US Top 50 Firms in London Rank5

New York’s Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is a juggernaut of a firm best known for big-ticket M&A. Indeed, it broke through a significant milestone back in 2015 when it advised on more than $1trn of deals and can be found advising on the biggest takeovers and disposals around the world each year. And while Skadden’s largest practice area by partner headcount is corporate, litigation is the next largest, adding significant balance to the practice. Skadden is widely viewed

New York’s Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is a juggernaut of a firm best known for big-ticket M&A. Indeed, it broke through a significant milestone back in 2015 when it advised on more than $1trn of deals and can be found advising on the biggest takeovers and disposals around the world each year.

And while Skadden’s largest practice area by partner headcount is corporate, litigation is the next largest, adding significant balance to the practice.

Skadden is widely viewed as one of a handful of pre-eminent US firms, with all of its financial metrics generally significantly above most of its competitors. Like most of its elite rivals, Skadden’s approach to the global legal market is characterised by its reputation for quality within its core client base of multinational corporates, financial institutions and governments.

It wasn’t always that way. As it says itself, back on April Fools’ Day in 1948, “Skadden began as a scrappy upstart among a sea of established ‘white shoe’ law firms in New York”. Much has been written about the firm’s early days – notably in Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers and Lincoln Caplan’s Skadden: Power, Money, and the Rise of a Legal Empire. Skadden was founded by outsiders and took on the work that the traditional firms, run by white Anglo Saxon Protestants, turned their noses up at: litigation and hostile takeovers. When that work suddenly became fashionable, the firm was ideally positioned to take advantage.

Skadden built its reputation for top level M&A during a spate of hostile takeovers in the 1970s while the next decade saw it spread its wings overseas, although its home jurisdiction continues to be the firm’s centre of gravity. A significant majority (around 300 partners) of Skadden’s total 370-strong partnership are based in the US while seven of the firm’s largest 10 offices are in the US, with New York comfortably the biggest at around 150 partners and Washington DC second with around 60 partners.

Skadden launched in London in 1988 and its office here is now its largest outside the US and one of the largest in revenue terms of the US firms in the UK, although like most of its elite group rivals it rarely dips its toe into the lateral hiring market and total partner headcount remains comparatively low. Skadden ranked at number five in The Lawyer US Top 50 Firms in London report 2017, with a UK turnover of $190m. Hong Kong is Skadden’s second-biggest office outside the US with 11 partners.

There was no change in the firm’s geographic profile in 2017. The firm pulled out of Australia in early 2016, but corporate finance co-chair Adrian Dietz continues to work from Sydney. Five offices – Munich, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney – have only one partner while 13 of Skadden’s 22 offices have fewer than five partners.

TRAINING CONTRACTS

What is the trainee salary at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom ?

1st year trainee: £45,000

2nd year trainee: £50,000

What is the NQ salary at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom ?

NQ: £118,000

Number of trainees: 18

SKADDEN FACTS

Founded: 1948

Location: London Canary Wharf