The Lex 100 verdict on Wedlake Bell LLP

The firm: Independent law firm Wedlake Bell is headquartered in London. The firm is renowned for its family law and private client practice, as well as for its real estate work. Wedlake Bell advises clients ranging from FTSE 100 companies to owner-managed businesses and ultra-high-net-worth individuals.

The deals: Acting for YoBike on licensing arrangements relating to its patented YoBike bicycle rental system and mobile app; advised OKI Europe on the employment elements of the reorganisation of its EMEA operations; advised Warburg HIH Invest on lease transactions with H&M and Sushi Mania at a retail scheme in Cambridge; acted for Taylor Wimpey and Jaynic Suffolk Park in relation to the promotion agreement and construction documents for a 90-acre greenfield site in Suffolk; handled a case for Fresh Wharf Estates Limited. Injunctions were obtained against boat owners who have moored their boats adjacent to the client’s land which is set to undergo a major residential development; assisted Pearson Lloyd Design with contractual negotiations with a major European airline relating to the design of the business class seating and cabin interior of a new fleet of Boeing 777-9 aircraft.

The clients: Bank of Ireland; Countrywide; Honest Burgers; HSBC; Hugo Boss UK; Kuehne + Nagel; Lacoste; Millennium Hotels; Royal Academy of Arts; Tesco Stores.

A day in the life of… Olivia Ufland, trainee solicitor, Wedlake Bell LLP

Olivia Ufland, Wedlake Bell LLP

Departments to date: Pensions and employee benefits, banking (current)

University: University of Cambridge (Fitzwilliam)

Degree: Classics (MA) 2(1)

7.45am: I wake up, ready to begin 30 minutes of yoga with Adriene at 8am via Youtube. I have been doing much more yoga during lockdown; it’s a great way to focus the mind and it sets me up well for the day.

8.30am: I have some breakfast and read the newspaper. Some of the little things I have missed while working at home include the daily breakfast offerings at the office, including the porridge, crumpets and toast.

9.00am: I log onto my computer, review my emails and update my to-do list. My first task is drafting a full set of corporate authorisations (including directors’ certificates, board minutes and shareholder resolutions) in relation to an amendment and restatement of a facility agreement. I am able to use the previous corporate authorisations, in respect of the original facility, as precedents. I carefully review the conditions precedent, set out in the facility agreement, and produce the draft documents accordingly.

11.00am: I send the draft corporate authorisations to my supervisor and shortly afterwards, I receive a call from her. We run through the drafts, and she gives me some helpful feedback and suggests a couple of amendments, explaining the reasoning behind them. I process the amendments before sending the documents across to the lawyers on the other side to review.

11.30am: I have a team call in relation to a client which acquires, builds and operates care homes across the country. Due to the cross-disciplinary nature of the work involved, the team includes members from banking, commercial property, construction and planning. Communication between the various departments is extremely important in order to ensure that we are able to track progress on the matter, and provide an efficient and streamlined service to the client.

12.45pm: I have a quick lunch, and get ready to join our weekly firm choir rehearsal (via Zoom!) at 1.00pm. Being in the choir is not only a good way to get to know others in the firm, it is also great fun. Our virtual rehearsals have definitely helped to brighten up the week during lockdown, although it is not quite the same as singing together in person.

2.00pm: We have just received the relevant signed documents from the borrower’s solicitor in relation to a waiver and amendment exercise, in which we are acting for the lender. I review the documents to check that they are in good order, and then proceed with running the necessary completion searches in respect of the borrower and the various guarantors. Once I have collated the results of the searches, I check through them to make sure that there are no issues, and then confirm this to my supervisor.

4.00pm: I call the borrower’s solicitor to let him know that the results of our searches have come back clear, and we then complete on the waiver and amendment exercise. I update our client accordingly, and circulate copies of the signed documents to them.

4.30pm: In preparation for assisting on a matter for a new client, I am asked to provide summaries of various loan agreements between our client (the lender), and the borrower, together with a summary of registered security at Companies House against the borrower.

6.20pm: Once I have finished, I send the summaries to my supervisor before processing my recorded time for the day and updating my to-do list.

6.30pm: The firm’s virtual quiz is this evening. Hopefully it will not be too long before we are able to have socials in person after work, but until then it is really enjoyable being able to see and speak to colleagues over Zoom, while tackling some very challenging questions!

About the firm

Senior partner: Kim Lalli

Managing partner: Martin Arnold

Who we are: We have strong expertise in real estate, private client, dispute resolution and business services. Our driving force is to empower our clients by providing quality legal advice, insight and intelligence that enables them to achieve their goals whether personal or business. We are large enough to advise on the most complex matters, but small enough to ensure that our people and our work remain exceptional and dynamic.

What we do: With 68 partners supported by over 170 lawyers and support staff, we operate on a four practice group model: private client, business services, real estate and dispute resolution.

What we’re looking for: Strong technical skills, diligent and hardworking, enthusiastic and self-motivated.

What you’ll do: Six-month seats in four different practice areas. Trainee solicitors are closely supervised but have client contact and responsibility from day one.

Perks: Pension, health insurance, dental insurance, personal health and wellbeing support including virtual GP service, life assurance, season ticket loan, corporate gym membership, additional holiday scheme, give as you earn, cycle to work scheme, employee mortgage advice.

Sponsorship: LPC funding available, subject to terms and conditions of any offer.

Diversity, inclusion and wellbeing initiatives

Mentoring Scheme, Wellbeing Events throughout the year, Wellbeing Week, Employee Assistance Programme, Mental Health First Aiders, Rare Recruitment, Inspire Work Placements, Law Society Diversity Access Scheme, Apprenticeships, Networking groups, Micro-placements Scheme with City University, working with King Solomon Academy, participated in Social Mobility Employer Index 2019, Links with Universities.