What you need to know about… Weil, Gotshal & Manges
March 25, 2022
3 min read
An intro to the firm
With 15 offices spread about 5 countries, the American firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges (or Weil for short) is perhaps best known for representing Lehman Brothers during the 2008 financial crisis. The firm’s ability to adapt to the ever-changing business cycles has allowed its profits to soar 12% during the Coronavirus pandemic, largely from COVID-induced restructuring cases. Weil’s global revenue was upwards of $1.66 billion in 2020, an impressive 9.2% increase from the previous year. The firm continues to attract some of the industry’s best, as shown by recent lateral moves amongst top lawyers, including rare moves by fee-earners from Linklaters and Slaughter and May.
The New York powerhouse boasts a particular prestige when it comes to private equity and its other corporate departments, which are all ranked at least Band 2 in Chambers’ rankings. Along with corporate practices, Weil also excels in restructuring, one of the departments that saw the most light during the pandemic.
In three words, Weil is international, driving, and adaptive.
Its key strengths
Without a doubt, one of Weil’s core strengths lies in its private equity practice. The firm provides services including transactions, financing, restructuring, tax and experience covering everything from pensions to multi-asset management. Notably, the firm has worked with Providence Equity to secure acquisitions worth €5.5 billion overall. Other important clients include big private equity names such as Bain Capital, Blackstone and Advent International.
Banking, on both the borrower and lender side, is another one of Weil’s note-worthy practice strengths. This often provides trainees with a well-rounded understanding of the commercial world as lender-side deals often involve the firm acting for multiple lenders at a time. Deals can exchange sums in the hundreds of million to billions, and despite the firm’s expertise in the practice, trainees are allowed high levels of responsibility and autonomy during their training contracts. Some of Weil’s recent clients include Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Apart from the billable practices, Weil also takes pride in its extensive and growing pro bono work. Weil lawyers have a pro bono goal of 50 hours per year, but many easily exceed that with the wide range of projects the firm takes on. Such initiatives include the Innocence Project, Women of Impact, and Micro Rainbow. The diversity of pro bono projects is also reflected in the firm’s inclusive and diverse working environment, in which trainees have praised the firm’s friendly (but still hard working) culture and the willingness of supervisors to extend help when needed.
Training, training, training...
The training contract experience offered at Weil is rigorous and hands-on while being high quality and fulfilling.
Trainees at Weil are offered four 6-month seats in practice areas such as banking & finance, litigation, private equity or private equity infrastructure, restructuring, structured finance and tax. Lucky trainees are able to gain a secondment to overseas offices in New York, Hong Kong or Paris.
The firm’s long history in the UK and roots in New York makes for what one trainee described as an “anglicised American firm” experience with a small trainee intake and high levels of responsibility. Many have reported a very hands-on experience from the first day of their training contracts as they take on high stakes transactions or advisory seats within lean teams. However, trainees are supported through relatively high levels of supervision and consistent feedback. Associates and partners alike are reported to be happy to make time to support trainees in any way they can. Furthermore, the firm has restructured their training programme to provide more comprehensive training on top of the hands-on, “ask-and-you-will-receive” culture of American law firms. It will be interesting to see if the firm moves towards a mixed training approach to adapt to the trend of increased work-from-home implementation in law firms.
Latest figures show that the firm’s latest retention rate was an impressive 100%. Evidently, the firm’s high calibre work, trainee support, and inclusive work culture is a sure-fire recipe for its longstanding and continued success.
Report written by Woojin Jina Nam
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