The Legal 500

Irwin Mitchell

Work 020 7404 3600
Fax 020 7404 0208

Survey results



The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘Vacation scheme’; ‘forward-thinking approach’; ‘good reputation in clinical negligence’; ‘great vacation scheme’; ‘thinks outside the box’; ‘great reputation for training’; ‘brilliant reputation for client care’; ‘growing size’; ‘dynamic attitude’; ‘down-to-earth’; ‘atmosphere of the firm’; ‘friendliness of the staff’; ‘market leader’
How does your training compare with peers' at other firms? 
 '‘Higher level of client contact’; ‘great work/life balance’; ‘more responsibility’; ‘much more feedback and mentoring’; ‘much shorter hours’; ‘encouraged to use my initiative’; ‘better variety of work’; ‘very good support network’; ‘less stressful’; ‘much more friendly’; ‘approachable and personable partners’; ‘less intense’; ‘quality of work is higher’; ‘level of supervision’; ‘more continuity with files’; ‘ good exposure to different areas and levels of work’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘Innovative’; ‘excellent for career progression’; ‘open-door policy’; ‘supportive fee-earners’; ‘emphasis on client care’; ‘exposure to interesting cases’; ‘rate of pay for trainees’; ‘everyone is really friendly’; ‘high quality of work’; ‘quality of clients’; ‘good understanding of work/life balance’; ‘interesting cases’; ‘excellent for career progression’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Inflexible seat choices’; ‘competition for NQ seats’; ‘the lack of communication’; ‘poor wages on qualification’; ‘open-plan offices’; ‘temperamental photocopiers’; ‘the difference in filing systems between departments’; ‘inconsistent supervision’
Best moment? 
 '‘Attending a complex mediation and settling the case and recovering costs’; ‘receiving positive feedback from clients’; ‘assisting on high-value cases and liaising with clients on a day-to-day basis’; ‘being involved in a multi-million pound cerebral palsy case’; ‘building relationships with the clients’; ‘going on a clay pigeon shoot’; ‘several visits to court’
Worst moment?
 '‘Spending hours creating trial bundles’; ‘heavy workloads’; ‘the sandwiches’; ‘spending two days looking for a document that did not exist’; ‘photocopying’; ‘lots of filing’; ‘arriving at a client meeting in jeans and trainers as it was dress down day’; ‘being presented at 5pm with piles of documents to organise into bundles for disclosure for the next day’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

The Pied Piper – leading the way for all other firms to follow

 The Verdict

The firm

National firm Irwin Mitchell has a substantial UK network of ten offices, including a strong London presence. The firm is particularly well known for its leading personal injury and clinical negligence work and also has expertise in crime, fraud, licensing, private client, public sector and transport.  

The star performers

Clinical negligence; Commercial litigation; Corporate and commercial; Employment; Family; Financial services (contentious); Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Personal injury; Transport; Travel: personal injury.

The deals

Acting for Balevents Limited and The Rocket Club Restaurant in an adverse land possession claim; advising ABN AMRO on providing debt purchase and leasing facilities; pre-nuptial agreements in various European countries.

The clients

Close Invoice Finance; Beaumont Partners; global investment banks and high street lenders; HSBC; Mercer Real Estate Partners; mesothelioma patients and brain injury victims; Santander.

The Verdict

With a ‘brilliant reputation’ as a leader in clinical negligence and private client work, Irwin Mitchel is a great choice for those who want to ‘assist in high-value cases’ and ‘liaise with clients on a day to day basis’, while also being able to ‘make the client’s life better’. Unsurprisingly, this all makes the firm a Lex 100 Winner for its client contact. The training contract offers ‘better experience’, along with a great deal of ‘exposure to interesting cases’, and trainees also relish getting ‘a variety of tasks and responsibilities’. Look forward to ‘writing articles for medical journals’ and being ‘heavily involved in complicated litigation’. The ‘inflexible seat choices’ and ‘competition for NQ positions’ can be a little irksome, and a few comment that the ‘seats are too short’, leading to a ‘limited exposure to certain aspects of the department’. Additionally, some find that although ‘supervisors have excellent experience’, they sometimes do ‘not have enough time to sit and explain things’, which means trainees are ‘encouraged to use their initiative’ on cases and have to ‘think ahead and not just blindly follow instructions’. On top of that, the firm has ‘a good understanding of work/life balance’, and there are no expectations for trainees ‘to stay late for the sake of it’. The ‘friendly nature of teams’ and ‘supportive fee-earners’ also make a good impression, and trainees appreciate working in departments ‘where the job is not the only thing going on in everyone’s life’. Those seeking a firm that ‘thinks outside of the box’ to help its clients and that has an excellent clinical negligence practice, should take a closer look at Irwin Mitchell.

