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What makes a Hogan Lovells lawyer?

People you can't put into a box

We're as diverse as the work we do. Which is the way we like it. People from all sorts of backgrounds, and with many different opinions and experiences, help us look at the issues from every angle. That ultimately leads to better results for clients.

Yet we all have a lot in common. We're smart, collaborative, determined and always approachable (so you should have no problem getting a partner to buy you a coffee when you want to chat things through).

This is where you can find out if you have what it takes to play your part in our high-profile cases, and hear from some of the outstanding people who make us stand out as a firm.

What we look for

Not even an average case at Hogan Lovells is average. Some of the world's biggest and toughest legal assignments regularly land on our desks. When they do, what does it take to handle them? Here are the essentials.

Intellect

A quick, enquiring mind is a given. We'll look for a strong academic record that features excellent results from GCSE (or equivalent) onwards. That includes a good 2:1 or above (or equivalent).

Commercial acumen

Clients want to work with us because we understand their worlds as well as we understand the law. You'll have the potential to talk their language.

Mental agility

The tried and tested way isn't always the best way. We like to challenge conventional thinking here – pooling our expertise to do things differently from others and from what we've done in the past. You'll be able to look beyond the obvious and think around corners.

Team spirit

We may be one of the largest global legal practices. But we work in small, focused teams – often across borders and jurisdictions – acting seamlessly for clients. You must be happy pitching in, helping out and doing your share to promote our collective success.

An international outlook

Globalisation is a fact of life; and an interconnected world calls for outward-looking people. You'll be someone who adapts naturally to new surroundings, responds to cultural nuances and tackles the unpredictable with confidence.

Resilience

Rigorous attention to detail won't faze you. Nor will the pressure of complexity, deadlines or putting in the extra hours to deliver the most professional job possible.

Contextual Recruitment System

We want our opportunities to be accessible to as wide a group as possible. So we use a specially developed tool to measure students' relative disadvantage as well as their performance. Meaning we can compare applicants fairly with peers from a similar background. For instance, we might consider a candidate's home postcode, school attended, whether they were eligible for free school meals, if they are the first generation in their immediate household to go to university, and whether they were ever in care or once a refugee or asylum seeker.

Meet our people

So where's the evidence that we're as collaborative, supportive and forward-thinking as we claim? Right here. In the words of our people. From trainee solicitors to associates and partners, they reveal their personal experiences at Hogan Lovells – from their first impressions to their latest deal.

Umar Azmeh

Trainee

  • Degree: LLB Law, King’s College London; MSc Criminology and Criminal Justice, Oxford
  • Joined: Aug 2015
  • Practice Area: Corporate Finance
  • Office: London
  • Hero: Sachin Tendulkar
Umar Azmeh

Before I joined the firm I was a practising barrister. My goal, though, was to be a lawyer with a broad skill-set who can provide clients with solutions no matter what issues they face. This brought me to Hogan Lovells.

The structure of the training contract gives trainees a wonderfully broad foundation across three core areas. As each seat lasts six months, we also gain a significant amount of knowledge in each area, which gives you plenty of options when it comes to qualification.

My legal and commercial know-how is improving day by day. In my current seat, I deal with a huge variety of client queries including many complex areas of law. The work comes in at a relentlessly fast pace, giving me plenty of opportunities to apply the knowledge I’ve gained. That’s made me much more capable and confident.  I’ve noticed that I can complete tasks far more quickly than a few months ago, that my initial thoughts are much more accurate, and my work is higher quality. I’ve also built a solid understanding of the business world and that now feeds into the legal advice I draft.

Aside from legal and commercial expertise, I’ve developed business skills that are vital for a solicitor. For example; how to build client relationships and manage expectations. A lot of this I’ve learned just by watching my colleagues in action, although as a trainee you do have client contact. You might speak to a client several times a day over the course of a particular deal. You may also meet that client, either at the end of the deal or at a client event. If you work with the same client again, the rapport is already in place and the working relationship is even more efficient as you’ll know what the client expects.

