Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Mishcon de Reya LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Mishcon de Reya LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Breadth of departments’; ‘varied and interesting client base’; ‘they are at the forefront of legal tech’; ’emphasis on training’; ‘the firm has a very progressive attitude’; ‘high-profile cases’; ‘I was looking for a mix of personal and commercial work’; ‘the sports practice’; ‘the size of the trainee intake’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Mishcon values its trainees’; ‘we are given a lot of responsibility and client contact early on’; ‘the positive attitude of most of the people’; ‘the supportive supervisors’; ‘remuneration’; ‘Mishcon always look for innovative ways of doing things’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The lack of overseas offices’; ‘we are split between two buildings’; ‘low retention rates are concerning’; ‘the opaque qualification process’; ‘it seems to be rapidly transitioning from a boutique law firm into a big player which is putting strain on the existing ethos and culture’

Best moment? ‘Client meetings’; ‘going to an overseas hearing’; ‘the Christmas party’; ‘working in the family department’; ‘assisting on a large redevelopment’; ‘being allowed to run with a case in my first seat’; ‘attending a five-day arbitration hearing’; ‘negotiating with the other side’

Worst moment? ‘Getting shouted at rather than being given constructive feedback’; ‘staying in the office until after midnight because of printing issues’; ‘the amount of time I have spent on the phone to IT’; ‘completing Land Registry forms’; ‘letting down team members who put faith in you’; ‘waiting all night for the final numbers of an M&A deal to come through’

The Lex 100 verdict on Mishcon de Reya LLP

The firm: From its roots as a one-room office in Brixton in 1937, Mishcon de Reya has grown exponentially and now employs over 400 fee earners. The firm has offices in London and New York and is very well respected for its private client, TMT and litigation capabilities.

The deals: Secured Supreme Court victory for mining company Koza Altin in Akçil & ors v Koza Ltd & anr after three years of litigation; advised online gaming operator JPJ Group plc on its c. £490m conditional acquisition of Gamesys (Holdings) Limited; advising a number of Labour MPs and many members of the Labour Party in connection with the allegations of antisemitism within the Party and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission’s investigation into the same; worked with HM Land Registry to successfully complete the UK’s first digitised end-to-end residential property transaction using blockchain technology; advising the administrators of London Capital & Finance in respect of the collapse of the company and the 11,600 investors in the mini-bond scheme operated by LCF.

The clients: Brookfield; Capital & Counties; Gina Miller; Goldman Sachs; Hewlett Packard; Jewish Labour Movement; Kering Group (including Gucci & Alexander McQueen); Microsoft; Sainsbury’s; Sky Plc.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Art and cultural property; Brand management; Commercial property: development; Competition litigation; Contentious trusts and probate; Employment: senior executives; Financial services (non-contentious/regulatory); Fraud: civil; Immigration: business; Insurance litigation: for policyholders; Intellectual property; M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m – £250m; Partnership; PATMA: trade mark attorneys; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Private equity: transactions – mid-market deals; Property finance; Property litigation; Residential property; Sport

The verdict

Mischon de Reya is praised for being ‘a prestigious firm’ with ‘distinctive character’. Applicants were attracted to the firm for its ‘strength in litigation, interesting client base, and progressive attitude’. Many complimented Mischon’s ‘attitude towards its employees’ and appreciated that the firm’s ‘core values are at the centre of everything they do’. Recruits also cited how approachable and supportive senior team members were, and were pleased that the firm ‘really invested in trainees’. Additionally, respondents felt that they worked better hours than trainees at some other firms, and have a consistently good work/life balance. ‘The vibrancy of seats’ lured new recruits, but some found ‘the uncertainty and lack of transparency’ around their allocation worrying. Some respondents also felt that ‘a few colleagues had archaic attitudes’ and the firm ‘needed to improve on its diversity’. However, new recruits relished the opportunity ‘to take on responsibility to drive cases forward and manage clients’, and enjoyed ‘running matters’, ‘winning in court’ and ‘having fun with the team on a daily basis’. The firm’s legal tech hub and ‘The Academy’, a learning platform, impressed many applicants who were excited by the firm’s intention to ‘break tradition’. Understandably, trainees did not enjoy ‘bundling into the early hours’, ‘admin deed tasks’, and ‘having to work the occasional weekend’. As for pro bono work, recruits were ‘encouraged to engage right from the start’ which individuals felt ‘offered them interesting work and exposure to clients whilst not being so demanding time-wise’. If a firm which is getting ‘bigger and better with room to expand’ sounds like the fit for you, apply to Mischon de Reya.

