Helpful answers to frequently asked questions about applying to Hogan Lovells, and training here.
How many trainees are you looking to recruit this year?
Each year we look to recruit up to 75 trainee solicitors.
What are you looking for in a trainee solicitor?
Strong academic and intellectual ability. You need to be very sharp because the work we do is complex.
Ambition and motivation. You should have clear reasons for your career choice.
Good communication (written and spoken) and interpersonal skills. You should be able to articulate your thoughts clearly and connect with people effectively.
Professional attitude and interested in business. You should be someone who will represent the firm and who understands the flexibility we need to deliver a service to our clients.
What are your application closing dates?
30 April 2013 for non-law students.
31 July 2013 for law students.
How many people apply each year, and how many do you interview?
Well over 1,500 candidates apply annually for training contracts. Of those, we would expect to interview around 300, depending on the calibre of the applicants.
Could you explain the assessment procedure?
The first step is to read carefully the information at www.hoganlovells.com/graduates, then fill in our online application form. If you’re successful at this stage, we will invite you to complete an online critical thinking text. If you pass this test, you will be invited to attend an assessment day.
What happens on an assessment day?
The assessment day is intended to be a two-way process to allow candidates to find out about us, and for us to find out about them. The day starts with a short presentation about the firm by one of our partners and two associates. You will then re-sit the critical thinking test in formal test conditions. This is followed by a group discussion exercise where you will analyse and discuss a business-orientated case study. The day will end with one interview – with partners and/or the head of legal resourcing. A buffet lunch with trainees will also provide an opportunity to ask questions in an informal environment.
When can I expect to receive an offer?
Within 7–10 working days after the assessment day. We are confident of making the right decision promptly after the assessment day, and don’t wait until the end of the recruitment season to make our offers.
Once I have received an offer, how long do I have to decide?
Final year law students have until 1 November. If you were interviewed earlier in the year, we would expect to receive your decision by May/June. However, we are flexible and will not rush anyone who needs more time. If you need help in making your decision, a member of the Graduate Recruitment team (or the partners or trainees you meet on the assessment day) will be happy to meet with you to discuss matters, or organise for you to meet other members of the firm.
Can I defer my start date once I have accepted an offer?
We do appreciate that candidates are making commitments quite a long way in advance and we will try to be as flexible as we can. However, deferrals should be discussed with the Graduate Recruitment team. It is advisable to let us know as early as possible.
Do you have any preferences as to where I attend law school?
Along with other leading City firms, we have developed a Legal Practice Course (LPC) with BPP Law School in London. Studying the accelerated LPC at BPP is compulsory. We also require candidates to study the GDL at any BPP location.
How is the accelerated LPC structured?
The accelerated LPC programme has two intakes in the academic year. One intake begins in the first week of August and ends mid February; the other begins in the first week of February and ends mid-August. In addition, there will be a period of directed self-study before the start of face-to-face teaching at BPP, which students complete in their own time. It is possible to complete the foundation study programme within two weeks, but many students prefer a longer period. Students will receive the study materials approximately two months before the course starts. New joiners are asked to indicate which LPC intake they would like to join. We try to be as flexible as we can to accommodate people’s references, but we have to reserve the right to make necessary allocations and adjustments.
How is the LPC course different?
Greater emphasis is placed on the foundational self-study required by students before they start the course at BPP. The Private Acquisitions elective has been incorporated into the British Law and Practice (BLP) module and has been replaced by a Corporate Transactions elective. The teaching time for the electives has been reduced to six weeks.
Students continue to have a personal tutor, who ensures that they are keeping on track with their workload, and an additional weekly face-to-face meeting has been added to the schedule. It is no longer possible for students to have a weekly study day and the teaching day will run from approximately 9.00am until 6.00pm. However, students are required to attend teaching sessions until 7.00pm on occasion.
What does the LPC Link Programme involve?
The LPC Link programme is established to help in the transition from future joiner to trainee. The programme is made up of social events and practice area specific talks. There is a Practice Area Fair where all groups are represented and LPC students can speak to groups and consider their seat planning options.
Do you sponsor students through law school?
Candidates who accept the offer of a training contract with us will receive a grant. This includes full payment of fees and provides you with a contribution towards maintenance. The maintenance grant for the accelerated LPC is £7,000. The maintenance grants for the GDL are £8,000 in London and £7,000 outside London. Grants are reviewed in May each year. The firm does not provide retrospective funding for law school fees or maintenance grants.
It’s a long time between when I’m recruited and my eventual start date – will there be any contact in between?
Yes, primarily with our Trainee Development team. The team is happy to talk to future joiners at any time if they have any queries, concerns or problems. You’ll also have contact with our Recruitment Partners, Ben Higson and James Doyle, who produce updates for future joiners on the latest Hogan Lovells news and events. We encourage prospective trainees to keep in touch with us, and with each other, as much as possible. We meet up with all future joiners currently at law school and host an annual event. We also hold regular receptions in the summer at our London offices to which all our students are invited.
What are your minimum criteria?
