The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
A member of Big Four accountancy firm PwC’s wider network, PwC offers clients an integrated service of legal advice drawn from an international pool of over 2,500 lawyers based in over 85 countries. Through such connections the firm has a strong commercial focus, and is commended for its dispute resolution, human resources and corporate crime work. The firm’s revenues rose by 15% in 2014/15.
The star performers
Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Data protection; Employment: employers; Fraud: civil; IT and telecoms; Immigration: business; Intellectual property; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Pensions (non-contentious); Tax litigation and investigations.
Worked for Drax Power and Infinis Energy Holdings in a judicial review of the decision to remove a renewable energy tax exemption; advised the Dooba Group on the development of a brownfield site near Leeds; worked in a group litigation concerning a stamp duty reserve tax and challenge against HMRC; assisted a pharmaceutical company with a global compliance project; conducted a privacy impact assessment of connected cars for a manufacturer.
Bupa; Dreamjet; Eni International Resources; Kobalt; Phones4U.
PwC’s widely recognised membership of the ‘PwC network’ was a key factor for trainees in deciding to apply here, and there is a focus on trainees developing their ‘commercial awareness’ and grasping the ‘vast opportunities’ available to them. PwC excels at giving trainees direct contact with a ‘phenomenal range of clients’. It is also noted by current trainees that the firm provides a ‘brilliant vacation scheme’ which is ‘very structured and provided fun socials’. The firm is also named a Lex 100 Winner for its encouraging diversity levels. The ‘culture of collaboration’ is the ‘biggest difference’ with peers’ training contracts, as PwC recruits have the ‘opportunity to work with professionals other than lawyers’. Trainees work in ‘small teams’ where they gain ‘hands-on experience’ on ‘exciting high-profile projects’. Top trainee moments include ‘international trips’, ‘working on the largest corporate de-merger ever’ and ‘working on a high-profile financial services project’. The ‘lack of recognition in the legal market’ is disappointing for some trainees, but this is ‘rapidly changing’, and trainees have ‘good opportunities to contribute to cases’ where the ‘senior level contact’ is high. There is ‘good supervision’ and trainees receive ‘encouragement, support and appreciation’ from their seniors. The ‘long hours, weekend-working and middle-of-the-night bundling’ are notable concerns among current trainees, though on the whole respondents thrive in the ‘vibrant environment’. Those looking to combine genuine responsibility with ‘top-notch clients’ in a non-traditional environment should consider PwC.
A day in the life of...
Anita Shah second-year trainee, PwC
Departments to date: Tax disputes, commercial and regulatory disputes, corporate and pensions
Degree:Politics, 2(1) Hons
8.30am: I’m currently in the pensions department and with an eventful day ahead of me I get in early to prepare for the fortnightly team know-how breakfast. This session is where the team get together to discuss technical updates. I’m presenting on a recent Court of Appeal case and we spend the session discussing the impact of the judgment, and what this may mean for our clients.
9.30am: Back at my desk, I review the emails that have come in overnight and update my to-do list in order of priority. One of the emails raises a query from the other side’s lawyers on a tripartite agreement. I draft a response and make a note to speak to the partner about it when he returns from his meeting.
10.00am: I join another partner on a conference call with our client based in Bermuda. He has overseas assets in the British Virgin Islands, Miami and France and wants our advice on the implications of the assets being transferred into his pension scheme. I make a note of everything that was discussed on the call.
10.30am: I begin doing the initial research for our Bermudan client. Being part of an international network in over 85 countries, I pick up the phone to our colleagues in various overseas firms and talk through some of my initial thoughts. My overseas colleagues talk me through local law and the formalities required in their jurisdictions for transferring the assets. I feed these points into my initial report for the partner to review and provide his comments.
12.30pm: It’s a beautiful day so I meet some of the other trainees to grab lunch from the live kitchen in the canteen and we head up to the roof terrace to enjoy the sunshine overlooking the London Eye. It’s not long before we need some cooling off and we stroll across to Covent Garden for some ice cream before heading back to the office.
1.15pm: This afternoon we have a conference with leading counsel on a question of law relating to the equitable remedy of rectification. Our client wants to know whether a mistake in their historic pension scheme deed can be rectified and I look over the instructions to counsel which I helped prepare a few weeks ago. I finalise the bundles containing the trust deeds and documentation and get our files ready for the conference.
2.00pm: A partner in my team and I are joined by two of our colleagues from our regional Tax team, and we walk down the Strand to counsel’s chambers. Our conference is lively and engaging and counsel talks us through the intricate points of law and the prospects of success for our client.
5.00pm: I return back to the office and start the follow-up from the conference. I‘m responsible for producing the conference notes, an important task as it will be referred to constantly as the matter progresses and it’s essential for capturing every point that was discussed. I record all my hand-written notes into a dictaphone, while everything is still fresh in my mind, so that I can recall the specific context of the technical points.
6.30pm: The day is winding down, so I make sure that I’ve responded to all my emails and check whether there is anything else that needs to be done this evening. After confirming with my team members, I write my to-do list for tomorrow.
7.00pm: It’s been a busy day, but tonight is the NextGen pizza making and wine tasting with other juniors from different business areas coming together. I pack up my things, meet some of the other trainees in Embankment Gardens and we head over to Soho!
About the firm
Address:1 Embankment Place, London, WC2N 6DX
Telephone: 0808 100 1500
Who we are: PwC is an exciting place to launch your legal career. With more than 2,500 lawyers over 85 countries, we have the most extensive legal services network in the world.
What we do: Practice groups include mergers and acquisitions, banking, commercial litigation, commercial fraud, corporate structuring, employment, intellectual property and information, pensions, real estate and tax litigation.
What we are looking for: We look for ambitious, motivated people with the drive to become the leading lawyers of the future, then help them commit to realising that potential.
What you'll do:You’ll quickly gain practical, hands-on experience and lateral thinking skills as part of a team, generating creative ways to tackle complex problems and receiving support to gain a professional qualification.
Perks: Holiday entitlement, bike scheme, discounted gym membership, healthcare scheme, interest-free loan, life assurance, pension scheme, season ticket loan and study support.
Sponsorship:Trainees can apply for a scholarship award to help with the costs of the Graduate Diploma and the Legal Practice Course. If successful, you’ll receive the total cost of the tuition and examination fees plus a significant contribution towards living expenses.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 25
First year: £39,000
Total partners: 26
When to Apply:By 27 January 2017 for 2019 contracts.
June 2017 and July 2017 (apply by 27 January 2017).