Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Taylor Wessing LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The friendly nature and how everyone seemed extremely approachable, no matter what their job title is’; ‘interesting clients’; ‘not your typical law firm’; ‘award-winning training’; ‘tech focus’; ‘trainee intake size’; ‘its areas of expertise’; ‘I really enjoyed my vacation scheme and could envision completing a training contract here’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The ongoing training. I constantly feel like I am learning’; ‘technology clients and flat structure’; ‘the work/life balance’; ‘client sectors’; ‘the friendly people’; ‘you are given lots of responsibility’; ‘the culture and colleagues. It is very welcoming and collaborative while constantly developing’; ‘client contact’; ‘high quality work whilst still being able to have a life’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘There is some inconsistency between departments in terms of feedback and support’; ‘lack of transparency about seat rotations and qualification’; ‘limited international secondment opportunities’; ‘supposedly being “the tech firm” but running on fairly dated and unreliable technology’; ‘lack of integration across the international network of offices’; ‘there aren’t many organised social/sports clubs/events’

Best moment? ‘Going to Berlin for a night to meet with clients selling their gaming company’; ‘appearing before a master to make an application’; ‘settling a pro bono discrimination case’; ‘using my language skills and receiving a nomination for the firm’s “People of the Year” awards’; ‘the level of client exposure and responsibility on a particular structured finance deal’

Worst moment? ‘The beginning of my first seat – struggling to adjust to working life!’; ‘heavy workloads and large amounts of admin that could be dealt with more efficiently’; ‘not having any work to do at a moment in time’; ‘working till 5am then being back in work at 7am’; ‘a partner taking out their frustrations on me’; ‘a day when the IT didn’t work’

The Lex 100 verdict on Taylor Wessing LLP

The firm: Taylor Wessing is a leading international law firm. We work with clients in the world’s most dynamic industries and help them succeed by advising on their businesses throughout their life cycle. Specialising in technology, media and communications, life sciences and private wealth, we act for 32 of the world’s top 50 brands; some of the world’s most exciting start-ups and unicorns; and some of the world’s wealthiest families.

The deals: Advising Wolt on a US$160m financing round; acting in successful Z Trust litigation; advising Babylon Health on its continuing investment in digital healthcare with the largest European and US fundraising; advising on the acquisition of Terra Verde by EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd; advising Vivion Investments on an international €1bn bond issuance and complex reorganisation; acting on the UK launch of the Volkswagen Financial Services and Daimler Mobility backed online marketplace, heycar; advised Vinted as it become the latest European Unicorn after closing a €128m Series E round financing; advising tech VC firm Dawn Capital on a unicorn deal; advising Glenmark on its product portfolio sale; advising Cazoo on £100m funding round

The clients: FarFetch; LVMH; PWC; Brentford FC; Pfizer; Sky; Monzo; Wooga (leading games studio); Secret Escapes; Audio Network.

The verdict

Taylor Wessing’s ‘focus on the technology and life sciences sectors’ and ‘strength in IP’ stood out to trainees. The firm’s medium size, as well as the ‘welcoming and collaborative culture’ sampled on the vacation scheme, made recruits feel ‘right at home’. Taylor Wessing works with a ‘variety of clients – from small tech start-ups to large corporations as well as high-net-worth individuals’. In terms of training, the ‘amount of time invested in our learning and development’ does not go unnoticed and trainees feel that they benefit from ‘more responsibility and exposure to work and clients but without the savagery of the facetime culture’ at some larger firms. In fact, there is a ‘good work/life balance’ and new recruits are ‘valued both as people and as junior lawyers’. The ninth floor terrace with views over London deserves a mention too! All things considered, it makes sense that Taylor Wessing has earned Lex 100 Winner awards for quality of work, social life and vacation scheme. Encouragingly, the firm is ‘wholeheartedly committed to mental and physical wellbeing and contributes towards yoga sessions, healthy subsidised food options and inclusivity initiatives’. But trainees were put out that ‘despite the firm’s international network, the overseas secondment programme is only really getting started now’. The ‘lack of transparency over seat moves’ was also criticised. Worst moments included ‘the occasional long evening’, especially when ‘the work could have been started sooner’. Thankfully, client secondments to Amazon and Spotify, and ‘writing an academic paper for an international conference’ left trainees feeling elated. To train at a firm which is ‘forward thinking and modern – in its culture, clients and types of work’, research Taylor Wessing.

