The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Multi-disciplinary firm Blaser Mills is based in the South East and has over 80 lawyers working out of five offices in the region. The firm acts for businesses and individuals, and has a strong corporate and commercial offering. The firm also has expertise in family, private client, personal injury and has a highly-regarded criminal practice.
The star performers
Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Crime: general; Debt recovery; Employment; Family; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation.
Represented a consumables company in collecting £480,000-worth of debt from one of the client's customers; acted for a client in a dispute with the claimant who alleged the client had undisclosed profits since 2008; represented a client that was charged with murder, resulting in a reduction of the minimum term of the sentencing; acted in multiple assault cases, manslaughter caused by dangerous driving and criminal licensing offences; advised Ardmore on a £7m development project in Coventry, a matter involving a site acquisition, development with subsequent sales and the completion of a Compulsory Purchase Order.
Blaser Mills represents both individuals and corporate clients on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters.
Blaser Mills is a 'friendly regional firm with City-quality work'. The 'respectable firm' has a 'clear vision' and practises in a 'wide variety of areas' of law which appealed in particular to one trainee who wanted the opportunity to 'do seats which mattered to me'. Trainees relished 'the ability to have client responsibility from the start' with 'more client contact' and 'more accountability' being natural consequences of this. The South East-based firm offers 'hands-on, high-quality work' where trainees are 'listened to and looked after' by 'lovely' colleagues, especially the 'warm and approachable partners'. Notably, there is a 'very good work/life balance' at Blaser Mills, indicating that the firm respects employees' lives outside of the office. The 'communication between different offices' could be improved, as could the 'process in respect of retention and seat allocations'. However, being at a 'smaller firm' means that trainees 'get given a much broader range of things to do'. As an example, some trainee highlights included 'watching the ups and downs of a Joint Settlement Meeting in a multi-million pound case' and conducting 'advocacy in my first six months because my supervisor realised how important it was to me'. A less favourable moment was 'being in a seat that I had no interest in' and 'having to work a 12-hour day to keep on top of a large caseload', although it was admitted that this was 'exceedingly rare'. To work at a 'friendly' and 'supportive' firm which 'knows where it is going', apply to Blaser Mills.
A day in the life of...
Jade Brooks second-year trainee, Blaser Mills LLP
Departments to date: Dispute resolution, residential property, personal and serious injury
University:University of Sussex
Degree:LLB Law 2(1)
8.15am: I commute via train and every morning I have a short walk through the station to our High Wycombe office.
8.30am: I usually get to the office around 8.30am. This allows me plenty of time to have a cup of tea and catch up with some of my colleagues before the working day starts. A colleague has brought in homemade cake to celebrate the office's one year anniversary. Each morning I begin by checking my emails and compiling a to-do list for the day.
9.00am: My current seat is in the dispute resolution team. I am really enjoying working in this area as there is such a great variety of work and a broad range of clients. My first task is to draft a letter before claim for a large commercial client relating to a case of misrepresentation. This involves identifying the issues in dispute, conducting research into the cause of action and analysing the evidence in support of the claim. A large proportion of my day-to-day work involves drafting. This is extremely varied and includes drafting letters, claim forms, applications and instructions.
11.00am: Once I have completed drafting the letter, I move onto drafting a mediation statement which sets out our client's position in advance of a mediation my supervisor and I will be attending in a few weeks' time. This is the culmination of a large amount of preparation work, including compiling a list of proposed mediators, liaising with the chosen mediator, drafting instructions to counsel and preparing the mediation bundle. I then meet with my supervisor to ensure we are both prepared.
12.45pm: At lunch I tend to head out of the office with a few others. We are close to the town centre where there are plenty of restaurants, cafes and shops. However, today is our office's monthly 'Pizza and Performance Review'. This is an informal meeting led by one of the partners to discuss the performance of our departments and any upcoming changes. Seeing how the firm is performing is highly motivating as I know I have contributed to that.
2.00pm: My supervisor and I attend a meeting with a new client concerning a dispute relating to a facility agreement. I had reviewed the documentation earlier and prepared a memo for my supervisor summarising the claim and the evidence in support. During the meeting I take an attendance note which will later be referred to when drafting the initial letter of claim. Regularly attending client meetings with my supervisor has helped me develop my communication skills and learn how to establish a rapport with clients.
3.00pm: A dispute I have been working on has recently settled and a payment was due to be received today. I receive an urgent message to contact our client as the funds have not been received. I take our client's instructions and liaise with the defendant's solicitors to rectify the situation. There can often be occasions when urgent matters crop up which you may not have accounted for. An ability to prioritise your workload is essential.
3.30pm: This afternoon I have been asked to draft a standstill agreement for a claim where limitation will soon expire to enable us to continue with settlement negotiations. This is followed by drafting an application for a third party debt order on a claim concerning a breach of contract.
6.30pm: I usually finish my day around 6.30pm. Tonight I'm meeting a few of the other trainees for dinner. Most of us have recently changed seat and this gives us an opportunity to catch up on what is going on in the other offices.
About the firm
Address:40 Oxford Road, High Wycombe, HP11 2EE
Telephone: 020 3814 2020
Facebook:www.linkedin.com/company/blaser-mills; Facebook: www.facebook.com/BlaserMills
Senior partner: Alka Kharbanda
Managing partner: Jonathan Lilley
Total partners: 22
Other fee-earners: 50
Total trainees: 8
Other offices: Amersham, London, Rickmansworth
Who we are: Blaser Mills is a leading law firm based in the South East with over 60 lawyers.
What we do: We are a full-service firm, offering a comprehensive range of legal services to businesses and private individuals. We act for blue-chip companies that are household names as well as SMEs, entrepreneurs and not-for-profit organisations.
What we are looking for: We are proud of the diversity of our lawyers in terms of their experience, background and approach. We look for diversity in our trainees too. As well as a strong academic background, excellent communication skills and analytical ability, we look for talented individuals who have a strong team ethic, ambition and who embrace responsibility. Trainees are right at the heart of the firm and nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the fact that the majority of our partners trained with us. Progression to partnership is strictly on merit and excellence is continuously rewarded.
What you'll do:Training starts in September with a full induction day that introduces trainees to the firm. Trainees will have varied seats (4x6 months) in both non-contentious and contentious practice areas, giving them the opportunity to gain experience across a broad range of legal disciplines in a variety of locations. From day one, trainees are given plenty of responsibility and hands-on experience, with the ongoing support from experienced training supervisors. In addition, we operate a mentor scheme that gives trainees confidential access to recently qualified lawyers who can offer first-hand experience and advice.
Perks: Trainees are enrolled into our pension scheme and are given life cover from day one. Throughout the traineeship, trainees are encouraged to join young professionals networking groups, seminars and events to continually develop themselves professionally. As part of the mentor scheme, trainees will get together three times a year for social events.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 4-5
Applications received pa: 300
Percentage interviewed: circa 5%
First year: £27,000
What's involved:Assessment day, including written exercises, group exercises and interviews.
When to Apply:
Training Contract: By 29 June 2018