The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Exeter-headquartered Michelmores also has offices in Bristol and London. The firm offers a wide variety of services, including commercial, corporate, private client and litigation. Michelmores works across a range of sectors, including finance and investment, real estate and private wealth.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Charities and not-for-profit; Contentious trusts and probate; Commercial litigation; Corporate and commercial; Crime: fraud; Dispute resolution; Education; Emerging markets; Energy; EU and completion; Family; Intellectual property; Health and safety; IT and telecoms; Local government; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Project finance and PFI; Real estate; Regulatory investigations and corporate crime
Ongoing representation of York Global Finance as one of the respondents in the Lehman Brothers Waterfall proceeding; advised Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation on its participation in the financing of a LNG power station in Argentina; acted for Kew Green Hotels on the disposals of two separate Holiday Inn hotels: one involving an Indian buyer, and the other involving a Thai buyer; providing ongoing procurement advice to Brighton & Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust in relation to its £420m 3Ts redevelopment programme; acted for RGL Management in group action proceedings against Clydesdale Bank and National Australia Bank, regarding mis-sold tailored business loans
Aberystwyth University; AlixPartners; Deutsche Bank; Downing; Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust; Greensphere Capital; Monarch Aircraft Engineering; St Austell Brewery Company; TJ International; Zoeftig Group
Michelmores has an ‘ambition to grow’. Across the firm’s offices in Bristol, Exeter and London, recruits enjoy working in ‘an excellent environment for learning and development, with a high level of client contact and responsibility for client matters’. The opportunity to undertake ‘high-end work without inordinate pressure’ motivated trainees, who cited the ‘better work/life balance’ as a big selling point of the firm. ‘Senior staff are approachable’ and the culture is generally ‘warm and collegiate’, although this can ‘vary across the different offices’. Some trainees from the Exeter office grumbled about the office’s location outside the city centre, which makes it harder to socialise, especially as there are ‘no pubs nearby’. However, with highlights such as ‘winning a case that I did most of the work on’, ‘presenting training sessions alone to clients on the impact of new data protection legislation’ and ‘attending an international conference abroad’, it is clear that there are plenty of ‘opportunities to learn and develop as practising lawyers’ at the firm. Indeed, Michelmores has earned a Lex 100 winner medal for confidence of being kept on. Increased responsibility can bring with it some downsides, in this case ‘being criticised indirectly by a judge’ and ‘dealing with conflicting deadlines’. But there are ‘lots of opportunities to get involved’ in pro bono and CSR, and first-year trainees are tasked with organising the firm’s Christmas Bazaar for the charity of the year. If you want to enjoy ‘high-quality work without necessarily having to work in the City’ and crave the ‘ability to be involved with matters at every stage’, research Michelmores.
A day in the life of...
Scott Love first-year trainee, Michelmores LLP
Departments to date: Construction and engineering/planning
University:University of Surrey
Degree:Law LLB 2(1)
8.15am: I arrive at the office ready for the day. After making a quick cup of tea I check my emails and update my to-do list.
8.30am: I receive an email from a partner in the construction team who is working on an international arbitration matter. He is keen to get me involved and schedules a meeting to discuss. He attaches some initial papers for me to review.
9.00am: My supervisor and I are seeing a client at 9.30 in relation to an ongoing construction matter. The client has received a number of claims issued against his company. The aim of the meeting is to discuss strategy and next steps. I have previously prepared a schedule detailing each claim and the relevant legal issues. I check the latest draft and prepare copies for everyone attending.
9.30am: My supervisor and I meet the client. I take a note of the discussions and the advice given. Throughout my training contract I have experienced a high level of client contact. It’s a great way to learn some of the softer client care skills needed to be a good lawyer.
10.30am: Following our meeting I prepare a first draft of a letter of advice to the client to come back to later.
11.45am: Next is the monthly ‘trainee meeting’. The meeting is an informal catch up with all trainees and HR. HR gives an update on trainee-related matters and trainees are invited to raise any discussion points. It’s a relaxed and informal platform to raise any concerns, as well as an opportunity to catch up with the other trainees!
12.30pm: I finalise my letter of advice following the earlier meeting. I send a draft to my supervisor for his comments and approval.
1.00pm: I take lunch with the other trainees. Some of the trainees head to the in-house gym, but the majority of us sit and have lunch together. It’s a beautiful day so we sit on the balcony which has amazing views overlooking the Devon countryside. The start of the seat rotation process is imminent and is the main topic on the agenda!
2.00pm: I meet with a construction partner to discuss the arbitration matter. He explains the background of the dispute and how it involves companies in multiple jurisdictions. He wants me to prepare a ‘correspondence timeline’ which highlights and summarises the key correspondence in the dispute applicable to our case. The document that I prepare will be sent to the International Chamber of Commerce as part of the arbitration process.
2.20pm: I am given access to a data room which houses all of the relevant arbitration documentation. I have a look to understand what documents I need to review and set aside some time in my diary to go through it.
2.50pm: My supervisor has received an email from a client who has received judgment in default against him. The client hasn’t received any previous court documentation; therefore we need to make an application to set the judgment aside as soon as possible.
3.00pm: I prepare the related court application and call the client to get some further information. I draft a witness statement on behalf of the client outlining why the judgment should be set aside and send a draft to my supervisor.
5.30pm: There is no culture of expecting trainees to stay late at Michelmores. I am rarely at my desk after 5.30. There are times when trainees are required to stay later, but only when there is urgent work to complete.
6.00pm: Tonight I’m representing Michelmores in a dodgeball tournament. It’s a great networking event as well as a good opportunity to get to know colleagues.
About the firm
Address:Woodwater House, Pynes Hill, Exeter, EX2 5WR
Telephone: 01392 688688
Senior partner: Andrew Oldland
Managing partner: Tim Richards
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: Across our three offices, 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
Total partners: 66
Other fee-earners: 163
Total trainees: 15
Turnover in 2017: £33.3m (+1% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £255,000 (-6%)
Trainee places available for 2021: 10
Applications received pa: 250
Percentage interviewed: 15
First year: £27,500 (Exeter)
Second year: £29,000 (Exeter)
Newly qualified: £41,500 (Exeter)
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 contracts commencing in 2019 and 2020 (London): By 31 January 2019
Training contracts commencing in 2021 (Exeter and Bristol): By 30 June 2019
Summer vacation scheme (Exeter): By 31 January 2019