Survey Results - Trainee feedback on TLT LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I did four vacation schemes and the TLT one was by far the best’; ‘the firm is in serious growth mode and is very willing to take on feedback’; ‘the positive attitude to work/life balance’; ‘its UK-wide reach’; ‘focus on renewable energy’; ‘Bristol location’; ‘responsibility at early stage of career’; ‘small London office’; ‘expanding teams and a growing reputation’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The hierarchy isn’t obvious, everyone mixes well and we’re encouraged to think for ourselves’; ‘nice normal people – no arrogance here. The central Bristol location is great too!’; ‘how invested your supervisors are in your learning’; ‘the partner approachability, no partner makes you feel as though you cannot ask questions or for support if required’; ‘work/life balance’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The IT systems can feel outdated’; ‘lack of international opportunities’; ‘the seat selection process’; ‘sometimes there is a lack of consistency in supervision across different teams’; ‘transparency on seat rotation and job availability’; ‘no canteen in the Bristol office’; ‘the facilities in the Manchester office can seem a bit lacking when compared to some other firms’; ‘the IT infrastructure could be modernised’

Best moment? ‘Completing a six-month secondment with a key client’; ‘completing a major transaction on my own and then being invited to the client’s launch party’; ‘being recognised by a team member for handling a completion on my own and dealing with it all really well’; ‘producing and delivering a training session for a client’; ‘closing my first deal’

Worst moment? ‘Missing a Land Registry requisition deadline resulting in the cancellation of an application’; ‘having to stay late to complete a lengthy due diligence report’; ‘feeling overwhelmed when working on multiple large deals simultaneously’; ‘getting lost on a court run’; ‘needing the loo for two hours whilst in the car with a partner but there being nowhere to stop due to very heavy traffic’

The Lex 100 verdict on TLT LLP

The firm: TLT is an award-winning, top 50 UK law firm best known for having expert lawyers in their field. It combines this expertise with open-mindedness and an entrepreneurial culture to deliver the best training programme for future talent. In the last five years its revenues have grown by 50% to hit £87.6m, making it one of the fastest growing and ambitious firms in the legal market.

The deals: Advising longstanding retail client Boohoo on its acquisition of the remaining 34% stake in PrettyLittleThing and the acquisition of the Oasis and Warehouse brands; advising SCP Private Equity on its acquisition of the British menswear brand TM Lewin; advising Deloitte and the directors of Go Outdoors on the sale of the UK outdoor retailer to JD Sports; defending claims brought against Coutts & Co, National Westminster Bank plc and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc by 59 individuals in connection with their investments in film finance schemes promoted and operated by the Ingenious Media group; acting for a consortium of 13 Indian banks on the registration of an Indian judgment in England and Wales against Dr Vijay Mallya and obtaining a freezing injunction against him.

The clients: W H Smith; Boohoo; Sainsburys; Barclays; Nationwide; Open Bionics; BT; Stonewater; Scottish Police Authority; Alpha Real Renewables.

The verdict

TLT is a ‘modern type of law firm’ which ‘boasts a very good work/life balance without sacrificing the quality of work and training’. Many trainees had been won over by ‘the people I met at law fairs, open evenings and vac schemes’. Respondents waxed lyrical about the Lex 100 Winner award-worthy quality of work, elaborating that they are ‘made to feel part of the team and given a large amount of client contact’ which helps them ‘develop the skills necessary for life as an NQ’. Trainees love ‘being heavily involved in court work and transactions’, especially ‘working on an internal investigation for a major high-street bank’ and ‘working on a High Court injunction case which was covered by a number of media outlets’. At times, though, high levels of responsibility can lead to stressful moments such as ‘dealing with a particularly difficult client’ and ‘managing a heavy workload when the whole team is busy’. A flat hierarchy ‘gives better access to partners and experienced solicitors’ and means that there are ‘no metaphorical barriers stopping trainees from asking the team partner all the questions we can think of’. While Bristol trainees love the ‘central location of the office’, those outside the South West feel that the firm ‘can feel a bit Bristol-centric in terms of resource distribution’. That there are ‘no microwaves or break rooms in the Manchester office’ is also begrudged. Another complaint is that it ‘can be difficult to get your first choice of seat’. On a positive note, ‘the trainee cohort are brilliant: we all get on really well and genuinely care about each other’. To work in a firm which champions a ‘collaborative rather than a competitive culture’, investigate TLT.

A day in the life of… Lisa Chivers, first-seat trainee, TLT LLP

Lisa Chivers, TLT LLP

Departments to date: Housing and regeneration

University: University of Exeter

Degree: 2(1)

8.45am: While the TLT system on my laptop is booting up for another day working from home, I make my first coffee of the day. I then settle down at my ‘desk’ (kitchen table) and eat my breakfast while checking my emails to see what has come in overnight and to prioritise my workload.

9.30am: I’m in my first seat in the housing and regeneration team, which offers a lot of variety in terms of day-to-day work. My first task of the day involves reviewing and amending a lease. There has been some negotiation over certain clauses, so I do some research around the current market norm in commercial leases. Once I’ve received approval from our client, I email an amended lease to the tenant’s solicitor for their review.

