The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Full-service international law firm Taylor Wessing specialises in technology, media & communications, life sciences and private wealth. The firm acts for several leading global brands and also counts start-ups and high-net-worth families and individuals among its client base. Taylor Wessing has 32 offices across the world.
The star performers
Brand management; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Data protection; Employment: employers; Fraud: civil; Gaming and betting; IT and telecoms; Immigration; Intellectual property; Islamic finance; M&A mid-market, £50m-£250m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Personal tax, trusts and probate; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Private equity: transactions; Property finance; Reputation management; Trade finance; Venture capital
Advised YOTEL on its $250m strategic partnership with private investment firm Starwood Capital Group; acted for Shell Technology Ventures Fund 1 in relation to a significant dispute arising from its historical investment in GO Science (now in liquidation); advised Bridgepoint on the MBO of maternity clothes brand Séraphine; represented Hospira, a global pharmaceutical and medical device company owned by Pfizer, on the revocation of Cubist’s patents – covering methods of dosing and purifying daptomycinin; advised Supercell on its $90m acquisition of a majority interest in SpaceApe Games
Baird Capital; Brentford FC; FarFetch; London Stock Exchange Group; LVMH; MOBKOI; Oxford BioMedica; Pfizer; PwC; Sky
There is a ‘focus on technology and the industries of tomorrow’ at Taylor Wessing, with trainees flocking to the firm for its ‘renowned life sciences and intellectual property capabilities’. But, in fact, ‘no departments are considered inferior’ at the full-service firm. Reinforcing this idea, work highlights ranged from ‘working on contentious private client matters’ to ‘seeing a client go live on the London Stock Exchange’. Reports of ‘diverse and challenging’ work were common and recruits were impressed with the ‘fair amount of training so that you never feel out of your depth’. One of the best things about the firm is its ‘good work/life balance’ thanks to ‘realistic expectations of working hours’, and colleagues who are ‘genuinely conscientious and proactive in helping you to get to events outside work’. Taylor Wessing has amassed seven Lex 100 Winner medals this year; proof that the firm’s efforts do not go unnoticed. But no firm is perfect, and some recruits felt concerned about the ‘uncertainty as to the number of NQ positions’. A common gripe was also the ‘lack of international secondments on offer for trainees’. Unsurprisingly, there were some stressful moments, such as ‘a number of late nights working on multiple venture capital completions’ and ‘fumbling my way through an all-parties call’. On a positive note, though, ‘people at every level are welcoming and understanding’ and ‘everybody is keen to ensure that all the new employees feel at home’. The Cloud 9 restaurant and the National Portrait Gallery sponsorship also deserve a mention. If you think you would thrive at a firm which offers a ‘rare mix of a sociable and friendly working environment and big-ticket work’, start researching Taylor Wessing.
A day in the life of...
Harry Ruffell first-year trainee, Taylor Wessing LLP
Departments to date: Private capital and corporate finance (1st seat), construction and engineering (current seat)
Degree:Modern Languages (French, Spanish, Italian)
9.00am: If it’s a Friday, I’ll head up to Cloud 9 (our staff restaurant) for a full English breakfast with some fellow trainees (it’s become somewhat of a tradition!). The other weekdays are slightly less glamourous and I’ll go straight to my desk.
9.30am: Having checked my emails and settled in, the day can begin in earnest. My supervisor and I have a call arranged for 10.00am with an Asian client to discuss their property development in Kensington. I spend the time before the call refreshing both my supervisor’s memory and my own in respect of this client so that we are well prepared for the upcoming conference call.
10.00am: The call lasts around an hour and it is a typical trainee task to take an attendance note during the call. I also provided input for the client on specific areas in relation to documents on which I have worked.
11.00am: Following a much-needed coffee, I updated the various appointments to include additional points coming out of the call. I then run through these points with my supervisor before drafting emails to send to the relevant parties attaching the updated appointments.
11.30am: I am the trainee who deals with both contentious and transactional work. I have just been informed that there is a client who wants to sue his contractor for overcharging him. I sit down with a senior associate to talk through what needs to be done. I research the legal arguments of the case and begin to draft an initial letter to the contractor outlining where they have breached the contract and what remedies we are seeking.
