What you need to know about… DLA Piper

October 4, 2021

4 min read

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An intro to the firm

In 2005, San Diego-based Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich, Baltimore-based Piper Rudnick and United Kingdom-based DLA merged with a vision to becoming the leading global business law firm. And so DLA Piper was born. Since then, it has made remarkable strides in the legal industry. It was the top UK law firm by revenue in 2019/20, takes up to 70 trainees, one of the largest trainee intakes, for its UK operations per year, and boasts an impressive global reach of 90 offices operating in more than 40 countries, including offices in some less-frequented developing legal markets such as Bogotá and Casablanca. It is worth mentioning that seven of these offices are based in the UK alone which demonstrates that the firm is committed to delivering seamless both local and cross-border advice. Corporate and banking work are the dominant revenue generators for the firm, whilst it is also a national leader in banking and finance, media and entertainment, and employment. To characterise the firm in three words, DLA Piper is corporate, global and ambitious.

Its key strengths

The firm’s corporate and M&A practice group enjoys a world-renowned reputation and a range of clients that are typically the most significant players in their industry. This includes banks such as BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and HSBC, Technology companies such as T-Mobile and leading manufacturers such as Hyundai, Nike and River Island to name but a few!

The role of DLA Piper’s corporate team is enable their clients to close their deals by helping them to undergo due diligence, navigate risk and regulations, draft, negotiate and finalise documents. For example, the firm advised Hyundai on its €100 million investment in Luxembourg-based Arrival, an electric vehicle company. Complex and large-scale deals like this saw DLA Piper be awarded Law.com International’s Law Firm of the Year at the British Legal Awards 2020.

On the M&A side, the firm earned the top legal advisor ranking globally for overall M&A deal volume for the eleventh consecutive year according to the 2020 Mergermarket league tables, solidifying DLA Piper’s reputation as a leading global legal advisor. One of its most significant deals includes advising T-Mobile on its merger with telecoms company Sprint, for which the firm won the TMT Finance M&A Global Telecom Deal of the Year for 2020.

The firm’s deal-making drive is supplemented by band 1-expertise in Information Technology that is likely to remain important due to technological trends accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. DLA Piper’s role in advising CoinShares, Europe’s largest digital investment firm, in its acquisition of ETF index business Global Blockchain Equity Index demonstrates the firm’s proficiency at helping established companies make technology-related efficiency gains. DLA Piper is also well-placed to assist start-ups and early-stage companies with their growth strategies, evidenced by its role in advising 4G Clinical, a clinical trial company, in a growth equity investment of over US$230 million from Goldman Sachs. These efforts are supported by the firm’s online Accelerate platform which provides entrepreneurs with materials and resources to help them to learn about issues commonly faced at formation and to grow their businesses.

Training, training, training...

As for the quality of DLA Piper’s training, it is uniquely is supportive, expert and collaborative.

DLA Piper’s training contract offers international-level work within a well-structured programme in which trainees complete four six-month seats, with the opportunity to carry out a secondment with clients such as Nike, Heineken and the Premier League, or a secondment to places such as Madrid, Sydney, Dubai and Singapore. In this way, trainees are empowered to dive deeper into their interests so that each individual experience is tailored to one’s skills and strengths. The entire trainee experience is elevated by the high quality of legal expertise DLA Piper has to offer. With band 1 and 2 teams in most practices, trainees are learning from lawyers at the top of their respective industries.

It is worth noting, however, that before formal training begins, all trainees take part in the firm’s International Graduate Induction – a full week with their global counterparts of inspiring keynote speakers, networking events, responsible business activities and professional skills training. This provides trainees with an opportunity to meet colleagues from across DLA Piper’s global network and to build valuable and lasting relationships from the outset.

What is more, DLA Piper places great emphasis on developing employees beyond their training contracts. The firm capitalises on its global presence by providing access to its Career Academy which offers a series of international training programmes covering a range of management and leadership skills to support employees as they progress with the firm. This helps to ensure employees feel well prepared, supported and developed to perform at the best of their ability at all stages of their career, from graduate to associate and ultimately partner.

Finally, trainees are encouraged to participate in a range of pro bono opportunities across offices, such as advising on debt, assisting charities with corporate work and aiding refugees. The London office even offers a pro bono seat to one luck individual! This is a great way for DLA Piper to contribute to the wider community whilst allowing trainees to develop important skills in leadership, communication and teamwork, as well as gain exposure to different areas of the law.

Report written by Charlie Parkman

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