- Work 020 3400 1000
- Fax 020 3400 1111
- 92 LONDON CHANCERY LANE WC2
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...)
Berwin Leighton Paisner sits at the vanguard of the property market and few would dispute its pre-eminence. The practice boasts a comprehensive real estate offering, including expertise in corporate and finance issues, and really shines in construction. The firm also has a well-established practice in small and mid-cap flotations. Clients praise the firm's 'experienced and talented' lawyers.
The star performers
Acquisition finance; Asset finance; Bank lending; Brand management; Charities; Commercial property; Construction; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Corporate tax; Development; Derivatives; EU and competition; Employment; Environment; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Futures; Health and safety; Hotels; IP; IT and telecoms; Investment; Investment funds; Leisure; Licensing; Local government; M upper mid-market and premium deals, £250m+; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Private finance initiative (PFI); Property finance; Property litigation; Securitisation; Venture capital.
Acting for MWB Malmaison Holding on the £87m sale and leaseback of four hotels; represented Playtech on a £100m share offer; advised the Olympic Delivery Authority on the delivery and disposal of the Athletes' Village at the London 2012 Games.
BAFTA; Balfour Beatty; Barclays Capital; Expedia; ING; National Grid; Qatari Diar; RBS; Stagecoach; Tesco; Thames Water Utilities Ltd; Tie Rack.
Winner Private Client team of the year.
Continuing to travel upwards through the ranks, BLP is well known for its ambitious strategy and trainees are keen to be part of a firm that they consider to be 'very progressive'. Many are attracted by the first-class real estate department ('few other firms offer the breadth and calibre of work available at BLP') but the firm is constantly building on other strengths with its new sector-focused groups showing its entrepreneurial spirit. This 'upwardly mobile' firm is also well known for its 'friendly atmosphere' with trainees praising its 'high-quality' clients and their sociable intake. The quality of training continues to be 'excellent' and 'very comprehensive' but although there is 'a lot of internal support' it can be difficult to balance training with the heavy workloads. The firm's success has brought with it longer hours and more stress so be prepared to 'work a seven-day week' if things get busy and the canteen food won't help. However, 'travelling to Paris alone to meet a multi-millionaire client' or 'going to Japan to assist with client meetings and interviews' help to make the long hours and pressure worthwhile. Trainees are also impressed with the responsibility that they are given as well as the access to quality work. 'Completing the sale of a £1m property, with little supervision' was one trainee's experience and there is a much appreciated open-door policy if you have any questions. The firm is also a Lex 100 Winner for confidence in being kept on. BLP has heaps of ambition with a culture to match, so if you want to be part of a firm with a buzz around, then this is the place for you.
A day in the life of...
Finella Hartono second-seat trainee, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
Departments to date: Real estate, corporate
University: LSE University
Degree: Law 2(1)
8.15am: It's a Friday morning which means two things to a BLP trainee - the weekend is fast-approaching and it's time for a Friday fry-up. The trainees congregate in BLP's cafeteria to attend the Friday Fry-Up Club. These gatherings are a great way for us to exchange stories from the week, and discuss what the evening's post-work plans will be.
8.45am: With stomachs satisfied, we head up to our respective departments. My current seat is in real estate. This is a busy department and trainees are given a lot of responsibility, so I am not surprised to see that I have received many emails and a voicemail already. Having had a scan through the emails, I begin to update my to-do list. You learn very quickly in this department that you will never finish all of your work at any given point, so making to-do lists and prioritising are essential. As I am finishing off my list, my supervisor arrives in our office and informs me that he received an urgent email last night from our client based in Indianapolis which we will need to address immediately. Already my list and carefully planned out day has gone out the window!
9.15am: I start work to address the urgent email, which is for a matter I have been assisting my supervisor on. Our client is a company which specialises in visual effects and sound-recording for motion pictures, and they are transferring and assigning their properties and offices as part of a re-organisation. My task is to research stamp duty land tax points, and to liaise with both the knowledge development lawyers and tax department to try to resolve the issue.
11.00am: I receive a call from another solicitor who wants to bring forward completion for a property I am selling. This is for a large project which BLP have been involved in since the credit crunch. We are advising a major bank in relation to its toxic loans on a number of issues, from enforcing their security over a huge portfolio of properties to selling the properties by way of receivership sales to reclaim debt. This project is great for trainees as the properties in the portfolio range in size so trainees can take the lead on smaller properties from start to completion. Although this will be my third completion, I still feel nervous and double-check that everything is in order before calling the client to confirm that they are happy with an early completion. They are, so I make the completion call.
1.00pm: Today's trainee real estate training falls over lunchtime (which means sandwiches and canapés are on offer). One of the great things about BLP is their dedication to training, which is not only made engaging and interactive, but also helps you to grow confidence in your work.
2.30pm: Back at my desk, I finally begin to tackle the first thing on my to-do list, which is to revert back to the other solicitor on points they have raised in relation to a licence to alter which I drafted. Negotiating with solicitors with far more experience is a daunting task, but it is the best way to develop necessary skills and my supervisor is always at hand should I need help.
4.00pm: I am invited by a partner I have been assisting to attend an external all-parties meeting in relation to a large mixed-use development scheme. Attending meetings is always exciting, but this one is particularly heated between the clients on both respective sides! It is also a great experience to see top solicitors negotiate the intricacies of an agreement.
7.00pm: I get back to the office and start to write up my meeting note when my supervisor tells me to 'get out, it's a Friday. Nothing can't wait until Monday'. I don't argue too much as a trainee group-chat has been blinking on my windows taskbar, rounding people up for a drink. I make sure my to-do list is updated and ready for Monday, and head out to join the others.
About the firm
Address: Adelaide House, London Bridge, London EC4R 9HA
Telephone: 020 3400 1000
Fax: 020 3400 1111
Managing partner: Neville Eisenberg
Other offices: Abu Dhabi, Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Moscow, Paris, Singapore.
Who we are: If you join BLP you'll be working in the firm with the fastest growth of any of the UK top 30 law firms in the last year. BLP is a full-service international law firm. Our international business has grown 71% in the last three years.
What we do: We have particular strengths in real estate, corporate, finance and tax, and a strong litigation and dispute resolution capability.
What we are looking for: In addition to talented individuals with brilliant minds and bright attitudes, we are looking for people who can take complex, often pressurised, commercial situations in their stride. The sort of people our clients want on their side and will ask for by name. People they can trust to help them succeed. In other words, people with 'BerwinLeightonPaisnericity'.
What you'll do: When recruiting trainees, our focus is on quality rather than quantity. As a result, our trainees are rewarded with a high degree of responsibility and involvement, underpinned by an exceptional standard of training and support. BLP has always prided itself on providing the right environment for people to grow.
Perks: Generous flexible benefits package, season ticket loan, ride to work scheme.
Sponsorship: CPE/GDL and LPC+ fees paid and £7,200 maintenance per course.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2015: 45
Applications received pa: Approx 1,600
Percentage interviewed: Approx 10%
First year: £37,000
Second year: £41,000
Newly qualified: £60,000
(from Legal Business magazine)
Turnover in 2011: £221m (+16% from 2010) Profits per equity partner: £694,000 (+50%)
Total partners: 226
Other fee-earners: 456
Total trainees: 84
Apply to: Claire England, graduate recruitment and trainee manager.
How: Online application via www.blplaw.com/trainee.
When to Apply: By 31 January 2013 for vacation schemes (spring, summer). By 31 July 2013 for training contracts.
Spring: April (apply by 31 January 2013).
Summer: June to August (apply by 31 January 2013)
Winter: December (apply by 31 October 2012)