Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Irwin Mitchell LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Irwin Mitchell LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Areas of expertise – mainly public law and medical negligence – and location of office’, ‘the charitable connections and opportunities’, ‘the people and the ethos’, ‘it truly cares about the wellbeing and working hours of staff’, ‘the culture’, ‘its reputation in public law’, ‘best in personal injury’, ‘I worked there as a paralegal’, ‘I respected and admired the firm’s values and felt they matched my own’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Wide range of departments, friendly and people seem to stick around’, ‘the work/life balance’, ‘the range of CSR activities to get involved with’, ‘the culture and working environment – everyone is approachable’, ‘flexibility’, ‘it has adapted well to home working’, ‘my colleagues; they’re genuinely all good and kind people first and foremost’, ‘the people want to help you improve and learn’, ‘client contact and high-quality work’, ‘values and emphasis on charity work and volunteering’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘High billable hours targets’, ‘the pay’, ‘the computer systems make work more time-consuming than it needs to be’, ‘I think it is growing so big that you feel a bit more like a number than an actual person’, ‘lack of seat choices in some offices’, ‘the remuneration’, ‘not many opportunities for secondments’, ‘the IT is not up to standard’

Best moment? ‘Being involved in settlements for clients with serious and life-changing injuries’, ‘legal research on a very complicated matter that achieved success’, ‘completing an involved deal with a team that I really felt a part of’, ‘taking a case to trial, being involved in the prep, attending and winning’, ‘the induction was excellent and very well-organised, particularly with the added challenge that it had to be virtual’

Worst moment? ‘Being called out of the blue and asked to do something I did not understand quite urgently’, ‘dealing with multiple court deadlines when work was already very busy’, ‘making an error in funding documentation’, ‘feeling out of my depth and not supported by one of my supervisors’, ‘the initial weeks of lockdown in a brand-new seat, not knowing the people and feeling like communication was very difficult’

The Lex 100 verdict on Irwin Mitchell LLP

A major name in the personal service legal market, Irwin Mitchell has a lot more to offer. It is full-service, providing trainees with something different from other training contracts: with a ‘split training contract between business legal services and personal legal services’, the firm allows trainees to choose a stream, which has proven very popular. One trainee commented: ‘I liked that I could do the personal service stream and not have to risk doing any corporate or business seats’. Irwin Mitchell is a Lex 100 winner in six categories – job satisfaction, living up to expectations, client contact, work/life balance, social life and approachability of supervisors. Trainees commonly mention the firm’s ‘people’ and ‘ethos’ as well as ‘varied areas of expertise’, particularly in public law and medical negligence. The firm also has a ‘wide range of business legal service seats and this side of the business is growing – it’s an exciting time to be a trainee.’ In terms of training, the firm is described as having ‘more structure in place’ than competitors. A trainee adds, ‘there are defined seats and an expectation for the supervisor/trainee relationship. There are people in defined roles ready to help you with any issues you may have’. Negatives include the period of furlough some new starters experienced and the slow development of home-working IT systems. But highlights included ‘writing a letter of claim and getting very minor amendments from my supervisor and then sending it to the defendant who then awarded our client £100k’, ‘winning at trial’ and ‘completing an involved deal with a team that I really felt a part of’. A perennial winner of our awards, a diverse and unique structure and locations across the country, Irwin Mitchell is worth a second look.

The firm: Irwin Mitchell are legal experts with a difference. As well as offering a full range of legal services to individuals and businesses, they also support people with their finances, wealth and asset management. They focus on what really matters: their clients, colleagues and communities.

The clients: Destiny Pharma plc; Henry Boot; HSBC; Investec; Lloyds Banking Group; Mazars; RBS/Natwest; Saga; Welbeck Land.

The deals: Secured a Supreme Court judgment ruling that tour operator Kuoni was liable for a sex attack on a British holidaymaker by a Sri Lanka hotel worker; acting For Families Need Fathers in a Court of Appeal case; advised Santander on debt financing for an investment into one of the UK’s major fire and security businesses; advised an international chemical technology firm in the North West on a £2m finance package designed to rapidly scale up its production capacity; acting for Rio Olympic medallist Amy Tinkler in her dispute with British Gymnastics.

