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From Andrew Nealon Partner Energy Transactions & Projects (ETP) Training Principal and Talent/Diversity Lead
There is a warm, Texan sensibility to the culture of our London office. From the start of your experience, you will have opportunities to work on high-profile matters, from a variety of practice areas, in a friendly and inclusive environment where lawyers help you learn and succeed. We have a culture of extremely high performers who have a distinctly down-to-earth way of getting things done, which I believe is rare in a top-tier firm.
As one of the first U.S. law firms in the UK, we have seen our London office grow significantly from roots in the early 1970s. The Vinson & Elkins (V&E) London office opened as an international outpost, serving U.S. clients operating in the energy industry. Today, the majority of our matters are generated from the London partnership, and our work is much broader. Often with cross-office collaboration, we handle an exciting spectrum of sophisticated transactions, projects, and disputes for clients around the globe in the most important financial, industrial, and digital industries.
What to Expect
We actively seek prospective Trainees who exhibit both entrepreneurial and collegial behaviours. We are looking for candidates with evidence of academic excellence and an ambition to get their hands on challenging and meaningful work. Demonstrated work experience and extra-curricular activities are also important. Our Trainees are almost always selected from participants who complete a week-long summer Vacation Scheme with us, which offers genuine insight into the two-year Training Contract experience with V&E. From the client- led tasks, such as research projects, drafting documents, participating in internal strategy discussions, joining calls and meetings with clients and opposing counsel, as well as mentoring, support, and infrastructure the firm provides to ensure lawyers thrive, you will be confident as to whether V&E is right for you. If you are inquisitive and eager to learn, there is a genuine opportunity for you to be in the driving seat of your career. If what you have read so far resonates and you are excited about the prospect of becoming a Vinson & Elkins Trainee, with a good story to tell us as to why, I very much look forward to receiving your application. Andrew
Entrepreneurial drive is a core component of how we advance in all practices, and how you will thrive at V&E. We are immensely proud of the expansion of our highly successful Private Equity and Arbitration practices in London, a smart complement to our market-leading energy nucleus. With our experience managing complex, multi-billion dollar deals in the energy industry, V&E’s extension of M&A, high-yield debt, leveraged finance, and private equity into other sectors has been a natural and fruitful evolution. While we have concentrated our efforts to expand in London, it is not simply for growth’s sake – it is based on clear strategy and our desire to deliver a greater service to our clients.
Pick Your Practice
Lawyers in the Vinson & Elkins London office advise on matters in a number of practice areas. While there is a strong focus on work originated in the London office, there are frequent inter-office engagements given the cross-border nature of almost everything we do.
Energy Transactions & Projects
engineering team. The practice is particularly well-known for its representation of the Panama Canal Authority in its multi-billion dollar arbitrations concerning the expansion of the canal. Consistently recognised by the Global Arbitration Review GAR 100 (2008-2021) as a leading firm, V&E’s International Dispute Resolution and Arbitration practice is distinguished by a depth and breadth of experience that few firms can match.
A global practice with particular experience handling energy transactions and projects across Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and central Asia, lawyers advise on the construction, development, and financing of major projects around the world. This practice is particularly experienced in advising state-owned companies such as the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic and Uzbekneftegaz, and is a market-leader in Africa and the CIS region. The team is recognised for advising on energy M&A activity across the globe, with work in the power sector, as well as with upstream, downstream, midstream, and oilfield services transactions. Globally, V&E has advised on more energy M&A transactions (by deal count and value) than any other law firm since 2005, according to Mergermarket .
M&A Transactions, Including Private Equity & Special Situations
We advise private equity funds, special situations investors, and other alternative capital investors in cross-border equity investments across a range of industries. Recent matters include financial asset and non-performing loan (NPL) acquisitions and investments in the renewable energy and infrastructure industries, with a particular focus on telecommunications. The team has considerable experience with investments across Europe, and includes lawyers who are qualified in France and Spain. V&E’s M&A practice and lawyers are recognised in Legal 500 U.K. 2021.
Dispute Resolution, Including International Arbitration & Construction
Our disputes team, part of the larger V&E Litigation group, advises clients on complex arbitration proceedings, including investment treaty arbitration, commercial litigation, and construction matters (contentious and non-contentious), often in the world’s most challenging jurisdictions. The team is renowned for its experience in the construction and energy industries, and unlike many peer firms, there is a dedicated construction and
Advising both banks and sponsors/corporates on a wide range of capital-raising transactions, the team operates across multiple sectors, with a market-leading position in oil and gas high-yield offerings and other offerings in the natural resources and infrastructure sectors. Our high- yield team has represented the issuers and underwriters in high-yield debt offerings since the inception of the high- yield market, with more than 150 high-yield debt offerings with a total transactional value exceeding US$80 billion completed in the last five years.
