been a busy year for Hogan Lovells, with new offices opening in Luxembourg and São Paulo in 2013 and 2014, respectively. What can you tell us about these latest additions to the network?

David Moss: Our strategy is not a flag-planting one; it is very much client led. There are a whole range of places where we can provide good quality legal service to clients without having an office on the ground.

Brazil was a priority for us, as for a long time we've conducted work with a Latin American remit: we already had one office in Caracas and an active Latin America practice running out of Miami, Madrid and Houston. However, our presence in Rio is important because of our significant expertise in the energy sector, while São Paulo is an important financial centre. We are continuing to see a lot of interest in Brazil from existing global clients as well as companies that are entering the market for the first time, and we wanted to be able to offer clients the full breadth of expertise there in equity and debt capital markets, private equity, infrastructure development and finance, and corporate transactional work.

Having a presence in Luxembourg was important in order to continue to grow our active funds and tax practices.

A significant percentage of our client matters are multi-jurisdiction though, so most of our lawyers are working with colleagues in other offices across the globe on a daily basis. I'm a member of the oil and gas team, and regularly work with colleagues in Singapore, Tokyo, Brussels, Paris, Houston, Washington, Caracas and Rio.

A firm like Hogan Lovells is uniquely placed to work on certain important client matters because of our global footprint. For example, we are seeing increasing interaction and interdependence between markets such as China and Latin America on which very few firms could advise.

Africa, Asia and Latin America will continue to be an important priority for us, both in terms of offices and making significant lateral hires.

SG: Hogan Lovells combined with the South African firm Routledge Modise in 2013. What was the motivation behind this move, and how will it bolster Hogan Lovells' presence in Africa?

DM: Previous to the combination, we had a very active African practice, with over 40 lawyers globally, conducting work from our London, Paris and Washington, DC offices. The Paris office in particular has a significant amount of experience handling matters which have emerged out of North Africa, from countries like Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

However a physical presence in Africa has become increasingly important for global firms. The majority of our top 200 clients have operations on the continent and South Africa is regarded as the gateway into sub-Saharan Africa more generally, with many companies basing their regional headquarters there, particularly in Johannesburg. With Africa's substantial natural resources, expanding economies and growing consumer base the level of interest will continue to increase rapidly.

The combination with Routledge Modise allows us to pool resources with a full-service firm in South Africa, but it also gives us a very good platform from which to develop our work in sub-Saharan and East Africa. Our our sizeable 120-lawyer office in Johannesburg can help our clients across a range of practice areas, including oil and gas, mining, infrastructure and projects, and banking. There is a lot of interesting work to come out of Africa at the moment – for example, the use of mobile technology to integrate banking systems has really taken off there.

SG: Hogan Lovells posted a record global turnover in 2013, and the firm's first solo CEO, Steve Immelt, took the reins in July 2014. Do these developments signal that the integration between Lovells and Hogan & Hartson is finally complete?

DM: Moving to one CEO and single heads for each of our practice groups shows where we are as a firm and the success of our integration, and now was the right time to do so. The combination was an ambitious and vast project; having co-CEOs (one from Lovells and one from Hogan & Hartson) and co-heads for some of our practice groups to oversee the process was the right thing then, but now is the right time for the change.

There is still more to be done on the integration, and we are not complacent or standing still. But the firm is a very different creature to what it was when we first combined, and has now has a distinctive and enviable culture.

SG: The trainees we spoke with were very encouraged by the new under-45 board policy the firm's introduced. What does this policy reveal about the firm's approach to management?

DM: The 45-and-under post is designed to ensure that we have a broad representation from across the partnership. All partners have an interest in the business, and it is right that we have someone on the management team who represents a large proportion of our partners.

SG: What role does the London office play in the Hogan Lovells network?

