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Overview

Introduction

Linklaters is a Magic Circle firm with great opportunities for international work. The firm operates on a “good standing” system instead of a billable-hours requirement, and it receives high praises for requiring pro bono work as part of the formula. The team has the capacity and knowledge on the ground to handle assignments of virtually any size or complexity in any of its practice areas.

Firm Stats


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Total No. Attorneys (2021)


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No. of Partners Named (2021)


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Featured Rankings

Vault Law 100...


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No. of 1st Year Associates Hired (2021)



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No. of Summer Associates (2021)



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Base Salary

Base Salary (2021)1st year: $205,000...

Vault Verdict

Linklaters seeks candidates who bring diversity and international aspirations to the table. Associates describe the firm as a place where people care about one another and socialize with frequency—pre-pandemic, this included spontaneous gatherings and firm-sponsored events, like a Friday social and office lunches. Partners treat associates well and provide feedback through annual reviews. Associates agree the firm is transparent in many ways but could stand to be more forthcoming in areas such as compensation. Instead of a billable-hours requirement, associates must maintain “good standing,” which includes being within a standard deviation—while some find it confusing, most feel this system is a positive feature. Associates are pleased with compensation, which follows market. Work...

About the Firm

Consistently ranked as a top money-maker, both in terms of firm profits and PPP, Magic Circle firm Linklaters has achieved legal industry royalty by following the BigLaw formula well: Build the finance and M&A practices and grow internationally. The firm is one of the top brands among U.K.-based law firms, and if you want to work in the United States, there are two offices to choose from: New York and Washington, DC.

Truly Global

At the beginning of the 1990s, Linklaters was predominantly a U.K. firm with local operations in just a handful of cities across Europe and Asia. But in 1996, the firm embarked on an expansion strategy and hasn’t looked back since. Through a string of global mergers, joint ventures, and organic growth, the firm built up a hefty international practice. ...

