The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
European law firm Fieldfisher has market-leading practices in many dynamic sectors such as energy, financial services, life sciences and media. The firm’s main areas of practice are corporate, IP, technology and regulatory law. Fieldfisher has offices in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and China, as well as a Silicon Valley office in the US.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial contracts; Commercial property: corporate occupiers; Court of protection; Data protection, privacy and cybersecurity; Emerging markets; Employee share scheme; Employment; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Healthcare; IT and telecoms; Pensions (non-contentious); Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; Professional negligence; Property finance; Property litigation; Travel: regulatory and commercial
Acted for Atalaya Mining Plc in a £31m placing to finance the expansion of operations at the Rio Tinto copper mine; acted for GSK on a patent dispute against Pfizer regarding Meningitis B vaccines; advised Maltese company Negbasis Box on the acquisition of €35m in bonds issued by Ivorian bank Banque Atlantique; advised Yo! Sushi on a manufacturing and licensing agreement with Suited Brands; acted for Roche on its appeal against a NICE appraisal that refused to extend the use of its Esbriet drug on the NHS
Air China; Airbnb; BBC Worldwide; Cabinet Office; Care and Share Associates; Cushman & Wakefield; Echo Energy; Expedia; Greene King; Secret Escapes
‘The right balance of great work, great clients and an excellent culture’ is what Fieldfisher offers aspiring solicitors. The firm’s ‘expertise in IP and technology’ as well as public and regulatory law also proved attractive to budding lawyers wanting a variety of work. Trainees benefit from having ‘very approachable partners’ who foster a ‘supportive environment’ that’s ‘less stressful and pressured’ than that at comparable firms. Having such ‘welcoming supervisors’ is why the firm holds a Lex 100 Winner medal for approachability. Trainees would like more international secondments as currently ‘only one is on offer’, but the few who had the opportunity to work in the US described it as ‘incredible’. ‘More social events outside of the office’ would also be a welcome addition, especially by those based in the firm’s regional offices. We hear the ‘canteen isn’t great’, and likewise, the firm’s technology (specifically the time recording system) needs improvement. Trainee work highlights included ‘attending a tribunal chaired by a partner and writing the first draft of his decision’. Another rookie appreciated being ‘valued by the department I was working in’, which perhaps explains the Lex 100 Winner medal for confidence of being kept on. Recruits grumbled about ‘staying all night to finish an assignment’ and ‘finishing a piece of work while on annual leave’ but, overall, the firm has a ‘healthy work/life balance’. Though trainees receive a ‘slightly lower salary than peers at equivalent firms’, Fieldfisher’s environment is ‘not as constantly intense’. They have ‘more independence to problem solve’ and have the ‘opportunity to draft complex documents’ which likely makes up for their grumbles. If you want to work for a firm that offers ‘excellent future opportunities’, apply to Fieldfisher.
A day in the life of...
Alex Beresford trainee, Fieldfisher
Departments to date: Personal injury and medical negligence, IP and trademark protection and enforcement
Degree:Law with European Studies
8.00am: I jump on the train to Waterloo and walk to the office: the Fieldfisher Summer Walking Challenge has started!
8.45am: Breakfast time in the canteen. I meet some of the more energetic trainees who have been to the morning HIIT workout on the balcony (every Tuesday and Thursday plus yoga on Monday).
9.15am: I head up to my department. The office is open plan and the team is really friendly. I find everyone, at all levels, very approachable. I log on to my emails, check my calendar and make a to-do list. As a trainee, you are involved in lots of different projects and work with lots of people so it’s important to prioritise according to deadlines.
9.30am: I spend some time summarising the note I made in court the previous day, ready to give a debrief to my supervisor.
10.00am: I meet with my supervisor to discuss the case. She sets me a research task based on something raised at the hearing. We then spend time catching up on my workload and discuss any questions I have.
10.30am: I have a meeting regarding the Queen Mary Legal Advice Clinic. All trainees participate in this scheme and undertake two cases a year. It is great experience as you get to run your own case (with supervision).
