The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
National firm Shoosmiths operates out of a network of offices across the UK, with the newest locations launched in December 2016 in Leeds and Belfast. The full-service firm is particularly noted for its employment, commercial property, debt recovery and commercial litigation departments. Clients range from small companies and private individuals to FTSE 250 businesses.
The star performers
Asset finance and leasing; Banking and finance; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Corporate tax; Court of protection; Debt recovery, Employment; Health and safety; Immigration; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Licensing; Media and entertainment; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning
Advised The Orielles on their recording contract with leading indie label Heavenly Records; assisted Nissan with renegotiating a digital marketing agreement (for global website design, build and maintenance services) with one of the world’s largest marketing and technology agencies; acted for IKEA Properties Investments in a high-profile trespass incident of more than 10 caravans of travellers on the client’s car park at its store in Tottenham; represented Hewlett Packard in obtaining an injunction to prevent a campaign of harassment targeted at its corporate premises and several of its senior employees; acted for Komcept Solutions, a global provider of surveillance equipment to government agencies, in proceedings against a British company concerning equipment for the Iraqi National Intelligence Service
Acadian Asset Management (UK); Bang & Olufsen; Game Retail, HB Fuller; Henkel UK and Ireland; Hitachi Rail Europe; Octopus Ventures; The Hamleys Group; Volkswagen UK; Winnow Holdings
‘Personality is encouraged’ at Shoosmiths, a firm which ‘values the contribution you make as an individual’. The national firm is ‘making strides in the legal marketplace’, boasts a ‘top client list’ and offers trainees ‘exposure to a large number of different practice areas’. Recruits enjoy a high level of involvement in matters – ‘there is never a time when you are just handed something and told to get it done’. That ‘the people make the firm’ was mentioned more than once, with colleagues described as ‘knowledgeable, creative and friendly’. ‘They actually do hire people based on the firm’s values’, explained one trainee – ‘it means most people are similar and get along with each other’. Shoosmiths has won three Lex 100 Winner gongs for job satisfaction, quality of work and client contact. There were some grumbles that the ‘remuneration is a little on the low side’, which is compounded by the fact that ‘there is no bonus scheme’. But ‘long days are not taken for granted’ and the ‘ability to still have a life while being a trainee’ is appreciated. ‘Attending the High Court for a six-day trial, ‘receiving fantastic feedback on grounds of resistance I had drafted’ and ‘managing files independently’ were some of the work highlights, whilst ‘ploughing through huge GDPR audits’ and ‘working a 70-hour week’ were low points. But there are some ‘amazing’ client secondments on offer, where trainees get an opportunity to ‘see how in-house teams work and what they want from external lawyers’. To work at a ‘progressive and forward-thinking firm’ with a good reputation which ‘offers sound training whilst at the same time valuing a healthy work/life balance’, consider Shoosmiths.
A day in the life of...
Lucy Gray second-seat trainee, Shoosmiths (Birmingham)
Departments to date: Insolvency and restructuring, commercial litigation
University:Sheffield Hallam University
Degree:Law and criminology, 2(1)
8.45am: When I get into the office, I collect my laptop from my locker and find a desk. I am a commercial litigation trainee but we sit with the wider risk and litigation department. Many of the departments are agile, so nobody has a fixed desk. This gives me great exposure to see and hear what the other teams are up to as well as my own. I make a coffee for myself and anyone else who is around, and sit down to check any emails and my to-do-list.
9.00am: We are representing a number of high profile clients in ‘phone hacking’ claims against newspapers, and have recently issued proceedings in a number of cases. I am assisting my supervisor in drafting the particulars of claim for these matters. There is a lot to do and we’re against a court deadline so that’s keeping us busy. We recently secured some great settlements for clients who have been victims of ‘phone hacking’ and this appeared on the BBC and Sky News websites, which was great publicity and means we have been particularly busy!