Associate Reviews


  • “The Linklaters culture is a positive, wholesome, and collegial atmosphere. Lawyers and staff interact on a frequent basis and, unlike many U.S. firms, staff participate in all firm social events alongside lawyers.”
  • “The firm in general is very social. Management makes it a point to arrange social events throughout the year, either through various affinity groups such as the women's network or through the practice groups. The atmosphere is generally very collegial and friendly.”
  • “The firm is very collegial and social. Since we are a smaller office, everyone knows each other—at the minimum their names. I think that this creates an environment where it is harder for someone to be mean, in addition to people being genuinely very nice! When we were in the office, we used to chat with each other all the time and sometimes organized casual get-togethers (not firm organized). People genuinely care about each other, personally and professionally, and I was able to find great mentors. …”
  • “Prior to COVID, our firm was pretty social, though it's up to each person how involved they would like to be. We have a drink trolley that comes around every Friday afternoon, which is a great way to catch up with people in your group ahead of the weekend. Generally, I would say that people care for and look after each other, although the expectations and demands of BigLaw remain the same as anywhere else.”
  • “Partners are very respectful and courteous toward associates and involve them in all aspects of matters.”
  • “Partners are very easy to approach and juniors get a ton of facetime. There are many opportunities to work directly with a partner, and they treat associates with respect. The decision-making of the firm can sometimes be opaque, as many decisions are made out of London.”
  • “The firm prides itself on transparency: In some ways, it is very transparent (status of matters, target clients), and in other ways it is surprisingly not transparent (mostly with respect to investment in the U.S. practice, including, increasingly, compensation of U.S. associates).”
  • “Reviews are conducted annually by two partners at the practice group (last year it was virtual). The firm could probably work on being more transparent in terms of internal promotions and finances.”
  • “We have two formal performance reviews and two informal reviews per year—each interview starts with our good-standing status (utilization rates, presence, and pro bono hours), then the partners will go through the feedback received from relevant colleagues. Lastly, partners will give bespoke recommendations before the associates can raise any questions he/she may have.”
  • “We do not have billable targets, but there are certain good standing requirements, including being within the practice group standard deviation, [completing] 100 hours of pro bono, and [meeting the requirements for] timesheet submission time. The office is generally on the leaner side, and while this can be positive in that you are given early responsibility, it can feel overwhelming.”
  • “I have enough work to keep me busy on a daily basis. I generally have flexibility in where and when I work, though sometimes I may be working on deals that are time sensitive, and there may be periods of time when there is very limited flexibility.”
  • “If flexibility is possible at any given time, this firm allows for it. Partners do not seem to set unnecessary or ridiculous timelines. The firm requirement is not a strict billable-hour requirement and works on a standard deviation calculation, which can be confusing and unclear.”
  • “At Linklaters, we frequently work hard to meet client demands. But beyond that, there is no pressure from the firm to break your back working just to lift the firm's bottom line.”
  • “My compensation seems fair to me, and it is market.”
  • “We generally match the market (though last year's special bonus was tied to billable hours—we never had that before).”
  • “Linklaters has, with the exception of the fall 2020 COVID bonuses, followed the market compensation scales without imposing hours requirements or other cutoffs. Associates just have to be in ‘good standing,’ which is a very doable thing. The lack of an hours requirement gives associates confidence and allows us to do substantial marketing, internal development, and other non-billable work (anecdotally, it seems we do a lot more of this than peers at other firms) without worrying that it will impact bonus eligibility.”
  • “There are occasions where Linklaters has not met the highest bonuses in the market for non-annual bonuses. However, I am incredibly happy with my compensation. For instance, [with] the number of hours I billed the last three years, I would not have qualified for any bonus at many other firms. However, Linklaters uses a qualitative rather than quantitative method to determine bonuses, and therefore full salary and bonuses can be awarded to associates that are contributing to the firm, doing high quality work, and are in good standing in their group. Compensation is not tied to whether you worked yourself to death or not.”
  • “I'm generally satisfied with my work in dispute resolution. As a junior associate, I've prepared witness and deposition outlines, drafted motions and briefs, interviewed clients, attended hearings, and been involved in very substantive legal work.”
  • “As a third year, I receive more drafting assignments and am often in a managerial role in M&A transactions (e.g., liaising with opposing party or other offices on cross-border deals). I also supervise first and second years in due diligence exercises. I think this is typical for lawyers of my level, [but] the work could be more substantive when I'm working directly with a partner on certain matters.”
  • “I do spend most of my time on substantive legal work, some above my level, but I welcome the challenge and receive appropriate guidance when needed.”
  • “The distribution [of work] is equitable. There is a workflow coordinator, and I understand that partners and counsel think about the past experiences of an associate and what they need to learn when they allocate assignments.”
  • “Remote working has been absolutely seamless—including before the pandemic. Linklaters had these measure in place long ago, in part due to the frequency that lawyers travel internationally for the firm. You can connect anywhere.”
  • “Generally, I feel the firm does a good job technologically. However, in the legal profession, there is a certain level of out-datedness with the day-to-day programs we use. However, the firm is investing a lot into new tools that can be used to improve our workflow and work product. I started at the firm after the transition to work-from-home, and while mentally it can be taxing to work remotely, technologically, the firm has done a lot to keep up with demands. Though the home tech budget could be bigger.”
  • “Firm invests heavily in the wellness of its people. The committee on health and wellness and the wellness champions work hard to raise awareness, invite interesting guests (including nutritionists), and plan interesting programs (meditations, expert on workspace ergonomics, etc.).”
  • “The firm really went all out last year in providing wellness support to the associates and staff, including introducing exercise programs, mental health counseling, catch-ups with management and fellow associates, as well as subsidizing fitness apps.”
  • “We have a designated officer in charge of wellness matters—she’ll circulate useful flyers and info; e.g., during COVID, we have two exercise sessions per week where we can work out with the instructors virtually. There is also a program that compensates our gym-related fees ($25/month)—I do wish we had a higher budget on this.”
  • “While the firm does discuss attorney well-being, there is always room for improvement on this front, particular with respect to candidness around mental health and burnout.”
  • “Informal training, from working on small teams [to] getting substantive and fulfilling work assignments, is one of the biggest highlights of the firm.”
  • “There are numerous training opportunities including firm events, CLE and PLI, and mentorship through working closely with more-senior associates and partners.”
  • “We used to have routine, formal trainings before the pandemic, but less frequently now that we are all working remotely (probably harder to coordinate). That said, trainings and mentoring stayed the same for the summer program.”
  • “Training opportunities in technical and soft skills abound, in large part due to the emphasis on firm-based training in London, where associates do not attend law school and therefore receive broad and frequent training from the firm.”
  • “There are good opportunities, both within the firm and for those who choose to leave.”
  • “Partnership, as a U.K.-based lockstep equity partnership, is extremely difficult to obtain. There are good secondment opportunities that can lead to in-house positions, especially for finance associates, but placement in-house is not as encouraged as it should be (especially in the mainstream corporate practice group).”
  • “Team gave rise to a new partner this year and opportunities to progress seem reasonably attainable for those who seek. Promotions to counsel are available to senior associates. Exit opportunities seem quite promising.”
  • “I think the partnership and promotion path is not as regimented, formalized, and competitive as it may be at other firms, due to Linklaters being a British firm that is not on the ‘eight-year’ track that many U.S. firms treat as the norm. I am sure progression is possible and will happen, but the process is likely different for each associate.”
  • “To be in good standing, Linklaters requires that we do at least 100 hours of pro bono work each year. This time counts towards our utilization targets (e.g., it is essentially treated as billable work).”
  • “Pro bono is treated 100% equivalent to billable work. The firm introduces opportunities to get involved with really interesting pro bono work and always encourages attorneys to get involved. There is no ceiling on the amount of pro bono work you can do. Many people at the firm have hundreds of hours of pro bono in a single year.”
  • “I have worked on a number of immigration-related pro bono (through Safe Passage and NYLAG), as well as rule-of-law initiatives in Africa via the Vance Center and prison reform (and prison statistics during COVID) through PRI. …”
  • “[The] firm is constantly promoting pro-bono opportunities across a breadth of sectors. …”
  • “… We do have a fair bit of innovative D&I initiatives such as reverse mentoring (partnering a diverse junior/staff as mentor to a partner/executive committee member as mentee) and the ‘INspire’ program, which is designed to develop, retain, and help under-represented ethnic minority colleagues within the firm. I think we just need the numbers to catch up and actually see women and diverse candidates make it to senior roles and make it to partnership in particular.”
  • “I know there are people who care on the diversity committee, and they do excellent work at soliciting views and suggestions from across the firm in terms of making the firm more inclusive. We do have extremely diverse summer classes, we just need to figure out how to keep them. …”
  • “The firm has set out a Race Action Plan, which elaborates the specific diversity related targets that the firm aims to hit and how the firm plans to achieve this. The targets include a minimum percentage of ethnic minorities that will be recruited as well as elected to partnership by a certain date.”
  • “I think the firm is sincere in its desire to be a more inclusive and equitable workplace and to foster these dialogues, and I think that this goes all the way up to the partners, who are very communicative about not only the efforts the firm is undertaking to address inequities, but also their desire to see this change. The decision to up the quota for female partnership struck me as a significant decision because the firm is literally putting its money where its mouth is. The firm has strong and active ERGs.”

