Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Michelmores LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The opportunity to do high-profile work outside of London’; ‘the culture of the firm coupled with its ambition’; ‘international scope of work’; ‘I chose the firm because of its location, reputation, practice areas and links with London’; ‘the positive attitude of people I met during the recruitment process’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The responsibility that you are trusted with from early on in your training contract’; ‘feeling that senior lawyers are always approachable for queries or concerns’; ‘everyone is very driven’; ‘the atmosphere is always friendly’; ‘the exposure to high-quality work whilst maintaining an excellent work/life balance’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘There isn’t much to do around the Exeter office’; ‘at times when it is very busy or particularly quiet there is not always the opportunity to improve personally’; ‘there are a number of smaller, niche teams that do not offer a trainee seat’; ‘the head office being in an out-of-town business park’; ‘there aren’t many opportunities to be social’

Best moment? ‘Attending a trial’; ‘client contact. In particular, attending tribunals, court hearings and mediations with clients’; ‘the summer party’; ‘being given a high level of responsibility from the beginning’; ‘acting as the main point of contact for a client’; ‘receiving appreciation from clients’; ‘attending a questioning by the Public Accounts Committee at the Houses of Parliament with a client’

Worst moment? ‘Making mistakes’; ‘doing a charity cycle’; ‘leaving teams that I have enjoyed working in’; ‘the seats can be very busy or very quiet’; ‘IT system problems when trying to prepare for a crucial completion date’; ‘being overwhelmed by my workload’

The Lex 100 verdict on Michelmores LLP

The firm: “Michelmores LLP is headquartered in Exeter, with offices in Bristol and London. We have a strong national and continuously growing international presence and we offer specialist legal advice across three key sectors: Private Wealth, Finance & Investment and Real Estate.”

The deals: Advising on a multi-million pound cross border trusts dispute in the Cayman Islands which involves careful consideration of various family members, as well as complex corporate structuring in multiple jurisdictions. Our role has included providing advice on tax and litigation work; launched group action proceedings against Clydesdale Bank and National Australia Bank relating to their Tailored Business Loans; advised Mindful Chef as it secured Series A investment of £6m from Piper, a leading investor into fast growing consumer brands; advised the Mayor’s Office For Policing And Crime on its acquisition of the Empress State Building in Earls Court, London for a purchase price of £250m; advising the Astana International Financial Centre in Kazakhstan on a major project to set up Kazakhstan’s own international financial centre in Astana, in a similar manner to those in Dubai and Qatar.

The clients: Bamboo Finance; Exeter Chiefs; Finnfund; Greenland Group; Haynes Publishing Group Plc; Lendlease; Santander; Seasalt; The Mayor’s Office For Policing And Crime; The Met Office.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Agriculture and estates; Charities and not-for-profit; Contentious trusts and probate; Commercial litigation; Corporate and commercial; Crime: fraud; Dispute resolution; Education; Emerging markets; Energy; EU and completion; Family; Intellectual property; Health and safety; IT and telecoms; Local government; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Project finance and PFI; Real estate; Regulatory investigations and corporate crime

The verdict

‘Highly-ambitious’ Michelmores accepts a ‘small trainee intake’ and offers ‘London-quality work in the south west of England’. Complimented for ‘demonstrating impressive organic growth’, Michelmores is attractive to applicants ‘because of its well-known reputation as being a friendly place to work’ that originated from ‘humble family roots’. Certainly, the people and culture are highly praised by all respondents, particularly ‘the approachable nature of supervisors and associates’. ‘The variety of seat choice’ also impressed newbies, giving recruits a ‘wide range of work and responsibility’ and ‘client contact and exposure to high-quality work’ at such an early stage. Trainees also enjoyed ‘developing relationships with the team’ and receiving ‘quick and helpful feedback’ from colleagues. The work/life balance at Michelmores is impressive, with trainees working ‘reasonable hours’ whilst maintaining ‘the same profile of work and clients’ as larger firms. Consequently, Michelmores has earned five Lex 100 Winner medals this year for job satisfaction, living up to expectations, quality of work, confidence in being kept on and inclusivity. This is echoed by responses from trainees that ‘good work doesn’t go unrecognised’ and they feel ‘more included in the firm as a whole’. However, the Exeter office location was often criticised because ‘there isn’t much to do’ nearby. Applicants also feel that ‘there could be more social events at the firm’. Working closely with high-profile clients, running the annual Christmas Bazaar for the charity of the year and representing grateful clients were work highlights. If ‘a very friendly and personable firm’ sounds attractive to you, consider applying to Michelmores.