10.30am: My next task is to complete a purchase of land with the seller’s solicitor. Having done the pre-completion steps, we complete over the phone. As a law firm, it is important to be adaptable, especially in the face of the challenges Covid-19 has thrown at us. Usually, I would date the hard-copy transfer in front of me while on the phone. Instead, the transfer is actually in the office and so I liaise with the skeleton staff to do this, and they then scan it over to me.

11.00am: Time for a tea break with my flatmate, who is also a trainee at TLT. It’s nice to have a chat and catch up about what sort of work we are both doing, as well as trying to keep each other sane!

11.15am: I receive an email from my supervisor asking me to prepare replies to mortgagee enquiries on behalf of our borrower client. This involves collating information from a number of documents as well as asking the client for their input. It’s invaluable to get a lot of exposure so early on in my training contract. Having the responsibility of communicating directly with clients is a great way to establish and maintain professional relationships.

1.00pm: Time for lunch! It’s beneficial to have a break and take your mind off work, so I rustle up a toasted sandwich and catch up with my family over the phone.

2.00pm: Back to work. A partner in the social housing litigation team asks me to prepare proceedings for a matter, which involves drafting the witness statement, claim form and particulars of claim. Although the seat is predominantly transactional, this provides a helpful opportunity to gain some contentious experience and become familiar with some terminology ahead of the compulsory litigation seat later in my training contract.

3.00pm: Time for a video catch-up call with my team. Being a first-seat trainee and having only worked in the office for two weeks prior to lockdown, my team have been very supportive.

3.30pm: An email flies in asking me to assist on some work from the banking team. I’m tasked with checking multiple certificates of title prepared by the borrower’s solicitors, followed by preparing some DS1s to remove a previous lender’s charge from the title register. Not only does this develop and expand my knowledge as a lawyer, but it also allows me to introduce myself to different teams and understand other areas of the firm.

5.30pm: I review today’s to-do list to confirm I’ve completed all relevant tasks for the day, before writing my plan of action for tomorrow. Sometimes I end up working later due to deadlines, but generally I finish at a reasonable hour which allows me to enjoy the evenings. It is very easy to get caught up and work later under the current circumstances, but it’s important to ensure you are able to switch off from work and take time to relax.

About the firm

Senior partner: Andrew Glynn

Managing partner: John Wood

Other offices: London, Manchester, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh.

Who we are: TLT is a top 50 UK law firm best known for having expert lawyers in their field. In the last five years our revenues have grown by over 50% to hit £98.8m, making us one of the fastest growing and most ambitious firms in the legal market.

What we do: TLT is a full-service commercial law firm with proven and award-winning expertise working in the clean energy; financial services; retail and consumer goods; digital; leisure, food and drink; public sector; and real estate sectors for a range of start-ups through to high-profile clients.

What we’re looking for: We look for applicants that are commercially aware and business-savvy as well as academically bright. Applicants should have a minimum of 120 UCAS points and a 2(1) degree.

What you’ll do: We combine expertise with open-mindedness and an entrepreneurial culture to deliver the best training contract for our future talent. You will get responsibility and be able to challenge yourself, with the support to help you develop. You will have a tailored training programme incorporating technical legal aspects and business development skills, giving you the best start in your legal career.

Perks: Private health and medical schemes, retail vouchers, 25 days’ holiday with the option to buy or sell more, reduced-rate gym membership, season ticket loan, TLT pension plan, life assurance and the opportunity to do community support work, pro bono legal advice, environmental initiatives and fundraising – a full, flexible benefits scheme.

Sponsorship: We sponsor GDL, LPC, Scottish Diploma of Legal Practice and Northern Ireland Institute Fees, and pay a £6,000 maintenance grant for GDL, LPC and Scottish Diploma as well.

Diversity and inclusion

TLT believes when our employees can truly be themselves they are at their best, so we work to create an environment where every individual is treated with dignity and respect. We promote this by taking every opportunity to celebrate differences, as well as empowering our people to challenge behaviour at odds with this.

We value diversity and actively seek to promote it at all levels of the organisation through ensuring everyone has the same opportunity to succeed irrespective of any differing or defining characteristic.

We work continually to ensure we are meeting the needs of our employees and have committed substantial resources to ensure we are driving the agenda forward across multiple diversity strands, including sex and gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, social mobility, disability and religion. Our efforts are reflected in the ongoing success of our employee networks, which we continue to grow and build. These networks are a valuable resource for the firm in helping ensure that our employees have a voice, but also connecting people and instilling the sense of belonging that we wish for every employee to feel.

In addition to this, we are passionate about growing diversity into the firm, which has been demonstrated by our commitment to various attraction initiatives including the Social Mobility Business Project (SMBP) – a multi-award winning social mobility scheme – and our longstanding partnership with Aspiring Solicitors, which has continued to strengthen over the years.

While we are always proud of what we have achieved, we continue to strive to be better for the benefit of our employees, the firm and the wider legal sector.