1.00pm: Each month the construction department welcomes an external speaker to give a lunchtime presentation to the team. Today’s theme was the use of digital technology in the construction industry. Most departments regularly hold such training sessions to deepen their knowledge of particular areas of the law.
2.00pm: In the construction department, there are large numbers of documents that need to be signed by various parties. It often falls upon the trainee to manage this process. This morning I received a suite of documents from another firm of solicitors, which I needed to check had been executed properly before sending them on to the other parties to sign.
3.00pm: My supervisor has a meeting at the Taylor Wessing offices with our client and a firm of architects to negotiate their appointment. It was a great learning experience to go through a contract page by page with senior lawyers and to be part of a negotiation first hand.
5.00pm: At Taylor Wessing, the trainees organise an annual networking event among their peer group. I am helping organise this event and so we have a short meeting to finalise certain arrangements.
5.30pm: I get back to my desk and continue to type up the attendance note from the earlier call. Attendance notes are very important, as they provide protection for us in case anything turns sour further down the line. It is best to finalise the attendance note shortly after the call while it is still fresh in memory.
6.30pm: During June and July, Taylor Wessing welcomes 40 students to a two-week vacation scheme. This is their first day in the office, so trainees are encouraged to welcome them to the firm with a drink or two up on the terrace.
Vacation scheme insider
Simone ThomasUniversity: University of Birmingham Degree: LLB for Graduates
Prior to completing my law degree in the UK, I lived in New York and attended Binghamton University. There I played NCAA college basketball and did a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology. Coming from a life sciences background, I was initally drawn to the legal aspects surrounding the patenting of new drugs and the regulatory issues that are associated with the shift to personalised medicine. It wasn't long before I realised that I could not only utilise my life sciences degree in my legal career, but that it was actually highly sought after. Attending several open day events solidified my interest in pursuing a career in law.
Why Taylor Wessing?
After speaking to many trainees at various firms, it became clear to me that it is often the case that future trainees will have a very strong preference for a specific practice area. However, it is quite rare that they actually end up qualifying into that department. Although I have a strong interest in patents and life sciences and Taylor Wessing is very strong in these areas, I wanted to apply to firms that are also well rounded and have strong teams in other practice areas. Training with Taylor Wessing would allow me to learn from top experts in private client and TMT (technology, media and telecom) to name a few.
In terms of culture, I was impressed with every single interaction I had with members of the Taylor Wessing staff. I was first introduced to Taylor Wessing by a partner in the data protection team and a University of Birmingham alumnus, when he gave a talk at the school. I was surprised by his genuine willingness to help and his commitment to giving back to his alma mater. When I got the opportunity to attend an open day at the London office, the managing partner, Tim Eyles, took the time to speak to the attendees about the future of the law profession and the role of a trainee – something I’ve never experienced with any other firm. This openness and approachability can be seen throughout the firm and, combined with the quality of work, is a large part of the reason I chose to apply for a vac scheme at Taylor Wessing.
My vacation scheme lasted two weeks; I spent the first week in the tax department and the second week in the IP and media department. In both departments, all the trainees, associates and partners were very friendly and welcoming. They all made the effort to come around to the office where I was sitting and introduce themselves. This made me feel comfortable straight away and made it much easier to approach anyone with any questions I had. I also had a ‘trainee buddy’ in each department who was there to help me get assignments started on the right foot and give me little tips throughout the week.
Throughout the two weeks there were various social events we were invited to attend. During the first week, the firm treated us and some of the trainees to drinks and canapes at Flight Club, where we played darts and got to know our fellow vac schemers and the trainees better. It was a really nice way to add some friendly competition to the evening. The following week, our trainee buddies had organised a fantastic dinner for us on the rooftop terrace of the Madison. It was a great chance for us to learn from the trainees and have an informal discussion about what life as a Taylor Wessing trainee is like.
