The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Headquartered in Exeter and with additional offices in London and Bristol, Michelmores is a top 100 firm offering a broad range of business, real estate and private client services. The firm represents major clients across the full range of practice areas, including intellectual property, corporate tax and agriculture and estates.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate tax; Crime: fraud; Debt recovery; EU and competition; Employment; Family; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Intellectual property; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Project finance and PFI; Public sector: education; TMT: IT and telecoms.
Advised Ducalian Capital on fund incorporation and funding rounds for its investments; assisted Aero Stanrew on the sale of its shares to TT Electronics; advised York Global Finance on an application by Lehman’s UK administrators for directions on the distribution of a £4bn surplus; advised Finnfund on a $30m debt facility for sustainable forestry development in Tanzania and Uganda; advised African Agriculture Fund on convertible debentures.
BDO; Deloitte; Flybe; HM Prison Service; KPMG; The Met Office; The Metropolitan Police Service; Mint Velvet; Port of London Authority; RNLI.
In the words of one respondent, Michelmores is an ‘ambitious firm always seeking opportunities to grow and develop without compromising on the quality of services it provides’. Trainees are inspired to ‘feel passionate about opportunities for the future’ as the firm has an ‘entrepreneurial approach’ to expansion. The full-service firm is a ‘good fit’ for aspiring lawyers who are not ‘set on a practice area’ as it has ‘strengths in several different areas’, with the ‘three core departments’ being real estate, business and private client. Trainees enthuse about ‘exposure to interesting cases and City-quality work while still maintaining a work/life balance’. Top trainee moments include ‘taking ownership of a client matter’ and ‘being sent to the London office last-minute to assist on a large corporate deal’. Trainees love the ‘level of responsibility’ and have grown into their roles as a ‘point of contact for many clients who rely directly on advice’ from them. Client contact is one of the nine categories in which the firm is named Lex 100 Winner. Collectively, trainees report there is some ‘uncertainty over seat choices’ which can be ‘stressful’ as there isn’t ‘enough time for those who need to move offices without worry’. But trainees have noted ‘there are conscious efforts to improve this area including regular discussions with HR’. Michelmores is a ‘nice place to work’ as there is a ‘friendly, encouraging and genuinely helpful environment’, plus trainees enjoy being ‘challenged and receiving constant encouragement to strive to be a better lawyer’. For those looking for an ‘ambitious firm’ that will encourage you to develop as a lawyer, Michelmores ‘outshines the competition’.
A day in the life of...
Jasmine Davis trainee, Michelmores LLP
Departments to date: Tax trusts and succession, planning and contentious probate/family
Degree:BA History (Hons), 2(1)
8.00am: I live a few miles outside Exeter so my day starts with a short (traffic-dependent!) commute. I lift-share with another trainee and so we chat about how our week is going.
8.40am: I try to get to my desk a little before 9.00am. This gives me time to get a coffee from the onsite café before starting work.
9.00am: Before I start anything, I review my to-do list and see what I need to complete during the day. Typically an email will have arrived overnight which needs to be dealt with promptly. If my supervisor has been working late, I normally come in to find some additional tasks on my desk.
9.30am: I have a quick catch-up with my supervisor and another lawyer in my team. We regularly catch up so that we can discuss what we are all working on and it gives me an opportunity to ask any questions.
9.45am: Time for another coffee. The office is very social so whenever you make a coffee you generally end up having a quick chat with someone from another team.
10.00am: I am currently in the planning team and in this seat I have been given really good opportunities for client contact. This morning I am drafting a complex highways agreement, so I get my head down. I have to consider the instructions carefully, adapt a precedent to make sure it fits the instructions and draft some bespoke clauses. This involves making a call to the client to clarify their instructions.
12.00pm: I step away from drafting and check my emails. I have been given responsibility for a number of small files and so I have a few emails from clients with queries. The benefit of running your own files is that it encourages you to really think about what the client wants to achieve and the service the client expects. It also gets you involved in billing, which is a key skill for qualification.
12.30pm: My supervisor and I review my drafting. He points out how to improve the draft and it is ready to send to the client for review.
1.00pm: Lunchtimes are often spent in our conservatory café. The trainees usually get together and chat. Somehow the chat always seems to come back to seat rotations!
2.00pm: Back at my desk and I am working on a sector report. Michelmores operates a sector approach and each trainee is assigned to one of the sectors. I am in the private wealth sector and attend regular meetings. I am responsible for drafting the meeting minutes and preparing the quarterly sector report, which updates the management team on our progress.
4.00pm: In the planning team I am often asked to help clients draft objection letters in relation to planning applications. I have a telephone conference with a client and my supervisor to discuss a draft objection letter. As I have had a lot of involvement in the drafting process, my supervisor lets me lead the call. Michelmores is great for giving trainees direct exposure to clients and real responsibility. The call goes well and this is a real confidence boost.
5.00pm: I review my to-do list and start to think about what I need to achieve tomorrow. I finish off a few tasks I have been working on during the day.
6.00pm: I normally leave the office around 6.00pm, though this can vary depending on what I have on. We have an in-house gym and so I try and use this when I can muster up the motivation. We are all currently training for the Michelmores 5k charity run! At the end of the week the junior lawyers usually get together for some informal drinks.
About the firm
Address:Woodwater House, Pynes Hill, Exeter, EX2 5WR
Telephone: 01392 688688
Senior partner : Will Michelmore
Managing partner : Malcolm Dickinson
Other offices: Bristol, London
Who we are: Michelmores is an ambitious top 100 law firm, with over 450 staff, 67 partners and a turnover in excess of £30m.
What we do: We provide business, real estate and private client expertise to a wide range of local, national and international clients.
What we are looking for: We are looking for team players with real ambition, who relish responsibility and are as passionate about the success of the firm as we are.
What you'll do:We run a structured training and development programme, which aims to equip trainees with the key skills needed to be a successful solicitor, both technically and personally. Trainees spend six months in four different teams, working closely with a designated supervisor and receiving high levels of responsibility and client contact from an early stage.
Perks: Private medical insurance; season ticket loan; in-house gym, including access to an in-house personal trainer (Exeter only) or corporate membership at selected gyms (all offices); group personal pension plan; subsidised café (Exeter only); a day off for your birthday.
Sponsorship:We fully fund the LPC with the University of Law and offer a £5,000 bursary.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 8
Applications received pa: 250
Percentage interviewed: 15
First year: £24,000 (Exeter)
Second year: £26,000 (Exeter)
Newly qualified: £38,000 (Exeter)
Total partners: 67
Apply to:Gabby Essame, HR advisor.
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017 for 2019 training contracts.
July 2017 (apply by 28 February 2017).