A-Z Of Employers: Lovells

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The Independent Online

What does it do?
Lovells is one of the world's leading business law firms, which began life in London as Lovell and White in 1899. For a century, it remained wholly British, but a rash of mergers beginning in 2000 brought in branches from Europe and further afield, at the end of which, the name of the new, much larger, international firm reverted to just Lovells. Its work often involves complex commercial disputes snarled up in two or three different legal systems. Areas of expertise include intellectual property, construction and engineering, competition and labour law. Recent big deals Lovells has had a hand in include the merger of SABMiller and Bavaria, two of the world's biggest brewers. As solicitors to the tobacco giant, BAT, the firm also recently became ensnared in a flutter of gossipy news stories about the former Conservative Chancellor Kenneth Clarke, who is on BAT's board.

Vital statistics:
The firm employs more than 3,000 staff around the world in 26 leading financial centres of Europe, Asia and the United States. Fifty per cent of staff work in the UK.

The office:
The headquarters are in the City of London, just round the corner from the Old Bailey.

Is this you?
Around 90 graduates every year are given training contracts, from a field of applicants that can number 2,500. On top of a very good degree, you'll need a convincing case as to why you see law as a long-term career. Lovells also looks for evidence that you've taken the lead in university clubs and societies, in holiday work, sports or other high achieving activities.

The recruitment process:
Unlike some protracted selection processes, this one is short and sharp. A careful study of application forms, sent via http://graduates.lovells.com , narrows the field directly to those invited to an assessment day. This tests critical thinking, team working, motivation and general commercial knowledge. Training lasts two years and is split into four six-month sections, in different practice areas. Day to day you'll be doing research, drafting letters and documents, undertaking company searches, and attending meetings with clients and counsel. International and client secondments take place in the final year of training.

Top dollar?
Trainee solicitors are paid £29,000 in their first year and £32,000 in the second. On qualification, that is bumped up to £50,000.

Beam me up Scotty?
The firm aims to keep all trainees. Half of Lovells' partners started as graduate entrants. Many trainee solicitors reach partnership within eight years of qualification. All become specialist lawyers in their chosen area of law.

Who's the boss?
Lovells' managing partner is David Harris, who's been a partner since 1986 and specialises in corporate finance and capital markets.

Little known fact:
Even the brightest legal minds were powerless when pigeons colonised the terraces of Lovells' London HQ. So a hawk was taken on, called Hermione, and is now flown regularly from the upper floors to chase away the pigeons.