Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith LLP

Address: The Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2RS




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘Friendliness of fee-earners’; ‘a medium-sized intake’; ‘it valued quality of training’; ‘distinct mix of core practice areas’; ‘I completed a vacation scheme here’; ‘spectacular offices’; ‘friendly interviewers’; ‘best variety of seat choices during training contract’; ‘it invests in the trainees’; ‘a wide range of highly rated practice areas’; ‘global reach of the firm’; ‘I like the variety of high-profile work on offer’; ‘number of trainees’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The view from London office’; ‘the quality of work’; ‘level of responsibility given to trainees’; ‘everyone is approachable’; ‘variety of work and seat choices’; ‘the views from Broadgate Tower’; ‘friendly culture’; ‘pro bono opportunities’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Late notification as to what your next department will be’; ‘tends to follow other firms regarding salary’; ‘the exposure to the other offices via secondments or travel is limited’; ‘unpredictable hours at times’; ‘no in-house gym’; ‘the coffee is dreadful’
Best moment? 
 '‘Completing the sale of a company, which otherwise would have been put into administration’; ‘being asked to take the lead on a restructuring deal and successfully closing it’; ‘managing my own cases’; ‘completion drinks with the client when in my corporate seat’; ‘being given my own files’; ‘running conference calls with the client and their tax advisers’; ‘being able to work on high-profile deals’
Worst moment?
 '‘Staying in the office until 2am compiling documents which we were then told were no longer required’; ‘being overworked and underappreciated in one seat’; ‘indexing an end-of-transaction bible’; ‘organising original documents following a double fund launch’; ‘working very late without being given any recognition for it’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Elastagirl (The Incredibles) – flexible and resourceful when required

The Verdict

The firm

Reed Smith secured a nomination for CSR Programme of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2016, an accolade it won in 2015. Departments of note include the M&A, real estate and commodities groups. The firm has 26 offices 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; 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.

The deals

Advised the Côte Restaurant Group on the £78m refinancing of its credit facilities; successfully acted for Bunge in a Supreme Court case against Nidera; advised the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Kazakhstan on a $4bn notes issuance under its MTN programme; acted for Wilmington Trust on the restructuring of a $750m RMBS; acted for Deutsche Bank on a $150m pre-payment facility for zinc smelter Nyrstar.

The clients

Barclays; Chevron; Citibank; DNB; European Federation of Energy Traders; Glencore; Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries; Instiglio; Oak Hill Advisors; Sovcomflot.

The Verdict

Reed Smith has an ‘excellent reputation’ for its ‘specialised niche practice areas including shipping and media’ which have established a ‘global reach’, and offices spanning the US, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. This gives trainees the opportunity to gain ‘good exposure to international work’ and generally work at trainee level is ‘excellent, challenging and varied’ as seniors take a ‘genuine interest in your learning and development’. There is no ‘glass ceiling or limit to the type of work you can do as a trainee, as long as you are capable and enthusiastic’. The ‘small intake size’ results in trainees getting ‘more responsibility early on’. Trainees are rewarded with a ‘good work/life balance’ as they manage their own time and are consequently able to work generally ‘better hours’, which will have contributed to the Lex 100 Winner prize for low stress levels. There are no ‘compulsory seat options’ and trainees are given ‘great influence’ over which seats they get, therefore recruits are free to pursue their own areas of interest, ‘particularly towards the end of their training contract’. Trainees grumble about ‘compiling bundles’, ‘late-night admin’ and, at the other extreme, sometimes ‘not always having enough work to do’. Top trainee moments include ‘completing the sale of a company which contributed to saving 400 jobs’ and ‘helping to close a transaction with parties from New York, Hong Kong and Paris at 4am in the morning, followed by a champagne lunch’. Trainees would love ‘better coffee’ and an ‘in-house gym’, though on the plus side the firm is ‘very social’ and there are a ‘number of team- and firm-wide events’. It is ‘truly a great place to train as everyone enjoys working with each other’. If this sounds appealing, get Reed Smith on your radar.

Matthew Norman trainee solicitor, Reed Smith LLP 
Departments to date: 
University:University of Kent/Hong Kong University 
Degree:LLB Law with a year abroad in Hong Kong 

Why did you choose Reed Smith?  I chose Reed Smith for its diverse range of leading practice groups. Along with strong offerings in litigation, corporate and finance, Reed Smith also boasts a market-leading presence in shipping, media, and energy and natural resources. I very much wanted to gain international experience and Reed Smith offers this through its network of 26 international offices and secondment opportunities. Furthermore, I value the emphasis the firm puts on building and maintaining strong client relationships. This approach has afforded me the opportunity to undertake secondments at two different retail banks.

Which skills/attributes are key for your role?  As a trainee, you can expect to be involved in a number of tasks for various supervisors at any given time. Luckily, this means no two days are the same, however it does require a high level of time management and organisation to successfully meet your deadlines. To achieve this you must be able to communicate effectively with your colleagues to determine which tasks to prioritise and what your supervisor expects from the final product.

Legal practice is driven by deadlines and thus you must be able to work under pressure, while maintaining keen attention to detail. Being a trainee can involve working long hours and continuous/constructive feedback as to areas you can improve. The key is to proactively seek work and approach each task with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.

What are the best and most challenging things about your job?  By far, the best part of my job has been getting involved in complex transactions that require completion within a tight deadline. Although enormously challenging, these situations bring out the best in you and provide a huge amount of satisfaction and confidence when completed. Similarly, trainees at Reed Smith receive a substantial amount of early responsibility, which can be daunting at first but highly rewarding from a development perspective.

What sets your company apart from its competitors as a top graduate employer?  What sets Reed Smith apart is the firm’s investment in you from an early stage. Before starting your training contract, the firm provides the opportunity to gain a master’s degree in business and secondment to a client. This is an invaluable experience and provides a core commercial grounding and high level of client contact. Moreover, with a small intake of around 25 trainees each year, you are able to form strong relationships with graduate recruitment.

What is the culture like at Reed Smith?  The clichés of a ‘collegiate’ and ‘open door’ culture are wide spread, however I can say with honesty that Reed Smith has a wonderfully friendly culture. The firm benefits from a genuinely flat hierarchy and interaction with senior colleagues and management is common-place. Furthermore, there isn’t a ‘Reed Smith’ type and consequently this has fostered an inclusive environment where you are encouraged to be yourself.

What advice would you give to someone applying for a role with Reed Smith?   I cannot stress enough how important it is to be yourself! By letting your personality come through in your application and at interview stage, you will be better placed to display your interests and motivations for pursuing a career in commercial law. Thoroughly research the firm beyond brochures and the website. More importantly, convey this in your application. Many applicants fall into the trap of telling Reed Smith about Reed Smith. Instead, carefully consider what the application question is asking you and then demonstrate your knowledge by weaving it into your answer.

About the firm

Address:The Broadgate Tower, 20 Primrose Street, London, EC2A 2RS

Telephone: 020 3116 3000

Fax:020 3116 3999

Managing partner : Andrew Jenkinson

Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Athens, Beijing, Century City, Chicago, Dubai, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Houston, Kazakhstan, London, Los Angeles, 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 26 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 would expect from our trainees which 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 from this 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 2019: 25

Applications received pa: 700 

Percentage interviewed: 10% 


First year: £38,500

Second year: £40,000

Newly qualified: £63,000

Total partners: 116

Other fee-earners:190

 Application process

Apply to:Chloe Muir, graduate recruitment co-ordinator.


When to Apply:By 30 June 2017.

 Vacation schemes

June and July 2017 (applications open on 1 November 2016 and close on 31 January 2017).