The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
European law firm Fieldfisher has market-leading practices in many dynamic sectors, such as energy, financial services, life sciences and media. The firm has more than 400 lawyers and its main areas of practice are corporate, IP, technology and regulatory law. Fieldfisher has offices in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, China as well as a Silicon Valley office in the US.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Brand management; Commercial contracts; Commercial property; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Data protection; EU and competition; Financial services; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Franchising; Fraud: civil; Intellectual property; Investment funds: retail funds; IT and telecoms; M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Professional discipline; Tax litigation and investigations; Travel.
Assisted Abercrombie & Fitch Company with ensuring that its digital and e-commerce strategy was data protection compliant; advised BBC Worldwide on its purchase of a 10% stake in Curtis Brown; advised McGraw-Hill Education on an edTech deal with VitalSource for the distribution of MHE's eTextbooks and educational content using the VitalSource digital learning platform; represented PricewaterhouseCoopers as liquidators of Goldtrail in a case related to a fraud carried out by the latter's former principal; advised Ensighten on international data protection and privacy matters as well as on a series of transactions relating to the supply of its enterprise tag management system and related digital marketing products.
Access Intelligence; Align Technology; Bibendum PLB Group; Channel 4; Dixons Carphone; GlaxoSmithKline; Gulfsands Petroleum Plc; Karen Millen Group; Sandoz and Hexal; Take Two Interactive Software.
Fieldfisher is an 'expert in many different areas of practice, from technology to medical negligence'. Trainees were drawn to the firm's 'European and international presence' and appreciated the 'in-depth training' which is complemented by 'lots of support'. There is a 'good range of high-quality practice areas' so that trainees can benefit from a 'wider range of seat choices' and recruits appreciate the 'opportunity to be involved in a variety of tasks'. Best moments include 'winning an award which had a small prize for an idea I had' and 'being instrumental in a high-profile litigation case'. Trainees can expect to 'work with many different people at a range of levels' and not only are colleagues 'willing to give up their time' for recruits in a work context, but also 'take the time to get to know trainees as people'. It's not all about work however, with trainees getting involved in 'loads of extra-curricular activities, such as netball, yoga and touch rugby' and a 'huge range of pro bono and CSR initiatives' such as the 'Queen Mary Legal Advice Clinic'. Recruits complained about the 'lack of transparency in how things work, for example promotions, bonuses and availability of jobs' and were frustrated that there are only a 'limited number of options for qualification in the most popular departments'. One trainee also noted that 'it would be good to have a few more perks'. However, there is a 'much better work/life balance' than at some larger firms, which is attributed in part to 'the lack of a facetime culture'. If a firm which has 'interesting practice areas' and 'approachable partners' who are 'friendly and passionate' and who give trainees 'real work' appeals to you, apply to Fieldfisher.
A day in the life of...
Richard Lawne first-year trainee solicitor, Fieldfisher
Departments to date: Real estate (property litigation), intellectual property and technology protection and enforcement
Degree:English Studies and French, 2(1)
6.30am: After a quick breakfast and coffee, I cycle to the gym for my morning workout. I go to a popular gym in the City, which is conveniently located just around the corner from the office.
8.45am: I arrive at the office, grab a snack from the canteen and head to my desk. I check through my emails, taking a note of any urgent messages which have come in, and review my calendar and to-do list.
9.00am: My supervisor arrives and we have a quick catch-up on what's lined up for the day ahead. I work across both the protection and enforcement teams so I'm assigned work by a range of people across the department. The teams are mixed across the open-plan office and everyone is very approachable.
9.15am: I continue with a trade mark clearance search which I'm doing for a client who is looking to register a new trade mark in the EU. I use an online database to review all of the existing trade marks which are similar to the client's proposed mark and draft a report analysing the potential risks.
10.00am: I make a call to an industry expert who we are instructing on a contract dispute. I give him an update on the case and agree a follow-up call for the following week. I then have a quick catch-up with the associate and agree a task list for the week.
10.30am: I attend and take minutes of a conference call with a partner, an associate and counsel regarding a trade mark infringement claim. We discuss the documents received from the client and some of the legal arguments we are considering putting forward.
12.00pm: It's time for the monthly departmental training meeting, in which different fee-earners within the department are asked to present on recent cases and IP news. This month, I'm presenting on a recent decision by the Court of Appeal in a long-running trade mark dispute. The presentation goes well and provokes an interesting discussion about the legal and practical implications for our clients.
1.00pm: Lunch time - I meet a couple of the other trainees and after grabbing some food from the canteen we head outside. The office is located right by the Thames with views across to London Bridge and the Shard. The riverbank makes a great spot for lunch on a sunny day!
2.00pm: An associate asks me to draft a cease and desist letter to a company which is using our client's trade mark without authorisation. I'm familiar with the company as I carried out the investigatory work. Once drafted, I send the letter to the associate for their review.
4.00pm: I am given a research task by a partner on copyright law. I use the legal databases to review case law and commentary and summarise my findings in a note. I forward the note to the partner and put some time in his calendar to discuss.
5.30pm: As a member of the trainee social committee, I help to organise social events for the firm's vacation schemes. I meet with the other committee members to review our budget for the summer vacation scheme and discuss venue options for the farewell dinner.
6.00pm: I've been asked to write an article on a recent patent decision for the firm's IP blog, SnIPpets. I start reading into the decision and review other commentary and previous case law before making a start on the article.
6.30pm: Fieldfisher runs a number of events to raise money for its charity partners and this evening I have volunteered to help out at a quiz night. The event goes well and we beat our fundraising target! After the quiz I have a quick drink in the bar with some colleagues. It's been another productive day in the office.
About the firm
Address:Riverbank House, 2 Swan Lane, London, EC4R 3TT
Telephone: 020 7861 4000
Senior partner: Matthew Lohn
Managing partner: Michael Chissick
Total partners: 223
Other fee-earners: 369
Total trainees: 29
Other offices: Amsterdam, Beijing, Birmingham, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Paris, London, Munich, Manchester, Rome, Milan, Venice, Turin, Silicon Valley and Shanghai.
Who we are: Fieldfisher is a European law firm with market-leading practices in many of the world's most dynamic sectors. We are an approachable, forward-thinking organisation with a particular focus on technology, finance and financial services, and energy and natural resources among other sectors.
What we do: Our growing European network of offices supports an international client base alongside our Silicon Valley and Shanghai teams. Among our clients we count social media sites and high-street coffee chains as well as life sciences and medical devices companies, energy suppliers, financial institutions and government departments.
What we are looking for: We value more than just talent, ambition and great qualifications. We don't believe in developing legal clones; the people who do the best here have interests, experience and a life outside the office. We are a law firm built around people and we want you to be yourself.
What you'll do:We believe in giving you maximum exposure. That's why we offer more secondment opportunities than most law firms. On our training contract, you'll complete four six-month seats. But even before the contract starts, you'll benefit from our training and support.
Perks: We offer a full flexible benefit package that allows you to choose the benefits that suit you. Options include travel insurance, health insurance, gym membership and season ticket loans.
Sponsorship:We offer sponsorship through the GDL (if applicable) and the LPC; we provide our future trainees with a competitive maintenance grant during their studies.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 18
Applications received pa: c2,000
Percentage interviewed: 15%
First year: £37,000
Second year: £40,000
Newly qualified: £63,000
Turnover in 2016: £165m (+34% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £640,000
Fieldfisher offers training contracts in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Apply to:Amelia Spinks.
What's involved: Please see http://careers.fieldfisher.com/application-process.html.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2020: By 31 July 2018.
Spring Vacation Scheme: By 15 January 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 15 January 2018.