A day in the life of… Rachael Potts, trainee, Taylor Wessing LLP

Rachael Potts, Taylor Wessing LLP

Departments to date: Real estate (first seat), contentious patents (current seat)

University: The University of Bristol

Degree: Chemistry BSc, 1st class

9.00am: I start my day by reading the news, reviewing emails and compiling my to-do list. This is followed by a team catch-up for one of our ongoing cases. We discuss outstanding actions and raise any points to consider or questions that we may have. I put together an action list for circulation after the meeting so we are all aware of the case progression.

10.00am: Yesterday I attended a hearing between two of our client’s major competitors. I have been tasked with putting together a note of this hearing, a summary of the main issues and the reasoning behind the judgment. When drafting the summary, I must ensure the note is clear and concise for the client so they can easily understand the points of contention, consider the main issues and assess how these may affect their own business and product strategy.

11.00am: I have a training session with the other trainees sitting in patents. The professional support lawyer talks us through key cases and legislation, and explains how to use the online patent databases to search for specific patents and find out about past or current patent litigation.

12.00pm: At the start of each month, I prepare a summary of ongoing pharmaceutical patent litigation for another client, so they can keep up to date with industry developments. I conduct searches on the court files and pick out any cases relating to pharmaceutical patents. I prepare short summaries of any new cases and key dates for any relevant upcoming trials. I send this off to the senior associate for review before sending out to the client.

1.00pm: Lunch time! I head up to cloud 9 to meet the other trainees to have a chat and admire the city views from the terrace.

2.00pm: I have a meeting with an expert who will provide expert evidence and testify in court for a case I am working on. We review research papers relating to the medical product of interest and discuss how the articles can help our case in proving that the other side’s product was an obvious invention, and therefore that their patent should not be valid. I take a note to circulate to the team.

3.30pm: As part of the trainee solicitor council (TSC), I attend meetings every three months with the other TSC members, the talent team and the graduate recruitment partners. During this meeting, the TSC raise any queries on behalf of the wider trainee cohort. We discuss ideas for additional training, business development events and responsible business initiatives such as Blackfriars. We make a note of any actions to be taken so that we can feedback to the rest of the trainees and update them on progress.

4.30pm: I get back to my desk and spend some time catching up on emails and reviewing my to-do list so I can prioritise what needs to be done for the rest of my day.

5.00pm: I need to draft a letter to the other side on another case I am working on. We have an interim injunction hearing coming up so we need to serve our evidence.

5.30pm: For one of my cases, I am responsible for keeping bundles up to date. I collate various correspondence that has been exchanged between the parties throughout the day and add it to the correspondence bundle.

6.30pm: The vacation schemes are coming up in a few weeks and in advance of this, I have helped organise an event for the vacation scheme students to help them get to know one another before they join the firm. We have organised a pub-style quiz followed by a Q&A session, where students will have the chance to ask current trainees any questions about the firm or the vacation scheme.

About the firm

Senior partner: Dominic FitzPatrick

Managing partner: Shane Gleghorn

Other offices: 26 offices in 16 jurisdictions.

Who we are: Taylor Wessing is a global law firm that serves the world’s most innovative people and businesses. Deeply embedded within our sectors, we work closely together with our clients to crack complex problems, enabling ideas and aspirations to thrive.

What we do: Specialising in technology, media and communications, life sciences and private wealth, we act for 32 of the world’s top 50 brands; some of the world’s most exciting start-ups and unicorns; and some of the world’s wealthiest families. We have an unrivalled network of industry leaders we work with and introduce our clients to. From start-ups to liquidity to global brands, clients work with us because it sets them apart.