10.45am: My previous team, insolvency, do not have a trainee at the moment and so a senior associate in the team asked me if I have the time to take some documents to the business and property courts in the Birmingham High Court, and speak to the court clerk to obtain an urgent listing for a hearing. The clerk tells me that he needs to speak to a judge in order to get the hearing expedited and so I have to leave the documents with him, but I will pick them up tomorrow once a judge has approved the listing and a hearing date and time has been confirmed.
1.00pm: I choose lunch from a local café and meet the trainees in the park near the office to enjoy some fresh air. We catch up about how our seats are going and the type of work we have been doing
2.30pm: I have a telephone conference call with a client to discuss an ongoing contractual debt which we are instructed to recover. I have had the supervision of an associate but I am lucky that my supervisor has let me take the reins in respect of this matter, which is at a pre-litigation stage. We have obtained part-payment of the debt from the other side and are having this call to gather some further facts from our client, give them advice on the best way to proceed, and to take their instructions.
4.00pm: I send the particulars of claim that I was drafting earlier this morning to my supervisor to review and after we have discussed any amendments and she has approved them, I email them to the barrister acting on our client’s claim for a final check. I thenbefore sending them out to our client for signature.
6.00pm: At the end of each day I add an entry to my trainee diary for each task I have worked on today. This is a Law Society requirement and we access our diaries online. I also make sure that I have recorded and accounted for all of my time in the firm’s time-recording system. This is important because it is how the business shows clients how much work we have done on their matter and what we have been doing, which is vital when it comes to billing. I prepare my to-do list for tomorrow. I always do this the night before to help manage my time and so that I know what I am expecting to work on the next day.
6.30pm: I’m part of the Shoosmiths’ netball team and we play in the Birmingham Trainee Solicitor’s Society (BTSS) league – although we have everyone from PAs to paralegals to partners in our team! It’s a great chance to meet people from other firms, then the league cup is awarded at the annual BTSS ball.
About the firm
Address:The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7SH
Telephone: 03700 863075
CEO: Claire Rowe
Chairman: Peter Duff
Other offices: Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Solent. Check our website for offices we are currently recruiting to.
Who we are: Shoosmiths is a national commercial UK law firm which is known for providing a consistently superb client experience. Our focus on developing people, building relationships and results has defined our achievements for over 170 years.
What we do: We offer training across core practice areas in 11 offices. These include commercial, employment, regulatory, litigation, real estate, corporate, tax, private client and asset finance. At the end of your training contract you’ll have the knowledge of at least four areas of law as a platform for your qualification.
What we are looking for: You’ll need to demonstrate your desire to train to be an expert in law, and the ability to work consistently and collaboratively, for the benefit of you, the firm and your clients. You should be open-minded and innovative with a can-do attitude. Our trainees are encouraged to participate in business development activities, and develop their personal brand profile and written communication style by contributing to the Shoosmiths Careers Blog and social media.
What you'll do:You will complete four six-month placements – one could be a secondment to a client’s in-house legal team. You’ll train in an open-plan or agile environment with the freedom to manage your own caseload and deal with clients on a daily basis with the support of your team around you.
Perks: You’ll be working for a firm who puts your wellbeing first, with many initiatives and benefits designed to support you, including 23+ days flexible holiday, pension, life assurance, private medical insurance, dental plan, corporate discounts, free eight-week mindfulness course, we’ll cover your membership costs for junior lawyer groups, and £50 and a day off on your birthday.
Sponsorship:We will fund your GDL and/or LPC (or equivalent) while you are studying. We do not specify which provider you should complete your GDL and LPC at.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 190
Other fee-earners: 738
Total trainees: 44
Turnover in 2017: £116.7m (+9.% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £361,000 average
Trainee places available for 2021: 30
Applications received pa: 2,000+
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £27,000 (regional)/£38,000 (London)/£25,000 (Edinburgh)
Second year: £28,000 (regional)/£39,000 (London)/£26,000 (Edinburgh)
Newly qualified: £42,500 (regional)/£65,000 (London)/£40,000 (Edinburgh)
Apply to:Graduate recruitment.
When to apply:By 31st May 2019.
What's involved:If successful at application stage, you will be invited to attend an assessment day in July 2019.
Summer:June 2019 (apply by 28 February 2019).