The firm’s open door policy is another positive aspect of our trainee development. It encourages us to meet as many people in our teams as possible and develop working relationships right from the beginning. It also means people make time for you. One particularly useful piece of training for me was when I completed a first draft of an advice about share capital. I’d had some very specific but unusual queries from an international client. After I had researched and drafted the note, my supervisor took me through the advice I’d written paragraph by paragraph. We discussed each point and he made me explain and justify my conclusions. It was an incredibly valuable exercise as it tested the depth of my understanding of the issues. I now repeat the same exercise with myself when I have to deal with anything unusually complex.

Ariane Messiter

Trainee

  • Degree: European Law (with French), Warwick University
  • Joined: Aug 2015
  • Practice Area: Restructuring and Insolvency
  • Office: London
  • Favourite book: ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, Maya Angelou
Ariane Messiter

When you do a Law degree, you learn the academic side of law. During your training contract you begin to understand how the law works in a commercial context – and what strikes me now is how much I’ve learned about the commercial world. 

My first seat was in Real Estate, I learned how property companies and developers attract tenants to lease innovative retail and office spaces (like the Walkie Talkie building). Now, in Restructuring and Insolvency, I’m discovering how external and internal factors can affect the financial health of a business and even whole sectors.

I’m starting to appreciate the way businesses work, how they respond to challenging economic situations and how they innovate to stay at the top of their market.  Understanding businesses is crucial to a commercial solicitor's day-to-day life. 

Our open door policy means that solicitors at different levels work closely with each other and I’ve learned a lot from the people all around me. In my first seat, I had a truly inspirational supervisor who took time to train me and other members of the team. As well as being a fantastic support to us, she was also an incredible lawyer who managed to balance a challenging job alongside being a parent.  I currently sit with a partner and am able to ask him questions and learn from him directly without feeling I should be going through someone else. Learning from those at the top of their field is a big advantage of working here.

Working with international colleagues has also taught me a lot. In addition to learning international law, I’m developing my organisational skills – especially when the London office is managing the transaction.  On a recent deal, I had to identify which international counsel needed to be consulted, lead the line of questioning and managed the responses. It was great fun!

That international collaboration makes us feel very much like one firm. I’ve liaised with colleagues in our international offices quite a few times and found them responsive and cooperative, just like my colleagues in London.

There are many things set Hogan Lovells apart from other firms. A key one for me is the variety of client secondments.  As a trainee, it’s a great opportunity to develop professionally, and we offer a wide variety covering all practice areas.

My advice to those about to start a training contract would be to get stuck in. The more you do, the more you learn – and the more you grow in confidence.

Helen Poulson

Trainee

  • Degree: Biochemistry, Imperial College London
  • Joined: Feb 2016
  • Practice Area: International Arbitration
  • Office: London
  • Favourite film: 8 femmes
Helen Poulson

For me, what sets Hogan Lovells apart is the people. When the pressure’s on there’s a real sense of the team pulling together. My intake is a diverse group of people, around half are from a non-law background. Everyone takes pride in their work, but without losing their sense of fun. There is a real commitment to pro-bono and citizenship work, which is evident in every part of the firm.

Different practice areas have different ways of working. In International Arbitration it’s very collaborative, where you often work in smaller teams. It's very common for lawyers to pop in and out of each other's offices to discuss certain points.

Before I joined Hogan Lovells, the law was more of an academic concept to me. Now I see it as a toolkit that we use to fix our clients’ problems, and we don't use just one tool at a time! In International Arbitration we must gather relevant facts from witnesses, construct legal arguments, stay focused to the procedural aspects that arise and respond to what the other side is doing. I now have a greater appreciation of how we weave these different types of legal work together to make a whole.

I’ve also learned that different industries have their own internal practices and standards, and it’s our job to recognise and understand them. There's no point giving a business advice if that advice is incompatible on a practical level with the way the business operates.

I learned quite a bit about business on my induction. All trainees take part in the Hogan Lovells BaSE programme, which teaches you about business basics and what’s behind client decision-making. We were split into small teams and each team was given a client to advise over six months. I gained invaluable experience of managing the client relationship and the overall matter.

Though I'm only in my first seat, I've managed to have not one, but two brilliant supervisors who’ve both been very supportive. It's inevitable that the experienced people you work with are going to have a big impact on your career which is why (in my opinion) Hogan Lovells is the best place to train!