What we’re looking for: Naturally, we expect you to be committed to a career in law, with a genuine passion to learn. Our people love what they do and want to contribute new ideas. They are team players who value and respect individuality, and the benefit of working in an inclusive environment. Qualifications are also important to us, and we look for a minimum of ABB grades at A level and a 2(1) degree in any discipline. We appreciate though that not every candidate’s achievements look the same on paper; that’s why we use Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System to consider everyone’s achievements in context. You should be confident, with good communication skills and the ability to build strong relationships.

What you’ll do: We have been recognised by LawCareers.Net for being the ‘Best Trainer’ among large City firms. Our award-winning training combines our in-house Professional Skills Course with six-month seats in four different practice groups, including one contentious seat and one in our corporate or finance areas. Our programme is recognised for the extent of partner contact available to trainees. You’ll work closely with associates on high-quality work from the outset with client contact and secondment opportunities in their offices offered.

Perks: Private medical care, pension scheme, life assurance, season ticket loan for travel, 25 days’ holiday (with an extra day at Christmas), discounted gym membership, employee assistance programme, full subscription to Headspace and weekly mindfulness classes.

Sponsorship: GDL and MA (LPC with business) fees at BPP London sponsored. A maintenance grant is provided.

Taylor Wessing Diversity & Inclusion Interview – with Sian Skelton

Why is having a diverse workforce important?

Our values are key to who we are and how we do business. We embrace individuality; we understand it and appreciate it. We bring diverse teams together to create an impact in an inclusive and meaningful way. For us, creating an inclusive working environment and recognising the value diversity brings to the firm is what makes Taylor Wessing a great place to work: our diverse teams bring together different perspectives and when dealing with complex client issues, this allows us to find the best and most efficient solutions for our clients.

What are the firm’s strengths when it comes to Diversity & Inclusion?

We look to hear everyone’s voices and are always open to new ideas and how to improve. To help create long-term and wider change, we have inclusion at the heart of much of our community and pro bono activity, along with the arts – therefore, there is continuity throughout all that we do. We’re delighted to have been named one of Stonewall’s Top 100 employers for the last 3 years and to be awarded a Britain’s healthiest workplace award to recognise our wellbeing achievements last year. Our gender plan has also been nominated for the upcoming The Lawyer Awards.

What initiatives does Taylor Wessing have in place to ensure it recruits a diverse workforce?

We want to recruit the best people, so we work to ensure that no matter anyone’s background, everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed with us. Focussing on our summer vacation scheme, the firm has looked at each stage of the process to ensure opportunities are accessible. This starts with reading every single application we receive, never auto-rejecting even if it does not meet our grade requirements. We use Rare’s contextualised recruitment system to consider every students achievement in context, allowing us to identify those with the greatest potential regardless of grades on the page.

Also, we are proud to Partner with Aspiring Solicitors, collaborating on events, providing professional ambassadors and sharing our success stories. We are committed to support those from under-represented groups and last year saw 36% of our 2022 training contract hires being members of Aspiring Solicitors.

Finally, as a disability confident firm, we have an open dialogue around disabilities and encourage anyone applying to reach out to our graduate team to discuss any requirements they need. Our partnership with MyPlus allows us to be confident in supporting candidates independently, whether this be from attracting, assessing or onboarding.

How has Taylor Wessing been working to improve diversity in senior/leadership positions?

Gender is one of our diversity & inclusion priorities and we have focused hard on ensuring our partnership becomes more gender balanced through our gender plan. Our gender network, Balance in Business, was established to champion gender balance at Taylor Wessing and allow for a greater understanding of the issues affecting gender balance and how to overcome them. The firm shares with its employees the desire to achieve better balanced leadership, optimise talent retention and enhance our clients experience by improving gender balance. We report on progress each year in our gender pay gap report. Over the last three years we have increased the representation of women in out partnership and in leadership positions.

How does Taylor Wessing avoid diversity becoming a box-ticking exercise?