 A day in the life of…

Caroline Depledge first-year trainee solicitor, Irwin Mitchell LLP 
Departments to date:  Commercial litigation, banking and finance
University: Keele University 
Degree: Law with Criminology, 2(1) 

8.00am:  I arrive at the office and log in to review my emails. I work closely with my supervisor and am copied in on all emails sent to and by her. When there is a completion, we work closely with the corporate and property teams and all emails are copied from them too. This provides a great opportunity to learn the intricacies of a transaction while ensuring that I keep a handle on what needs to be done.

8.30am:  My day kickstarts with a business development meeting to discuss client wins, prospects and networking opportunities.

9.00am:  When I return to my desk an email has arrived from a large banking client stating that they would like to complete a receivables finance transaction today and have transferred funds to us electronically. This means a large amount of documentation needs to be finalised and executed by all parties before 3.00!

10.00am:  I sit in on a conference call with the client and my supervisor. After the call I amend the finance agreement, run a redline comparison and send it to the client. I receive loan notes documentation and my colleague in the corporate team agrees to amend and circulate revised drafts to all parties.

11.00am:  I receive approval from the client for the updated agreement, so I send this out to all parties and then call the borrower’s solicitor for corporate authorisation documentation.

1.00pm:  I receive the corporate authorisation documentation, which I review, highlighting any potential issues, and send to the client.

1.30pm:  I conduct insolvency and online mortgages register searches against the borrower, before confirming to the client that the searches have come back clear.

2.00pm:  I prepare a TT electronic transfer form and obtain authorisation signatures from two partners. Final amendments are made to the inter-creditor deed and the documentation is circulated. I run over to the client’s premises to obtain execution of the finance documentation. When I return, I have received documentation executed by the borrower, so I check the signatures have been executed correctly by a person with requisite authority and confirm with my supervisor that we are in a position to complete.

3.00pm:  I dial into a completion call with my supervisor in order to confirm to the other parties that we are in a position to complete. Documentation is dated and undertakings are exchanged to circulate executed originals, transfer the funds and register the security.

3.05pm:  I send the TT form to accounts instructing them to make an electronic transfer of the funds to the borrower, and I receive confirmation from the borrower’s solicitor that the funds have been received. I receive an email about an office night out on Friday so I respond to this copying in the other trainees.

4.30pm:  I received an email earlier asking me to look into the use of electronic execution software. I now turn my attention to this interesting task, which requires online resources and discussions with our experienced intellectual property and commercial team.

5.00pm:  I prepare an advice note to the client on the benefits of auto-signing documentation and email it to the partner.

5.30pm:  I am copied into an email from the partner to the client, advising them based on my research. It is a proud moment and demonstrates that my work is valued.

6.00pm:  I head out to a networking event hosted by a barristers’ chambers. This is a great opportunity to mingle with colleagues, my peers and meet interesting characters from the business community in Birmingham.

About the firm

Address: Riverside East,  Sheffield S3 8DT

Telephone: 0870 1500 100




Group chief executive : Andrew Tucker

Group chairman : Glyn Barker


Other offices: Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Southampton. 

Who we are:  Irwin Mitchell is unique, both in its culture and approach to law. Nationally acclaimed, it is one of few firms providing a diverse range of services to businesses and private individuals. It has a strong customer service culture, a high level of client retention and an established office network, employing over 2,100 staff. In August 2012 it was one of the first firms to become an alternative business structure (ABS), and the first to be granted multiple ABS licences by the SRA.

What we do: Personal legal services: the firm remains a leading UK personal injury and medical negligence litigation practice and court of protection practice. A comprehensive range of private client legal services are also provided. Business legal services: the firm offers a wide range of commercial services and in recent years has expanded its corporate, commercial litigation and real estate services, with plans to increase these further. The aim is to develop a cutting-edge commercial service challenging traditional City and national firms.

What we are looking for: The firm is looking for ambitious and well-motivated individuals who have a real commitment to the law and who can demonstrate a positive approach to work-life balance. Irwin Mitchell recruits law and non-law graduates and views social ability as being as important as academic achievement.

What you'll do:  The training contracts are streamed so that you either undertake a training contract based within the personal legal services or business legal services division. Trainees will have three training seats and a qualification seat, allowing trainees to gain practical experience in diverse areas of law, while maximising retention opportunities.

Perks: 24.5 days holiday, pension, professional subscriptions, health plan, death in service and critical illness cover.

Sponsorship: GDL and LPC funding, if you have not started or completed your studies when offered a training contract, plus a maintenance grant of £4,500.


 Facts and figures

Trainee places available for 2015: circa 50

Applications received pa: 2,000+ 

Percentage interviewed: 25% 


First year: £25,000 (outside London); £36,000 (London)

Second year: £27,000 (outside London); £38,000 (London)

Newly qualified: Dependant on the office and stream you qualify into.


Total partners: 201

Other fee-earners: 1,200+

Total trainees: 79

Application process

Apply to: Nicola Stanley, graduate manager.

How: Please visit the firm’s website and complete the online application. 

When to Apply: By 31 July 2015 for 2017 contracts. 


 Vacation schemes

 Apply by 31 January 2015. 

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