Matt Coleman

Trainee

  • Degree: Arabic and Spanish, Cambridge
  • Joined: Feb 2016
  • Practice Area: Corporate
  • Office: London
  • Favourite destination: Beirut
Matt Coleman

My parents live in Chicago, and the idea of working in a firm with such a strong presence in both the US and London really appealed to me. I wanted to work at a top tier firm, at the top of my industry, which is why I chose Hogan Lovells.

My studies at law school were hugely relevant to a Corporate seat and, when I started here, I had a good understanding of the academic theory underpinning the law. I’d never had to put that theory to the test though. Now I have a far better grasp of the practical application of everything that I learned on my GDL and LPC. New things pop up every day, whether obscure sections of the Companies Act or thinking about directors’ fiduciary duties. I’m always impressed by how much my supervisor knows. I work very closely with him, and he constantly helps me develop my understanding of corporate law.

In the four months since I joined, I’ve worked for communications manufacturers, west African logistics companies and Russian oligarchs. I’ve discovered that every client has specific commercial needs and you must tailor your approach accordingly.

My work ethic has also improved immensely. You have to adjust your timetable to comply with someone else’s, which takes some getting used to. On top of that, I’ve learned how little I actually know compared to my senior colleagues, and that it’s important to grasp the basics before you can progress and develop professionally. No one is above any tasks here. You have to learn before you graduate to bigger pieces of work, and everything you do forms part of that experience.

I think it’s crucial to make sure the firm you’re thinking of joining is a good fit for you and vacation schemes are the best way to do that. You’ll spend a lot of time in the office, and you want to be absolutely sure you’ll be working with a group of people you get along with. Hogan Lovells is welcoming, inclusive and actively celebrates diversity.

Lookman Rawat

Associate

  • Degree: Law - University of North London
  • Joined: Feb 1999
  • Practice Area: Litigation, Arbitration and Employment
  • Office: London
  • Favourite place: Dubai
Lookman Rawat

I joined the firm as a paralegal in 1999 and worked in the Product Liability team for 18 months. I subsequently spent 10 years in an IT support role. I qualified into the Product Liability/Product Safety litigation team in March 2014 and have experience working for a number of product manufacturers both in a litigious context and from a safety standpoint.

I went to school and college in Hackney, London and was the first in my family to attend university. My family has been extremely supportive and my parents helped me to get through Law School. Securing a training contract after such a long wait came as something of a surprise but was also an exciting opportunity to start a new chapter in my life. Qualifying as a trainee solicitor was the culmination of many years of hard work. It is fair to say that my route to qualification has been a bit of a bumpy ride but it goes to show that opportunities are available for a wide variety of candidates, in a non-traditional way.

A sense of team spirit and a collegiate environment makes Hogan Lovells a great place to work. Relationships are neither purely functional nor superficial, but genuine. This resonates throughout the firm at every level, no matter how senior or junior you may be.

What sets Hogan Lovells apart from other law firms is its genuine commitment to diversity and inclusion. I am a member of the steering committee for the firm's multicultural network which forms part of its global initiative relating to diversity and inclusion.

For anyone looking to pursue a career in law, remember that the application process is a platform to showcase your talents. Use it positively and do not be afraid to be yourself! There is a growing emphasis on recruiting candidates that are a good fit for the firm and to look beyond the CV, so feel confident enough to present the "real me" throughout the process. Finally, remember that the people considering your application are only human and at some point they were in your shoes!

Fergus Gallagher

Senior Associate

  • Degree: Law, University of Bristol
  • Joined: Aug 2005
  • Practice Area: Corporate Finance
  • Office: London
  • Favourite holiday destination: Ravello, Italy
Fergus Gallagher

Hogan Lovells provides a great atmosphere in which to develop as a lawyer. It is an intensely challenging environment and the work is often demanding. Being driven out of my comfort zone, but with the knowledge that as a result of the strong team ethos there would always be people to turn to for support and advice, undoubtedly aided my personal progress.