Why Work Here


Diversity at Linklaters

"Our vision is to be known as the "best in class" firm for diversity, equality and inclusion in the legal sector. It's not just a box-ticking exercise for us, but a strategic and ethical understanding that we can't be the leaders we aspire to be without the best talent in the world. We will only be the leading premium global law firm by providing the best ideas and solutions for our clients. The imagination and resourcefulness needed to create these ideas and solutions will only be ensured by drawing from the broadest possible pool of..."

Getting Hired Here


  • “The firm looks for diverse and well-rounded candidates; it has a commitment to diverse hiring. We are also looking for people with language skills, international background or experience, and that is all on top of your usual grades/school/work experience base. We interview at a particular set of schools, and the interviewers are offered guidelines and support in the interview process.”
  • “Linklaters is a unique firm in the U.S.—so the greatest emphasis is placed on fit within the culture and types of work that we do. If you don't want to do international work, you probably won't like it here!”
  • “The firm is a team, and we look for people who want to be a productive and valuable team member.”
  • “[We] consider all of the normal factors—law school, grades, journal, prior work, diversity, personality, etc. …”
  • “Generally, the firm asks behavioral type questions—what have you done in X situation, how have you used your skills to advocate for yourself, etc.”

Practice Area Q&A’s


Peter Cohen-Millstein & Megan Ridley-Kaye

Partner & Counsel

Linklaters
Antonia Sherman

Partner

Linklaters
Vijaya Palaniswamy & Andrew Compton

Partner & Counsel

Linklaters
Peter Cohen-Millstein

Partner

Linklaters

Perks & Benefits