Qualifying as a solicitor at a magic circle firm in the late 1990s was typically marked by a phone call from a headhunter for a US client preying on impressionable junior lawyers who could be lured away by the promise of eye watering salaries.
A decade ago most US, or as some like to call themselves international, firms in London didnt have any formal training contract programmes in place. Instead they relied on their reputable City rivals to nurture young talent and once the hard work of training them was done the US firms would pounce.
Today the picture is very different. As the December 2007 issue of Lawyer 2B magazine will reveal, an increasing number of US firms are offering training contracts with some planning to significantly boost their trainee intakes during the next three-to-four years.
This is a far cry from the 90s when sceptics argued that US firms were only in it for the short-term and would be on the first plane back to the States at the first sign of an economic downturn. But today US firms are an integral part of the legal landscape with many now merged with legacy City practices including the likes of Gouldens (now Jones Day) and Rowe & Maw (now Mayer Brown).
However, your knowledge of American firms is less than desirable. During our visit to the Manchester Law Fair we conducted an informal survey to test how familiar you are with US law firm names - fewer than ten of you came up with any US firms despite our stand being opposite one. Even more worryingly some of you declined to take part in our survey because you were concerned that you didnt know enough about the US legal market.
Lawyer2B.com has therefore decided to help you to brush up on your knowledge of all things American. Firstly, weve asked Jillian Singh, head of graduate recruitment at Weil Gotshal & Manges, to give us the low down on training with a US firm (Crossing the Atlantic) Meanwhile, in this weeks feature a trainee from Cleary Gottlieb tells us why he decided to join a US firm instead of the magic circle.
And if thats whet your appetite then dont forget to look out for the December issue, which is out next week and contains even more must read info on this subject.