Before applying to Hogan Lovells, I carried out the customary research about the firm, but I first really felt that it was the place where I wanted to train when I came for an assessment day. There was a sharpness and a professional feel to the firm but it was combined with a personal approach that I had not felt at other firms. Everyone that I met was open and personable and I recognised that these were people that I would enjoy working with.

The firm is very welcoming and, as a new trainee solicitor every effort is made to help you settle into the firm and the department within which you are sitting. The various future joiner events that take place during the LPC make this even easier, and after the two week induction course run for new Trainee solicitors, you have a really close group of friends.

In my first seat I sat in the corporate group and found the intensity of the fast moving cross-border transactions extremely satisfying. After spending my next seats with the Tax and Litigation teams, a client secondment to the international brewer SABMiller in my final seat was great for my development. I worked on a wide range of areas of law, doing everything from assisting with corporate M&A transactions and commercial contracts to litigation and property work but it also showed me what clients expect from the lawyers they engage and the high level of service that Hogan Lovells provides.

My time on a client secondment at SABMiller confirmed to me that I wanted to qualify into the Corporate group and since qualification, from knowing the intricacies of SABMiller’s business, I have continued to work closely with them on a range of transactional and advisory matters including high profile deals such as the establishment of the MillerCoors joint venture and the disposal of its interest in Tsogo Sun but also smaller acquisitions in Africa and Latin America where I got the chance to take on greater levels of responsibility. Appreciating the value of the relationships developed through such opportunities, I have also now been on secondment at the investment banks, Morgan Stanley and Jefferies.

Looking back at how I came to join Hogan Lovells, I definitely made the right choice. When choosing a firm to train at, it is important that you find one that fits you as well as one that wants you. The impression of Hogan Lovells that I gained from my assessment day confirmed that Hogan Lovells was the right place for me.

Hannah Piper

Senior Associate

  • Degree: Law with French Law, St John's College, Oxford
  • Joined: Aug 2006
  • Practice Area: Litigation, Arbitration and Employment
  • Office: London
  • Favourite place: Tulum, Mexico
Hannah Piper

Finding the right firm at which to begin my legal career was initially a daunting task. They all sounded very similar on paper, and I felt as though I was hearing the same messages over and over again. It was only when I started to experience firms from the inside, by attending vacation schemes and open days, and hearing first hand from lawyers who worked there, that I was able to pin down exactly what I was (and was not) looking for. I chose Hogan Lovells because it seemed to combine top quality work and a market-leading practice (especially in litigation, which is where I wanted to qualify) with a very welcoming and inclusive culture – and I have not been disappointed.

Broadly speaking, my practice is exactly what it says on the tin – any dispute or regulatory investigation with a financial services aspect. More often than not the client is a financial institution, such as a bank or a fund, but I have also acted for other corporates. My experience to date includes among other things contractual disputes, claims for fraud and recovery of assets, and regulatory investigations. The most enjoyable moment of my career so far was when my first case went to trial. While the majority of cases settle before that point, trial is the culmination of everything that we do as litigators to prepare the best case for our client, and it can be very rewarding to see the hard work pay off in court.

My work often involves, to a greater or lesser extent, issues of foreign law or procedure. This can be because the client is based abroad, or because English law does not govern the dispute, or because there are claims or investigations proceeding overseas. At the moment I am working very closely with colleagues in a number of our overseas offices on a multi-jurisdictional investigation, which reinforces to me on a daily basis that I am part of a truly international firm.

One thing that I value about Hogan Lovells in general, and my team in particular, is the support that I receive from colleagues at all levels, and especially from partners. While I am constantly challenged and encouraged to push myself to the next level, there is always a network of people from whom I can seek advice – not only because they are market leaders in their fields, but also because they are genuinely interested in my continuing development as a lawyer. I try not to take that for granted, and I endeavour to offer the same support to others, especially now that I am a trainee supervisor.

If I could give one piece of advice to someone who is applying for a vacation scheme or a training contract, it would be to look for a firm that is committed to investing in your development – not only because it is integral to delivering the best service to clients, but because it will bring out the best in you.