A day in the life of... Radika Magecha, trainee, Irwin Mitchell

Radika Magecha, Irwin Mitchell LLP

Departments to date: Asbestos related disease

University: University of Law

Degree: Law, 2(1)

8.55am: I start my day by checking my emails and looking at what meetings I have in the diary for today. I also have a look at my task list to decide what needs to be prioritised today, as well as adding any new tasks that have been delegated to me.

9.15am: If I do have any client meetings or conferences with counsel later on in the day, I will email the fee-earner to ensure that everything is in hand ahead of the meeting. As all of our meetings have to take place virtually, I also send an email to the client to check that they have received the meeting details.

9.30am: I begin drafting a letter of instruction to an expert to review our client’s medical records and prepare a report commenting on their life expectancy as a result of their diagnosis of mesothelioma. I include a background of the case and an update on our client’s current symptoms, along with the technical questions that we need the expert to answer in their report. I also prepare a list of enclosures to be included with the letter. I then send this to my supervisor to review.

11.00am: I then move onto a research task which involves researching and locating information in relation to our client’s previous employer. I search Companies House and the company information portal for any companies that match the previous employer’s name, address and dates of employment. I then search the company’s name on the insurance database in order to identify any insurance policies that were in place during our client’s period of employment. I outline my findings in a file note and send this to my supervisor with some suggested next steps.

11.30am: I then prepare for my catch up with my supervisor. I update my task list and come up with suggested next steps for any cases that I have previously worked on to assist in progressing the claim.

11.45am: I attend a meeting with my supervisor over Microsoft Teams in order to go through my task list and discuss deadlines for any upcoming work to assist me in prioritising my workload. I also outline what I consider to be the next steps with my supervisor and we formulate a plan.

12.15pm: Following on from our meeting I add any additional tasks to my task list and prepare a file note of the discussions for each case discussed.

12.30pm: I take my lunch break and often arrange to have a Microsoft Teams call with a member of my team or a fellow trainee in order to catch up on how work is going and ensure that I still have an element of social interaction while we are working from home.

1.00pm: I attend the charity committee meeting in order to discuss any upcoming fundraisers and discuss any other ideas in order to raise as much money as we can for our charity of the year.

1.45pm: I prepare for the conference with counsel and the client by reading through the instructions to counsel and any other significant documents such as the letter of claim and the client’s witness statement

2.00pm: I attend a virtual conference with counsel, the client and the fee-earner. The conference takes place via Microsoft Teams. The barrister was taking our client through his previous employment in order to assist us in identifying when our client was exposed to asbestos. This information will then be used to add to and strengthen our client’s witness statement before it is disclosed to the defendant inviting them to admit liability. I make a detailed note of what was discussed and prepare a succinct action plan to be sent to the fee-earner together with my note following the conference.

3.45pm: I finalise my conference note and send it to the fee-earner.

4.00pm: Following on from the conference I start making the necessary amendments to our client’s witness statement and send the amended statement to the fee-earner for their comments and approval. I also contact a previous colleague that the client mentioned in the conference in order to arrange a time to take a witness statement from them later on in the week.

5.30pm: I make sure that all of my time for the day has been posted on the time management system and check that I have completed all of the tasks that needed to be completed that day before logging off.

About the firm

Group chief executive: Andrew Tucker

Other offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Chichester, Gatwick, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough (consulting office), Newbury, Newcastle, Reading, Southampton.

Who we are: We’re more than just a law firm – we’re a group of like-minded, friendly people working together to help individuals and businesses navigate life’s ups and downs.

What we do: We work with our clients, and take the time to understand what matters most to them. We call it ‘expert hand, human touch’.

What we’re looking for: Trainees need to be flexible in their approach to everything, be resilient to change, and have a drive to solve problems.

What you’ll do: As a trainee you will work with a wide range of our clients on critical cases, deals and projects. Our unique training system lets trainees take seats in multiple areas of law and gain a huge variety of experience in your two years with us.

Perks: 25 days’ holiday, health plan, recognition scheme, two volunteering days a year, sports team sponsorship, season ticket loan, contributory pension scheme, death in service cover, critical illness cover.

Sponsorship: If your application is successful, we will meet all the fees associated with your LPC and, if applicable, your GDL if you have not started or completed your studies when offered a training contract. We also provide a maintenance grant to help you through your studies.

Diversity and inclusion

It’s in our DNA to value people for who they are and what they bring. We’re committed to creating a diverse and inclusive culture where our people can flourish.