“At his best, man is noblest of all animals, separate from law and justice, he is the worst” (Aristotle). Despite United States has biggest number of law firms over the world, legal advice services have their roots in Europe including UK. In Europe You can find from small “boutique law firms” with few employees but highly specialized, to the “Big Law” with more than 1,000 lawyers and a lot of supporting personnel to guaranty their clients the best legal advice service available. Some of these law firms are able to bill their clients up to 600 EUR/hour or even more, and of course this high tariff has a reflect in their personnel salaries. Responsibility it´s also very high: trademarks, merges and acquisitions, litigation & dispute, etc. Highly professional, motivated, and well paid personnel are required at these firms. They look for the best graduates and offer them very interesting career plans.
Law firms are typically organized around partners, who are joint owners and business directors of the legal operation; associates, who are employees of the firm with the prospect of becoming partners; and a variety of staff employees, providing paralegal, clerical, and other support services. An associate may have to wait as long as 11 years before the decision is made as to whether the associate “makes partner.”
Talking about salaries, in London firms associates can earn between 80.000 and 100.000 GBP, and even 200.000 GBP for top senior associates.
Some of the top ranked law firms in Europe are: Clifford Chance (UK), Allen & Overy (UK), DLA Piper International LLP (UK), Fidal (France), Gide Loyrette Nouel (France), Salans (France), Hengeler Mueller (Germany), Taylor Wessing LLP (UK), Garrigues (Spain), BonelliErede (Italy), etc.
In addition to Law Firms, Law graduates or undergraduates are also required at consultancy firms like PWC or Deloitte, and legal departments of industrial, engineering, medical, financial or retail companies.
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