Finally, on the last evening, we had a farewell drinks reception celebrating all of our hard work and accomplishments over the last two weeks. It was at this event that I realised that I could really see myself working at Taylor Wessing and the people I met over the past two weeks could not only be co-workers but also friends.
The work that I did was both interesting and challenging and gave me a good insight into the type of work that a trainee does on a day-to-day basis. I was also impressed at the variety of work that I was given. Because I met so many people within each department, I received a wide range of work from paralegals, trainees, associates, senior counsels and even partners. The type of assignments I got included proofreading, drafting brand updates for the website, summarising recent changes to the law on trade secrets and reasearching the tax implications of mixed-use properties.
Vac schemers also got the opportunity to attend the Blackfriars Settlement pro bono clinic, which is run by the trainees on a weekly rota. It was nice to see such a high level of involvement and such a deep commitment to giving back to the community.
Finally, the work you will receive on the vac scheme is not just limited to individual assignments. At the beginning of the two weeks we were also given a group project. On the final day of the placement, each group had to present our ideas on how to ensure the future success of the firm. This gave us an opportunity to showcase how well we work as a team and also gain a better understanding of the future direction of the firm – something that we all hoped to be a part of!
I highly suggest applying for a vacation scheme at Taylor Wessing. Their unique recruitment model means that there is no need to reapply for a training contract. While this may seem like there is intense pressure to perform well on the vac scheme, it also means that you get a greater opportunity to show your authentic self and learn as much as you can about the firm. Taking this approach, I met many amazing people and learned as much as I could, confirming that I would fit in well and be very happy as a trainee at Taylor Wessing.
About the firm
Address:5 New Street Square, London, EC4A 3TW
Telephone: 020 7300 7000
Fax:020 7300 7100
Senior partner: Dominic FitzPatrick
Managing partner: Shane Gleghorn
Other offices: Amsterdam, Berlin, Bratislava, Brussels, Budapest, Cambridge, Dubai, Dusseldorf, Eindhoven, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Jeddah, Kiev, London Tech City, Munich, New York, Paris, Prague, Riyadh, Seoul, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Vienna and Warsaw.
Who we are: Taylor Wessing is a full-service international law firm, standing at the forefront of the industries of tomorrow. Acting as legal advisors to well-known clients in progressive and cutting-edge sectors, we’re a firm for the ground breakers, the smart thinkers and the trail blazers.
What we do: Taylor Wessing offers industry-focused advice and in-depth sector experience gained by bringing together internationally-focused lawyers from diverse legal backgrounds including: banking and finance; capital markets; copyright and media law; corporate; commercial agreements; construction and engineering; employment and pensions; EU competition; IT and telecoms; litigation and dispute resolution; patents; planning and environment; private client; projects; real estate; restructuring and corporate recovery; tax; trade marks and designs.
What we are looking for: We look for team players with a minimum of ABB grades at A level and a 2(1) degree in any discipline. You’ll need to be confident and enthusiastic with the communication skills to build vibrant relationships with our clients. You’ll have the energy, ambition and creativity to take early responsibility and have a real impact on our business and our clients’ business.
What you'll do:Our award-winning training (we won LawCareers.Net Best Trainer – Large City Firm 2018) combines our in-house Professional Skills Course with six-month seats in four different practice groups, including one contentious seat and one in our corporate or finance areas. Our programme is recognised for the extent of partner contact available to trainees, and you’ll work closely with associates.
Perks: Private medical care, pension scheme, life assurance, season ticket loan for travel, 25 days’ holiday (with an extra day at Christmas), discounted gym membership and employee assistance programme.
Sponsorship:Sponsorship GDL and MA (LPC with business) fees at BPP London sponsored. A maintenance grant is provided.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 400
Other fee-earners: 500
Total trainees: 45
Trainee places available for 2021: Up to 20
First year: £40,000
Second year: £44,000
Newly qualified: £71,000
Apply to:Sarah Harte, graduate talent manager.
When to apply:This year we’re recruiting through vacation scheme only for our 2021 training contract.
First year open day:March 2019. Apply online by 31 December 2018
Summer:June and July 2019 (Up to 35 places). Apply by 14 January 2019