The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Multi-disciplinary firm Blaser Mills is based in the South East with several offices in the region. The firm acts for businesses and individuals, and has a strong corporate and commercial offering. The firm also has expertise in family, private client, personal injury and has a highly-regarded criminal practice.
The star performers
Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Crime: general; Debt recovery; Employment; Family; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation
Acted for a development company in a claim brought by the seller of a development site alleging that the client was in breach of an overage agreement; defended a bus company in a religious discrimination claim involving allegations that the company’s rota system discriminated against a religious group as it requires all driving staff to be available to work on any day of the week; acted for an agricultural company in a case concerning the supply of consumables to a limited company for which payment was subject to a personal guarantee; advised a construction company on a £7m commercial development in Coventry; acted for a trading company in a claim for construction materials and a second claim against a director concerning a personal guarantee.
AB Agri; Ardmore; Bunzl UK; Epicor; First Collect International; Oxford Bus Company; SIG Trading; Stratford Developments; THX
With a ‘strong and committed presence in Buckinghamshire and the surrounding area’, Blaser Mills has earned praise from trainees for its ‘warm culture’ where there is a ‘feeling of belonging’. New joiners praised the ‘quality of the staff’ and noticed that ‘there is a real emphasis on commitment and support across the firm’. It’s therefore not surprising that there are ‘a number of employees who have progressed to partner having started their careers as trainees with Blaser Mills’. The firm is a Lex 100 Winner for quality of work, client contact, job satisfaction, living up to expectations, inclusiveness and approachability. Trainees are ‘involved in meeting, emailing and calling clients’, and they engage in meaningful work that comprises more than just ‘abstract tasks and endless research’ – there is a ‘real-life’ approach to training. Recruits are given ‘responsibility at an early stage’ with ‘just the right level of supervision’. The ‘option to take both commercial and private client seats’ and ‘tailor’ the training contract to your interests is something trainees couldn’t help but praise. On the flip side, there were complaints about the ‘lack of on-site parking’, ‘being split between three offices’ and having to use disjointed ‘IT systems’. Dealing with ‘difficult clients’ and perusing client files were tasks trainees didn’t enjoy. Instead they loved ‘dealing start to finish with my first solo deal’, receiving ‘positive feedback’ and ‘winning a six-figure insurance contract dispute’. For a ‘regional firm with a London presence’, ‘a wide breadth of legal disciplines’ and plenty of ‘growth opportunities’, take note of Blaser Mills.
A day in the life of...
James Nelson second-year trainee, Blaser Mills Law
Departments to date: residential property; personal injury and serious injury; real estate and development
University:University of Westminster
Degree and class:Modern History 2(1)
8.15am: I live relatively close to our largest office in High Wycombe, so my morning commute is fairly relaxed. The drive is an opportunity for me to put on LBC or BBC Radio 4 and catch up on current affairs and latest business news.
8.30am: I like to settle into my working day with a cup of coffee and a quick chat with colleagues. My current seat is in the real estate and development team, and today I am presenting at an in-house property seminar to clients and contacts, so I head back to my desk to run through the slides.
9.00am: I am fortunate to have been given the responsibility of managing my own matters and work with a broad scope of clients, ranging from multinational logistics firms, to charities. In my opinion, the real estate and development seat is a must-do for any future trainee looking to cut their teeth on commercial work.
9.15am: I am co-running the seminar with two senior associates from the team. Before the presentation, we get an opportunity to network with the attendees. Law school valuably teaches you the black and white letter of the law, but you fast learn as a trainee that business insight, the importance of networking, and understanding the commercial goals of your clientele are crucial to becoming a successful lawyer.
9.30am: The presentation begins and I am second up! It is designed to cover a wide range of property-based topics. I am presenting on the new MEES (Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards) Regulations and its likely impact on landlords and tenants.
11.00am: With the seminar and post-seminar networking now concluded, I head back to my desk and check my emails. My first task of the day is on a matter where we represent the tenant in a proposed lease of a unit on an industrial park. I am required to review and scrutinise the lease documentation that I received this morning from the landlord’s solicitors. The documentation includes the lease itself, a licence for alterations, a rent deposit deed and title documents. Although most leases tend to contain the same contractual features, the one provided in this instance is slightly different and I refer to my law books to research a particular aspect of the lease.
11.45am: Amid my work, I get a call from another of our clients regarding a matter involving the lease of an electrical substation site. The client is a commercial developer and the counterparty is a large electrical power company. We have learned that the substation site has been relocated from its original proposed position. I discuss the change of site location with the client, as the original plans contained coloured zones around the site detailing varying levels of access and cable rights. I confirm instructions with the client, update the partner overseeing the matter and then carry on with the review of the industrial unit lease.
1.00pm: I break for lunch. Usually I pop into town (which is a stone’s throw away) for a sandwich but today the seminar team (presenters and the marketing co-ordinator) have been taken out for lunch by one of the senior partners.
3.00pm: I travel with one of my colleagues to visit a new client to discuss their proposed underlease of a part of their industrial in a large local trading estate.
6.00pm: I usually finish my day around 6pm, but this evening I am heading off to a networking drinks event hosted by a national property consultancy firm.
About the firm
Address:40 Oxford Road, High Wycombe, HP11 2EE
Telephone: 020 3814 2020
Senior partner: Alka Kharbanda
Managing partner: Jonathan Lilley
Other offices: Amersham, Rickmansworth, Silverstone, London
Who we are: Blaser Mills Law is a leading full-service law firm based in the South East with over 60 lawyers.
What we do: Our highly regarded firm has a strong business services offering, including corporate and commercial, employment, commercial property and dispute resolution. We also have experienced private client and family lawyers, and specialist lawyers in personal injury, child care, residential property and criminal defence.
What we are looking for: We are proud of the diversity of our teams of lawyers, in terms of experience, background and approach. We look for diversity in our trainees too. As well as a strong academic background, excellent communication skills and analytical ability, we look for talented individuals who have a strong team ethic, ambition and who embrace responsibility. Trainees are right at the heart of the firm and nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the fact that the majority of our partners trained with us. Progression to partnership is strictly on merit and excellence is continuously rewarded.
What you'll do:Training starts in September with a full induction day. Trainees will have varied (four six-month) seats in both non-contentious and contentious practice areas, allowing them to gain experience across a broad range of legal disciplines in a variety of locations. From day one, trainees are given plenty of responsibility with ongoing support from experienced training supervisors. In addition, we operate a mentor scheme that gives trainees confidential access to recently qualified lawyers who can offer first-hand advice. Throughout the training contract, trainees will develop their technical skills, department knowledge and client care. Business development is a further skill that we look to develop, so when it comes to qualifying, trainees are confident to approach prospective clients and build their own client list – achieved through article writing, presenting at seminars or attending networking events.
Perks: Trainees are enrolled into our pension scheme and are given life cover from day one. As part of the mentor scheme, trainees will get together three times a year for social events.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 22
Other fee-earners: 50
Total trainees: 8
Trainee places available for 2021: 4
Applications received pa: 300
Percentage interviewed: 5%
First year: £27,000
When to apply: By28 June 2019.
What's involved:Assessment day, including written exercises, group exercises and interviews.