The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Top 100 firm Michelmores is headquartered in Exeter and has additional offices in Bristol and London. The firm offers a wide variety of services, including commercial, corporate, private client and litigation, and employs over 400 staff. Michelmores works across a range of sectors, including finance and investment, real estate and private wealth.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: claimant; Corporate and commercial; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate tax; Crime: fraud; Education; Employment; Family; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Insurance litigation: for policyholders; Intellectual Property; Local government; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Project finance and PFI.
Acted for St Austell Brewery in relation to its acquisition of Bath Ales and its portfolio of pubs and restaurants; acted for the ex-finance director of The Plastic Surgeon Limited regarding his decision to exit his role and sell his interest in the company; assisted Intelsat Global Sales & Marketing with obtaining an emergency injunction against a telecoms provider in India for breach of contract and secured a summary judgment against the company; advised Rowe Estates on a £12m facility with Barclays for a restructuring of the client's property portfolio; acted for the Sutton family in the successful defence of a High Court claim issued against it by land promoter Gladman Developments.
African Agricultural Fund; Great Ormond Street Hospital; Flybe; Indigo Group; Octopus Investments; Plymouth University; Succession Group; The Met Office; TOMY; York Global Finance BDH.
With a 'strong South West presence plus opportunities to do secondments in Bristol and London', Michelmores carries out 'top-quality work' on behalf of its 'expanding national and regional client base'. Instances of 'challenging work' include 'conducting my own client meeting', 'taking the lead on a complex litigation matter' and 'conducting much of the work on preparing a case for detailed assessment'. On top of this, 'the whole firm gets behind charity events', and one trainee greatly enjoyed 'organising the firm Christmas bazaar to raise money for charity'. Respondents praise the 'good working hours' and 'desirable work/life balance'. The workload isn't always steady; there are 'periods where work dries up' but there are also times when it can be a challenge to 'manage conflicting workloads'. There is a 'friendly and inclusive culture' at Michelmores, and the firm has a 'reputation for dealing with employees fairly'. Indeed, inclusivity is one of the five categories in which the firm is named a Lex 100 Winner this year. One trainee says that senior colleagues 'go out of their way to explain things or include me in interesting cases to ensure that I get the most out of each seat'. One criticism is that 'integration between offices could be better', and 'the different feel of the offices in each location' is a further gripe. Trainees appreciate that 'people really care about our training', and that there is a genuine interest from supervisors 'in getting and listening to constructive feedback'. There is also a 'collective determination to continually improve the firm'. To train in a 'laid-back environment' at a firm with 'an entrepreneurial and opportunistic spirit', make a note of Michelmores.
A day in the life of...
Rob Bailey trainee, Michelmores LLP
Departments to date: Agricultural property and banking, restructuring and insolvency
Degree:BA History (Hons), 2(1)
8.00am: I live in Taunton about 30 miles from Exeter. Conveniently, Michelmores' Exeter office is located just off the motorway and the commute only takes about 30-40 minutes so I usually leave around 8.00am. When I feel really motivated I try to leave home at 7.00am to make time for a quick morning session at the office's in-house gym.
8.40am: I review my emails and my to-do list. As it looks quiet today, I spend a few minutes getting up to speed with news relevant to my current seat - the fast-moving world of banking, restructuring and insolvency.
9.00am: I start working through my to-do list and emails. I have received an email from a client. I discuss the email with my supervisor and together we work out the best course of action. I make the necessary telephone calls before replying to the client's email updating them.
10.00am: My supervisor forwards me some finance documents to review. The finalised documents are to be signed today at a client meeting but we have only just received the first drafts from the lender's solicitors. My supervisor is unable to attend the meeting so asks me to go in her place. Not such a quiet day after all! I look through the documents, note some problematic clauses and suggest some amendments. Once these have been reviewed by my supervisor, I draft an email to the client. The client agrees with the proposals and I set them out in an email to the lender's solicitors.
12.30pm: I take lunch with the other trainees. I forgot my lunch today so I pick up a panini from the in-house café, which is great for such emergencies. It's another sunny day in Devon so we sit outside and enjoy the fine weather. The start of the seat rotation process is imminent and this is the main topic on the agenda.
1.00pm: I return to my desk to find that there is still no news on the amendments. I have, however, received an email from a partner in the team requesting that I carry out some research. Insolvency is a law-heavy area of practice and there have been a number of recent changes to legislation and other legal developments. As a result, legal research is a central part of my workload.
1.15pm: I receive a response to my proposed amendments and update the client, who is happy to proceed with the transaction. I make sure everything is in place and ready for the meeting before returning to my research.
3.00pm: I meet with the client and manage to calm my nerves. Michelmores is great for giving trainees direct exposure to clients and I have attended plenty of client meetings previously, but have rarely had such a major role to play. The meeting goes well and I return to my desk with a boost of confidence.
5.30pm: Having completed my research and emailed my findings to the partner, I check that my to-do list is up-to-date and prepare to leave the office. The work hours of a trainee at Michelmores vary and depend on the daily workload. Unlike some firms, there is no culture of expecting trainees to stay late for the sake of it and we are encouraged to leave on time unless there is something urgent to do. I rarely leave much later than 5.30pm, except during very busy periods when longer hours become the norm. When the weather is nice, the trainees sometimes get together at a local beer garden after work. This week, however, we are conserving our energy for the Junior Lawyers' Division Ball at the end of the week!
About the firm
Address:Woodwater House, Pynes Hill, Exeter, EX2 5WR
Telephone: 01392 688688
Senior partner : Andrew Oldland
Managing partner : Malcolm Dickinson
Other offices: Bristol, London
Who we are: Michelmores is an ambitious, top 100 law firm, with offices in Exeter, Bristol and London. We offer a full service of legal expertise to a wide range of high-quality local, national and international clients.
What we do: The firm works across three strategic sectors - finance and investment, real estate and private wealth.
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
Training contracts available for 2020: 8
Applications received pa: 250
Percentage interviewed: 15
First year: £26,000 (Exeter)
Second year: £27,500 (Exeter)
Newly qualified: £40,000 (Exeter)
Turnover in 2016: £33m (+10% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £271,000 (-8%)
Total partners: 64
Apply to:Gabby Essame, HR advisor.
What's involved:Video interview, followed by an assessment day comprising an interview, verbal reasoning assessment, written assessment, group task and an article discussion with a partner or senior associate.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2020: By 30 June 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.