Our London Tax team handles contentious and non- contentious tax matters, with experience in advising private equity sponsors on their investments in a multitude of industries and on investments by corporates and state- owned companies into energy investments across the globe. Our Tax team regularly advises on complex cross- border transactions involving jurisdictions across Europe, central Asia, and Africa.
Lawyers in this practice advise clients from around the world on UK, U.S., and international employment matters. We assist businesses with cross-border transactions, managing legal issues at all stages of the employment relationship, from hiring to termination, advising on compliance with local laws, and handling complex employment disputes.
Our lawyers advise private equity funds, special situations investors, and other alternative capital providers on a wide range of cross-border finance transactions. We have particular experience in real estate finance, asset- backed lending and receivables finance, leveraged finance products, and alternative capital investments across a range of industries. A technical and evolving area of law, our team is accustomed to working on highly negotiated, bespoke finance instruments spanning a number of jurisdictions.
Blackstone Equinor Goldman Sachs Helios Towers
J.P. Morgan KKR Riverstone SOCAR
The Application Process
Click here to apply online for V&E’s Open Day, Vacation Scheme, and Training Contract. Click here to view tips and details of the application and interview process.
Open Day 2022: Tailored for students who plan to apply for the summer Vacation Scheme in 2022, which typically means we invite first-year law students and penultimate year non-law students. We also require that students have at least AAB at A-Level (or equivalent). Vacation Scheme 2022: Eligible students should be ready to commence a Training Contract in September 2024, having completed all required studies. An application for a Vacation Scheme in 2022 creates an automatic application for a Training Contract commencing in 2024. Training Contract 2024: Preference is given to candidates who have carried out a vacation placement with us. In addition, students must achieve at least a 2:1 degree and hold at least AAB at A-Level (or equivalent). We are looking for Trainees with commercial awareness, rounded personalities, and the ability to think creatively. Sound judgment and a willingness to take initiative is essential for V&E Trainees.
Compensation & Benefits
V&E offers the following:
• Funding for V&E the preparatory course(s) and examinations for the SQE or, where eligible, the LPC • Maintenance grant for courses commenced after the date of a Training Contract offer
• First-year Trainee salary: £50,000 (2021) • Second-year Trainee salary: £55,000 (2021) • Newly Qualified (NQ) Associate salary: £153,300 (2021)
• Benefits: Medical insurance, dental insurance, travel insurance, life insurance, Simply Health cash plan (which includes wellness benefits), subsidised gym membership, access to private GPs, employee assistance programme, pension, cycle scheme, and interest-free season ticket loan.
Key Program Dates
2022 Open Day Spring 2022 (For students who are due to graduate in 2024)
2022 Open Day applications open: 1 November 2021 – 4 February 2022
2022 Vacation Scheme June – August 2022 (2-4 students for each one-week placement) 2022 Vacation Scheme applications open: 1 October 2021 – 14 January 2022 2024 Training Contract Commences September 2024 (Two-year engagement with 4-6 Trainee intake) 2024 Training Contract applications open: 17 January 2022 – 30 June 2022
Day in the Life
Grace Oyegbile, Trainee Solicitor
The structure of the summer Vacation Scheme at V&E provides students with real insights into the life of a Trainee Solicitor at the firm. Two to four students join for one-week placements, which provide greater exposure to the firm and opportunities for building personal relationships. At the start of the week, I was assigned a Trainee buddy who introduced me to everyone around the office and helped me understand the day-to-day role of a Trainee. Having a familiar face around the office was great as I felt I could ask all of my questions.
Vacation Scheme Summer 2018, Training Contract 2020 - 2022 During the final year of my law degree, I struggled to find a firm that would not only offer me the high quality training I desired,
but also reflect the values that are important to me. For my Vacation Scheme, I chose Vinson & Elkins because of its approach to training and the size of the firm’s Trainee intake. I also met V&E Trainees prior to applying and received an excellent endorsement on the culture.
