Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Taylor Vinters

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Taylor Vinters

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The firm’s focus on entrepreneurship and clients leading the innovation economy’; ‘it’s a relatively small firm but it punches above its weight in terms of interesting work/clients’; ‘it offered engaging work but in a friendly, tight-knit environment’; ‘the culture I witnessed during the vacation scheme was second to none’; ‘great reputation among tech and life sciences companies’

Best thing about the firm? ‘You receive client contact from the moment you start your training contract and partners are all readily accessible’; ‘the quality of the work’; ‘the friendliness and supportive nature of the firm’; ‘it’s a friendly and flexible workspace’; ‘there is no immediately obvious hierarchy’; ‘we are exposed to the same high quality and complexity of client work as those at larger London firms but with increased responsibility’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The location of the Cambridge office’; ‘we’re not yet using cloud services and remote working is by way of a slow connection’; ‘there isn’t enough time to attend everything that is going on across the firm!’; ‘the office is out of date’; ‘the regional-firm level salary offered in the Cambridge office, which is quite a bit lower than the London salary’

Best moment? ‘Attending a mediation in relation to a multi-million-pound trust dispute’; ‘very good feedback after drafting my first ever commercial contract’; ‘personally (but under supervision) securing a settlement agreement for a large food retailer and an ex-employee days before the case went to tribunal’; ‘working with a multi-billion-pound revenue client on a very complex matter’; ‘receiving my first choice of seats!’

Worst moment? ‘Working late on matters directed by a London-based team whilst in the Cambridge office. I was the very last person to leave the office a few times, it can get quite lonely and a little bit spooky’; ‘not being able to use my previous experience as time to count’; ‘working on matters across two departments at the same time – the workload was extremely high and stressful’

The Lex 100 verdict on Taylor Vinters

The firm: Taylor Vinters is an international legal business supporting the organisations which drive the innovation economy, and the entrepreneurs and private wealth that underpin them. Its practice is global, operating from innovation clusters in the UK and Asia.

The deals: advised Featurespace on raising £30m to drive growth; advised London-based Farewill on getting £20m to modernise the UK’s death care industry; advised on a $15m financing for Attest Drives Democratised Insights as New Normal; advised Yum! Brands on its investment in world-class leadership development for front-line restaurant managers with acquisition of Heartstyles; advised Thriva on securing £6m Series A funding.

The clients: Astellas Pharma; Bridgestones America Inc; World Trade Centers Association; Featurespace Limited; Playfair Capital; MMC Ventures; Royal Society of Chemistry; Teenage Cancer Trust; Jockey Club Estates; Babraham Research Campus.

The verdict

Taylor Vinters works with ‘entrepreneurs and innovators who are extremely passionate about what they do’. Indeed, it was the ‘tech/start-up focus’ and a ‘great reputation in the life sciences sector’ which persuaded many to join the Cambridge-headquartered firm. A smaller trainee intake results in ‘more exposure to different kinds of work’, as well as ‘closer supervision’. Speaking of which, ‘seat supervisors are very supportive’ and it helps that ‘partners sit next to you in an open-plan office, making them very approachable’. Encouragingly, ‘even as trainees, our thoughts and ideas are appreciated and taken on board’. The hours at Taylor Vinters are generally considered ‘better and more flexible’ than comparable firms and ‘there is no culture of waiting around at the end of the day to give the illusion that you are a hard worker’. One downside, however, is that the ‘Cambridge office is a little bit out of the way, meaning there is not a whole lot going on after work’. Other perceived pitfalls are ‘the IT’ system’ and that the trainee remuneration is ‘not the best’, although recruits were generally ‘more than content due to the other benefits the firm provides’. One trainee’s best moment was ‘the entirety of my commercial technology seat’ but specifically ‘when I took the lead on re-drafting a client’s consumer warranty terms and conditions’. ‘A stressful week where my workload was high because I was helping out another department’ and ‘having to prepare a statement of costs, only to realise upon finishing that I’d miscalculated and had to start again’ were less enjoyable. Apply to Taylor Vinters to train with people who have ‘a passion for their clients and a genuine commitment to help them succeed’.

A day in the life of… Oliver Cotton, trainee, Taylor Vinters

Oliver Cotton, Taylor Vinters

Departments to date: Commercial and technology, commercial disputes (current seat)

University: University of Leeds

Degree: International relations

8.30am: Working from home during lockdown has undoubtedly changed my daily routine. Instead of commuting to the office, I open my laptop around 8.30am each morning, respond to emails that have come in overnight and review my ongoing tasks.