A day in the life of… Siobhan Murphy, first-year trainee, Michelmores LLP

Siobhan Murphy, Michelmores LLP

Departments to date: Education and banking, restructuring and insolvency

University: Cardiff University

Degree: Law LLB 2(1)

8.30am: I arrive in the office and grab a coffee with a couple of the trainees. I check my emails and update my to-do list.

9.00am: A partner in my team comes to my desk and gives me details of a matter he has been working on. Our client is a party to various contracts with a company that is potentially entering administration. The shareholders are holding a meeting to vote on this today. Our client wants to know the impact this will have on the contracts. We have a meeting with some of the colleagues in the projects team and I am set the task of checking the contracts to see if any default clauses will be triggered should the shareholders vote to enter administration.

11.00am: I have finished reviewing the contracts and have made a note of the relevant clauses. We have another meeting with the projects team and the decision of the shareholders to enter into administration is released online. We contact our client and set out their options.

12.30pm: I head to the in-house café and meet the other trainees for lunch. Some trainees have gone to the on-site gym to train for the Three Peaks Challenge that is taking place next month, but the majority of us eat together.

1.30pm: I get back to my desk and have an email from my supervisor explaining that she has a new banking matter and is keen to get me involved. She provides a list of the documents that need to be drafted and allocates the work between us. I start to familiarise myself with the necessary documents so I can start drafting once we have received further instructions from the client.

2.30pm: I have been assisting a solicitor in the team with the insolvency aspect of a commercial litigation matter. Michelmores has a big focus on collaborative working between teams which allows me to get involved in a variety of work and learn from different people across the firm. I receive an email on this particular matter from Nigerian counsel. They are assisting us as we are required to file documents in Nigeria. I draft an email updating our client on the developments and send this to a colleague in my team for review.

4.00pm: I meet my supervisor for our weekly catch up and we chat about the work I have on, my capacity and any areas of work that I would like to get involved with in the future.

4.20pm: I have been working on a position statement for a mediation that we are attending with a client in London later this month. We are able to work from the London or Bristol office regularly and it’s a good opportunity to meet colleagues and promote cross-office working. I discuss the draft with the supervising partner and make some amendments before sending it to the client for their approval.

5.45pm: I leave the office. What time I leave the office each day depends on how much work I have on, but trainees are responsible for organising their own calendar and there is not an expectation to stay late where there is no need.

6.00pm: I head to the local university sports centre to play a mixed netball game for Michelmores against a local finance business. It’s a great way to get to know other professionals in the area and meet more people from the office. On most evenings I leave the office to exercise my horse after work, which was something I was initially worried that I may not have enough time for once I started my training contract. Luckily, the firm are very supportive of any non-work interests that we have.

About the firm

Senior partner: Andrew Oldland

Managing partner: Tim Richards

Other offices: Bristol, London

Who we are: Michelmores has a strong national and continuously growing international presence. Collaboration and team work are central to our strategy and our lawyers have access to high-quality work and clients, whatever their location.

What we do: We offer specialist legal advice across three key sectors: private wealth, finance & investment and real estate.

What we’re looking for: We are looking for team players and natural problem solvers, who want to be part of our cross-office and collaborative culture from day one.

What you’ll do: We run a structured training and development programme, which aims to equip trainees with the key skills needed to be a successful solicitor, both technically and personally. Trainees spend six months in four different teams, working closely with a designated supervisor and receiving high levels of responsibility and client contact from an early stage.

Perks: Private medical insurance; in-house gym, including access to an in-house personal trainer; group personal pension plan; subsidised café; a day off for your birthday; ability to buy and sell holidays; a day off each year for volunteering; free subscription to Headspace; free fruit; social events, such as our late summer ball and annual firm quiz; running club and choir.

Sponsorship: We currently fully fund the LPC with the University of Law and offer a £5,000 bursary. Once the SQE commences, we will fully fund the courses and exams. We also provide accommodation and an additional living allowance for trainees on office secondments to London or Bristol.