What you need to know about… Latham & Watkins

November 20, 2021

3 min read

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An intro to the firm

Born in Los Angeles, Latham & Watkins stands strongly in the legal industry as the second highest grossing law firm in the world. The firm has maximised its global reach with 29 offices across 14 different countries and a large headcount of 3,000 lawyers. It follows the US-firm trend of smaller junior intakes with 24 UK training contracts per year, but its high quality training, range of internal opportunities and industry-leading exposure has led to an impressive 100% retention rate in the last year. Latham ranks highly in banking, capital finance and private equity, but energy and data practices have recently grown in popularity. In three words, Latham & Watkins is prestigious, global, and corporate.

Its key strengths

Latham & Watkins’ impressive financial growth can be attributed to its strong banking and capital markets practice. A running theme with Latham’s work is “high-end.” The firm holds Band 1 rankings for its big-ticket lender’s side and sponsor-side banking and finance practices, along with further Band 1 rankings for high-yield capital markets and high-end capability M&A practices. Its strong reputation in the industry has scored it clients such as J.P Morgan, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs for whom it has worked with on lender-side deals such as Bravo’s takeover of Sophos. The firm isn’t just a finance powerhouse. It also excels in capital markets, fintech, energy and litigation practices. A recent example of the industry-leading work that it does: Latham just advised electric car company Rivian on the biggest IPO to date. With offerings ending on the 15th of November, the deal is estimated to gross $11.9bn, adding its name to the top of the leaderboard of the biggest tech IPOs in history.  However, Latham isn’t only about the money. The firm continues to impress trainees, lawyers and clients with its commitments to diversity and pro bono. Legal Week placed Latham in the top 10 of the “Best Law Firms for UK Pro Bono” and statistics showed that more than 80% of its lawyers consistently dedicate time pro bono matters throughout the year. In line with the growth of its revenue, we can also see the growth in its pro bono hours with 8,000 more hours being logged this year than in than the previous year.

Training, training, training...

While the journey to scoring a training contract with Latham is incredibly competitive, the lucky 25 are exposed to industry-leading supervisors, clients and cases. Corporate and finance seats are mandatory, but trainees also have the opportunity to sit in competition, data & technology transactions, entertainment, sports & media, environment, equity capital markets, financial regulatory, tax, litigation and more. 

In line with many other American firms, while structured training is provided, trainees have noted that most of the learning happens “on the job”. This provides the flexibility to personalise the training contract and Latham’s lean teams offer incredible exposure to a variety of work that is often at an associate level. The firm’s globally prestigious reputation translates to a wide range of international opportunities, not only for international secondments but also in trainees’ rotational seats. According to those who have interviewed with Chambers Student, much of the work is brought in from Asia, Europe and Africa. For those interested in international secondments, popular destinations for Latham’s trainees are at Hong Kong, New York and Singapore. 

Every day in the office at Latham & Watkins is different and offers new, practical experiences to further your career. Tasks vary from the obligatory trainee-level bundling and project management tasks but the smaller intake and leaner teams also open up opportunities to conduct complex legal research and draft documents from an early stage. Supervision and feedback is offered at multiple levels with partner and associate level “buddies” being assigned to each trainee for regular checkups and task feedback. For anybody with an especially proactive attitude, an interest in corporate and banking, and a global mindset, Latham is definitely an option to consider.

Report written by Woojin Nam

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