The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Tech specialist Fieldfisher has been faring strongly of late. In the 2013/14 financial year the firm’s revenue rose by 9% to £113m. The firm has UK offices in London and Manchester as well as a presence in France, Belgium, Germany, China and the US. Within its TMT practice, Fieldfisher’s media and intellectual property teams are particularly lauded.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Clinical negligence: claimant; Franchising; IT and telecoms; Media and entertainment; Media finance; Personal injury: claimant; Professional discipline; Travel: regulatory and commercial.
Instructed by Lehman Brothers Finance’s liquidator to pursue a multimillion-dollar claim involving derivative transactions; advised Panmure Gordon on the £120m AIM float of Discovery Group; continues to act for Mirabaud Securities representing it on the $50m placing by Savannah Petroleum; advised BBC Worldwide on the acquisition of a minority stake in independent production company Lookout Point; advised Asda on its in-store pharmaceutical and optical practices.
Accenture; Bad Robot Films; Cyprus Airways; Ernst & Young; Fidelity Worldwide Investment; GLG Partners; NBC Universal International; Samsung; Thomas Cook; Wasseman Media Group.
Trainees are attracted to Fieldfisher for its ‘strong practice areas’, range of ‘intellectually engaging work’ and ‘variety of interesting clients’. Other assets include the firm’s ‘reputation in the technology sector’ as well as a ‘great IP practice’. The ‘small trainee intake’ ensures ‘high-quality supervision’ and ‘inclusiveness’, as well as a ‘good retention rate’. Trainees appreciate the ‘value placed on employees’ and that they are ‘encouraged to be individuals’ in a ‘friendly atmosphere’, where there is a ‘good balance of professionalism without taking things too seriously’. There have been some complaints about a ‘lack of international secondments’, however many have been dazzled by the client secondments, such as one trainee who spent time at ‘one of the world’s largest companies’, as well as another whose highlight was ‘concluding an urgent negotiation for a major television programme’ and was subsequently invited by the client to ‘attend the filming of the programme’. You can look forward to ‘high levels of responsibility’ with ‘value placed on work/life balance’ and ‘good hours’. There have been some grumbles about ‘relatively low pay’, however the ‘great facilities’ help make up for this, including ‘riverside offices’, a canteen and a bar, all with ‘great views’. Other trainee highlights have included ‘leading a completion meeting’, ‘dealing with artist contracts for household names’ and ‘attending a summary judgment/strike out hearing’. This is an excellent choice for candidates seeking a City firm with ‘expertise in key areas’, ‘great client and partner exposure’ and ‘genuinely interesting work’. If that sounds like your perfect match, consider Fieldfisher.
A day in the life of...
Kritin Sundaram first-year trainee solicitor, Fieldfisher
Departments to date: Banking and asset finance; competition and EU regulatory
University:University of Warwick
9.00am: I arrive at my desk and quickly catch up with the solicitor sat next to me. I review my inbox and to-do schedule.
9.20am: The department provides frequent training sessions to companies on competition law compliance, and I am asked by an associate if I can help research case examples and start preparing parts of the presentation to deliver to an electronics manufacturer.
10.00am: Our weekly team meeting begins, with colleagues running through their workload and any business development opportunities for the upcoming week. Two partners have just returned from conferences in Brussels and New York respectively, and proceed to update the team on some exciting new opportunities which may come our way. Both partners are ranked by the leading directories as leading practitioners.
10.30am: On my to-do list are a series of tasks relating to a REMIT (EU regulation on energy matters) compliance review we are conducting for a client. I start to analyse protocol charts sent to us, highlighting areas to discuss with the senior associate.
11.15am: As part of the review process, we are conducting interviews with various employees. I proceed to draft interview questions for our first round of interviewees, situated in Brno, Czech Republic.
12.30pm: I join a conference call with a new client; a company based in the USA looking to expand and sell their products in the EU. I contribute on the call alongside a partner based in our Manchester office. I offer to produce the initial advice brief to send to the client; the partner agrees.
1.15pm: One advantage of our fantastic office is its location. I quickly pop back to my desk to drop off my note of the call, pick up a sandwich and meet with a few other trainees who are eating lunch outside by the river.
1.45pm: I return to the office to find a tender document on my chair; a draft proposal in preparation of a pitch to an international food manufacturer for the following day. It is fascinating to be involved in the business development side of the firm, and I am more than happy to read through and contribute.
2.30pm: One of the partners invites me to attend a meeting with a new client who has instructed us on a large government procurement matter. State aid concerns in this sector are of paramount importance and I certainly feel part of a team as I am introduced and start discussing the deal alongside the Fieldfisher team.
4.00pm: As a follow-up to the earlier conference call, I draft a briefing note to the client. It is a challenge trying to combine business requirements alongside legal constraints, especially with regards to price control – which is inherently anticompetitive. Certain exceptions to the rule, however, provide for a few approach possibilities; so I create diagrams alongside legal analysis and explain, in commercial terms, potential business expansion plans for the client.
5.15pm: As luck would have it, one of the partners is unable to attend the energy compliance meetings in Brno. I am asked by a senior associate if I can accompany her to the Czech Republic the following day for two days to conduct interviews… result! I start to collate all the documents needed for our trip.
6.30pm: Our LPC provider is hosting reunion drinks – a great opportunity to catch up with old friends. I completed the course with some of my fellow trainees, so I join them in heading to the venue for a catch-up over a few glasses of fortified grape juice.
About the firm
Address:Riverbank House, 2 Swan Lane, London, EC4R 3TT
Telephone: 020 7488 0084
Senior partner : Matthew Lohn
Managing partner : Michael Chissick
Other offices: Brussels, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Manchester, Munich, Palo Alto, Paris, Shanghai.
Who we are: Fieldfisher 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. We are a law firm built around people where we want you to be yourself.
What you'll do:The trainee will have continued professional training through PSC electives which we run in-house. They also get departmental training and access to online modules.
Perks: A full flexible benefit package including 25 days’ holiday, private medical insurance, pension, life insurance, season ticket loan, childcare vouchers, critical illness cover, dental insurance, travel insurance and more. In addition we have numerous sports teams and corporate gym rates and a bar in the office!
Sponsorship:We offer sponsorship through the GDL (if applicable) and the LPC; we provide our future trainees with a competitive maintenance grant during their studies.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2018: 14
Applications received pa: circa 2,000
Percentage interviewed: 15%
First year: £37,000
Second year: £40,000
Newly qualified: £62,000
Total partners: 164
Apply to:Amelia Spinks.
When to Apply:1 November – 31 July.
Please check website for exact dates (apply by 31 January 2016).
Please check website for exact dates (apply by 31 January 2016).