Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Milbank LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Small intake, quality of work, progression opportunities’, ‘the firm’s continued investment in training and educating associates beyond qualification’, ‘the high-quality work and market reputation and the know-how of its senior lawyers’, ‘the quality of the training and the reputation’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Quality of work and the high level of involvement given to trainees’, ‘the Milbank@Harvard scheme’, ‘the sheer amount of responsibility that trainees are given. You assimilate quickly into a team’, ‘the responsibility you are given as a junior’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Long hours/occasional lack of respect for weekends and downtime’, ‘IT issues are relatively common’, ‘depending on the seat and season, the hours can be brutal’, ‘the unpredictability of the hours (e.g. being quiet all day and then being pulled into something at 5pm)’

Best moment? ‘Observing a case proceed through various hearings and becoming heavily involved in coordinating documents with the court’, ‘assisting The Commonwealth as part of a pro bono initiative and attending Marlborough House’, ‘drafting key documents and liaising directly with clients’, ‘assisting on a globally-recognised restructuring deal’

Worst moment? ‘One deal which required the team to work on US time’, ‘being kept around to ‘observe’ a closing until 2am, with no active involvement’

The Lex 100 verdict on Milbank LLP

With a global presence and top client list, Milbank LLP is known for its ‘small intake, quality of work and progression opportunities’ and strong reputation at in the London legal training scene. Trainees applaud the firm’s ‘continued investment into training and educating associates beyond qualification’  and the ‘high-quality work, market reputation and know-how of its senior lawyers’. With bespoke training programmes, such as its highly praised ‘Milbank@Harvard’ scheme, it attracts top talent looking for ‘greater responsibility and levels of client contact’ than firms with larger intakes can offer. One trainee noted that ‘my peers often have shorter working days but are less exposed to the high quality of work I have come to expect during my training’. A Lex 100 Winner in two categories (client contact and remuneration), Milbank trainee highlights include ‘drafting key documents and liaising directly with clients’ and ‘assisting on a globally-recognised restructuring deal’. Negatives concerned the IT system plus the long and unpredictable hours, a common gripe among trainees at global firms such as Milbank. Pro-bono work is highly valued; ‘it is heavily encouraged and there are many opportunities to get involved’. The firm, and the project finance practice in particular, are ‘often involved in high-quality and important pro bono projects and trainees are often given the chance to contribute meaningfully’.

The firm: Milbank is a premier international law firm handling high-profile, complex cases and business transactions through 12 offices worldwide. The offices work together on an integrated basis, giving it an extraordinary global presence and allowing it to serve a client base that includes the world’s leading companies and financial institutions. Milbank is internationally recognised as a leader in major corporate/finance transactions (such as M&A, structured finance, banking, capital markets, and project and transportation finance), litigation (including complex commercial, intellectual property, securities and white collar), financial restructuring, and trusts and estates.

The clients: Astellas; Credit Suisse; Goldman Sachs; Husky Energy; JBIC; Rabobank; Standard Chartered Bank; Terra Firms; Visa; Wilmington Trust.

The deals: Advised the banks on the $4.525bn bank/bond financing of the take-private acquisition of leading mobile satellite services provider Inmarsat plc by a consortium of funds; represented Visa in the UK Supreme Court in three appeals concerning allegations of infringements of English and European competition law in relation to multilateral interchange fees associated with the use of Visa and MasterCard branded debit and credit cards; acted for a group of subordinated bondholders in respect of the very contentious restructuring of German heat manufacturer Galapagos Heat Exchange Group; advised BlackRock and KKR on their landmark partnership with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in connection with a $4bn midstream pipeline infrastructure agreement to form a new entity called ADNOC Oil Pipelines, with BlackRock and KKR acquiring a 40% stake and ADNOC retaining a 60% majority stake; acted for the Ad-Hoc Group on all aspects of Nyrstar’s restructuring, which resulted in its deleveraging.

A day in the life of... Zara Barnes, trainee, Milbank LLP

Zara Barnes, Milbank LLP

Departments to date: Transportation and space group

University: University of Cambridge

Degree: Law, 2(1)

Morning: The day starts between 9-9.30am. First, I check my emails to see if anything has come in overnight (perhaps from clients working in different time zones) and either reply to those or complete the tasks set in them. Tasks might include updating conditions precedents checklists to help everyone working on a deal stay up to date with the progress of the deal and what stages the various documents are at, amending documents based on the comments received from a client or external counsel, or emailing documents onto various parties for their review.

Lunch: Now that we have returned to the office, lunch is a great time to talk to other Milbank employees, whether this be fellow trainees, people from your team, or people from other departments in the firm.

Afternoon: In the afternoon, I either continue the work from the morning or get set more work by associates in my team. Often, they call me (if we are not in the office) or come into my office to explain the task and make sure that I understand what I am doing. Everyone is very helpful. The work set includes drafting the various documents required for transactions, creating signature packs for when deals are being signed, or checking documents for missing definitions or cross-references.

Evening: If you are working into the evening, you can eat at the office and complete your work. If not, the evening is yours to spend however you like! On some nights, I like to cook or go out for dinner with my friends. On others, I might go to the gym; but usually I just collapse onto the sofa and watch TV with my housemates!

About the firm

Managing partners: Suhrud Mehta and Julian Stait.

Other offices: New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, Frankfurt, Munich, São Paulo, Beijing, Hong Kong, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.

Who we are: For over 150 years, Milbank has provided innovative legal solutions in many of the world’s largest, most complex, ‘first-ever’ corporate transactions and disputes. Milbank’s clients are prominent multinational financial, industrial and commercial enterprises, governments, institutions and individuals.

What we do: Capital markets/securities; corporate/M&A/private equity; executive compensation and benefits; financial restructuring; global leveraged finance; litigation and arbitration; energy and infrastructure finance; structured finance and securitisations; tax; technology and outsourcing; transportation and space.

What we’re looking for: We’re looking for candidates who not only have strong academics – you should also possess excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Candidates will need to be ambitious, intellectually curious and have a genuine interest in our practice areas. You should also have (or be predicted) a 2(1) or above in any degree discipline.

What you’ll do: Our trainees are an integral part of our growth plans for the London office. Our training contract consists of four six-month seats. Trainees will typically be expected to undertake seats across our corporate, finance and litigation practices. In addition, we offer comprehensive training to help develop your technical and practice group-specific knowledge in addition to training on key communication, career management and presentation skills.

Perks: A comprehensive range of benefits, including private medical insurance, in-service life insurance, permanent health insurance, dental plan and a season ticket loan, will be confirmed when candidates receive their formal offer.

Sponsorship details: Trainees who are yet to complete the LPC and GDL will have their course fees paid in full and will also receive an annual maintenance grant while studying the LPC and GDL.

Diversity and inclusion

One of the first major law firms to launch a Diversity Committee (in 1992), we believe that a diversity of backgrounds, experiences, cultures, ethnicities, abilities, gender identities, sexual orientations and ages bring perspectives that benefit our lawyers and our clients.

Our London Networks include:

  • Heritage (BAME)
  • Family Friendly
  • LN Pride (LGBTQ+)
  • Mental Wellbeing
  • Social Mobility