Flexibility in a fast-moving world.
The vast majority of our transactions are international and cross-border in nature. But our international work is driven by the fundamental principle that complex transactions require first-class legal expertise rooted in a deep knowledge of local practice, procedures and culture.
We have offices in the major financial centres of London, Brussels, Hong Kong and Beijing. In other jurisdictions, we prefer to remain agile by leading unified, hand-picked teams of lawyers from market-leading law firms. In 2018 we worked with over 250 law firms in over 100 jurisdictions. By not constraining ourselves to formal alliances, we can, together with our clients, select the firms that are best suited to each particular transaction. That often includes law firms with whom our clients already have close relationships – a clear advantage.
All the firms we work with across the world have a reputation for excellence and independence that matches our own. We have made long-term investments to help foster connections at all levels between our lawyers and those at our partner firms across the world: the level of communication and understanding runs deep.
Our lawyers advise international clients worldwide, which means they travel extensively. In the US, for example, we advise over 100 of the US Fortune 500 companies and other multinational businesses with significant US interests, working closely with independent Wall Street firms and other major firms across the country. Major US clients include GE, The Walt Disney Company and Credit Karma.
Many of our trainees and associates also have the opportunity to work abroad, either in our offices or in one of the firms we work closely with overseas. We believe that our secondments are especially beneficial because they give our lawyers the chance to experience a working culture very different from our own.
On co-ordinating global relations: Ngozie, Head of our International Relations team, History and Politics graduate
Why have an international relations team?
Quality is at the heart of everything we do. Much of our work is cross-border and the International Relations team is there to support the lawyers to ensure that our clients get the very best advice. We are able to assemble the best teams on any matter, in any given jurisdiction, at any given time. That takes a depth of knowledge about the markets in which we operate and flexibility to adapt to our clients' needs. It's vital that we know the leading independent law firms worldwide and build good relationships with them.
How do you do it?
The team works closely with the lawyers to identity the right law firm for each transaction. Our relationships are built over many years of working together and they are constantly evolving to meet the needs of our clients.
We invest a lot of time and resources in getting to know our relationship firms better. We hold joint training programmes, knowledge-sharing initiatives, secondment programmes, conferences and client events all over the world.
Let's take Africa. We have good relationships across the continent and we know these firms really well. Our partners are on the ground regularly and we have seconded lawyers to some of our relationship firms. We host our annual EXPLORE programme that welcomes over 20 lawyers from more than 10 African jurisdictions to our offices in London. We also run an annual Legal Exchange Symposium, which brings together 150 lawyers from across Africa for a two-day event. This level of commitment to building relationships is applied worldwide. It is key to our success.
The Slaughter and May Africa Essay Prize
Africa is an increasingly important part of Slaughter and May’s practice. Many of the firm’s clients have operations in African jurisdictions and it is frequently necessary for the firm to find solutions to challenging legal issues in Africa, in collaboration with outstanding local law firms across the continent. Slaughter and May also provide advice to various African governments.
In light of this, the Slaughter and May Africa Essay Prize is intended to stimulate debate among university students around the important issues to which African commerce and law give rise.
The Slaughter and May Essay Prize joins the firm’s other Africa initiatives, including various training and secondment programmes. For more information, please see the Slaughter and May Africa site and the Trainee Recruitment site.