DM: The London office is the firm's largest office and a critical part of our global business, representing just under a quarter of the firm's global billings. We have created a significant and distinctive name for ourselves in the City for our work in highly regulated industry sectors, such as financial services and energy, as well as handling complex cross-border high-profile disputes. London is an important centre for litigation because it is seen as a reliable and independent jurisdiction.

English law is one of the country's greatest exports and has enabled firms such as Hogan Lovells to grow significantly, both nationally and internationally. Everyone in the firm – however close or far from London they are will have some interaction with this office at some point. The likelihood is that any major transaction or dispute will use a mixture of English with the local law from various jurisdictions.

Some offices outside London practise local law – for example in Germany, they practise German law – but due to regulatory reasons we are not able to practise local law in certain jurisdictions. We have special arrangements in Singapore and China, for instance.

SG: What was the motivation for opening the new low-cost centre in Birmingham?

DM: The London office is very focused on a number of initiatives to enhance efficiency and cost effectiveness, so we are delivering increased value to our clients. Our Legal Services Centre in Birmingham is a significant part of that and shows our commitment to delivering innovative solutions to how we deliver our legal services.

We've been offering other cost-effective solutions to our clients for years – for example, our real estate 'Mexican Wave' outsourcing service, using contract lawyers and paralegals for document reviews, and so on. There are jobs which come with a degree of volume: especially things like due diligence exercises or document reviews, which arise in connection with litigation or regulatory enquiries. We looked very closely at different locations, and Birmingham was – by a long way – the most attractive, considering its cost base, its short travelling distance from London, and its buoyant legal market as well.

However, that is not to say that it significantly impacts on the work that trainees have, other than in a positive sense, or that we are looking to recruit trainees in Birmingham. We want to ensure that we are offering our trainees the best training experience possible and that they are getting involved in as much high-quality work as they can. Obviously part of the training will sometimes involve dealing with activities that require a lot of attention to detail and can be repetitive. However, that's not the sort of exercise that you should spend a significant percentage of your training contract doing. Our Birmingham offering will be able to do a lot of those exercises there will lead to more effective trainee management and ultimately more effective service delivery for our clients.

SG: Trainees told us Hogan Lovells is interested in building up its corporate and finance practices. Is this true?

DM: Our corporate practice is already extremely successful and market leading – our trans-Atlantic strength and regulatory capabilities are unrivalled, and last year we advised on 9% of all deals globally, including some of the biggest deals of the year, such as Liberty Global's £15bn acquisition of Virgin Media and Mitsubishi's joint venture with Siemens. The corporate group accounts for almost a third of our global revenue. However, we do want to continue to grow our market share of deals, so our transactional practices are definitely a key strategic priority. That's not to say that we're neglecting other core areas for us, such as our excellent disputes, IP or competition practices though of course.

SG: The firm's application process for overseas seats and secondments has changed recently. What changes have been implemented and why?

DM: In our previous process, trainees were first invited to apply for international secondments and to then register their applications for client secondments. We ran that system for a while because the organisation of international secondments tends to be complicated and involves more planning ahead. However, we were finding that by separating the application process, we weren't getting a true picture of trainees' preferences: for example a trainee may be keen to go to the Hong Kong office but actually have a stronger preference to be seconded to a key client like Barclays. Having the opportunity to outline that kind of preference wasn't highlighted enough, so we have now changed that process and ask trainees to list their preferences for both international and client secondments at the same time. As a result, the secondment allocation process will become quicker and more efficient, which was one of the objectives we set after receiving feedback from our trainees.

SG: What skills do students need to develop for a career in the law?

DM: A career in law involves a real combination of having a good eye for detail but also having a real sense of commerciality. Clients are not interested in the granular detail of the law – they want to know if you understand their business and the impact of certain events, so if you are not interested in wider business issues then a career at a global law firm is not for you. On the other side of the coin, you have to be prepared to go into significant levels of detail, and to know what you are looking for in order to shape your work. Nonetheless, although some parts of the law are black or white, on a day-to-day basis you will be dealing with so many grey areas where there's not necessarily a right or wrong way of doing something. Good lawyers can respond to that challenge and think for themselves, rather than simply being told what to do.