I (Sian) sit on the UK Executive Board as the Diversity & Inclusion Partner. This means there is always a voice to bring and discuss diversity at the table, plus an opportunity for the firm to be held accountable if needs be. Additionally, I co-chair the Diversity & inclusion board which meets quarterly to agree and reflect on our priorities and activity across the firm, making sure we can refresh and re-target if needed. I sit alongside our Head of Responsible Business, fellow partners and executive board members who champion each of our diversity work steams (gender, cultural diversity, LGBT+, disability & wellbeing and social mobility). We work together to ensure our initiatives are effective and impactful.

What assurances would you give to individuals who want to apply for a vacation scheme or training contract but feel hesitant to do so because of their gender/sexual orientation/ethnicity/background/disability/any other diversity-related reason?

Don’t be hesitant. Inclusivity is at the heart of who we are and is considered at every stage of the process. We have several active inclusion networks representing the needs of each strand of diversity and ensure all our people’s voices are heard. We are proud of our inclusive environment, and hope if you were to join us on a vacation scheme and ultimately as a trainee here, you will see that diversity, inclusion and ultimately you, really are a priority at Taylor Wessing.

Vacation scheme insider

 Radhika Morally

University: University of East Anglia

Undergraduate degree: Law; currently studying LPC at BPP

About me

My journey to entering the legal profession can be described as a rather traditional one. I have always been intrigued by the integral nature of the law to the successful functioning of society. Although it was my interest in the law as an academic discipline that initially drew me to study it as a degree, it was exposure to the legal profession that really solidified my desire to pursue a legal career. I attended as many law firm open days as I could, which allowed me to not only identify areas of interest, but to begin making all-important connections in the profession.

Why Taylor Wessing?

My exposure to such a variety of firms helped me establish exactly what I was looking for, and Taylor Wessing was where I found it. My whole recruitment experience with the firm, from my first interaction on the open day to my last on the vacation scheme, reinforced these sentiments.

I was drawn to Taylor Wessing’s forward-thinking approach to the law, reflected in their sector focus on areas such as TMT (technology, media and telecom).  I knew this would provide me with the opportunity to train not only alongside experts in the field, but for the most cutting-edge clients and industries. I also appreciated the fact that despite its sector focus, Taylor Wessing’s extremely strong teams in a range of practice areas enable the firm to offer a well-rounded training contract.

One of the talks given at the firm’s open day really resonated with me. The senior partner highlighted that clients are what drives the firm; the aim is therefore not exclusively to become the number one law firm in the world, or even in Europe, but to be the best at what they focus on. I wanted to train at a firm driven by client needs rather than trends.

Culture

I spent two weeks on my vacation scheme, one in the real estate team and the other in employment. I was impressed by the friendly and welcoming attitude of everyone I interacted with, from trainees to partners, and thoroughly appreciated the effort made by everyone to make us feel comfortable in what could have easily been a very daunting experience. Each of us were given a ‘trainee buddy’ for each seat, but they were all so genuinely willing to help that I left each seat with several!

We were invited to various social events over the two weeks, which were an excellent opportunity to get to know not only the trainees but our fellow vacation schemers in a more relaxed setting. The range of events, from drinks and canapés at flight club to a beautiful sit-down dinner, meant there was something for everyone.

The Q&A sessions with trainees, associates and partners from across the firm’s departments were extremely useful in helping develop a deeper understanding of the firm’s practice areas. The range of networking events in addition to this also helped increase exposure to the firm’s departments outside the seats I sat in over the two weeks.

Work

In both my seats I was impressed by the high quality and challenging nature of the work across the firm as a whole, not just in the firm’s specialisms. The wide variety of tasks I was given, from proofreading, drafting and dictating client calls, to research projects and case analysis, gave me a real insight into the life of a trainee. I truly felt like a part of the team; one partner I did research for allowed me to explain my conclusions to the client in a conference call.

The group presentation which we worked on across the two weeks provided an excellent opportunity to speak to a variety of people across the firm about an interesting and engaging topic. The project really helped create a fuller picture of the firm’s culture.

I would thoroughly recommend applying for Taylor Wessing’s vacation scheme if you are looking for a firm which provides the best of both worlds: excellent clients and challenging work alongside a supportive working environment. The format of the two-week vacation scheme is arranged in such a way as to provide you with as many opportunities as possible to impress, so make sure to send in your application!