The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Salisbury-headquartered Wilsons has a 300-year history. The firm has grown significantly in the last five years and most recently opened an office in London. Wilsons advises businesses, individuals and charities on a wide range of matters.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Corporate and commercial; Education; Employment; Family; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation.
A full-service firm, Wilsons is an experienced adviser on a wide range of transactional and contentious matters.
Wilsons advises an array of clients, ranging from private individuals to businesses and charities.
Salisbury's Wilsons has struck a winning formula with its 'many great technical lawyers' being aided by 'brilliant support staff'. This effective combination produces a 'high standard of work' on behalf of the firm's 'quality clients', with private client being the firm's main area of expertise. Trainees are given 'great exposure to partners and clients', so there is 'a fair amount of responsibility if you are willing'. Training contract highlights have included 'achieving recognition for my work during my private client seat', 'being the first point of contact for four clients on a tribunal application' and 'visiting the Supreme Court for the Ilott v Mitson hearing'. Wilsons has 'a nice atmosphere and a regional feel', but one respondent laments that 'the firm is very much centred around Salisbury, which can feel restricting'. The 'limited social events' have no impact on the 'very friendly work culture'. The main criticism is that 'some departments are slightly old-fashioned in the way they work', and the qualification process 'lacks transparency'. Yet 'the partners are friendly', and the 'one-to-one contact with the supervising partners helps you make really good progress in each seat'. Wilsons is 'constantly involved with various charitable events', and on top of this the firm has a policy whereby 'you can spend a day out doing a charitable activity in the local community'. For the combination of 'a good work/life balance' and 'a decent amount of responsibility' while working with 'great people', apply for a place on the Wilsons training contract.
A day in the life of...
Ben Smith trainee, Wilsons Solicitors LLP
Departments to date: Probate, contentious trusts and probate, tax and trusts, farms and estates (property)
Degree:LLB (Hons) 1st Class
8.45am: Luckily I am able to walk to work and usually arrive in the office around this time. I make a coffee and catch up on any emails or news from the previous evening. I review my to-do list for the day and begin to prioritise the more urgent tasks.
10.00am: Working in a private client seat, I regularly sit in on meetings with a partner and client to discuss estate planning, which often involves preparing a new will, lasting powers of attorney and analysing the tax consequences of any decisions made. I have been consistently impressed by the level of client contact I have had as a trainee (even during my first seat).
11.00am: Following the meeting, I begin to prepare the documents, including the will, any letters of wishes, LPAs and deeds changing the ownership of the client's property. This always involves the use of legal precedents and often requires research into the more complicated tax questions around CGT and IHT. New proposals such as the residential nil rate band have led to significantly more considerations for clients and practitioners.
12.30pm: I attend a lunchtime meeting to discuss progress within our team. This will often involve analysing the success of our marketing and business development approach. Trainees regularly attend lunchtime webinars and training sessions designed to keep us up-to-date with significant legal developments.
2.00pm: Back to my desk to prepare a letter to the client explaining the documents I have drafted following our meeting. We are encouraged to develop our letter writing and written communication skills at every opportunity.
3.00pm: Next, a quick check of my to-do list for the day and I start to prepare various deeds relating to the ongoing management of a trust including a deed of retirement and appointment and a deed of gift. We are lucky to have such an experienced and approachable team of private client practitioners who are always happy to help with the more intricate detail of drafting.
4.00pm: I am asked to research recent anti-avoidance legislation in relation to SDLT and how the legislation interacts with the general anti-avoidance rules (GAAR). I prepare a brief memo on the topic and email this to the fee-earner.
5.30pm: A positive aspect of working at Wilsons is the work/life balance. We are encouraged not to stay too late and to recognise the benefits of a fulfilling life outside the office. I usually go for a run in the evenings which I find is an excellent way to relax and clear my head after a busy day at work.
6.00pm: The end of another full but rewarding day. As trainees, we are encouraged to play an active role in business development and as a member of Salisbury Young Professionals I enjoy attending social gatherings and networking events attended by fellow lawyers, accountants and land agents. Such events present a great opportunity to mix socially with clients and colleagues.
About the firm
Address:Alexandra House, St John's Street, Salisbury, Wiltshire, SP1 2SB
Telephone: 01722 412412
Senior partner : Frances Mayne
Managing partner : Mike Parker
Other offices: London
Who we are: Wilsons is a long-established law firm with offices in Salisbury and London.
What we do: Our lawyers advise clients on charity, corporate commercial, property, employment, private client, dispute resolution and family law.
What we are looking for: We look for future partners of Wilsons - intelligent, hard-working and approachable people who can use their initiative to solve their clients' problems.
What you'll do:As a full-service law firm, Wilsons offer trainees a rounded training undertaking top-quality work and supervised by people at the top of their profession.
Perks: Pension, life assurance, health insurance after six months, choice of optional benefits, travel loan.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 4
First year: Market rate
Second year: Market rate
Newly qualified: Market rate
Total partners: 29
Apply to:Jo Ratcliffe.
What's involved: Interview, assessment day.
When to Apply:
Training Contract: By 30 June 2018.
Work Placement: Takes place in June of each year.