SG: Any final words of advice for those looking to enter the legal profession?

DM: It is surprising how many young people are ill-informed about what a career as a lawyer involves. Anyone planning to apply for a trainee programme should think carefully about what they are looking for and try to talk to as many people in the industry as possible: most lawyers are very happy to talk to share their experiences about what it involves. Find out as much as you can – the best candidates I've met are those who clearly demonstrate that they not only have an interest in the law but in what is going on in the outside world too.

More on Routledge Modise and HogLov's reach in Africa

Back in November 2013, HogLov announced its impending combination with South African firm Routledge Modise. It's not the first international firm to formalise a presence in South Africa; White & Case paved the way with an office back in 1995, and within the last four years Norton Rose Fulbright, Linklaters, Baker & McKenzie, Eversheds, Clyde & Co, Dentons, and Allen & Overy have all strategically aligned themselves in the country's small but promising market.

A cursory look at the country's economic growth calls this burst of enthusiasm into question. In late 2013 South Africa's economy was expected to rise by a mere 2%. Still, there appears to be enough going on to attract the attention of international firms. Widespread industrial action means mining work – one of South Africa more famous industries – has cooled on the corporate/commercial side, but that very disruption has produced an increase in employment and regulatory-related work.

Most of the firms flocking to South Africa have their sights set on energy matters. The South African government recently implemented a plan to cut the country's dependence on coal via a sizeable renewable energy project, and drilling off the coast signifies a potential boom in oil and gas exploration. Alongside this, ongoing international investment, particularly from China, continues to show faith in the country's commercial enterprises, while many anticipate that changes to the law will bring South Africa's status as a regional arbitration centre to the fore.

South Africa's strategic position as a gateway to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa is also a draw for international firms – perhaps its biggest, in fact. While economic growth isn't outstanding in South Africa, neighbours like Nigeria, Rwanda, Angola and Zambia all boast predicted growth rates between 6% and 10%. South Africa is a foot in the door for foreign firms eager to take advantage of the sub-Saharan region's rising consumer population, resource-rich land, demand for more sophisticated infrastructure, rosy returns on investments, and evolving banking sector.

As HogLov's managing partner for the DC area, Emily Yinger, pointed out to our sister publication Chambers Associate in early 2014: “We've been involved in a range of transactional and finance work – as well as international arbitrations – in Africa for quite some time.” Indeed, HogLov has been active on the continent for 30 years, and has long maintained an Africa practice across its London, Paris, Singapore, Shanghai, Beijing and Dubai offices. The majority of the firm's top 200 clients also have business interests and operations in Africa.

One such client is African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). In recent years lawyers throughout the practice have advised the bank on its financing of telecommunication facilities in Zimbabwe and Burundi; development of hotels in Gabon and Sierra Leone; and $2bn acquisition of several Boeing and Embraer planes for Kenya Airways.

By 2013, however, HogLov needed to shift gear. As Yinger explains: “We felt like it was time to have an actual presence in South Africa: our clients were becoming increasingly active in the market, and it's important for us to be strong there.” Enter Routledge Modise. “We had already worked with Routledge Modise on certain projects, and we knew of their reputation as a very well-respected firm in the country.”

Pre-combination Routledge Modise was a 120-lawyer practice located in Johannesburg. Its workload included the corporate, commercial, energy, mining, litigation and employment matters. Like many South African outfits on the lookout for tie-ups with international firms, Routledge Modise was no stranger to collaboration: it previously had an association with British firm Eversheds, though the pair went their separate ways in 2012.

The combination with HogLov took some in the South African legal market by surprise. As a medium-sized player, RM didn't quite sit up there with prestigious 'Big Five' names like Webber Wentzel (now in an alliance with Linklaters) or Deneys Reitz (now part of Norton Rose Fulbright). “Our competitors are green with envy – they can't believe that we've managed to pull this off,” RM chairman Lavery Modise told the legal press at the the time of the announcement. Yet both firms, already having collaborated on a few projects, decided it was right, and when you know, you just know.