During my Vacation Scheme experience, I participated in real client work, including conducting research for a client, drafting memos, and amending documents. I also sat with a partner in Energy Transactions/Projects, including on various client calls, and observed how knowledgeable the partner was about their client’s business. The non-rotational structure meant that to get work, I was encouraged to interact with other lawyers, knocking on doors and offering my help. This gave me the opportunity to complete work in different practices across the firm. As a woman from a black ethnic background, it was important to me that the firm I selected not only had a diverse culture, but also an inclusive one. Throughout my experience at V&E, I have felt at ease, and I’m able to be myself. Everyone is approachable, making time to explain things and offering their support, getting to know everyone rather quickly, including through social events.
V&E gave me the independence to shape the Training Contract how I wanted, and it means you hit the ground running as a newly qualified lawyer.
– V&E Associate, Chambers Student 2020
Now, as a Trainee, my Vacation Scheme experience is proving to be invaluable as I begin my career!
Freddie Wright, Associate, Mergers & Acquisitions
go through periods of hard work, managing competing expectations and “plate spinning,” as that experience prepared me for the step up to junior associate. Having recently returned from a client secondment opportunity, I gained additional valuable insights from the client side. I am excited about my future at the firm!
Vacation Scheme Summer 2016, Training Contract 2018 - 2020
Looking back over my two-year Training Contract at V&E, I cannot overstate how well it prepared me
Lauren-Emma Parrott, Associate, Complex Commercial Litigation Vacation Scheme Summer 2016, Training Contract 2018-2020 Having studied for a non-law degree, I felt a little apprehensive
for life as a newly qualified lawyer at the firm. Structurally, the Training Contract is unique in being arranged as a fixed-seat “rotational” contract for the first year, and a floating-seat “non-rotational” contract for the second year. I sat in the M&A and Capital Markets (MACM) group in my first six months and the Complex Commercial Litigation (CCL) group in my second six months. This allowed me to immerse myself fully in each group’s work and to really get to know my colleagues.
about making a career change to law. But as soon as I stepped foot in V&E on the first day of my Vacation Scheme, I knew I needn’t have worried. I was fully embraced by the Litigation team and was involved in every aspect of their day-to-day workings – joining a client meeting and being involved in team discussions about ongoing matters. I wasn’t confined to an office and given abstract drafting or research tasks, like I had previously experienced at other firms. I was made to feel immediately welcomed, by a team who was keen to share their experiences and knowledge with me from the get-go.
Exposure to Different Areas of Law
Throughout my training experience, I improved my work product and thought processes through both formal reviews and informal feedback. I then moved into my third seat in the Finance group. As this seat took place during the non-rotational part of my Training Contract, I was able to work closely on Finance matters while seeking out additional work from the MACM group. I built up a solid grounding in finance knowledge, learning from a partner with whom I shared an office (and who also trained at the firm), while being part of a MACM team acting for a leading private equity firm as it exited one of its most significant and successful infrastructure investments in Europe. I continued to be involved in deals for the MACM group as I moved into my fourth seat, in the Energy Transactions/ Projects (ETP) team. The experience I gained during the previous 18 months was put to good use in assisting the ETP team with their M&A transactions.
Inclusive Teams & Interesting Work
Not only do I value the team’s inclusivity and approachability, but the type of work that I experienced on my Vacation Scheme, throughout my Training Contract, and today as an NQ, is unlike any other. Most of the disputes I work on involve parties from completely different jurisdictions, with interests in projects that are even further from home. The nature of the disputes is frequently underscored by political and cultural issues between state- entities and private companies, which adds yet another layer to some already complex contractual legal issues. I imagined that because of the complex nature of the disputes, it would be a while before a Trainee was given responsibility on those matters. How wrong I was! V&E is excellent at recognizing good work and the abilities of its Trainees, and then assigning more challenging tasks the next time around. That is certainly one of the things I value most – I am constantly being challenged to expand my knowledge and practice, all the while being supported by a team who wants to see me succeed and grow.
