Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Memery Crystal

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Memery Crystal

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The firm does high-quality work, especially in corporate and disputes (which were of particular interest to me), but at the same time does a lot of smaller matters, which allows you to do meatier work on a trainee level’; ‘MC places a lot of emphasis on work/life balance and creating a friendly, social working environment’; ‘supportive firm’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The quality of work is great, for example you get to draft letters before action, instructions to counsel etc. in your dispute seat’; ‘socialising with colleagues over lunch and after work’; ‘genuinely lovely and very bright people’; ‘Stella’s! (The dining space in the new offices). It has greatly assisted in improving the firm’s social life’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The split between the corporate and property departments can make it feel like two separate firms’; ‘the open-plan office can be quite distracting, but you can choose to go into private rooms if you need to tackle a complex piece of work undisturbed’; ‘limited resources in terms of IT software and bundling programmes’

Best moment? ‘Attending an 11-day trial at the Commercial Court and a trial at the Court of Appeal’; ‘getting to watch a large court hearing and being included in the follow-up discussions between counsel, firm members and the client after working hard for several months on the matter’; ‘having my draft emails of advice or contracts sent directly to clients with little to no amendments’

Worst moment? ‘Frantic last minute creating of hearing bundles into the night’; ‘being told I wasted my time reviewing something when I could have asked the partner’; ‘my computer crashing during a client meeting’; ‘sometimes having too much time-pressured work to do’

The Lex 100 verdict on Memery Crystal

The firm: “Memery Crystal is an international law firm, based in London. We are commercially aware, entrepreneurial in spirit, international in outlook and pragmatic in approach.”

The deals: Advising BDO on its milestone merger with Moore Stephens to create the fifth largest accountancy firm in the UK; advising South African phosphate miner Kropz on its recent listing and simultaneous acquisition of Cominco Resources. Other recent listings include oil and gas exploration company Valeura Energy, precision marketing software specialist Pelatro, cloud computing software company Maestrano and tech-led, concierge service Ten Group; advising medicinal cannabis investment vehicle Ananda Developments on its NEX listing; advising a consortium of international investors on the £90m+ corporate acquisition of The Relay Building in Aldgate, London; advising on the construction aspects of Telford Homes’ build-to-rent schemes in Nine Elms and Walthamstow.

The clients: Aramco Overseas; Carabao; Fairview New Homes; Gulf Keystone Petroleum; Marex Spectron; Petra Diamonds; Shanta Gold; Telegraph Media Group; Wyevale Garden Centres; Zorin Finance.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Employment: employers and senior executives; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Mining and minerals; Oil and gas; Property litigation

The verdict

Memery Crystal hires a ‘small trainee intake’, meaning new recruits ‘are given a lot of responsibility from day one and are not just one of many’. The firm appealed to applicants for having ‘many international clients’ and placing an ’emphasis on work/life balance’. The size of the firm attracted trainees because ‘it meant there was no competition for seats’, which creates ‘camaraderie among the current cohort’. Respondents complimented the ‘supportive working environment’ commending in particular the ‘approachability of colleagues at all levels’. The social side was also highly praised, and one trainee was particularly pleased by the events and ‘firm-wide drinks each month’. This makes Memery Crystal ‘small enough to still feel inclusive, yet large enough to attract good-quality work’. However, being a small firm can lead to a ‘high-intensity workload’ and ‘occasionally picking up administrative tasks’. Moreover, ‘a lack of resources to make trainees lives easier’ and ‘working late to finish bundles’ were causes of concern. On the flip side, being given responsibility was appreciated by all respondents and many trainees’ best moments refer to instances where they ran their own matters and completed cases they were working on from day one. ‘Receiving recognition from a senior associate for working above and beyond during a stressful period’ was also recounted as rewarding and memorable. If a firm with a friendly culture where ‘trainees and paralegals all support each other and socialise together’ sounds appealing to you, then consider applying to Memery Crystal.

A day in the life of… George Jackson, second-seat trainee, Memery Crystal

George Jackson, Memery Crystal

Departments to date: Real estate, dispute resolution

University: University College London

Degree: English Literature 2(1)

9.00am: Arriving at my desk in the dispute resolution department, I check my emails for anything received overnight. In preparation for the deposition that is being held at our offices in a few weeks’ time, I have been asked to approach various stenographers and videographers who may be booked to record the testimony for playback in an American court. I pass on their quotes to my supervisor.

9.30am: I add any tasks that have come in by email to my to-do list. Yesterday evening, an associate asked me to ring the Supreme Court registry when it opens in the morning to confirm filing requirements in the run up to our hearing. The registrar tells me that 15 hard and soft copies of the bundle must be submitted so I liaise with the print room to get this organised as this is 3,000 pages long and nearly 60,000 pages of text!

10.15am: My main job for the day is to draft a note of advice to the client in a cross-border insolvency matter. Our client has been presented with a proof of debt and we must advise as to its validity. Practical Law Company, Westlaw and Europa are essential sources.

11.45am: A senior associate emails me a scan of a letter, and asks me to add it to the correspondence tab of a bundle that I made yesterday. It is now ready to go to counsel and I walk it down to chambers on New Square. You are never stuck at your desk in dispute resolution, and in order to avoid two trips out in a day I have brought along an application that needs to be filed around the corner at the Royal Courts of Justice. After getting through the airport-like security at the entrance of the Great Hall, I head off through the warren of corridors towards the Queen’s Bench Division. There are 3.5 miles of corridors in the building, and (so long as you are not in a rush) visiting is always a highlight.

12.30pm: It is Stella’s as usual for lunch: after grabbing some food on Fleet Street I head to the firm’s canteen on the second floor. Named after Memery Crystal’s longest serving employee (she joined in 1980!), it is a good place to catch up with friends from other departments. It is also the location for our firm-wide drinks events, which are held monthly.

1.15pm: Back at my desk, I continue with my note of advice.

2.45pm: A partner sends me an email marked urgent. They have a call at 3pm, and need to know if more than one claim by more than one claimant can be commenced against one defendant using one claim form. After a quick consultation of the relevant part of the Civil Procedure Rules I summarise my findings in a brief email, before going back to my note of advice.

4.00pm: A diary reminder appears on my screen 15 minutes before a scheduled conference call with two partners and the client. Our corporate department has referred a potential litigation matter to us, on which we may need to move very quickly. I go with the partners into a side room to take the call. Trainees are often asked to make an attendance note of such conversations, which includes making sure that I note down every document that we need from the client.

5.15 pm: After the call has finished, I go back to my desk to write up the attendance note.

6.00pm: The solicitor wants my draft of the note of advice by close of business today, and I put the finishing touches to it before proofreading and sending it over to her.

6.50pm: My last job is to check my to-do list. Throughout the day I’ve been adding on tasks for tomorrow. I’ve also been crossing out jobs that I’ve completed, which is always very satisfying!

7.00pm: I leave the office for the day.

About the firm

Chief executive: Nick Davis

Who we are: Memery Crystal is an international law firm, based in London. We are commercially aware, entrepreneurial in spirit, international in outlook and pragmatic in approach.

What we do: We act for a broad range of clients, from multinational companies to financial institutions, owner-managed businesses and individual entrepreneurs.

What we’re looking for: We are looking for high-achieving individuals with a strong academic background, from any discipline, who are commercially minded.

What you’ll do: Trainees will work closely with partners from all departments, and will receive regular feedback in addition to their appraisals every three months.

Perks: 25 days’ holiday (increases to 30 days with length of service), private medical insurance, life assurance, interest-free season ticket loan, subsidised gym membership, group pension scheme, travel insurance, private GP appointments and cycle to work scheme.