Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Maples Teesdale LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Maples Teesdale LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Due to my interest in commercial property’; ‘I wanted to work with experts in real estate’; ‘the firm’s reputation in the market’; ‘the quality of work’; ‘great clients’; ‘friendly working environment’; ‘brilliant exposure to clients and trainees are trusted to deal with matters from early on’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Friendly colleagues, great work, and the firm’s appreciation for having a life outside of work’; ‘the people’; ‘everyone is friendly, welcoming, and always willing to spare some time to help me when I need it’; ‘the small trainee cohort’; ‘being responsible for your own matters from start to finish’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Lack of secondment opportunities’; ‘limited perks in comparison to other firms’; ‘there aren’t a lot of firm-organised social events for trainees’; ‘it would be good to have more benefits although this is improving as private medical insurance is now provided’

Best moment? ‘Being given high levels of responsibility from day one’; ‘leading on negotiations with the other side’; ‘working with a partner on high-value matters’; ‘running a matter from start to finish’; ‘working with interesting clients’; ‘getting direct exposure to clients and feeling included’

Worst moment? ‘Indexing countless deeds ahead of a big sale’; ‘having printer issues when I had urgent printing to do’; ‘general admin tasks’; ‘scheduling and checking deeds’; ‘doing boring tasks’

The Lex 100 verdict on Maples Teesdale LLP

The firm: “We cover the entire spectrum of real estate law services, from construction to property finance. Some of the issues our clients face we’ve seen time and time again. But there are always surprises. So we bring fresh thinking and innovative solutions to both old and new challenges.”

The deals: Advised the US Government on the ongoing sale of its Embassy at Grosvenor Square to Qatari Diar and its relocation to the 4.9-acre site at Nine Elms in Wandsworth; advising Prosperity on a 556 unit primarily PRS development at the former Boddingtons Brewery site in central Manchester with a GDV of circa £175m; advised Aberdeen Standard Investments on the £23m sale of 202 Hammersmith Road; advising on a joint venture between The Collective and Cheyne Real Estate on the design and construction of a high rise co-living development at Baltimore Wharf, London E14; advised Shine TV Limited on their lettings requirements on the Ground, Second and Third Floor, 42 Gloucester Avenue, London.

The clients: Aberdeen Standard Investments; CBRE Global Investors; Cineworld Group; City University of London; Conran & Partners; Endemol Shine Group; Fremantle Media; Legal & General; The Collective; US Embassy.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Commercial property: general; Commercial property: development; Commercial property: hotels and leisure; Commercial property: investment; Commercial property: retail; Construction (non-contentious); Property finance; Property litigation

The verdict

Maples Teesdale attracted applicants for being a renowned ‘specialist real estate firm’ with ‘impressive clients’. The current cohort were delighted with the amount of responsibility they were given from the offset, which is reflected in the ‘hands-on training’ Maples Teesdale provides. Many agreed that ‘being part of a small firm means a lot of exposure to great work’, whilst others felt that the firm’s modest size means that social opportunities are limited. The nature of the training grants ‘more client contact’, allowing new recruits to get ‘involved in multiple high-value deals’. Completing tasks from ‘instruction to completion’, ‘leading on the drafting of documents’ and ‘working on a multi-million pound transaction with just one partner’ were moments trainees relished. On the other hand, respondents did grumble about performing ‘mundane tasks’ such as ‘indexing countless documents’ and ‘checking and scheduling deeds’, but were mindful that ‘someone has to do it’. Limited benefits were also a concern, ‘although this is improving with private medical insurance now being provided’. On the upside, Maples Teesdale boasts a good work/life balance; many felt that they work ‘better hours’ than trainees at some larger firms. One trainee labels the firm ‘the full package’ and the contributing elements are only heightened by the ‘friendly atmosphere’. If property law is your niche and hands-on training sounds appealing to you, consider applying to Maples Teesdale.

