The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Irwin Mitchell is one of a few large law firms to provide a diverse range of legal services to both businesses and private individuals. The firm is divided into two divisions: personal legal services and business legal services with particular strength in litigation.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Agriculture and estates; Asset based lending; Civil liberties and human rights; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial property: development; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Crime: general; Debt recovery; Employment; Family; Financial services (contentious); Insolvency and corporate recovery; IT and telecoms; Media and entertainment; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Transport; Travel: personal injury
Advised core client Shawbrook Bank on a £45m refinance and syndication with Wells Fargo of the Arlington group of companies as part of the acquisition by Arlington of Magal Engineering; representing 12 claimants who suffered significant psychological injuries in the Costa Concordia Cruise disaster of 2012; advising YouTube personality Em Ford on agreements with a major agency and a global cosmetic brand; assisting The National Union of Journalists on the lease agreements for its recently refurbished premises at Gray’s Inn Road; representing almost 100 claimants in a group action against Thomas Cook Tour Operations regarding gastrointestinal illnesses suffered during holidays taken in Zante, Greece in 2016
ABN Amro Commercial Finance; Arbuthnot Commercial Asset Based Lending; Denbies Wine Estate; Goethe-Institut; Hitachi Capital; Investec Bank; London Championships Limited; PayPoint Network; The Sports Sphere; Wimpy Restaurants
Irwin Mitchell’s ‘quality vacation scheme’ prompted many aspiring solicitors to apply for a training contract at the firm. IM is a ‘leader in personal injury law’ and has an ‘excellent reputation for claimant clinical negligence’, but its additional focus on business legal services offers a fantastic opportunity to gain grounding in this area of law. The level of training varies from department to department, but overall it’s of a ‘very high quality’. ‘Work/life balance compares favourably against similar firms but remuneration does not’. As for seats, ‘choices are limited’ and it can feel as though you are ‘cornered into one area of the firm’s business’ as a result of the training contract structure (recruits undertake three four-month seats and one year-long seat if they opt for the private legal services route). Nevertheless, supervisors are great; ‘the amount of time, effort and resources they put into your development’ is ‘incredibly good’. The ‘working environment is inclusive’ and there are ‘great social opportunities’. ‘Uncertainty about whether we’ll be kept on’ worried new recruits and ‘the office facilities and IT systems need an update’. Trainees rated ‘getting a written recommendation from counsel following a final hearing’, and ‘attending a joint settlement meeting where we secured a multi-million-pound settlement for a boy injured during his birth’ as their best moments. ‘Being told that I was leaving too early each day (i.e. around 5pm)’ and ‘not enjoying a whole seat’ were some of the more difficult experiences. If a ‘positive and effective learning environment’ is on your wish list, Irwin Mitchell is for you.
Why Irwin Mitchell?
Three trainee solicitors share why they decided to join Irwin Mitchell
Greg Mazgajczyk, trainee solicitor, Manchester BLS
The trainee intake in the Manchester office is relatively small so I have taken on a lot of responsibility during my first two seats. In real estate I have managed my own transactions from start to finish, for example selling three commercial and two residential properties at auction, managing the assignment of a portfolio of leases, and the negotiation of new leases. As a trainee you have to be prepared for the unexpected – within six weeks of starting my training contract I was asked to appear before a District Judge in the County Court to make an urgent application, which was daunting at the time but an excellent experience.
Thomas Gregory, trainee solicitor, Birmingham PLS
I chose to apply to Irwin Mitchell over other firms as I thought it would be the right fit for me, particularly a role within the firm’s Personal Legal Services (PLS) stream. The thought of a career in a law firm focusing exclusively on commercial work did not appeal to me as I was keen to work with people, not just businesses. Having worked at Irwin Mitchell both as a paralegal and now as a trainee solicitor, I have relished the opportunity to help clients with a variety of problems, obtaining a huge sense of satisfaction by knowing that I was making a positive difference to their lives. I have attended meetings with clients both at our offices and at their homes, and now feel that I have developed a positive manner with clients that will benefit me throughout my career.
Olivia Bell, trainee solicitor, Leeds BLS
There are a fantastic variety of diversity networks you can choose to be part of while working at Irwin Mitchell. Throughout my time as a trainee, I have been part of the IMAspiring network, which is focused upon the importance of social mobility. The group organises the PRIME initiative, which provides local students from disadvantaged backgrounds with the opportunity to visit one of our offices for a week of work experience. During their time with us, the students not only undertake departmental work, but also take part in a variety of workshops to develop other skills.
It has been really rewarding to be part of this initiative, which undoubtedly helps students to develop more confidence in their abilities and career aspirations. A particular highlight for me was delivering a presentation to a large group of students from local schools, to provide them with an insight into my journey to a career in law, life at Irwin Mitchell and the PRIME initiative.
About the firm
Address:Riverside East, 2 Millsands, Sheffield, S3 8DT
Telephone: 0370 1500 100
Group chief executive: Andrew Tucker
Other offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Chichester, Gatwick, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough (consulting office), Newbury, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton.
Who we are: Irwin Mitchell is a national firm, and one of a few law firms to provide a diverse range of legal services to business and private clients.
What we do: We offer a broad range of personal and business legal services to businesses and private individuals.
What we are looking for: Those who have the ability to be creatively minded, demonstrate resilience, use their initiative, display empathy and have strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
What you'll do:Trainees will have three training seats and a qualification seat, giving them the chance to gain practical experience in diverse areas of law, in their selected stream.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday, health plan, recognition scheme, two CSR days a year, sports team sponsorship, season ticket loan, contributory pension scheme, death in service cover, critical illness cover.
Sponsorship:If your application is successful, we will meet all the fees associated with your LPC and, if applicable, your GDL if you have not started or completed your studies when offered a training contract. We also provide a maintenance grant to help you through your studies.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 300+
Other fee-earners: 1,500
Total trainees: 102
Turnover in 2017: £235.2m (+6% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £627,000
Trainee places available for 2021: 45
Applications received pa: 2,000+
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £25,000 (regional), £36,000 (London)
Second year: £27,000 (regional), £38,000 (London)
Newly qualified: Dependent on the office and division you qualify in. Band between £40,000-£60,000
Apply to:Craig Thompson, head of graduate recruitment
What's involved:Online application, video interview and assessment centre.
When to apply: By 30 June 2019.
Summer:June 2019 (apply by 13 January 2019)