The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Reed Smith's London office has 350 lawyers and is the firm's largest. It is highly regarded for its work in the media, transportation, energy and finance industries plus has expertise in trade, litigation and commercial matters. The firm has 27 offices in total across Europe, Asia, the US and the Middle East.
The star performers
Asset based lending; Asset finance and leasing; Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commodities: derivatives; Commodities: physicals; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Debt capital markets; Derivatives and structured products; Emerging markets; Employment: employers; Mining and minerals; Pensions (non-contentious); Securitisation; Shipping; Trade finance.
Advised a syndicate of banks, led by HSH Nordbank, on the restructuring and buy-back of the combined $120m senior and junior debt made available to US listed shipowner, Dryships Inc; advised Santander and HSBC on the £36.2m term and revolving facilities provided to Southern Communications Group; acted for the Republic of Kazakhstan in a BIT and ECT arbitration brought against it by a Turkish investor, which arose out of a dispute involving alleged oil transportation and transhipment investments in Kazakhstan; closely involved with the development of WeatherXchange, the world's first weather derivatives platform; leading advice to Nokia on various employment issues arising from the company's acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent across over 100 jurisdictions.
Alibaba; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; Channel 4; Citibank; Eagle Bulk; Gerald Metals; Hayfin Capital; WeatherXchange; Wells Fargo; US Bank.
Reed Smith trainees flocked to this 'forward-thinking international firm' because of its 'excellent reputation for high-quality work'. There is a 'breadth of departments in which to do seats', and popular 'niche areas' include media law and shipping litigation. Work highlights have included 'closing a big project as a team', 'going to the European Commission in Brussels alone to deliver a merger notification' and 'my involvement in a huge transaction reported all over the media'. There can be 'unpredictable stress levels', as perhaps exemplified by difficult moments such as 'one particular deal dragging on for far too long due to a difficult client' and 'trying to get bundles created in a few hours before the court deadline'. The firm's 'approach to diversity' and 'general culture of inclusion' is commended, and Reed Smith is named a Lex 100 Winner in the inclusiveness category, earning further awards for work quality and living up to expectations. There is 'encouragement to forge your own career' as 'partners are genuinely invested in trainee development'. The 'excellent' training comprises 'a comprehensive set of training sessions at the beginning of each seat and then at regular intervals throughout'. Some trainees complain that the pay does not match peer firms but the secondments have proven popular. International postings are 'a great opportunity to build up confidence as a trainee lawyer', while one client secondment enabled a trainee to 'understand the commercial rationale for a number of business decisions'. For a 'high-quality training contract programme' that ensures trainees can take on 'associate-level work' while representing 'excellent clients', look no further than Reed Smith.
An interview with… …
Lee-Anne Reddey Shipping, corporate (secondment to Abu Dhabi), corporate
University:The University of Sheffield, BPP Law School
Degree:LLB Law with a year abroad (The University of Tarty, Estonia) 2(1) MA, (LPC with Business) Distinction
Why did you choose Reed Smith? One of the main reasons that I chose to train at Reed Smith was due to the international nature of the firm. Now in my third seat in the corporate department, I spent my second seat on secondment to our Abu Dhabi office where I was involved in a wide range of corporate and commercial work for both our Abu Dhabi and Dubai offices. I quickly had to adapt to new legal systems, new cultures and new terminology. Undertaking an international secondment is a fantastic way to experience the global network of Reed Smith first-hand and to make connections across offices and practice areas. You can forget quite how big Reed Smith is when you are sat in one office! In addition, I was aware of the incredible pro bono and voluntary work that Reed Smith was involved in and I knew that I wanted to work at a firm that was committed to giving back and making a difference.
Which skills/attributes are key for your role? Being able to work effectively as part of a team is key to being a trainee solicitor. In addition, it is important to have good timekeeping skills due to the demands of the job, the ability to get into the mind set of the client to produce excellent work and the ability to prioritise the many deadlines you will be working towards. There is excellent training provided at Reed Smith to assist during your training contract but it is also the case that a lot of learning is on-the-job and you should therefore be confident in regularly stepping out of your comfort zone.
What are the best and most challenging things about your job? Getting positive feedback from a colleague or client is a great motivator. In addition, it is an amazing feeling when you read about a matter you have worked on in the press! The work we do is often pressured, whether by deadlines or otherwise, and therefore it can be challenging to balance demands on your time but the key is to manage expectations and be honest when you cannot take on a piece of work or, as happens to everyone at some point, you make a mistake.
What sets your company apart from its competitors as a top graduate employer? Reed Smith is a firm with a truly unique, open and welcoming culture. There is a wonderful diversity at Reed Smith and I am proud to work at a firm which so highly values the differences we have; differences that together make deals happen and allow us to effectively solve disputes for our clients.
What is the culture like at Reed Smith? There truly is something special about the culture at Reed Smith and I am quite sure that is because of the people who work here. Reed Smith employees, from partners to support staff, are willing to help, think collaboratively and are willing to go above and beyond what is expected of them when necessary.
What advice would you give to someone applying for a role with Reed Smith? Make sure you know why you want to work at Reed Smith specifically. Firms such as Reed Smith receive hundreds of applications for vacation schemes and training contracts each year and it is incredibly important to stand out whether that be based on, for example, your knowledge of Reed Smith or specific skills or experience you can offer the firm.
About the firm
Address:The Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2RS
Telephone: 020 3116 3000
Fax:020 3116 3999
Facebook:Reed Smith Graduates UK
Managing partner : Andrew Jenkinson
Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Athens, Beijing, Century City, Chicago, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, Kazakhstan, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Munich, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Princeton, Richmond, San Francisco, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tysons, Washington DC, Wilmington.
Who we are: Reed Smith is a global law firm, with more than 1,700 lawyers in 27 offices throughout Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States.
What we do: The firm represents leading international businesses, from FTSE 100 corporations to dynamic mid-market and emerging enterprises. Our lawyers provide litigation and other dispute resolution services, regulatory counsel, and legal advice on the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions.
What we are looking for: We are looking for you to demonstrate that you have the skills and behaviours which we would expect from our trainees. These are: legal skills (such as research and analysis, and communication skills), citizenship (teamwork, developing self and others), business skills (leadership and matter and financial management) and client skills (client relationships and business development).
What you'll do:Trainees undertake four seats of six months' duration and you will be able to choose these from a wide range of disciplines as well as international and client secondments.
Perks: 25 days' annual holiday, permanent health insurance, subsidised cafeteria, life insurance, lifestyle discounts and concierge service, contributory pension scheme, season ticket loan, staff introduction bonus, conveyance fees reimbursed for domestic conveyance.
Sponsorship:Full course fees for both the GDL and LPC, plus maintenance grants of £6,000 during your GDL study year and £7,000 through your LPC study year.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2020: 25
Applications received pa: 700
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £40,000
Second year: £44,000
Newly qualified: £70,000
Total partners: 120
Apply to:Chloe Muir, graduate recruitment advisor.
When to Apply:By 30 June 2018.
Whats involved:Case study, interview and group exercise.
Summer:June and July 2018 (applications open on 1 November 2017 and close on 31 January 2018).