The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Blaser Mills has a team of over 75 lawyers based across six offices in the South East region. The firm has built up considerable expertise in family, private client and personal injury cases. The firm also has a highly-regarded criminal law practice.
The star performers
Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Crime: general; Debt recovery; Employment; Family; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation.
Acting in the Operation Elveden corruption probe; handling several murder and immigration cases; acts for severely injured claimants in multi-defendant claims; advised on acquisitions for development and property companies, as well as on the sale and purchase of hotels.
Blaser Mills represents both individuals and corporate clients on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. This includes the pursuit of damages on behalf of claimants, as well as various commercial and contractual deals for small to mid-size companies.
A ‘very dynamic, up-and-coming firm’, Blaser Mills is a ‘regional firm that is expanding’. The ‘all-round open-door policy’ means trainees ‘feel comfortable and valued’. This ‘reputable medium-sized firm offers both a wide range of work and a high level of client contact and individual responsibility’. From the secretaries to the managing partner, people are ‘incredibly friendly and approachable’, a trait which has helped the firm to secure six Lex 100 Winner medals, including for friendliness and job satisfaction. Trainees have enjoyed ‘getting praise from one of the toughest supervisors’, ‘representing the firm at a once-in-a-lifetime hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice’ or simply ‘building their confidence’ day-by-day. With ‘no hand-holding’, trainees are able to ‘get a lot of hands-on experience’ from day one and are ‘treated with respect’. There is the ‘right amount of responsibility and freedom’, which ‘increases over time’. The ‘working hours are manageable’ as the firm is ‘conscious of the importance of work/life balance’. Bug bears include parking arrangements and ‘seat requests not necessarily being listened to’. Trainees should expect a ‘massive learning curve’ and ‘plenty of hard work’ as they will be ‘involved in the day-to-day running of files from the start’. The ‘friendly firm’ provides the ‘kind of environment people want to train in’ with ‘excellent opportunities’. Also, there are ‘lots of experienced lawyers in a variety of areas’, and Blaser Mills is ‘committed to getting the best out of its trainees’ by encouraging them to ‘develop both professionally and personally’. If you like the idea of plenty of responsibility from day one, then Blaser Mills is a good firm to keep in mind.
A day in the life of...
Mohsin Shabbir second-year trainee, Blaser Mills LLP
Departments to date: Corporate and commercial, family and divorce (private), personal and serious injury
University:University of Kent, Canterbury
Degree:LLB Law, 2(1)
8.30am: I am fortunate to live relatively close to our new head office in High Wycombe, so my morning commute is not too strenuous. A cup of tea is a must and it allows to me to speak to my colleagues before I settle down at my desk. Part of my morning routine is checking through my emails and listing all the tasks that I need to do for the day. I meet with my supervisor to talk through my to-do list and identify what tasks need to be prioritised, making sure I build in the various meetings with clients that my supervisor has scheduled.
9.15am: My first task is to draft a letter before action for an international client in relation to breach of contract and IP infringement. I really enjoy drafting these as it allows me to conduct some research, identify the main issues and get involved with some quasi-contentious work in a largely non-contentious team.
10.00am: My supervisor and I have a meeting with a client in relation to a bank debenture. Our client is seeking independent legal advice in relation to the debenture. I had reviewed the documentation with my supervisor a few days previously and had prepared an advice note in advance of the meeting. My supervisor explains the finer points of the debenture to the client and goes through the advice note. Client meetings are great for learning not only about technical legal issues, but also understanding how they impact clients in a business sense.
11.00am: I am assisting my supervisor with the sale of a company and he has asked me to set up a virtual data room (VDR) in order to upload the documents onto a secure and encrypted platform. I organise the electronic disclosure bundle and arrange the VDR. Invites for the VDR are sent out to the buyer’s solicitors.
12.00pm: I meet with my supervisor for a conference call with our LLP client. Having met the client and been involved in telephone and email exchanges with them, I feel I play an integral role. This call is to review the draft shareholders’ agreement that we have prepared for our client’s new venture. A few minor changes are required but our client is keen to sign the documentation as soon as possible. I edit the draft shareholders’ agreement, making the changes. The draft is then submitted to the client for final thoughts.
1.00pm: Lunchtime typically involves a short walk with two of my department colleagues to grab a sandwich and get some fresh air. It is encouraged to go out and have a lunch break so that you come back refreshed and ready for the afternoon.
3.00pm: My supervisor and I meet a new client. They have an interesting and complex set of issues and I am asked to take an attendance note of the meeting, which we’ll refer to when actioning our client’s instructions.
4.15pm: Debrief with my supervisor. Our new client’s immediate and most pressing requirement is responding to a letter purporting breach of contract and director’s duties. I am asked to begin drafting our client’s outline argument and researching the relevant law for review tomorrow morning.
5.30pm: I make the amendments and submit the letter by email to our international client for their approval. I am not likely to receive any approval to send the letter until the morning due to the different time-zones.
6.00pm: I leave the office and head to Egham, Surrey where I have organised a five-a-side football match with my firm against a firm of accountants that we regularly meet with. After the match we head to the pub for a general catch-up, a few drinks and some food.
About the firm
Address:40 Oxford Road, High Wycombe, HP11 2EE
Telephone: 020 3814 2020
Senior partner : Alka Kharbanda
Managing partner : Jonathan Lilley
Other offices: Amersham, London, Rickmansworth, Staines
Who we are: Blaser Mills is a leading law firm based in the South East with 18 partners and over 50 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 don’t have a ‘one size fits all’ criteria for what we look for in a trainee. We believe that different areas of work require different skills and our lawyers are as individual as the clients that we represent. However, our successful trainees have often had one or more of the following attributes: good academic background, enquiring interest in the wider world, ability to work under pressure, excellent communication skills, commercial awareness, analytical ability, sense of humour, attention to detail, energy, resilience and ambition.
What you'll do:Training starts in September with a full induction day that introduces you to the firm. You will need to hit the ground running though, as you start work in your first seat from the second day. You will have four varied seats of six months each, giving you the opportunity to gain experience across a range of legal disciplines. You will be allocated a training supervisor that will offer you a degree of direction, but encourages you to use your initiative and gain independence throughout your time at the firm.
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.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 4-6
Applications received pa: 300
Percentage interviewed: circa 5%
First year: £22,000
Second year: £23,000
Newly qualified: £N/A
Total partners: 18
When to Apply: Closing date Friday 30th June 2017