The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
National firm Shoosmiths operates out of 12 locations across the UK and the firm's Manchester office recently moved into new premises in the Spinningfields area. The firm is full service and is particularly noted for its debt recovery, employment, commercial property and property litigation departments. Clients range from small businesses and individuals to FTSE 100 companies.
The star performers
Asset finance and leasing; Banking and finance; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Corporate tax; Court of Protection; Debt recovery; Employment; Health and safety; Immigration; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Licensing; Media and entertainment; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning.
Acts for Avelo Limited on the management of the run-off of a large portfolio of sub-prime motor finance agreements, containing over 4,000 accounts; acts as sole legal adviser to Whispering Smith Ltd to advise it on a regular basis on design rights, copyright and trade mark issues; advised Iconix Brand Group on its suite of agreements relating to a high-profile endorsement campaign for its Lee Cooper brand with recording artist Jack Garrett; advised the shareholders of Haemostatix on its £28m sale to Ergoment; handling the management of industrial sites nationwide for Stainton International's joint venture with an international alternative investment fund.
Additech Energy; Estée Lauder Cosmetics; Festival Place Shopping Centre; Future Everything; IKEA; Liverpool Sound City; Mountain Warehouse; Ormsby Street; Tesco Bank; TH Real Estate.
Praised for its 'good reputation' across the UK, Shoosmiths' trainees include many former paralegals at the firm who 'loved the ethos and culture' and wanted to 'continue enjoying the experience of working here'. There is a 'very strong team work ethic', and this is aided by 'the open-plan offices which encourage routine interaction with partners'. Shoosmiths 'trusts you with a lot, very early on' and 'does its best to meet your interests', which complements the 'excellent training' reported in the feedback. The 'week-long trainee induction' is also considered a plus. The 'quality of work as a trainee' is praised, with highlight moments including 'successfully helping to complete on a complex multi-million-pound transaction', 'attending a High Court trial over five days in London with my supervisor and our clients' and 'solely hosting and being responsible for a banking completion meeting in London'. There can be 'various late nights' throughout the training contract, and 'stressful periods in the corporate department' aren't fun. Secondments to some of the firm's 'well-known clients' are highly regarded as it is 'great to learn about the client company from their side'. The technology 'can be a bit behind the times', and there is mention of 'poor IT systems'. Seat reviews have led to some proud moments for trainees, who report 'very positive feedback' and supervisors 'recognising my hard work'. There is 'no feeling of hierarchy' at the firm and 'you will find support wherever you turn'. To work alongside 'talented and driven legal minds' at a full-service, national firm, consider Shoosmiths.
A day in the life of...
Sophie King newly qualified solicitor, banking team, Shoosmiths (Thames Valley)
Departments to date: Employment, corporate, banking.
8.30am: When I get into the office, I grab my laptop and headset and choose a desk for the day. The Thames Valley office is completely agile - we sit with our teams but change seats every day. Being one of the more junior members of the team, this is ideal because I can sit with whoever I am working most closely with on a deal at any given time. I make a cup of tea in the kitchen then check my emails and my to-do list for the day.
9.00am: I'm in charge of running the conditions precedent process on a new acquisition finance transaction, so I put together an email to our client setting out all the documentation and information the bank requires from them. A big part of what I do is project management - liaising with clients, overseas lawyers or other teams within Shoosmiths (most often corporate or real estate) to ensure a transaction progresses quickly and smoothly. I often have four or five active transactions at any one time, so it's important to keep on top of each matter.
9.30am: My supervisor asks me if I would like to prepare the first draft of an intercreditor agreement for an urgent matter which is due to complete in two days' time. I have never drafted an intercreditor before, but I am pleased to be given the opportunity to take on more responsibility with drafting and negotiating key finance documents.
11.30am: I head out with a partner to meet a client for a coffee. We have just closed one transaction and have two more in the mid-stages so it is nice to finally meet in person after so many phone calls and emails!
2.00pm: I join a partner and another solicitor from my team on a call with one of our large bank clients to run through the borrower's lawyers comments on a new facilities agreement. Listening in on calls like this helps me to understand the key points of negotiation from a lender's perspective, and the commercial considerations which go into a big facilities agreement. After the call, we divide up the outstanding action points between us - this deal also involves lawyers in three other jurisdictions so my responsibility is to review their draft security documents and amend these with our comments.
4.00pm: I sit down with my supervisor in one of the break-out spaces to run through the draft intercreditor agreement I prepared earlier in the day. Everybody in my team is happy to take the time to answer any questions or run through a document I have prepared, to help with future drafting. Once we are finished, I make some final amendments to the agreement and send this to our client for review.
5.00pm: I receive an email from a solicitor in our corporate team - one of his clients has asked for clarification of their financial reporting requirements under an existing facility agreement which I assisted with and completed six months ago. I email him back with the various requirements so that he can respond to the client. I then spend some time catching up on post-completion for matters which have closed recently.
6.00pm: I set reminders in my calendar of must-do items for tomorrow. As an agile workspace, we operate a tidy desk policy, so I clear down my desk and lock away my laptop, files and original documents. I then head out to meet one of the trainees in real estate for dinner and a few drinks.
About the firm
Address:The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7SH
Telephone: 03700 863075
CEO : Claire Rowe
Chairman : Peter Duff
Other offices: Basingstoke, Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Solent. Check our website for offices we are currently recruiting to.
Who we are: Shoosmiths is a major national UK law firm which is known for providing a consistently superb client experience. Our focus on people, relationships and results has defined our achievements for 170 years.
What we do: We offer training across five core practice areas. These include commercial, employment, regulatory, litigation, real estate, corporate, tax, private client and asset finance.
What we are looking for: You should be able to take initiative and talk business sense. You will have the drive and desire to learn quickly and develop your skills with high levels of client contact.
What you'll do:You will complete four six-month seats, one of which could be a secondment to a client's in-house legal team. You'll train in a supportive environment with the freedom to manage your own caseload and deal with clients on a daily basis.
Perks: Membership costs for local young lawyer groups, 23 days' flexible holiday, pension, life assurance, private medical insurance, dental plan, corporate discounts, £50 and a day off on your birthday.
Sponsorship:We will fund your GDL and/or LPC while you are studying. We do not specify which provider you should complete your GDL and LPC at.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 20
Applications received pa: 2,000+
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £27,000
Second year: £28,000
Newly qualified: £40,000
Turnover in 2016/17: £110m (+9.4% from 2015/16) Profits per equity partner: £366,000 average
Total partners: 184
Apply to:Graduate recruitment.
What's involved: If successful at application stage, you will be invited to attend an assessment day in Autumn 2018.
When to Apply:
Training Contract: By 30 June 2018.
Spring Vacation Scheme: By February 2018.