The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Headquartered in London, Memery Crystal is a single-office firm formed in 1978 and since developed into one of the country’s leading independent firms, with a renowned dispute resolution team complementing the firm’s work on small to mid-level commercial transactions. The firm is often called upon to represent international clients, and enhanced its profile in November 2015 by announcing an exclusive strategic partnership with China’s Yingke.
The star performers
Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: general; Commercial property: retail; Employment: employers; Flotations: small and mid-cap; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Mining and minerals; Property litigation; Property finance.
Defended Gulfsands Petroleum in breach of contract and statutory claims brought by a former CEO; advised Pala Investments on the $10m bridge financing of Alufer Mining’s bauxite project in Guinea; advised longstanding broker client Brandon Hill Capital on San Leon Energy’s £29m fundraising; advised T.G. Acquisitions on the £90m acquisition of the Thomas Goode store in Mayfair; advised Electric Word on agency agreements in Italy and the UK, and assisted the client with a dispute in Australia.
African Thunder Platinum; Asda; BMJ Publishing Group; Beckman Group; Debenhams; Deloitte; Imperial Pharmaceuticals; Sapcote Developments; Shanta Gold; Ubiquitous.
Memery Crystal offers trainees ‘excellent exposure to quality work’ in an ‘inviting and friendly atmosphere’. It is a ‘small firm’ with some ‘big clients’, and trainees are given real responsibility as they are ‘trusted to do work which is of a quality usually reserved for qualified solicitors’. This gives trainees ‘hands-on’ experience which allows them to ‘progress and develop’ during the training contract. It is evident that the London firm ‘genuinely cares’ as it offers ‘sociable hours’ and a ‘decent work/life balance’. Notably, there is a lot of ‘partner/trainee interaction’ so trainees have the chance to build ‘good relationships’. There is also ‘good client contact’ and the work on offer is ‘varied and interesting’. There is the ‘very occasional late night’ and ‘during the summer months’ there can be ‘incredibly quiet periods’. Best trainee moments include ‘acting as a lead assistant preparing for a hearing and drafting witness statements’, ‘working on several multi-million pound re-financing deals’ and ‘drafting a niche legal document from scratch with no precedent, which received praise’. Trainees also report ‘attending court hearings with clients’ and ‘running calls with clients’. One criticism is the perception that ‘different departments operate independently with little interaction between them’ which can lead to a ‘lack of mixing’. Trainees suggest a communal area ‘would help inter-departmental relations’. There is ‘no face-time culture’ and ‘everyone is incredibly welcoming’, so if you’re on the lookout for a ‘good/work life balance’ without compromising on work quality, take the time to research Memery Crystal.
A day in the life of...
Rebecca Mohan-Kenny second-seat trainee, Memery Crystal
Departments to date: Dispute resolution, real estate
University:King’s College London
Degree:American Studies BA (Hons) 2(1)
8.30am: I arrive at work and check my inbox. The nature of the real estate department means that as a trainee you take ownership of many of your own files, as well as assisting on larger scale transactions, so it is important to take stock each day and prioritise matters so that nothing is overlooked.
9.00am: We have work experience students with us this week so I check with my colleagues to see if there is any work that the students can assist with, or hearings that they can attend to try and gain some experience during their week at the firm.
9.45am: My supervisor asks me if I have availability later in the day to attend a planning project team meeting at the offices of one of our client’s project manager and take a note in the afternoon. After confirming that I do, I prepare copies of the necessary documents to bring to the meeting so that we are not unduly delayed. I then re-visit my to-do list to reorganise my day in light of the new meeting in the afternoon.
11.00am: I attend a meeting with the finance director and a representative from Thomson Reuters regarding the firm’s use of online resources such as Practical Law and Westlaw . As trainees, we spend a large amount of time using these online resources in all departments. During the meeting we discussed a number of things including which features are and are not utilised, what potential training may be of assistance firm-wide and the development and progression of the online resources themselves.
12.15pm: When I return from my meeting, having bought some lunch, I see that I have received some documents back from the solicitors on the other side in a re-financing that I am working on. I review the documents in light of the previous correspondence and then send them on to my client for instructions.
1.00pm: We are struggling to obtain contact information for one of the neighbours on a development project as the property is owned by an international company. I complete an international company search directly with the relevant corporate registry but I am told that the results can take five-seven working days. I update the client accordingly in order to manage expectations.
2.30pm: My supervisor and I leave the office and travel to the planning project team meeting. There is a lot to discuss and the meeting is long and detailed, however ultimately very productive.
5.30pm: I get back to the office after the meeting and because it is relatively quiet I dictate my attendance note while the discussion is still fresh in my mind so as to ensure that it is an accurate, contemporaneous note.
6.15pm: I receive further drafts for a matter I have been involved in relating to the ongoing negotiations for an assignment which have been progressing for a few months. I speak to the client on the telephone to discuss the developments in the latest draft and take their instructions. I then revert to the solicitors on the other side with comments.
7.00pm: I leave the office and make my way to join a few colleagues at the pub.
About the firm
Address:44 Southampton Buildings, London, WC2A 1AP
Telephone: 020 7242 5905
Fax:020 7242 2058
Managing partner : Nick Davis
Who we are: Headquartered in London, Memery Crystal is a single-office firm which was formed in 1978 and has since developed into one of the country’s finest independent firms, with a renowned dispute resolution team complementing the firm’s work on small to mid-level commercial transactions.
What we do: Our main practice areas include equity capital markets, M&A, banking/debt finance, tax, employment, employee incentives, IP, commercial contracts, real estate and dispute resolution. Much of our work has an international dimension and we have a strong focus in key sectors including natural resources and technology. We are ranked among the leading firms acting for AIM-listed companies and we were named ‘Dispute Resolution Team of the Year’ at the 2014 Legal Business Awards and Litigation Team of the Year at the 2014 Lawyer Awards.
What we are looking for: We are looking for high-achieving individuals with a strong academic background, from any discipline, who are commercially minded. We welcome applications from ambitious, driven and enthusiastic candidates who demonstrate a willingness to take on responsibility.
What you'll do:Trainees will rotate seats every six months and we aim to give second-years their preference in seat choice. During their training contract trainees are given on-the-job training and mentoring and are invited to all sessions in the firm’s internal training programme. Due to our partner-led service, trainees will work closely with partners from all departments, and will receive regular feedback in addition to their appraisals every three months with their supervisor and a member of HR.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday (increases to 30 days with length of service), private medical insurance, life assurance, interest-free season ticket loan, subsidised gym membership, group pension scheme, travel insurance, childcare vouchers and cycle to work scheme.
Sponsorship:The firm funds the GDL and the LPC.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 8
Applications received pa: 300
Percentage interviewed: 15
First year: £35,000
Second year: £37,000
Newly qualified: Competitive
Total partners: 27
Apply to:Helen Seaward, human resources manager
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017 for 2019 training contracts.