The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
London-headquartered Penningtons Manches also has offices in Basingstoke, Cambridge, Guildford, Oxford and Reading, as well as in San Francisco. The firm also has close links with law firms throughout the world through its membership of Multilaw and the European Law Group. The firm has a particularly strong reputation in private wealth, technology and property.
The star performers
Brand management; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Court of protection; Education: institutions; Employment: employers and senior executives; Family; Healthcare; Immigration; Intellectual property; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Product liability: defendant; Professional discipline; Property finance; Property litigation; Social housing: local authorities and registered providers; Travel: personal injury.
Advised Evotec on its £42m takeover of Cyprotex; represented the Solicitors Regulation Authority in an appeal to the High Court by a former solicitor against the decision of the SDT to strike him off; advised Mahindra International UK (part of the Mahindra Group) on the UK launch of its electric car, the e2o; acted for Cannon Automotive and C.A. Holdings plc in proceedings against its former US distributor in relation to BMW car mats and Hyundai vehicles; advised Spectrum Housing Group on its acquisition of 62 residential dwellings from a developer.
All Saints Retail; Collier Environmental Services; General Dental Council; Hong Kong Tourist Board; MRH; Newsquest Media Group; Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Sellar Property Group; Verisk Analytics; Vostok Emerging finance.
Penningtons Manches trainees like 'the broad strategy of the firm', referring to its office in London, the 'strong regional presence' it enjoys across the South East and the recently-established base in San Francisco. Several respondents state that the 'range of seats available' on the training contract was a major appeal. We hear that 'the varied areas of law that the firm covers across business, private client and real estate' makes for a 'great mixture of work'. In the words of one trainee, 'every day is very different from the previous one, and I am never bored'. The 'high quality of work and responsibility given to trainees' is evident from the highlight moments offered in the feedback, which include 'assisting on a high-value property transaction in a very tight timeframe', 'being part of a 20-hour multi-party mediation' and 'attending a successful joint settlement meeting for a clinical negligence client with life-changing injuries'. The main grievance is the 'lack of administrative support', because of which trainees are often required to take on extra duties. There is praise for the 'enjoyable vacation scheme', which showed Penningtons Manches to be a 'perfect fit' for at least a couple of trainees. Some feel that 'the trainee salary could be higher'. 'Holding meetings with clients and then drafting their witness statements myself' was one individual's example of 'client exposure'. Throughout the feedback there is reference to a 'friendly culture' in which 'trainees are made to feel like an integral part of the team'. Employees 'are encouraged to socialise and mingle', so new starters 'have the feeling that you can approach anyone for help'. To join 'a mid-sized firm with a wide range of practice areas', consider Penningtons Manches.
A day in the life of...
Eva McHale first-year trainee, Penningtons Manches LLP
Departments to date: Family
8.30am: I arrive at the office and grab some breakfast before settling down at my desk and checking mine, and my supervising partner's, calendar for the day. New events and client meetings are added regularly and I like to ensure that I am fully abreast of any matters before attending them.
9.00am: After finishing my all-important porridge, I peruse my emails and update my to-do list. The most pressing issue to deal with today is reverting to a client regarding the financial disclosure that her husband has provided in the run-up to the first hearing in her divorce and financial remedy proceedings. I consider the necessary documents, draft a reply to the client and send it to my supervising Partner for her comments and approval.
10.00am: The other family trainee and I catch up about the training day we had yesterday. The learning and development team invited all of the firm's trainees to take part in a “Presentation Skills and Personal Impact” session, delivered by two theatre actresses. It was a very interesting day involving lots of preparation tips for important meetings and presentations, as well as pitching to our peers to become the next Sadiq Khan. It was extremely helpful and demonstrates Penningtons Manches' commitment to developing its trainees as creative and confident people as well as lawyers.
10.20am: Another senior partner in the team asks if I can draft a costs estimate for a client on a child abduction case. I attended a directions hearing at the High Court on this matter a couple of months ago and it is now proceeding to a final hearing. It was extremely interesting being involved in a children case with a huge international element, and is reflective of the stimulating and challenging work that is done in this department.
12.30pm: A client calls in relation to his application to adopt his step-son. He asks me to walk him through the notification documents that he is required to send to his local council. I cannot answer one of the questions without the help of the council, and so contact them before reverting to the client.
1.30pm: Today we have a lunchtime family marketing meeting with the firm's business development team. We speak about networking opportunities and the promotion of our department's people, expertise and brand.
3.45pm: After taking a quick stroll in the sunshine with some of the other trainees, I get back to my desk. I have asked our head of department if I can be given a copy of a final order that she helped draft after parties settled at a two-week final hearing last week. Attending the Royal Courts of Justice to witness one of the parties being cross-examined by an esteemed female barrister has definitely been one of the highlights of my seat! I consider the order made and discuss my concluding thoughts with the partner.
5.30pm: I am attending a client meeting with an associate in 30 minutes and she asks me to remind her of a particular fact about the case. I peruse the note made of the previous meeting and report back to her. This case involves highly sensitive and confidential divorce and children elements and I am reminded of the professionalism expected of trainees. During the meeting, I ensure that I take a verbatim note of the associate's comprehensive advice given to the client.
6.00pm: Tonight, the firm's netball team “PennBallerz”, have a game against another city law firm in which we hope to continue our undefeated streak!
About the firm
Address:125 Wood Street, London, EC2V 7AW
Telephone: 020 7457 3000
Fax:020 7457 3240
Chief executive : David Raine
Other offices: Basingstoke, Cambridge, Guildford, Oxford, Reading and San Francisco.
Who we are: Penningtons Manches LLP is a leading UK law firm which provides high-quality legal advice tailored to both businesses and individuals.
What we do: We offer a broad range of legal advice including dispute resolution, corporate, commercial/IP/IT, real estate, employment, private client and family. We also have some highly respected niche practice areas such as professional regulation, immigration and clinical negligence.
What we are looking for: A high standard of academic achievement is expected. Clarity of expression, written and oral, and reliability in research are important to us. There should be mental flair and flexibility, and on the personal side, we look for self-confidence without arrogance, good humour, openness with discretion, a good team spirit and integrity.
What you'll do:Our trainees complete four six-month seats across the firm's three divisions and receive high levels of responsiblity and client contact. On a quarterly basis, trainees attend a day-long training session.
Perks: Bonus scheme, gym membership/subsidy, life assurance, pension scheme with company contributions, private healthcare, season ticket loan.
Sponsorship:LPC - full fees & £5,000 maintenance.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2020: 14
Applications received pa: 700
First year: £34,000 (London, 2017)
Second year: £36,000 (London, 2017)
Newly qualified: £57,000 (London, 2017)
Total partners: 110
Apply to:Helen Lewis, graduate recruitment manager.
What's involved: Interview(s), online critical thinking test, written exercise and presentation.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2020: By 31 July 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.