The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Trethowans is a leading law firm in the South of England providing a comprehensive range of services for business and individual clients. On the commercial side, it represents international and national household brand names, owner-managed businesses, entrepreneurs and major regional employers across the UK. Other clients include landowners, entrepreneurs, local families, property developers and trustees amongst others.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Banking and finance; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial property; Corporate and commercial; Debt recovery; Employment; Family; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Licensing; Personal injury: claimant; Personal injury: defendant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation
Assisted RSM with the restructuring of a multi-office estate agency, followed by its administration and an £85,000 business disposal; advised the shareholders of iSupply Energy on the highly-publicised sale of its entire issued share capital to Sweden-based Vattenfall; advised Clydesdale Bank on the refinance of a farm partition, worth approximately £2.5m; acted for Bank of Scotland on a £5m term loan facility and £1m revolving credit facility provided to Ceuta Holdings; defended Generali Poistovna as insurer of a foreign driver against a road traffic collision claim which involved the claimant’s alleged diagnosis with fibromyalgia; acted for Rowanmoor Trustees on the purchase of three commercial units which involved a complicated restructuring of the legal title
Cornish Mutual; CVR Global; Endsleigh Insurance Services; Go South Coast; Kuflink Bridging; Lakesmere; Lloyds Bank; SFP Restructuring; Quantuma; Van Ameyde UK
Trethowans ‘punches above its weight’ thanks to a ‘strong regional reputation’ in Southampton, Salisbury and Poole. References to the firm’s ‘investment in trainees as both individuals and as professionals’ were rife throughout the feedback. Indeed, a ‘great track record for trainee development’ was one of the main attractions for respondents. ‘Trust and responsibility is placed in trainees very early on’ which enables recruits to ‘learn new skills first hand’. Newbies also receive ‘significant client contact’, earning the firm a Lex 100 Winner medal in this category. Best moments include ‘travelling to interview a number of parties on a matter led by a senior lawyer’ and ‘working on a very significant corporate disposal’. Conversely, ‘dealing with a difficult and demanding client who said I was not working hard enough’ did not do much to boost confidence. Generally, though, Trethowans is praised for the ‘inclusiveness and encouragement that you receive as a trainee’. A proactive approach is encouraged: ‘the opportunity is there to get out what you put in – if you are willing to take initiative, then senior fee earners will reciprocate and make sure you gain real first-hand experience on matters’. Some trainees felt that the ‘salary could be a bit better, especially if you are expected to travel to other offices’, which, incidentally, can be a bit of a pain, especially when it prolongs the commute. There was also a feeling that ‘when partners are busy, there is poor support’ because of the lack of junior lawyers. But ‘if you are prepared to put the work and effort in, you are helped along the way’ at Trethowans. If this sounds like you, take a closer look.
A day in the life of...
Gerrard Tin trainee, Trethowans LLP
Departments to date: secondment to Meridian Corporate Finance; private client
University:University College London, Faculty of Laws
Degree:LLB Laws, 2(1)
8.30am: I will typically arrive before 8.30am and make a pot of coffee. I am on secondment with a corporate finance client and start each day by trying to keep a laser focus on the life-cycle of each transaction I’m working on. Throughout the day my priority may change: you need to be organised and ready to adapt at a moment’s notice.
9.00am: The office is open-plan and face-to-face liaison is frequent. A ‘work-in-progress’ (WIP) meeting will take place at least once a week. The tempo in a transactional environment is relentless: robust communication facilitates anticipation of deal frictions. Some matters are engaged (for example, we discuss how an MBO structure has finally been agreed but funding options now need to be explored) while others remain in the pipeline (we divide the labour to prepare for a meeting with a prospective client).
9.30am: Depending on where resources are required, I might have to research a particular business or sector in preparation for a pitch with a potential funder. My work has to be meticulous: the numbers, in particular, may go into a financial model which might then be forwarded to a bank or private equity house.
11.00am: Once a transaction gains momentum , there will inevitably be documents to review and processes to manage: I sit in on a call with the MBO team and we discuss numbers and next steps, including this afternoon’s call. It can be a delicate process and we manage the client’s expectations with tact and patience.
12.00pm: Transactional work is ‘non-contentious’ and I work with other regional firms as well as national and international firms to get deals over the line: this includes reviewing legal documents, which I go about having prepared a redline against a previous version. Legal drafting has to match the instructions: it is easy to identify typos, but you add value when you spot where a document fails to achieve the desired objective.
1.00pm: I review my notes from a previous meeting: I’ve compared my understanding against the draft documents we are about to page-turn. The client is in the room and we huddle around the ‘spider’ conference telephone, waiting on mute for the call to begin. I lean over to the client and pass them a copy of the agenda I have prepared – my own copy is covered in handwritten prompts so I can remain appraised of the key issues.
3.00pm: I check my notes from the call and prepare an actions list. I have experience of high-tempo transactional work from my time as a paralegal in Trethowans’ banking team and the client has come to trust the accuracy of my notes: I take pride in capturing the nuances of each point. This gets checked by my supervisor and then shared with the team.
4.30pm: No transaction runs smoothly from start to finish: pre-empting where the problems will be and diffusing them either before they arise (the preferable option) or before they unravel the deal will make you invaluable. Some problems reveal themselves time and time again: ‘know your client’ paperwork, signing logistics, missed typos, forgotten subsidiaries. I scribble some notes and call a venue to check that there is parking ahead of a meeting tomorrow.
6.00pm: Transactional work takes you through an exciting mixture of advising, drafting, researching, preparing and note-taking and will draw upon all of your professional skills. The catharsis of a completion meeting is matched by some celebratory drinks. Another deal done!
About the firm
Address:London Road, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 3HP
Telephone: 0845 302 4695
Senior partner: Simon Rhodes
Managing partner: Chris Whiteley
Other offices: Southampton, Poole, Bournemouth, Winchester
Who we are: A leading, full-service law firm based in the South with a team of over 230 including 40 partners and over 80 lawyers.
What we do: On the commercial side we represent international and national household brand names, owner-managed businesses, entrepreneurs and major regional employers across the UK. For individuals we represent landowners, entrepreneurs, local families, property developers and trustees among others.
What we are looking for: Bright, enthusiastic and ambitious individuals who can make a positive contribution to the firm. We aim to provide a satisfying and rewarding career.
What you'll do:Trainees usually undertake four separate seats, each lasting six months. Trainees work closely with their supervisor and are considered an integral part of the team from day one.
Perks: Incremental holiday entitlement up to 28 days, additional day for ‘birthday holiday’, contributory pension scheme, death in service benefit, Simply Health cash plan scheme, income protection scheme, performance-related bonus scheme, free car parking, new staff recruitment referral scheme, employee assistance programme, online discount scheme.
Sponsorship:Up to 50 % of LPC fees.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 40
Other fee-earners: 80
Total trainees: 6
Trainee places available for 2021: 3-4
Applications received pa: 80+
Percentage interviewed: 40%
First year: Market rate
Second year: Market rate
Newly qualified: Competitive market rate
Apply to:Kate Ellis, HR manager
How: Application form
What's involved:An interview and assessment day.
When to apply: By 28 June 2019 for a contract starting in 2021.