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.
For more information on this firm please click here
The lowdown (in their own words...)
Based in East Anglia, Mills & Reeve LLP has a wide reach with other offices in Birmingham, London, Leeds and Manchester. Dominant among the regional firms it excels across numerous practice areas, including corporate and commercial, commercial litigation, banking and finance, insolvency and professional negligence. It is also known for its first-class public sector practice, which advises numerous healthcare, education and local government clients. Through its international network of law firms, it can offer advice on matters in most jurisdictions.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Banking and finance; Biotechnology; Charities; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Corporate and commercial; EU and competition; Education: institutions; Employment; Environment; Family; Healthcare; IP and IT; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Licensing; Local government; Media and entertainment; Private finance initiative (PFI); Planning; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Professional negligence; Property litigation; Public sector; Sport.
Acted in a major restructuring across seven countries for the StarBev Group; advised Orchard Street Investment Management on the tax issues arising from £365m of property deals; represented a senior medic accused of misusing NHS resources for private treatment; led a cross-office team in the successful defence of a £91m fraud and breach of warranty claim for SPC Holdings; assisted a company director suspected of corporate manslaughter following multiple deaths on a construction site.
Ace; Allianz; Aon Claims Solutions; Aviva; Baker Tilly; Borough Market; CAN Countrywide Surveyors; Department of Health; HSBC; Newmarket Equine Hospital; The Law Society.
Mills & Reeve continues to be a popular choice amongst trainees and is a Lex 100 Winner in an impressive five categories: living up to expectations, work/life balance, friendliness, social life, and vacation scheme. This reputable firm, with six offices across the UK, manages to combine 'plenty of early responsibility and involvement in complex and interesting work' plus 'an excellent and extensive client base', with a great work/life balance ensuring that you are 'able to enjoy a life outside the office'. The six-seat rotation system means trainees are exposed to the 'diverse range of practice areas' on offer. The 'supportive supervision', open-door policy and approachability of colleagues makes the training contract experience 'a lot less daunting'. Work experienced by current trainees includes 'drafting a precedent filming agreement for a client', 'heavy involvement in collating and reviewing evidence and assisting in the preparation of a very detailed response settlement' and 'working on a matter that has received a lot of media attention'. There is also 'plenty to get involved with' on the social side. There have been concerns about the 'prospects of NQ jobs', but the firm has handled this by 'keeping everyone well-informed'. If you 'don't want the culture of a big London firm' but want to be involved in the same high-standard work in an environment 'where you are treated as a valued member of the team', Mills & Reeve is a strong contender.
A day in the life of...
Daniel Bryan trainee, Mills & Reeve LLP
Departments to date: Real estate, public law and regulatory
University: Nottingham Trent
8.45am: I get to the office having walked in. I'm based in our Cambridge office and like many of our trainees, I only live around ten minutes away, which is ideal. The first thing I do is check my emails and prioritise my workload for the day.
9.00am: I'm currently in the firm's public law and regulatory team. In particular, my seat involves working with our education clients. Mills & Reeve acts for more than 70 universities and colleges and so the work in the team really is varied. I have a meeting to attend with my supervisor this morning which relates to a post-graduate student complaint. Before the meeting my supervisor and I talk about the matter so that I am aware of the issues facing the client and their position.
9.15am: The clients arrive at our office. At the meeting, my role in addition to taking notes is to gain an understanding of how the client wants this matter resolving. As a trainee at Mills & Reeve you work with a range of clients and an understanding of how different clients have different needs and objectives is crucial. In this instance, the college is wary of the potential reputational damage which could be the result of a drawn-out case involving a student. Accordingly, the college decides to offer a reasonable settlement without accepting liability.
10.30am: Following the meeting, my immediate task is to draft the settlement offer letter so that we can get it to the client for approval today. It's important to be able to respond to clients quickly and trainees are expected to play their part in this.
12.30pm: Time for lunch. The firm has corporate passes to the nearby Botanic Gardens and as it's sunny I go and get some fresh air with a few others.
1.30pm: Having returned to my desk I check my emails and see that I need to prepare for a court directions hearing in relation to a claim for breach of contract. Illustrative of the trust Mills & Reeve puts into its trainees, I will be going on my own on behalf of the client. I have a week to prepare, but I get on straight away with drafting the points that I need to make to the judge.
3.00pm: The team has an annual conference and this year we have a record number of people attending. My supervisor has asked me to help her prepare a handout for the delegates. In addition to client work, trainees here are involved in business development and client care. In this instance, that means undertaking a review of the developments in the law and policy in the field of student immigration. This kind of works gives you an insight into the bigger picture of why clients want what they do and is genuinely useful.
4.30pm: The team works across offices and a partner based in Birmingham calls me. I need to do some research relating to exam qualifications and regulations. It needs doing as soon as possible and so I stop work on the briefing for the time being and get onto this. I write up my findings, send the report to the partner and then discuss it with him.
6.00pm: I check with my team that they don't need any help with anything before I leave and having done so I head home. The work/life balance here is great and Mills & Reeve also has a lot of social and sporting events throughout the year. Tonight, I'm heading to play football.
About the firm
Address: Francis House, 112 Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 1PH
Telephone: 01223 222336
Fax: 01223 355848
Senior partner: Mark Jeffries
Managing partner: Guy Hinchley
Other offices: Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Norwich.
Who we are: One of the UK's leading full-service law firms. We believe that success can only be achieved through hard work, commitment and investment in the right people.
What we do: Core sectors are: corporate and commercial, banking and finance, education, healthcare, insurance, local government, private client, real estate 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 per 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
Trainee places available for 2015: 15
Applications received pa: 850
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £23,000 (under review)
Second year: £24,000 (under review)
Newly qualified: Under review.
(from Legal Business magazine)
Turnover in 2011: £67.2m (0% from 2010) Profits per equity partner: £307,000 (0%)
Total partners: 97
Other fee-earners: 363
Total trainees: 39
Apply to: Fiona Medlock, graduate recruitment manager.
How: Online application form only.
When to Apply: By 31 July 2013 for September 2015 training contracts.
Summer: 24 June-5 July (Cambridge) 8-19 July (Birmingham) 22 July-2 August (Norwich) Apply online by 31 January 2013.