The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Hill Dickinson has developed its capabilities over 200 years. Offering the full gamut of legal services, the firm is renowned for its shipping expertise and also earns praise for its commercial litigation, insurance and real estate work. The firm has an impressive international reach, with over 1,350 lawyers stationed in offices across England and in Hong Kong, Monaco, Piraeus and Singapore.
The star performers
Aviation; Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial litigation; Commodities: physicals; Crime: fraud; Debt recovery; Education; Employment; Family; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Licensing; Local government; Pensions; Professional negligence; Shipping; Travel: personal injury; Travel: regulatory and commercial.
Advised Nidera on a $3m GAFTA arbitration; acted for Cenkos Securities on Reneuron Group’s £68.4m placing on the London Stock Exchange; acted for pharmaceutical manufacturer Nupharm Group on its sale to Quantum; advised Eddie Stobart Logistics on the sale of its UK automotive logistics business to BCA Market Place; advised Johnson Service Group on its £69.4m acquisition of London Linen Supply.
AstraZeneca; BNP Paribas; BP; Cargill; Europcar; JP Morgan; NHS England; Royal Caribbean Cruises; Swiss International Air Lines; Tradex.
The striking ‘buzz and energy’ and ‘collegiate atmosphere’ of Hill Dickinson are both widely praised. This ‘friendly firm’ is well known for its ‘marine expertise’ and enjoys a ‘strong reputation in the North West’. A ‘very attractive’ stand-out factor is the ‘friendly, relaxed atmosphere’ as ‘everyone on all levels is down-to-earth and approachable’, although several respondents reported there are ‘not enough opportunities for trainees across offices to come together’. The ‘small trainee intake’ of about four a year at the London office results in ‘many opportunities for responsibility’ as well as a ‘large variety of work and exposure to big deals everyday’. The firm offers ‘excellent training’ so trainees are not ‘stuck at the photocopier’ but get their hands on ‘good-quality work’. Some trainees grumbled about the ‘lack of communication’ and ‘cost-cutting of items such as tea, coffee and stationery’. That said, supervisors deliver ‘useful feedback to consistently improve the skills’ of their new recruits, plus the firm has an ‘international client base’ with some opportunities for international secondments. Best trainee moments include ‘being offered an NQ position’, ‘receiving a congratulatory email from a very important client’ and ‘making a without-prejudice call to negotiate with another solicitor early on’. Keep Hill Dickinson in mind if you are striving for a ‘lot of early responsibility’ at an ‘ambitious firm’.
A day in the life of...
Katie Somerville trainee solicitor, Hill Dickinson LLP
Departments to date: Property, corporate, commercial litigation, Manchester
University:The University of Chester
Degree:Law and Journalism, 2(1)
The Manchester property team is a very busy department which has grown dramatically in size and expertise during my seat, creating an interesting and dynamic working environment which has provided me with a wealth of experience to stand me in excellent stead for my next seat and beyond.
My typical day starts at the office between 8am and 8.30am (depending on how disciplined I have been at getting out of bed that morning!). I begin my day by checking emails and prioritising my to-do list. I then double-check my diary for the day and for the rest of the week to make sure I am aware of any deadlines I have approaching. This seat has required sharp organisational skills as I have been responsible for assisting on live transactions whilst also managing post-completion tasks for a number of matters at any given time.
From the very beginning of my seat I was given the opportunity of drafting important transactional documents and as such my time in the property team has been significant in improving my drafting skills. I am regularly involved in drafting a wide variety of documents such as leases, licences for alterations, licences to assign and deeds of covenant.
I have recently assisted on a matter where our client was taking a lease of an office premises in London and, as has been the case with a number of matters I have worked on, I was given the opportunity to be involved in the matter from inception to completion and encouraged to take ownership of the transaction. There were a number of ‘sticking points’ within the licence for alterations and the lease and I was responsible for negotiating these issues with the solicitor acting for the landlord, ensuring at that all times I was reporting back to the client and taking the client’s instructions on how they wished me to proceed.
It is rare that a week passes where I am not assisting on a matter for which I am given responsibility for the due diligence side of the transaction. This entails carrying out a review of the title to the property or piece of land for which the client is taking an interest in, ordering and reviewing the appropriate searches and surveys and compiling a comprehensive yet succinct report for the client. I find this work particularly interesting as you gain an extensive in-depth knowledge of the property with which you are dealing.
The level of client contact during my property seat has been brilliant. As I have been allowed to take on the role of number one point of contact on several transactions, I am given the opportunity to liaise with clients over the phone and by email on a daily basis and this has served to enhance my communication skills and let me build a good rapport with clients.
I have also been fortunate enough to work alongside the property finance team on a number of matters. This again has added further variety to my days. The team advises a number of leading banks on secured lending transactions and as such the nature of the work forms a property/banking hybrid which I have found particularly interesting.
I would highly recommend this seat to the current and future trainees as in my experience the quality and variety of the work and clients and the responsibility afforded to trainees makes it a rewarding and valuable seat. I hope that this article has provided a useful insight into the day in the life of a property trainee. If you would like any further information about my time in this seat please feel free to contact me.
About the firm
Address:No.1 St Paul’s Square, Liverpool, L3 9SJ
Telephone: 0151 600 8000
Senior partner : David Wareing
Managing partner : Peter Jackson
Other offices: Manchester, London, Sheffield, Monaco, Piraeus, Singapore, Hong Kong.
Who we are: We’re an award-winning, full service international law firm of around 1,150 people, including 190 partners and legal directors, with big clients, great people and fantastic opportunities.
What we do: We’re a full-service commercial law firm, so we cover all areas of law across a number of sectors including insurance, retail, aviation, sports, media, health and marine.
What we are looking for: Academically, you’ll need at least a 2(1) and ABB or equivalent. We want our trainees to show a commitment to learning and the insight and awareness to understand our clients’ demands.
What you'll do:Due to our small intake (up to 12 trainees for 2019), there’s lots of interesting work to go around and you will be given challenges from the start. Your mentor will be on hand throughout to offer advice, guidance and support.
Perks: As well as a host of fantastic training opportunities, we also provide some pretty good perks: pension, travel insurance, buying and selling holiday entitlement, permanent health insurance and life assurance, season ticket loans, BUPA cover, and we’ll even give you your birthday off (paid).
Sponsorship:LPC fees paid and maintenance grants of £5,000 for the north and £7,000 for London.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 12
Applications received pa: 1,000 approx
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £24,000 (Northern), £32,000 (London)
Second year: £26,000 (Northern), £34,000 (London)
Newly qualified: up to £40,000 (Northern), £58,000 (London)
Total partners: 190 (including legal directors)
Apply to:Emma McAvinchey-Roberts – talent and development manager, Jennifer Hulse – senior talent and development advisor.
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017 for 2019 contracts.
Apply by 31 January 2017.