The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Hill Dickinson is an international commercial law firm with offices in Liverpool, Manchester, London and Sheffield, Piraeus, Singapore, Monaco and Hong Kong. The full-service firm has one of the largest maritime practices, a significant growing presence in the health sector and also earns praise for its commercial, litigation, insurance and real estate work.
The star performers
Asset finance and leasing; Aviation; Banking litigation; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial litigation; Commodities: physicals; Debt recovery; Health and safety; Health; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Intellectual property; IT and telecoms; Local government; Pensions; Personal injury: defendant; Property litigation; Shipping; Sport; Transport; Travel: regulatory and commercial
Advising a French-based company on a JV arrangement with a well-known hotel group for the sale of package holidays to the UK market; acted for Gunvor in a $6m case against sellers of gasoline cargoes; advises Liverpool City Council on all the legal work associated with the design and build of a new state of the art cruise liner terminal on the Mersey waterfront; defending The Lion Group on a $20m dispute alleging non-performance of a long term contract of affreightment; represented Signature Care Homes on a £2m dispute examining the enforceability of restrictive covenants
Amnesty (UK) Group; Baseline Health; GB Taekwondo; Hellmann Worldwide Logistics; Jet2; MySupermarket.com; National Express; P&O Ferries; Thomas Cook; Warwickshire County Council
At Hill Dickinson there’s a variety of seat options on offer, which trainees appreciate. The firm’s ‘strong shipping practice’ enticed those with an interest in international trade and shipping law and, for those who join, ‘exposure to international, reputable clients and top quality work’ is the norm. Rookies learn from ‘incredibly knowledgeable, patient and supportive’ seniors who are ‘willing to give up their time to teach juniors’. Indeed, we’re told that at Hill Dickinson there is a lot of ‘importance and dedication placed on the development of employees’ which no doubt ensures that trainees grow to become skilful solicitors. Though there are a variety of seats available, the seat allocation process is a cause of frustration for trainees as firstly, there is ‘little to no communication until a month or less before each rotation’ which is problematic for those who will be ‘working in an office in a different city’, and secondly, ‘it can be difficult to get certain seats as some departments take on only one trainee per rotation’. Also groaned about were the firm’s IT systems, salary and office building. On the whole though, trainees speak highly of their training contract and fondly remember the times they ‘attended my first completion meeting’, ‘received good feedback from my supervisor and counsel after a $60m eight-day arbitration’ and got to be the ‘only firm representative attending a week-long hearing with counsel and clients’. Going on an international secondment to Singapore was also a highlight for one respondent: ‘it’s been the best experience’. If you’re looking for a firm that has ‘a sensible and realistic attitude to work where the environment is not constantly pressurised’, Hill Dickinson is for you.
A day in the life of...
Elizabeth Finnie trainee solicitor, Hill Dickinson LLP
Departments to date: Abuse and social care, banking and finance, property, construction and engineering (all Liverpool office)
University:University of York
Degree:French and linguistics, 2(1)
I chose to spend my final six months in the construction and engineering team, which I believed would be complementary to my previous seats in banking and property. The three teams work closely together and I was confident that construction experience would stand me in good stead for my future career.
The team is spread across Hill Dickinson’s Liverpool, Manchester and London offices, meaning the firm is well-placed to advise and assist clients across the country. As a result I have had the opportunity to work with employers, contractors and funders from all over the UK, as well as several international clients.
I usually arrive at my desk at 8.30am after a 30-minute walk to the office. After checking my emails, unless an urgent query has come in overnight, I can tackle the next job on my to-do list.
The majority of my work comes directly from the three partners in the team, which means I have the opportunity to collaborate closely with the most experienced members of staff, each with a different area of expertise and interest. The senior fee-earners tend to specialise in either contentious or transactional work, the result being that my work is split between dispute resolution (usually adjudication or litigation) and commercial construction projects.
On the transactional side, my tasks often include negotiating, drafting and amending contractual documents such as building contracts, consultant appointments and collateral warranties; drafting correspondence to update and liaise with clients; reviewing suites of construction documents and reporting to clients on their terms. For clients who use a standard form contract or framework agreement, I have been involved in updating the contracts in line with developing areas of law, such as updating JCT 2011 forms of contracts to 2016 forms, and incorporating the Bribery Act 2010 and GDPR.
On the dispute resolution side, I am often tasked with legal research, reviewing correspondence from the opponent, and drafting correspondence to update clients. I take any opportunity possible to sit in on client conference calls and meetings, and have been involved in taking notes for and subsequently drafting witness statements.
Some of the urgent queries I have assisted on include the administration or liquidation of lead contractors, following which concerned consultants or subcontractors request urgent advice. On these occasions I have undertaken a swift review of the contract documents, payment notices and supporting documentation, and drafted initial advice on how to recover the maximum possible sum. I have also considered other contractual remedies for the client, such as suspension of works and termination of the contract.
My working day usually finishes at around 6.00pm when, before heading home, I review my task list and reorganise it ready for the following day.
About the firm
Address:No.1 St Paul’s Square, Liverpool, L3 9SJ
Telephone: 0151 600 8000
CEO: Peter Jackson
COO: Iain Johnston
Chairman: David Wareing
Other offices: Manchester, Leeds, London, Piraeus, Singapore, Monaco, Hong Kong
Who we are: We are a leading and award-winning international commercial law firm with more than 840 people, including 175 partners and legal directors.
What we do: As a full-service law firm, we offer the full range of commercial legal services, from employment and property and construction to corporate, commercial and dispute resolution.
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 throughout their careers and insight and awareness to understand our clients’ demands.
What you'll do:Due to our small intake (up to ten trainees for 2021) there’s lots of interesting work to go around. You’ll work four seats and 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 grant of £5,000.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 175 (including legal directors)
Other fee-earners: 310
Total trainees: 27
Turnover in April 2018: £96.8m. Profits per equity partner: £294,000
Trainee places available for 2021: up to 10
Applications received pa: approximately 1,000
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £24,000 (Northern), £32,000 (London)
Second year: £26,000 (Northern), £34,000 (London)
Newly qualified: Within a range, up to £40,000 (Northern) or (£58,000) London, dependent on discipline.
Apply to:Emma McAvinchey-Roberts, talent and development business partner or Jennifer Hulse, senior talent and development advisor.
When to apply:Apply by 31 January 2019 for 2021 training contracts.
What's involved:Online application, Watson Glaser, online video interview, assessment centre, partner interview.
Summer:Apply by 31 January 2019.