Linklaters is a City powerhouse and its corporate department has a reputation as one of the best - it's certainly one of the busiest, with the corporate team bringing in the lion's share of profits.
Linklaters acts for all the sorts of clients you would expect on all the sorts of transactions you would expect. Recent deals included advising News Corporation's Independent Management and Standards Committee in relation to all relevant investigations into the News of the World phone-hacking case; advising Lloyds Bank on a £1.6bn securitisation of PFI loans; and represented BP in its $9bn joint venture with Reliance, which involved BP's acquisition of a 30% stake in 23 oil and gas production blocks operated by Reliance. Other clients include JP Morgan, Standard Chartered Bank and Vodafone.
It has a total of 29 offices covering all the major jurisdictions and financial centres around the world.
Turnover rose 3% last year to £1.31 billion. Average PEP was £1.45m. And for the money-minded (so, everyone), note that the 2PQE and 3PQE salaries given here are the maximum possible in the bracket.
Ultimately these sorts of profits don't come with an easy workload, and this may not be the firm to join if you're particularly keen on seeing your home in daylight, or even on public holidays: “there is actually a risk you might be asked to work on Christmas day, New Years Day, Bank Holidays...any given Sunday...”. There are endless complaints of a crippling workload – “you will get flogged. Half to death (and then when you've recovered a bit, you'll get flogged again)." says one PQE. There is massive “internal pressure to bend over backwards, sideways and forwards for clients, even if they don’t really mind about a deadline”, and a “huge amount of face-time”. Criticism also for the building - the view of the Barbican has lost its appeal, and many complain that the inside - despite a lick of paint - is looking a little too shabby these days.
On the upside, there are “loads of parties and events on that people actually want to go to. It's fun, and softens the blow when the hours are tough”. One PQE comments, “surprisingly friendly for a MC firm. (Some) partners that actually seem to care about your having a life away from the firm”. Praise too for the perks, “great facilities - gym, health centre, medical cover, beauty salon, restaurant and shop”. Well what do you expect if you’ve got to be in office 24/7? However Links lawyers get to work on the biggest deals around, "generally a nice bunch of people and the work is first rate”. And the “jelly beans in meeting rooms continue to delight”.
The hours are tough, and this can be a pretty hard, commercial firm. But Linklaters is still one of the best outfits in the world, and offers all the advantages that go with its status. One of the best names to have on your CV.
Note: the figures in RollOnFriday's table are for salaries plus bonuses, therefore pay may be smaller than it first appears. The firm also pays different amounts within a PQE band depending on the lawyer's performance. The figures RoF has used in the table are for a median salary and median bonus for a median performer - high performers will earn more.