The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Independent law firm Wedlake Bell is headquartered in London and is a member of an international network connecting it with firms across the world. The firm is renowned for its family law and private client practice, as well as for its work on mid-market M&A, brand protection and commercial property matters. Wedlake Bell advises clients ranging from FTSE-100 companies to owner-managed businesses and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
The star performers
Bank lending: investment grade debt and syndicated loans; Brand management; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Data protection; Employment: employers; Family; IT and telecoms; Intellectual property; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Pensions; Property finance; Property litigation; VAT and indirect tax.
Represented Warburg-HIH Invest Real Estate on its £17m sale of a large distribution unit on Drum Industrial Estate in Durham to Stafford County Council; advised Day Lewis plc on the addition of a £5m property facility alongside an existing £160m club financing previously put in place to refinance the group's existing debt and to fund further corporate acquisitions; advised Surrey County Cricket Club on the variation to and extension of the naming rights sponsorship agreement relating to the Kia Oval; represented Pearson Lloyd Design regarding a design and royalty agreement for the design by Pearson Lloyd of a range of products for the furniture design and manufacturing business Teknion.
Arbuthnot Latham & Co; Axpo Power; Bank of Ireland; CALA Management; Fairacre Asset Management; Honest Burgers; Hugo Boss; Independent Sports Media; Lacoste; Which?.
Wedlake Bell is a full-service firm that offers its trainees 'high-quality work' and 'a very broad range of departments' to experience, with the 'commercial property and private client teams being particularly strong'. Trainees comment on the 'welcoming culture' that was already apparent during the assessment day. We hear there is 'a good level of responsibility from day one', and trainee work highlights have included 'managing substantial aspects of the property due diligence and client liaison on a sizeable property finance deal', 'working on an IPO' and 'attending and participating in a mediation which ended with a great result for the client'. This is a taste of the 'great level of client contact on offer', and the firm is recognised for its strong performance in this area by being named a Lex 100 Winner. The 'new, modern offices are very professional, and in a great location' near Mansion House station. The major complaint raised in the feedback is that there is 'little information given about the qualification process'. A 'good work/life balance' is reported, but trainees have sometimes been required to 'work during the weekend'. It is 'easy to approach partners and senior solicitors' at Wedlake Bell, and these supervisors 'care about your training and development and involve you in the work they are doing'. One respondent adds that 'the size of the firm and trainee intake means that you get to know most members of the firm very quickly'. To experience a 'mix of commercial and private client work' at a 'collegiate and inclusive firm' which 'helps trainees to realise their full potential', apply to Wedlake Bell.
A day in the life of...
Omar Amin trainee solicitor, Wedlake Bell LLP
Departments to date: Corporate, commercial property (current seat)
University:The University of Nottingham
Degree:Law LLB, 2(1)
8.45am: I arrive at work, grab a coffee to wake me up and have a chat with my supervisor about our respective weekends, current workload and on-going matters. I then review my emails and to-do list for the day.
9.00am: I am currently working on four concurrent lease assignments for a client who is vacating premises and assigning the residue of the term to several other companies. We have received a licence to assign from the landlord's solicitors in relation to one property and comments on the contract for the assignment on another. I review each in turn, marking-up the licence and the annexed authorised guarantee agreement and reviewing the assignee's solicitors comments on the contract.
10.30am: I am assisting an associate on the financing of a freehold acquisition and development. We have received documentation from the borrower's solicitors for the site purchase. I review the folder of documents and prepare a list of enquiries which stem from the due diligence review. The responses will form part of our final report on title and certificate of funds request to be sent to our client.
11.30am: I have been asked to draft a reversionary lease for a property in Kensington. I review the agreed terms between the parties, together with the original lease and a subsequent deed of variation to the lease. Crucial here is ensuring that the key covenants (such as repairing and alterations covenants) are drafted to commence from the commencement date of the previous lease, so that the tenant is kept on the hook.
1.00pm: A few other trainees and I pop out to get some lunch, bringing it back to the office to eat upstairs in the firm's breakout room. It's a rare sunny day, so we make use of the terrace and sit outside.
1.30pm: We have received CPSEs for two neighbouring properties that our client has instructed us to sell. I prepare draft replies for each property and send these over to the client to confirm any outstanding points. I have also made a list of outstanding management information that we need, and email the client's managing agent to request this so that we can forward onto the buyer's solicitors.
2.30pm: The trainees in the commercial property team have recently been asked to present market updates for the team's know-how meetings. It is my turn at the next meeting and, as this falls shortly after the 2017 General Election, I research and read various industry expert articles and summarise the general commentary on how this may affect the market in preparation for my presentation.
3.30pm: I have been invited to join a conference call with a partner and another partner in the banking department as I am involved in co-ordinating the property conditions precedent for the financing of an acquisition of one property coupled with the refinancing of three other properties. This is particularly challenging given the cross-over between teams.
5.00pm: Our client, the landlord of a property in central London, has given permission to its tenant to convert staff accommodation to a restaurant/bar area. I pull up a useful precedent licence for alterations from our knowledge management library and issue a first draft to send to the other side.
6.30pm: The WB football team are in action tonight in a 5-a-side game in Shoreditch against a property client. I get changed into the infamous WB colours (hard-to-miss fluorescent green) and meet the rest of the mixed team in the lobby to head over for a 7.00pm KO.
About the firm
Address:71 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4AY
Telephone: 020 7395 3178
Twitter:@WedlakeBell LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/company/wedlake-bell
Senior partner : Kim Lalli
Managing partner : Martin Arnold
Who we are: Wedlake Bell LLP is a leading London law firm. We provide a full service to UK and international corporate and private clients.
What we do: Our expert teams cover the following core areas: lP and commercial; corporate; dispute resolution; employment; pensions and employee benefits; private client; property and construction; banking; projects and infrastructure.
What we are looking for: Academic excellence together with commercial aptitude, common sense, enthusiasm and a personable nature.
What you'll do:Six-month rotations in four different practice areas. Trainee solicitors are closely supervised but have client contact and responsibility from day one.
Perks: Pension, health insurance, life assurance, season ticket loan, corporate gym membership, cycle to work scheme, additional holiday scheme, give as you earn.
Sponsorship:LPC funding available, subject to the terms and conditions of any offer.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 4-6
Applications received pa: 250-300
Percentage interviewed: 15%
Turnover in 2016: £33m (+5% from 2015) Profits per equity partner: £332,000 (-6%)
Total partners: 59
Apply to:The graduate recruitment department.
What's involved: lnterview, written test
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2020: By 30 June 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.