What you need to know about… Linklaters

November 2, 2021

3 min read

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An intro to the firm

Linklaters can trace its history back to 1838 when John Linklater partnered with Julius Dods to form the London firm – Dods & Linklaters. 160 years and a few mergers later, you have the City powerhouse known as Linklaters. The firm boasts a stunning global reach of 30 offices across 20 countries, including new and fast-growing hubs in Lisbon and Singapore. Interestingly, it also has strategic alliances with firms in other jurisdictions – most notably Webber Wentzel in South Africa. Linklaters takes on 100 trainees each year, which is the largest intake of any firm operating in the UK. The corporate team brings in the lion’s share of profits, but Linklaters is consistently strong across Banking, Corporate and Disputes. To characterise the firm in three words, Linklaters is corporate, international and inclusive.

Its key strengths

Linklaters’ corporate department has a reputation for being one of the very best – and it has the clientele to match. Clients such as Vodafone, Unilever, Nestle, and JP Morgan – to name a few – fill its impressive roster. Linklaters helps these corporates with everything from large-scale reorganisations to navigating risk and regulation. For example, in 2020 Linklaters advised Unilever on the merger of its UK and Dutch HQs – the single biggest stock adjustment to the FTSE in the last 20 years. A rapidly growing aspect of risk is ESG. Here, the firm’s dedicated Environment & Climate Change team comes in handy. The Environment is involved in a mix of advisory and transactional work – often working closely with the firm’s Corporate M&A or Banking groups.

But Linklaters’ expertise is much broader. It is the only member of the magic circle to be ranked Band 1 across all its core areas: Banking, Capital Markets, and Corporate M&A. The Banking practice group does everything from loans and leveraged finance to restructuring work. The latter is top-ranked by Chambers Global and is unsurprisingly a significant source of work at the moment. In 2020, Linklaters was involved in high-profile matters such as Victoria’s Secret’s administration and Cafe Nero’s CVA. Another of Linklaters’ strengths is its growing Energy & Infrastructure department – which is part of the wider Finance Group. The Energy team recently worked on the construction, development, and £5.5bn project financing of Dogger Bank Wind Farm. It is the largest wind farm globally, which saw Linklaters win “Global Green Deal of the Year” at the PFI Awards 2020.

Training, training, training...

As for the quality of Linklaters’ training, it is uniquely supportive, broad, and innovative.

First, Linklaters is keen on feedback. The firm has engendered a feedback culture to ensure its lawyers are constantly improving. The way the training and departments are structured also means that the large trainee intake feels much smaller. It creates a close-knit environment where trainees receive the right balance of responsibility and early support. The firm’s learning resources are the icing on the cake. The firm’s internal knowledge platform, INsite, has everything from precedent documents to practice notes on ISDAs. Throw in AI-powered search systems such as Matter Explorer and DocExplorer and the training experience is virtually unmatched.

Second, Linklaters provides heaps of chances to explore innovation. The firm’s motto is “delivering legal certainty in a changing world”. And as evidence of this agile mindset, Nakhoda – the firm’s tech startup – now offers a training seat. The firm’s legal tech solutions aim to optimise legal delivery and add value to clients. They automate more admin-heavy tasks, freeing up time for junior lawyers to work on more complex tasks. Noteworthy examples are ISDA Create, which  is a document automation and contract negotiation platform that creates structured data at source, and CreateIQ, which does the same thing but for derivatives.

Finally, Linklaters prioritises inclusivity in the workplace. It thrives on “asking its lawyers to dance, rather than just inviting them to the party”. And it shows in initiatives such as its Diverse Voices Reverse Mentoring programme. The programme allows senior lawyers to build their awareness and understanding of different people’s experiences and perspectives. The firm’s recent Race Action Plan, which aims to improve the retention of black talent, is another example of the progress the firm is making in this sphere.

Report written by a LittleLaw Reporter

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