We look for a very strong academic performance and would expect candidates to be aiming to achieve, or have achieved, a good 2:1 (or the equivalent) consistently throughout their studies.
What happens if I fail parts or all of my GDL/LPC?
Our offers of training contracts are conditional upon passing the GDL and LPC at the first attempt. On the rare occasion where this condition is not satisfied, each case is considered individually by the firm’s recruitment partners, but we will withdraw a training contract if every effort has not been made to pass these important exams and where no mitigating circumstances exist.
Will you withdraw my offer if I do not get a 2.1?
Yes, unless there are mitigating circumstances. These will be looked at on a case by case basis by the firm’s recruitment partners.
Can I have some say in which seats I do?
We try to accommodate the interests of the trainees, as well as meeting the needs of the business. Trainees will receive training that reflects the needs of the business.
We request preferences for your first seat before you join, and will try to meet these requests where possible. When you join you will be assigned to a member of the Trainee Development team, who will provide guidance and give advice throughout your training contract.
We will ask you mid-way through your first seat where you would like to sit in seats two, three and four. We will provide information to help you make informed decisions and point you in the direction of associates and partners who can talk to you about work in their practice area.
How much responsibility can I expect as a trainee?
This depends on you. Our policy is to give as much responsibility as people feel happy with, and which they prove able to cope with. Taking responsibility is essential for a developing professional and we actively encourage this.
What if things go wrong – is there a network of support?
We provide a range of people to whom trainees can turn with any problem they may have, whether it is work-related or not. The Trainee Development team provides contact throughout the training contract.
A ‘contact partner’ or partner mentor will be allocated to provide personal contact in the partnership. You will have a supervisor in each seat, and every group has a trainee solicitor partner who is responsible for the work of trainees in the group. During the first seat there will also be access to a trainee solicitor mentor, who will be a member of the firm’s Trainee Solicitor Liaison Committee.
The firm makes a significant investment in its trainees – your success is our success.
Apart from the practical work experience, what other training can I expect to receive?
We are particularly proud of our training programme which is given very high priority within the firm because we understand that formal training is as important as learning on-the-job.
Trainees will attend lectures and courses throughout the training contract which have been designed to complement the practical on-the-job experience. Each practice area has its own training programme and trainees will complete the whole series of programmes by the time they qualify.
We are authorised by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to run the Personal Work Management and Advocacy modules of the Professional Skills Course (PSC) ourselves and they have been specifically tailored for the needs of our trainees. Some of our litigation partners teach on the Advocacy module.
We also provide a wide range of information technology training.
Do I receive language refresher training if I’m going abroad?
A number of the international secondments do not require language skills. However, if trainees are going to an office where language skills will be advantageous for business reasons, then current abilities will be assessed and training provided. Ideally A-level standard will be a basic requirement to be eligible for training.
Once I have qualified, can I immediately go out to one of the international offices?
Trainees can apply to work in one of the international offices on qualification in just the same way as they apply to work in one of the London groups. Some of our newly qualified solicitors move into one of the international offices. However, in most cases we feel it is important to have up to two years post qualification experience in London.
What is the process for deciding which practice area I will qualify into?
Around the second month of the final seat, you will be informed about all the NQ vacancies available in the various London practice areas and international offices. You will also be invited to attend a qualification briefing held by Trainee Development to explain the process and give you an opportunity to brush up on your interviewing skills.
You will then be invited to submit up to three preferences to Trainee Development.
The partners in the practice groups will interview all trainees who express an interest and will confirm to Trainee Development which people they wish to offer roles to.
If you are not awarded a role following the first round, you will be welcome to apply for any unfilled roles in the second round of the qualification process. Further roles sometimes become available at this stage also.
What are your retention rates for newly qualified solicitors?
We aim to keep as many people as possible at qualification, depending on business needs every six months. We invest heavily in our graduate programme and consequently we want to see people stay.
What is the starting salary?
Trainees receive £38,000 per annum in their first year and £43,000 in their second year. Salaries are reviewed in May each year.
And what is the salary on qualification?
This is £61,500, in line with market rates. Hogan Lovells will continue to review its salaries in line with those at other top City firms.
Are there any compulsory seats?
In order to meet SRA requirements, trainees must have experience in contentious and non-contentious work in at least three practice areas. Unlike some of our competitors, we have no difficulty meeting these requirements. We require and encourage trainees to gain as broad an experience as possible within Corporate, Finance and Litigation practice areas (where there are most vacancies on qualification) and a range of other areas.
Can you tell me about your international offices and client secondments?
All second year trainees have the opportunity to apply to spend six months abroad or six months with a client as part of their in-house legal team. We currently send trainees to Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong, Paris, New York and Singapore. Decisions are based on performance and personal qualities like resilience and maturity.
During the second seat, we will give presentations on the international and client secondments, and you can apply for those that interest you. You will be expected to put together a business case to support your application.
Currently, about 30 trainees will go on either an international or client secondment at each seat change. Depending on the size of the intake, you have a good chance of a secondment or international placement. For example, amongst the latest group of Hogan Lovells’ trainees to qualify, around 40% had been on either an international secondment or client secondment.