A day in the life of… Alex Homatas, second-year trainee, Maples Teesdale LLP

Alex Homatas, Maples Teesdale LLP

Departments to date: Construction, finance, litigation, commercial property

University: University of Exeter

Degree: Geography 2(1)

8.45am: I use the train journey in to catch up on the latest headlines and browse the real estate publications the firm subscribes to. Working at a specialist commercial property firm means that it is important to keep up-to-date with what our clients and their competitors are doing in the real estate market.

9.15am: I arrive at the office, make a cup of tea and check my emails. I review the files that I am running myself and make a to-do list for the day. I currently sit in the commercial property department and the work is extremely varied. Maples Teesdale acts for a range of clients from institutional landlords and lenders to big-name tenant occupiers, meaning that trainees are involved in lots of different real estate work from property acquisitions and disposals to asset management.

9.30am: I have received an email to go and speak to a partner about a financing the firm has been instructed on. The buyer is looking to purchase some out-of-town industrial space. I have been asked to assist the commercial property team that will need to draft a certificate of title for the lender and review the occupational leases, title documents and searches.

10.15am: A number of additional enquiries in relation to a sale that I am assisting on have just come in from the purchaser’s solicitors. I review these and send our client an email with a list of further enquiries so that we can go back to the purchaser. Working for a smaller firm means we are given lots of responsibility from day one and there is plenty of client contact.

10.45am: I finish off a lease I started drafting yesterday afternoon. I read over the heads of terms and check these are consistent with the lease and then I give this to my supervisor to check.

12.00pm: As it is a Wednesday we have an internal know-how training session. These sessions are a great way to keep up-to-date with changes in the law and current issues.

1.00pm: I have lunch with the other trainees. Maples Teesdale has a really friendly atmosphere and the small intake means that all the junior fee-earners know each other really well, so there is always someone around for lunch. We grab a sandwich and go and sit in the sun by St Pauls.

2.00pm: I start to go over the background for the refinancing. I liaise with the finance and construction departments that will also be involved to ensure that we are addressing all the important points. I make a list of enquiries and note down any major issues so that I can discuss these with my supervisior. Working on a transaction like this gives us the chance to see the role of the other departments (and gives you a taste of what is to come in your other seats!).

3.30pm: My supervisor is sitting in on a meeting with a client who is looking to purchase a number of serviced offices by way of a corporate deal. I meet the client, take notes and produce an attendance note.

4.15pm: A developer client phones with a few queries in relation to a site they own. I do some research and I run over this with an associate before reverting to the client.

4.50pm: I go over the draft lease and discuss this with my supervisor and then send this out for the tenant’s solicitors to review.

6.00pm: I check my emails, post my time and make my to-do list for the next day, prioritising any urgent matters. I then head off to meet some friends for a drink.

About the firm

Managing partner: Chris Wilkinson

Who we are: Maples Teesdale are the UK’s leading commercial real estate specialists, providing innovative, full-service and truly partner-led services.

What we do: The core property practice is complemented by strong construction, planning, property litigation, finance and corporate teams. Our clients include large institutional investors, property developers and companies, construction companies, multinationals and banks, high-net-worth individuals and family offices, sole property traders and occupiers.

What we’re looking for: We welcome applications from both law and non-law students. Among other things, we look for candidates with a strong academic background (minimum ABB at A Level (excluding General Studies) and a 2(1) at degree level). When reviewing your application we also consider work experience (both legal and non-legal), sporting achievements and any positions of responsibility held. We also like to find out a little bit about you and your personality and what has inspired you into a career in the law.

What you’ll do: Our trainees are the future of our business. You will receive the best training possible in a friendly and supportive environment. At the same time, we will ensure that your training contract is stimulating and rewarding. Our largest department is our commercial property department. This is supported by five other departments: construction, corporate, finance, litigation and planning. Our trainees have the opportunity to gain experience, skills and knowledge across these different departments in four six-month seats and there may also be an opportunity to spend time on secondment with clients.

Perks: Pension, Ride2Work cycle loan scheme, interest-free season ticket loans, life assurance, private medical insurance.