It's still a little too soon to tell what impact the combination has had on HogLov's reach in Africa. If the firm's eagerness to scoop up more local firms is any indication, things are going as planned. As Yinger tells us: “We'll continue to expand our network around the African continent with other local firms.”

Hogan Lovells

Atlantic House,
Website www.hoganlovells.com

  • Partners 800+
  • Assistant Solicitors 2,200+
  • Total Trainees 129
  • Method of application Online application form
  • Email graduate.recruitment@hoganlovells.com
  • Website www.hoganlovells.com/graduates
  • Selection procedure Assessment day
  • Closing date for February & August 2017 Law applications 31 July 2015
  • Non-Law applications 30 April 2015
  • Application 
  • Training contracts p.a. up to 60
  • Applications p.a. 1,500
  • % interviewed p.a. 25%
  • Required degree grade 2:1
  • Training  
  • Salary 
  • 1st year £39,500
  • 2nd year£45,000
  • Holiday entitlement 25 days
  • % of trainees with a non-law degree p.a. 50%
  • No. of seats available abroad p.a. 25
  • Post-qualification 
  • Salary£65,000
  • International offices Alicante, Amsterdam, Baltimore, Beijing, Brussels, Budapest, Caracas, Colorado, Denver, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Houston, Jakarta, Jeddah, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Luxembourg, Madrid, Miami, Milan, Moscow, Munich, New York, Northern Virginia, Paris, Philadelphia, Rio de Janeiro, Riyadh, Rome, San Francisco, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tokyo, Ulaanbaatar, Warsaw, Washington DC, Zagreb

Firm profile

 Hogan Lovells is a top global law firm, with over 2,500 lawyers working in over 40 offices in Asia, Europe, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and the United States. Our unique balance of ambition and approachability attracts prestigious clients and creates a working culture where the ambition of our trainee solicitors is supported to ensure their success. 

Main areas of work

 Our global diversity and wide range of practice areas gives us a strong reputation for corporate finance, dispute resolution, government regulatory and intellectual property. Exposure to a variety of legal disciplines provides good training and development opportunities for those joining us.

Trainee profile

 We are looking for graduates whose combination of academic excellence and desire for specialist knowledge will contribute to developing business and taking it forward. Although we are one of the largest global legal practices, we work in small, hard-working teams where everybody is committed to our collective success. The personal qualities our people possess are as important as their qualifications. You need to be happy collaborating with a team yet capable of, and used to, independent action. You will need to demonstrate an ability and desire for lateral thinking, be capable of close attention to detail, and have the energy, resilience and ambition to succeed in a top global law firm.

Training environment

 As a trainee solicitor at Hogan Lovells, you will be offered work that sharpens your mind. You will take on as much responsibility as you can handle relating to client work, as well as a comprehensive legal skills training programme, regular reviews and appraisals. After qualification, continuous training and development remain a priority – you will deepen your professional and business expertise throughout your career. Making the best of your expertise enhances the quality of advice we provide to clients, maintains our reputation and helps you build your career. We require every prospective trainee solicitor to undertake the accelerated LPC at BPP University. The course will prepare you for practice in the City. Our two-year training contract is split into four six-month periods of work experience known as ‘seats’. As a trainee solicitor, you will move around four different practice areas during this time to gain as much experience as possible – one of your seats will be in either our corporate or finance group, and another in one of our litigation teams. You will also have the option of spending time in the second year of training on secondment to one of our international offices or to the in-house legal team of a major client.


 PPP medical insurance, life assurance, season ticket loan, in-house gym, access to dentist, doctor and physiotherapist, subsidised staff restaurant, discounts at local retailers.


 GDL and LPC course fees are paid and maintenance grants are provided for both the GDL and LPC.