The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Mills & Reeve has offices in Birmingham, Cambridge, London, Leeds, Manchester and Norwich. The firm advises a mix of clients, from high-net-worth individuals and start-ups to multinational corporations and public sector organisations. Mills & Reeve is known for having an excellent family law team and for its expertise in real estate, corporate and TMT law.
The star performers
Corporate and commercial; Crime, fraud and licensing; Dispute resolution; Family; Finance; Human resources; Insurance; Private client; Projects, energy and natural resources; Public sector; Real estate; TMT (technology, media and telecoms)
Acted for Pandox in relation to the property due diligence and post-deal structuring of its £800m acquisition of the Jurys Inn’s hotel chain; advised PredictImmune on its syndicated financing from Cambridge Enterprise and University of Cambridge; advising NHS Corby CCG on a number of matters relating to the Corby Urgent Care Centre involving two judicial reviews regarding a procurement matter and the potential closure of the centre; advised Glasgow Rangers on obtaining permits for a number of non-EU players; advised Coretronic on its acquisition of Calibre UK, acted for the shareholders of Orange County on its sale to Flowtech Fluidpower
1st Class Legal Limited; Bournemouth University Higher Education Corporation; British Council; Dorset Village Bakery; HPG Gonville Ltd; PNC Financial Services; Richardson International Limited; The Diurnal Group; Weetabix Food Company; West Bromwich Albion
Mills & Reeve has a ‘fantastic reputation for doing City-quality work without compromising on work/life balance or the welfare of its employees’. The full-service firm has a ‘great reputation across the sectors’ and boasts a ‘thriving sports law team’ and a ‘family team at the forefront of the profession’, which attracted trainees in pursuit of ‘exposure to a lot of different areas of the law’. Staff ‘are genuinely kind and hardworking’ and ‘value you as an individual, rather than just as a trainee’. ‘Taking the lead on an IP matter for a higher education client, which eventually led to me receiving a phone call from Buckingham Palace’ was one trainee’s standout moment. Encouragingly, respondents report that the firm ‘strikes a good balance between giving you the freedom to lead on a file, whilst also giving you the ongoing support you might need’. And this support and training ‘comes from all levels of fee earners’ who are ‘sharp lawyers but also unpretentious and fun’. ‘Dealing with difficult clients’ was a low point as was ‘missing a filing deadline for a trademark opposition in China whilst on secondment’. There were also a few grumbles about the pay, which is the same across all four offices but is considered ‘low for Cambridge, given the costs of living’. However, trainees otherwise found very few negatives, which is reflected in the firm’s achievement in amassing a gargantuan ten Lex 100 winner medals this year. For a ‘perfect recipe of a friendly culture, work/life balance and high-quality client work’ where trainees are ‘not one of too many’, apply to Mills & Reeve.
A day in the life of...
Louisa Jeppesen first-year trainee, Mills & Reeve (Birmingham)
Departments to date: Construction, secondment at a Midlands-based automotive client
University:University of Sheffield
7.50am: I live outside Birmingham and have a 20-minute drive along with a 20-minute train journey. Most of the trainees currently live outside the city centre but with excellent transport links it’s easy to commute if you don’t live in the city.
8.45am: On arrival at work I normally make a cup of tea and eat my breakfast at my desk. As my colleagues arrive we have a quick chat about what we did the previous evening before settling in for the morning. I always review my to-do list which sets my agenda for the day, although you never know what may land in your inbox throughout the day!
9.00am: This morning there is an impromptu meeting with a client which I have been asked to attend. My supervisor has received limited information so we are both in the dark as to what the client wants to achieve. I take a note during the meeting and my supervisor involves me in the discussion by asking whether I am aware of a point of law regarding the requirement for a company secretary. I wasn’t sure of the answer but conduct some research later to find out.
10.45am: I type up my notes from the meeting and complete several small research tasks which came up during the meeting. I managed to find a case which helped support our client’s position which was particularly satisfying.
1.00pm: At lunch the trainees tend to get together and either go out to eat or we eat our own food in the canteen. On a sunny day we tend to go for a walk and usually end up sat in the gardens of the cathedral which is opposite the office. The canteen isn’t very big but with so many cafes, restaurants and shops on our doorstep it’s easy to find something to eat. We have an office refit ongoing at the moment and we are all excited to see the new office, in particular the new canteen! Today though, my fellow trainees join me on the fourth floor for a charity picnic for Bloodwise. For £3 we are able to grab a plate and fill it full of food which has been donated by our fellow colleagues.
2.00pm: Having recently returned to Mills & Reeve from a secondment at a Midlands-based automotive client, I was particularly excited to find out that I would be continuing to work on the high-profile intellectual property case that I had been working on while on secondment. I am given the task of starting the first draft of the main witness statement for the case.
3.00pm: I’m asked to proof-read a letter which has been written by the partner in my team. It’s a long document with exhibits. I get out my red pen and start reading!
4.00pm: The last part of my day is filled with smaller tasks such as organising a notary to sign a default judgment order, diarising key tasks in the lead up to a CMC and reviewing a set of documents in order to give a summary of the key issues to my supervisor.
5.45pm: Before leaving I always have one last check and organise of my emails and update my to-do list. Late nights are sometimes required at Mills & Reeve but an emphasis is always given to maintaining a work-life balance. If there is no further work to do, you are not expected to hang around. My usual finish time is somewhere between 5.15-6.00pm.
6.00pm: Tonight is pay day drinks, a once monthly event, organised by the social committee which is usually held downstairs in our main conference room. It’s not a fancy affair but it’s a great opportunity to catch up over a free glass of wine (or three) and some nibbles. There are often events held after work such as social gatherings or talks held by the Birmingham Trainee Solicitor Society and Future Faces or firm social events which have included Ghetto Golf, theatre trips and meals out.
About the firm
Address:78-84 Colmore Row, Birmingham, B3 2AB
Telephone: 0121 456 8393
Senior partner: Justin Ripman
Managing partner: Claire Clarke
Other offices: Birmingham, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester and Norwich.
Who we are: Mills & Reeve is a major UK law firm renowned for its outstanding service to national and international clients.
What we do: Core sectors are: corporate and commercial, banking and finance, education, family, food and agribusiness, healthcare, insurance, private client, real estate investment, sport and technology.
What we are looking for: We welcome candidates from both law and non-law disciplines who already have or expect a 2(1) degree or equivalent. You will need to be highly motivated with excellent interpersonal skills, confidence, commercial awareness, a professional attitude and be ready to accept early responsibility.
What you'll do:Trainees complete six four-month seats. An in-house training programme, developed by our team of professional support lawyers, supports the PSC. Performance is assessed by informal reviews during the seat and a more formal review at the end of each seat.
Perks: Flexible benefits scheme, pension scheme, life assurance, bonus scheme, 25 days’ holiday a year, a sports and social committee, subsidised restaurant, season ticket loan, employee assistance programme.
Sponsorship:Full course fees for the LPC and GDL. Maintenance grant during the LPC year and GDL year.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 121
Other fee-earners: 440
Total trainees: 40
Turnover in 2017/2018: £106.3m
Trainee places available for 2021: 20
Applications received pa: 950
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £26,500 (under review)
Second year: £27,500 (under review)
Newly qualified: £41,000 (under review)
Apply to:Rachel Chapman
When to apply:By 31 July 2019
What's involved:Assessment centre, interview
Summer:Apply by 31 January 2019.