Due to the size of the Trainee intake (now six) and the size of the London office, responsibility finds you very quickly at V&E. In particular, during the second year of my Training Contract, I had to manage the expectations of working with different deal teams within the same group and working across different groups. As with most of the training at V&E, I experienced a sharp increase in responsibility that comes with learning “on the job.” Whilst challenging at first, I found it vastly more rewarding to
Equity, Inclusion & Outreach
Louise Woods, Partner, Complex Commercial Litigation Diversity Council Office Lead, Co-Chair of London Women’s Initiative and Talent/Diversity Lead
strive for our partnership to one day look like our incoming Trainee cohorts. We are committed to sustaining our focus on diversity and, in particular, the retention of our women and diverse lawyers, and to do so we work to ensure our initiatives permeate our structure, policies, and programmes. As a Trainee in London, you have the opportunity to be involved in our programming. We have an active Diversity Council that is responsible for running our diversity-focused events, our schools outreach mentoring programme, and our book club, which is focused on thought-provoking texts designed to educate and promote frank and honest discussions with colleagues. The Women’s Initiative in London works to create and sustain a variety of programmes that support our women lawyers, nurture their development, and promote their advancement to all levels of leadership within the firm. The initiative benefits all of our lawyers, as the programming includes business development training, mentoring programmes, and family-friendly initiatives. Other V&E diversity initiatives include our LGBTQ+ Alliance and our New Parent Mentoring Programme, which have both seen a rise in members in our London office.
Leading with Inclusion
At V&E, our inclusion commitment starts at the top with members of our leadership who oversee our firm-wide diversity and inclusion initiatives. I hold an office lead role for a number of the firm’s diversity initiatives to support participation and progress in London, as I believe strongly in the work we are doing to achieve equality — inclusive of diverse interests, backgrounds, perspectives, race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, religion, and physical ability. We recognise that being a more diverse firm with a truly inclusive culture will help drive our long-term success, both in retaining our top talent and in serving our clients’ needs. Our participation in diversity-focused career fairs and recruiting programmes allows us to identify top notch legal talent. We have made progress in London with our entry-level Trainee recruitment over recent years, and we
I hope you will make time in your schedule to get to know Vinson & Elkins!
Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. 8
Lucy Jenkins, Partner, Finance Pro Bono Office Lead, Diversity Council Office Lead, and Co-Chair of London Women’s Initiative and Talent/ Diversity Lead
healthcare and health education to children and the wider rural communities of Malawi; and • Providing counsel to Working Families, a UK charity which supports individuals on a variety of employment issues and more specifically, in 2020, on the impact of COVID-19 on employment rights.
Visit Our Firm Initiatives Pages To Learn More
Pro Bono & the Community
Our pro bono initiatives are a tangible way to connect with the human side of the practice of law and to apply our experience toward supporting our communities. At Vinson & Elkins, our lawyers devote significant time and resources to the legal needs of individuals and organisations that cannot afford representation. Our pro bono work is sourced by our lawyers interested in specific issues. From senior partners through Trainees, we donate our counsel, skills, and time to serving others. The long tradition of pro bono service at V&E has become a broad and diverse practice area with an average of more than 30,000 hours of pro bono legal service provided each year by our lawyers. Lawyers in the London office get involved in a wide variety of initiatives including projects for Trust Law, working with NGOs and charities on often cross-jurisdictional matters, and representing litigants in person in Court of Appeal proceedings, through the RCJ Advice Centre. A few recent pro bono representations include: • Advising a charitable foundation focused on the promotion of history, language, and culture in a force majeure dispute with a hospitality venue related to COVID-19; • Working with 10x10 Philanthropy, a live crowdfunding charity which matches young philanthropists and volunteers with grassroots charities, to formally establish its UK operations, including assisting with incorporation of a UK company limited by guarantee, registration with the Charity Commission, and registration for gift aid with HMRC; • Assisting on employment and contractual matters for World Medical Fund, a UK charity which brings
As a member of the London Diversity Council during my Training Contract, I was able to establish a new outreach mentoring programme working with a local inner-city school. I have really enjoyed taking the lead on the project, delivering presentations about working in law and supporting students with their university applications and preparing for interviews. It has been a hugely rewarding initiative.
- Afzaal Abidi, V&E Trainee Solicitor
True to our collegial Texas heritage, we treat our Trainees as fully integrated members of our client and deal teams, giving them direct experience of quality work while providing a supportive environment in which to learn and grow.
- Alex Msimang, Partner, Energy Transactions & Projects and London Office Managing Partner
V&E’s Graduate Recruitment Team
All questions and correspondence relating to graduate recruitment should be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Nealon Training Principal Partner, Energy Transactions & Projects
Graduate Recruitment Website: www.velaw.com/careers/london-graduate-recruitment/
London +44.20.7065.6025 email@example.com
Grace Gibson-Venner Talent Manager London +44.20.7065.6009 firstname.lastname@example.org
James Pritchard Talent Assistant London +44.20.7065.6059 email@example.com
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