11.00am: I draft a ‘cease and desist’ letter for a client who has noticed their trade mark being infringed online. The great thing about my current department is that you get work relating to all IP rights so the experience is very broad. I have done patent research, worked on a large copyright infringement case preparing for trial and worked on lots of different cases relating to trade mark infringement, applications and oppositions. When I joined the seat, I received training on each IP right so that I could refresh my knowledge from the LPC.
12.30pm: Lunch time. Depending on workload, the trainees try to meet up every day to grab a bite to eat and catch up.
1.30pm: I have been asked to take a note of a call between a partner and counsel. I review the recent correspondence so that I am up to date and head to the meeting room. After the call there are a couple of action points which I offer to progress.
3.00pm: I get started on a blog for the department’s IP SnIPpets which I have volunteered to write. This is summarising a recent decision by the Board of Appeal on a figurative trade mark. This is a great opportunity to develop my knowledge of this area of law and practise analysing a complicated judgment. It gets posted with a credit to me. This feels really rewarding.
4.30pm: I am asked to help prepare a mediation bundle. I spend some time working out where the documents are located and set to work creating one copy of the bundle with an index ready for the associate to check. Once approved by the associate I send a request to print room asking for six copies of the bundle to be made. I check that the rooms have all been booked for the mediation later in the week and send an email confirming I have checked everything and that the bundles will be ready in the morning.
6.00pm: I finalise my time recording and update my ‘to-do’ list. I head downstairs to the bar (yes we have a bar in the office!) where the trainee social committee has organised a social for the future trainees! It will be a good occasion to catch up and discuss the summer party coming up: this year the theme is ‘Arabian nights’!
About the firm
Address:Riverbank House, 2 Swan Lane, London, EC4R 3TT
Telephone: 020 7861 4000
Fax:020 7488 0084
Senior partner: Matthew Lohn
Managing partner: Michael Chissick
Other offices: Amsterdam, Beijing, Belfast, Birmingham, Bologna, Brussels, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, London, Luxemourg, Manchester, Munich, Milan, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Silicon Valley, Turin and Venice.
Who we are: Fieldfisher is a European law firm with market-leading practices in many of the world’s most dynamic sectors.
What we do: We are an exciting, forward-thinking organisation with a particular focus on technology, finance and financial services, energy and natural resources, life sciences and media.
What we are looking for: We are looking for ambitious, bright, innovative, talented and entrepreneurial individuals.
What you'll do:The trainee will be supervised by a senior associate or partner with a huge amount of legal experience. A learning and development programme is also in place for the whole intake.
Perks: Flexible benefits (life assurance, travel insurance, income protection, critical illness cover, dental cover); cycle to work scheme; interest-free season ticket loan; pension scheme – matched contributions up to 7%; medical insurance; yoga and HIIT sessions on the top floor.
Sponsorship:GDL and LPC tuitions fees and maintenance grant.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 170 (in the UK)
Other fee-earners: 254 (in the UK)
Total trainees: 37 (in the UK)
Trainee places available for 2021: 18
First year: London: £38,500; Manchester and Birmingham: £27,500
Second year: London: £41,500; Manchester and Birmingham: £28,500
Newly qualified: London: £66,000: Manchester and Birmingham: £41,000
Apply to:Mathieu Pinto Cardoso, graduate recruitment and development manager
What's involved:The recruitment process includes: submitting an application form, completing two psychometrics tests, a telephone interview, an assessment centre, a vacation scheme (if the candidate has applied for this option) and a final partner interview.
When to apply:
Spring vacation scheme (London): By 15 January 2019.
Summer vacation scheme (London): By 15 January 2019.
Vacation scheme (Birmingham): By 31 January 2019.
Vacation scheme (Manchester): By 31 January 2019.
Training contract 2021 (London): By 30 June 2019.
Training contract 2020 or 2021 (Birmingham): By 31 January 2019.
Training contract 2020 or 2021 (Manchester): By 31 January 2019.