9.00am: It’s usually time for a morning catch-up with a partner and senior associate in the team. We discuss our to-do lists for a large construction dispute I’ve been working on since the beginning of the seat.

9.30am: Following the catch-up, I liaise with counsel and pull together our client’s position papers and accompanying evidence, ready to exchange position papers with the other side ahead of a mediation in a few weeks’ time. This seat has provided me with great opportunities to work on large commercial disputes and communicate directly with clients and counsel.

12.00pm: Each week we have a virtual team meeting and quiz. It allows everyone to catch up and, though we can’t be in the office as a team, it provides some light-hearted fun and entertainment before lunch.

2.00pm: After lunch, I speak to a partner in the team to discuss a client’s dispute with a supplier who is refusing to deliver our client’s goods. Having reviewed the evidence, I draft a letter to the other side, setting out our client’s position and legal rights. One of the most enjoyable features of this seat is being able to work alongside senior lawyers and discuss strategies for resolving our clients’ disputes.

3.15pm: Our trainee cohort usually meets (virtually) to discuss the CSR2021 initiative that we are running. We’ve decided to support three charities affected by Covid-19, focusing on mental health, domestic abuse and the issues faced by refugees. This afternoon, we set up video calls to our chosen charities. We then talk through ideas for firm-wide sponsorship events we want to run, such as a virtual Olympics and a summer rounders tournament. Having a trainee intake of just five at TV is a real benefit, helping to build strong friendships with your fellow trainees while getting to know everyone and becoming a valued member of the TV tribe.

4.00pm: This afternoon, I’m trialling a University Challenge Zoom call with other trainees. It’s in preparation for a firm-wide virtual University Challenge social next month, which I proposed as an idea. As a firm that works with innovative and entrepreneurial clients, Taylor Vinters encourages everyone (including trainees) to share new ideas that can help shape the business – one of the ways we share ideas is through our online innovation platform called PitchUp which is based on the Idea Drop platform. Examples have included adopting new tech, new ways to work with clients and social events that unite the whole firm.

4.30pm: I receive a call from a lawyer in the team, asking me to review evidence that a client has sent over to discuss potential claims that could be brought against them. I then electronically file a client’s directions questionnaire and a draft directions order at court on a separate matter, before the end of the day.

5.30pm: I send my research findings on the effect of Part 36 offers on the fixed costs regime in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) to a colleague. Then to wrap up the day, email a venue to check that it is still available in September for an international arbitration.

6.30pm: Before lockdown I would have set off with my colleagues to play five-a-side-football against other London law firms. Right now, I’m more likely to shut down my laptop and head out to enjoy the long summer evenings.

About the firm

Managing partners: Ed Turner, Matt Meyer

Other offices: London, Oxford, Singapore, New York

Who we are: Taylor Vinters is an international legal business supporting the organisations which drive the innovation economy, and the entrepreneurs and private wealth that underpin them. Our practice is global, operating from innovation clusters in the UK, US and Asia.

What we do: With 31 partners and 82 lawyers, we help entrepreneurially minded clients make great things happen, whatever their size and sector. Our key practice areas include: corporate, commercial and technology, IP, commercial disputes, employment, insolvency, competition, commercial real estate, charities and social ventures, private real estate, matrimonial, trusts and estates.

What we’re looking for: We’re looking for innovative and entrepreneurial people who are brimming with enthusiasm and passion for what they do. You’ll need a pragmatic outlook and commercial awareness as our clients rely on our business brains as much as our legal expertise.

What you’ll do: Your development programme will be tailored around your skills, interests and aspirations and you’ll experience real client work, responsibility and high levels of autonomy from an early stage, as well as support through expert advice from some of the industry’s most forward thinking lawyers.

During your two-year programme, you’ll complete four seats in different legal disciplines, usually in our UK offices, to help you decide which aspects of the law interest you most. During your training contract, you’ll also complete your Professional Skills Course (PSC), which we’ll pay for.

Perks: 25 days’ holiday plus the option to buy additional holiday, pension, private medical insurance, life assurance, season ticket loan, medical cash plan, recognition scheme, busy social calendar, wellbeing programme.

Diversity and inclusion