A day in the life of… Hannah Capstick, first-year trainee, Mishcon de Reya LLP

Hannah Capstick, Mishcon de Reya LLP

Departments to date: Employment, litigation (tax)

University: London School of Economics and Political Science

Degree: International History, First Class Honours

8.45am: I arrive at work after cycling in and grab myself a smoothie from our café. Then I head to my desk to go through my emails and check my to-do list for the day.

9.30am: This morning we have a call at 10:30am with a client to discuss their witness statement in relation to a VAT dispute with HMRC. My supervisor asks me to review the current draft of the witness statement and identify any areas where we need further information from the client. I prepare a list of further questions for the client and gather any relevant documents ahead of the call.

10.30am: We have a call with the client to finalise the drafting of their witness statement. My supervisor also updates the client as to next steps and the timetable moving forwards with the case. I make a detailed note of the call so that we can update the client’s witness statement and provide them with any action points moving forwards.

12.00pm: I have an email from a managing associate in our team asking me to prepare an urgent response to a strike out application submitted by HMRC. If successful, it would prevent our client from being able to proceed with their case. I go through to her office to discuss the case and ask a couple of questions about the drafting style.

12.45pm: I head down to the Academy Theatre to grab some free lunch ahead of the talk by Dame Margaret Hodge MP. This is part of the Academy series, in which external speakers come into the firm to talk about a particular topic. The Academy has hosted a number of interesting speakers since I started my training contract including David Lammy, Juliet Stevenson and representatives of the Georgia Innocence Project.

2.00pm: Back at my desk and having reviewed the relevant documents, I begin to draft the strike out application. I send this to the managing associate to review and, after a few amendments, it is sent to the client for their consideration.

4.00pm: I meet the other first-year trainees to discuss our future fundraising plans. Each year first-year Mishcon trainees work to raise £10,000 for their chosen charity. This year we are fundraising for Breaking Barriers, a charity that helps refugees find meaningful long-term employment. So far we have organised firm-wide bake sales, a tough mudder and even a competition in which the partners with the most votes had to dress up as characters from Alice in Wonderland for the firm’s summer party!

4.30pm: I get a call from a partner in my team asking me to join him and another associate to discuss future strategy in a case that we have all been working on. This has involved a former employee who has been misusing company funds and which has resulted in an HMRC investigation into the company. The partner asks me to review an internal investigation report and prepare a summary that he can review ahead of a meeting with the client next week.

5.00pm: I review my notes from my earlier call and begin to incorporate the necessary changes into the client’s witness statement and draft an email to my supervisor identifying action points moving forwards.

6.30pm: A partner stops by my office to ask if I can join him for a conference with counsel tomorrow on a potential judicial review claim that I have been involved in. I make a note of the conference and the documents that I will need to gather ahead of the meeting.

About the firm

Managing partner: Kevin Gold

Other offices: Associated office in New York.

Who we are: With more than 900 people, Mishcon de Reya is an independent law firm with an international footprint and offices in London and New York.

What we do: We are organised internally into six different departments: corporate, dispute resolution, employment, intellectual property, private and real estate.

What we’re looking for: Our trainees are typically high-achieving and intelligent individuals with good interpersonal skills and outgoing personalities. Strength of character and the ability to think laterally are key.

What you’ll do: Trainees gain experience, skills and knowledge from across the firm in four six-month seats, including both contentious and non-contentious work. Because of the relatively few training contracts offered, trainees can be exposed to high-quality work with early responsibility.

Perks: While on the training contract there are core benefits including: 25 days’ holiday, income protection and life assurance. Other optional benefits include: health screening, dental insurance, private medical insurance, travel insurance, critical illness cover, gym membership, season ticket loan, group pension scheme, yoga classes, childcare vouchers, cycle scheme, in-house doctor, bonus scheme and give-as-you-earn schemes.

Sponsorship: GDL and LPC fees sponsored, plus a £7000 bursary during GDL and LPC year.