If you go on a client secondment, you will typically spend six months in the client’s in-house legal department. Clients to whom we currently second trainees include Barclays, BAT, Citibank, ExxonMobil, Ford, Ford Credit, John Lewis, Lloyds Banking Group, Merck Sharpe & Dohme, Prudential, SABMiller, Save the Children, Standard Chartered Bank. A client secondment provides excellent commercial experience and an opportunity to take on more responsibility within a small team.
Can you tell me about your pro bono work?
50% of our legal staff have undertaken pro bono work at some time and we have won numerous awards for our commitment to pro bono. We have a pro bono committee, which is headed by one of the litigation partners. We were the first City law firm to have a full time Pro Bono Manager. Some pro bono initiatives include:
- working with law centres to represent the elderly and disabled in social security tribunals, and representing victims of crime
- advising social enterprises providing supported employment for the homeless, the mentally and physically disabled and those that are excluded
- representing prisoners on death row in the Commonwealth, Caribbean and the US
- representing victims of crime in cross border applications.
Trainee solicitors are encouraged to be involved in pro bono work if they wish, but it’s not compulsory. To find out more about our pro bono work contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Pro Bono section of www.hoganlovells.com.
Can you tell me about your diversity and inclusion initiatives?
In the London office we have established Women’s, LGBT, Multicultural, Working Families and Disability networks. Each network supports the Hogan Lovells diversity strategy.
We believe that career access to the legal profession must be open and fair for everyone. We hope to break down any perceived barriers that may be stopping prospective talented candidates entering the profession. We benefit from these initiatives by generating a wider and more diverse base from which to select our future lawyers.
We are involved in a number of initiatives designed to ensure fair and open access to all. In January 2009 we also held our first diversity awareness week. The aim of the week was to raise awareness, and to educate our employees on the main themes of diversity and inclusion. The event was followed up in spring 2010 with a Better Business week, and in 2011 with a diversity awareness month.
21% of Hogan Lovells' 800 international partners are female.
What makes Hogan Lovells different from your major competitors?
We would say:
- Truly global coverage and work.
- Diverse practice areas including strength in Corporate, Finance and Litigation.
- Prestigious clients from many different industries.
- Commitment to world-class training.
- Collaborative, open culture.
You should explore our website to get a full sense of what sets us apart. www.hoganlovells.com/graduates
Can I qualify into a Group that I have not done a trainee seat in?
Yes. Trainees will often qualify into a group where they have not had a seat, although they will usually have had experience in a group that is closely related.
When do I do my Professional Skills Course?
The Finance and Business Skills modules are completed just before beginning the training contract. The Advocacy and Communication module is completed during the contentious seat. The Client Care and Professional Standards module will be undertaken during the seat.
Do you run a vacation scheme?
Yes. We currently run two summer vacation placements for penultimate year law students, one winter vacation scheme for final year and graduate non-law students and a spring vacation scheme for first year law students.
We take on about 70 vacation students during the summer and winter each year. There is an organised programme of presentations, talks, discussions, visits and social events. Summer vacation students spend time working in three different departments and winter vacation scheme students in two.
The current rate of pay for summer and winter vacation placements is £300 per week and £150 per week for the spring placement.
What are your closing dates for applications?
2 November 2012 for winter, 18 January 2013 for summer and 15 February 2013 for spring vacation schemes.
Applications for all 2013 schemes open on 1 October 2012.
What are the dates for the vacation schemes?
The spring scheme will take place from 8 – 12 April 2013.
The first summer scheme will take place from 24 June – 12 July 2013. The second summer scheme will take place from 15 July – 2 August 2013.
Do you hold interviews for the summer and winter vacation scheme?
For winter and summer schemes we do. Candidates submitting a successful application form and who successfully pass the online critical thinking test will attend a short interview and resit our Critical Thinking test in formal test conditions. They will also be given a tour of the office and the option to have lunch with trainee solicitors. There are no interviews for first year schemes. Instead, candidates are asked to submit an online application form and sit the online critical thinking test.
What are your criteria for the vacation programme?
Exactly the same as for the selection of trainees. Competition is extremely fierce and places are limited, so apply in good time.
What are the dates for 2012/13?
In addition to the first year vacation scheme, we also run two open days each year for first year law students. The next events will take place on 26 March 2013 and 2 July 2013. Applications will open on 1 October 2012, and close on 15 February 2013.
What can you tell me about paralegal work?
Hogan Lovells welcomes applications from those wishing to undertake paralegal work who have at least a 2.1 degree (or equivalent) and have successfully completed the Legal Practice Course or the Bar Finals. The majority of our paralegals are employed in our commercial dispute resolution and corporate departments, where they undertake discovery work. This can include producing summaries of documents, but also sorting, indexing and photocopying documents. We also occasionally have vacancies in our real estate department.
Paralegals wishing to apply should send in a curriculum vitae and a covering letter to:
The covering letter should indicate when you will be available for work. Your CV should contain a telephone number where you can be contacted during the day at fairly short notice.
If you have any further questions, please email the Graduate Recruitment Team at email@example.com