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; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Education; Employment; Personal tax, trusts and probate
Acted for an educational institution in relation to claims of historical abuse made by a former student. The claim was defended and a review of safeguarding procedures was carried out; advised Krysalis Consultancy on the employment status of neuro-rehabilitation assistants and occupational health consultants, which involved advising on holidays, working practice, redrafting documentation and transferring workers from employees to self-employed status; represented Blue Cross, RSPB and RSPCA, successful appellants in Ilott v Mitson in the first case the Supreme Court has ever considered regarding the Inheritance Act 1975; advised the shareholders of CSI Group on the £36m exit transaction with a private equity-backed newco; acted for The Royal Marines Association in connection with its multi-million-pound merger with the The Royal Marines Charity
Action on Hearing Loss ; Entrust Datacard; Farleigh School; Help for Heroes; Holland Park School; Prince’s Mead School; Ocean Learning Trust; Saba Software; Sandroyd School
London and Salisbury-based Wilsons offers ‘several different types of work’ and boasts a ‘highly-regarded private client practice’. This particular department has attracted yet more high-quality work following the firm’s work on the Ilott v Mitson case in 2017. Partners at the firm are ‘experts in their field’ and ‘take a real interest in trainees’, as evidenced by the ‘time they take to evaluate your training and run through the areas in which you need to gain more experience in order to ensure you have a more rounded seat’. Recruits benefit from ‘more client contact and involvement in work’ than some of their peers at larger firms. That ‘the work/life balance is excellent’ was a sentiment echoed by several trainees, which explains why the firm has earned itself a Lex 100 Winner medal in this category. There were some complaints that the firm is ‘not very transparent with news or decision making, for example, in relation to qualification opportunities’, and that ‘there is not much social life outside of work’. Worst moments ranged from ‘being very light on work’ to ‘being given too much work to do’. Much more exciting were instances of ‘working with the surrogacy team, which was rewarding because it is at the forefront of a rapidly developing area of law’ and ‘acting for a charity in a mediation in relation to a 1975 Inheritance Act claim’. Teams operate an ‘open-door policy where people will give you their time’ and it is reassuring that ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question’. For high levels of client contact, and the opportunity to ‘run your own files under supervision, from initial instruction to final bill’, consider Wilsons.
A day in the life of...
Alexandra Bridger trainee, Wilsons Solicitors LLP
Departments to date: Probate, Contentious Trusts and Probate.
Degree:LLB 1st Class
8.45am: I arrive at the office. While I work in our Salisbury office primarily, I also work in our London office two days a week. As well as giving me the opportunity to experience working in central London, this gives me the chance to work for partners with different areas of expertise. I am around half way through my seat already and have already worked on a wide variety of disputes, for both private and charity clients.
8.50am: I have a coffee and check my emails. I have a brief look at my calendar to check for any deadlines or reminders and then quickly make a list of tasks which I aim to get through today.
9.00am: I start working on a letter of claim in a case concerning a challenge to the validity of a will. I spend a lot of time analysing the evidence we have collected, such as the will writer’s file, testamentary documents and the chronology of medical records which I prepared previously. I then look at the key case law in this area before starting to write.
1.00pm: The morning flies past and it is lunchtime before I know it. My department regularly arranges seminars and webinars over lunch. These usually involve presentations of recent case law developments, which are great for keeping up to date.
2.00pm: Back to my desk to continue working on the letter of claim.
2.30pm: A partner gives me an urgent task in preparation for filing a defence and counterclaim in a probate claim tomorrow. I research the Civil Procedure Rules and then prepare a brief summary. I check the requirements of the relevant division of the court, and ensure that all the covering letters and documents are ready for signing and filing tomorrow.
3.45pm: I review an email from a client in a matter which I have been given to deal with (under close supervision). I then discuss the next steps with a partner. In both departments I have worked in, I have been impressed with the level of responsibility I have been given. I have been involved in new matters and had client contact from the outset. This has been a really helpful learning experience, particularly as I have seen matters progress from an early stage.
4.00pm: I get some letters and a witness statement back from a partner, which I drafted the previous day. The partner takes time to discuss my drafts and provides detailed feedback. I then spend a few minutes making amendments in order to send the letters and witness statement out.
4.30pm: I review recent correspondence in a file, as I have been asked to provide an update for the client. I make some necessary chaser calls.
5.30pm: A benefit of working at Wilsons is the work-life balance, which means I can commit to evening activities without worrying about getting away from my desk in time. If I work beyond 6pm, I am often encouraged to head home.
6.00pm: The end of another busy day. As trainees, we are encouraged to play an active role in business development. I regularly attend events run by Salisbury Young Professionals, whose members are made up of local businesses such as accountancy firms, chartered surveyors and other law firms. Events I have attended so far include informal drinks, quizzes and talks.
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
Total partners: 31
Other fee-earners: 59
Total trainees: 9
Trainee places available for 2021: 4
First year: Above market rate
Second year: Above market rate
Newly qualified: Above market rate
Apply to:Jo Ratcliffe.
When to apply:By 30 June 2019.
What's involved:Interview, assessment day.
Summer:One week in June, apply by 30 March