Becky Wales

Partner

  • Degree: History of Art, University College London
  • Joined: Aug 2003
  • Practice Area: Corporate litigation, investigations, contentious insolvency and fraud
  • Office: London
  • Favourite book: A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
Becky Wales

I joined Hogan Lovells in August 2003 and qualified into the firm's Litigation, Arbitration and Employment practice in 2005 as a commercial litigator. The first major case on which I worked was a multi-jurisdictional dispute concerning a controlling stake in a Russian mobile telecoms company, Megafon. I was involved in the litigation on that case in the British Virgin Islands and Bermuda, and in my first couple of years as an associate, going to court meant first getting on an aeroplane.

Since then there has been plenty of opportunity for me to go to court a little closer to home. Over the last few years I have been part of the core team working on the BTA v Ablyazov litigation – the largest fraud case ever to come before the English commercial court. Along the way I have had the privilege to work on applications for injunctions, worldwide freezing orders, search orders, Norwich Pharmacal orders and committals for contempt of court – the sorts of things that sounded like the most fun when I learned about them at law school. Aside from the big cases, I also work on smaller commercial disputes and provide advice on discrete issues from time to time too.

I consider myself to be very fortunate to have such interesting work to do but, even more so, to be part of such a strong team at Hogan Lovells. Many of my colleagues are leaders in their fields – they are ambitious, intelligent and commercially minded but are also down to earth and approachable.

My advice to future applicants is to find out as much as you can about your options when you are applying for a training contract and to keep an open mind about what might suit you. Try to get work experience if you can and remember that being a lawyer is about much more than knowing the law.

Jon Chertkow

Partner

  • Degree: Law, Pembroke College, Oxford
  • Joined: Feb 2002
  • Practice Area: Financial Institutions
  • Office: London
  • Favourite place: The Maldives
Jon Chertkow

I started with the firm as a trainee in 2002, having attended a summer vacation scheme which convinced me to apply. My training contract involved seats in construction, product liability litigation and a client secondment at the internet bank, Egg, as well as financial institutions where I subsequently qualified into the commercial and retail banking team. I became a senior associate in 2008, of counsel in 2012 and partner in 2013.

I advise banks and lenders on the regulation of banking and credit products such as current and savings accounts, credit cards, loans and mortgages. This includes advising on new products, assisting with litigation, negotiating commercial contracts – such as credit card co-branding agreements, where a retailer partners with a bank to offer a branded-credit card to its customers – and doing corporate transactional work where clients want to buy or sell loan portfolios or banking businesses. This is an area of huge political focus at the moment which makes the work incredibly varied, challenging and exciting. The variety of the work means that no two days are ever the same and I rarely do the same task twice.

For me, the best thing about Hogan Lovells is our people. We spend a huge amount of time in the office so it is important to be surrounded by people who we like, respect and who share similar values. I felt an important part of the team from a very junior level and have always been given the training and support needed to develop as an associate and now partner.

Apart from the people, the breadth of practice really sets Hogan Lovells apart from other firms. My own practice area is a case in point. No other City firm has a team as large as ours specialising in this area. We are top-ranked in Chambers and highly regarded by our clients but it is not a practice area I knew about when I joined the firm. Instead, it was an area I discovered as a result of my client secondment. Joining Hogan Lovells gives trainees the chance to discover a number of similar, highly regarded areas that would not be available at other large commercial firms.

It can be difficult for students to identify the differences between firms from recruitment materials alone. I would encourage anyone interested in a career in law to visit firms and speak to current trainees through a campus event, open day or vacation scheme as well as talking to other students who have experience of a particular firm. The experience I gained on my vacation scheme allowed me really to get to know the firm and made the decision to apply an easy one!

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Critical thinking test

Critical thinking tests assess how well you can absorb and analyse information. They measure your ability to evaluate assumptions, arguments, deductions, inferences and conclusions. They're good predictors of success in roles where you need to see things clearly from many angles and separate facts from assumption.

To get a feel for the intellectual demands you'll experience from day one, take our sample test now. We use the Watson-Glaser critical thinking test. Each question takes around five minutes. These are just sample questions though. We won't use any of your answers in any part of our selection process.

Be sure to read the feedback that follows the test. It will help you with the formal assessments you'll take if you apply for one of our training contracts.