See the latest survey results from the 2012/13 edition of The Lex 100 - a student guide designed to show what working in a law firm is really like. For more information on the methodology of this survey please click here.
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The lowdown (in their own words...)
Field Fisher Waterhouse has offices in London and Manchester as well as five in Europe. The firm is highly regarded for its technology and outsourcing expertise, and lower mid-market M&A practices, plus has a very strong insurance department.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Brand management; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial contracts; Commodities and futures: futures; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Franchising; IT and telecoms; Investment funds; M&A: lower mid-market, £50m-£250m; Media and entertainment; Outsourcing and procurement; Personal injury: claimant; Professional discipline; Trade finance.
Acted for Warner Bros on restructuring the financing of its portfolio of high-value UK films; acted for Trap Oil Group on its AIM listing; advised President Petroleum on its £2m share issue; advised Avocet Mining on its move to the main market; advised LEGO Retail on a franchise structure for its stores; acted for China Telecom Europe on regulatory matters.
BBC Worldwide; Fortnum & Mason; Google; Lehman Brothers Finance; Lulu Guinness; MTV; Mirabaud; Motorola; Netflicks; Polo Ralph Lauren; Ramada; Sony Europe; Starwood Hotels; Thomas Pink; Topshop; Virgin.
Trainees are attracted by the 'variety of practice areas' at Field Fisher Waterhouse as well as the firm's 'leading' IT practice. The firm also boasts a number of other 'niche' practice areas such as media, technology and healthcare regulation. Look forward to working with some 'very well-known' clients with plenty of opportunities to 'assist on projects and deals from beginning to end'. The 'very friendly and approachable' people provide 'good hands-on training' and expect to be given 'a lot' of responsibility but for your colleagues to 'urge you to have a life outside work'. Current trainee experiences have included 'a six-month secondment to MTV', 'overseeing a £1.2m completion' and 'managing a stream of contact negotiations as well as being the main day-to-day contact for the client'. Be prepared for the occasional late night but there is always a 'sense of the team pulling together' to get through these periods and along the way you are given plenty of 'advice and support about career development'. Some think that the Vine street offices are a bit 'tired' and others feel that there is a 'lack of transparency' and would like to be kept more informed about firm decisions. A canteen would also be appreciated. Field Fisher Waterhouse remains a great option for those looking for a City firm offering a wide variety of practice areas and a 'strong' reputation.
A day in the life of...
Katy Charlotte Campalani second-year trainee solicitor, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP
Departments to date: Finance, European law (at the Brussels office), public regulatory department, property
University: Oxford University
Degree: Law with European Studies and Italian Law, 2(1)
7.30am: I arrive at the gym and start with a quick run and a swim which sets me up for the day; the central location of the offices makes this very convenient.
9.20am: I arrive at my desk and check my emails for any urgent requests that may have come through overnight. We have our weekly team meeting every Monday at 9.30am. One thing I really value in this seat is the excellent team leadership approach and this weekly meeting helps cement that sense of team.
9.30am: At the meeting we run through a list of ongoing client matters and take the opportunity to clarify who is taking care of what and how active each case is. Each matter is marked either 'ongoing quiet', 'ongoing busy' or 'on hold' as appropriate. This allows for a complete overall view of the team workload. We also estimate our workload for the forthcoming week. This way we can shift work around and help each other out. This week I am busy but could take on more.
10.30am: I return to my desk. As Oliver and I have been working on a deal for a client involved in a joint venture, he reminds me that the next step is to draft a number of deeds of release. I find several firm precedents to use as templates, on the firm's 'knowledge bank' computer system. We usually work from our own precedents, amending them as appropriate to the client's needs. Oliver and I discuss the precedents and he selects the most suitable, allowing me to begin drafting the documents.
12.30pm: I check my inbox and see an email from an associate in the derivatives team asking if I have capacity to help with a research task. I email back 'yes' and say I will come see her at 4.30pm. I then pop out for lunch.
1.00-2.30pm: I am back and Oliver tells me that my language skills are in demand and I am to see a partner in the dispute resolution group. I ask: 'is it is French or Italian?' He says Italian. I meet the partner and it is explained that a client conference call will take place at 2.30pm where a number of people only speak Italian. I am to assist by chairing the call and act as a translator. The partner gives me a run down of the facts and hands me the most important documents to get acquainted with in anticipation of the call.
3.30pm: I return to my desk to check my emails. Oliver asks me to check the articles of association for a number of related companies to see if anything in them restricts borrowing or giving security. Articles of association form part of a company's incorporation documents listing what the company can and cannot do. Here the client wishes to obtain a loan. Upon review, I find that this cannot be done without passing a shareholders' resolution. I inform Oliver who informs the client.
4.30pm: I meet with the associate. I am to research a specific point dealing with the Greek credit swap which has been featuring so prominently in the news lately.
5.30pm: I return to my desk to find I have a voicemail: it's from the dispute resolution partner saying he would like me to fly to Italy next week to assist further on the deal. I speak to Oliver who says he has been informed and that I have the permission to go. I am delighted.
5.40pm: I make a start on the legal research tasks. I also look at my calendar for the next day to check what is lined up. I see that first thing tomorrow I have yacht and aircraft finance training at 9.00am.
7.30pm: I leave my office and meet another trainee in the squash courts in the basement for a quick game of squash before we both head home.
About the firm
Address: 35 Vine Street, London EC3N 2AA
Telephone: 020 7861 4000
Managing partner: Matthew Lohn
Other offices: Brussels, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Manchester, Munich, Paris
Who we are: Field Fisher Waterhouse is a full-service European law firm providing commercial solutions across a range of industry sectors. We have a particular focus on companies that are highly regulated and those with intellectual property and technology-driven business models.
What we do: Our main areas of practice are corporate, IP, technology and outsourcing, and regulatory law. We also have leading expertise in areas such as banking and finance, financial services, real estate, dispute resolution, personal injury and medical negligence.
What we are looking for: We value more than just talent, ambition and great qualifications. We don't believe in developing legal clones; the people who do the best here have interests, experience and a life outside the office. To be a 100% lawyer here, you have to be a 100% you.
What you'll do: We offer a challenging training contract, where you will work closely with your supervisor to gain hands-on experience, so that you are ready to commence work as a solicitor upon qualification. This is complemented by a full programme of training and development.
Perks: A full flexible benefit package including 25 days' holiday, private medical insurance, pension, life assurance, season ticket loan, childcare vouchers, critical illness cover, dental insurance, travel insurance and more. In addition we have on-site squash courts, numerous sports teams and corporate gym rates.
Sponsorship: We offer sponsorship through the GDL (if applicable) and the LPC, as well as covering fees. We provide our future trainees with a competitive maintenance grant during their studies.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2015: Up to 15
Applications received pa: Over 1,250
Percentage interviewed: Around 7%
First year: £35,000
Second year: £38,500
Newly qualified: £58,000
(from Legal Business magazine)
Turnover in 2011: 94m (+2% from 2010) Profits per equity partner: £516,000 (-9%)
Total partners: 148
Other fee-earners: 254
Total trainees: 28
Apply to: Amelia Spinks, graduate recruitment manager.
How: Online application form
When to Apply: 31 July 2013.
Easter: Please check website for exact dates (apply by 13 February 2013)
Summer: Please check website for exact dates (apply by 13 February 2013)