Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Blaser Mills Law

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Blaser Mills Law

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I knew I wanted to do a seat in childcare. However, I also wanted to experience the more commercial and business-oriented areas of law’, ‘I liked the idea of a smaller intake of trainees so that the training experience would be more one-to-one’, ‘it was growing generally and becoming more focused on the commercial areas when I applied’, ‘work/life balance and proximity to home were significant factors’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Work/life balance and colleagues’, ‘I’ve recently been working out of the firm’s shiny new Marlow office and it’s an absolute joy. I feel very lucky to be able to work in such a stunning location. Oh, and we have an office dog, Bailey!’, ‘everyone is friendly and approachable’, ‘the quality of work is great, with lots of variation and challenges’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Pay not increasing in your second year. Parking is only allocated to fee earners’, ‘there can sometimes be a lack of communication’, ‘the case management system is outdated and slow’, ‘there is not much transparency around qualification’, ‘the lack of communication with trainees about next seats and future aspirations’

Best moment? ‘Realising that I definitely want to qualify into employment law and working towards this’, ‘working on my own client matter from start to finish (with supervision) and getting the best outcome for the client’, ‘being offered a NQ position’, ‘taking on my own property transactions’

Worst moment? ‘Not getting one or two of my preferred seats’, ‘finding out when I arrived that there were no longer training options in the department I was most interested in qualifying into’, ‘working on a 200-page spreadsheet’, ‘being furloughed’, ‘days when work is slow, or when I’m required to do admin tasks’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Blaser Mills Law

A training contract at ‘ambitious, growing firm’ Blaser Mills offers seats in personal and business-oriented practice areas, making it perfect for those looking for a well-rounded experience. The Buckinghamshire firm is ‘not so large that trainees don’t have much responsibility or exposure, but big enough that it feels commercial and professional, and the quality of work and clients is good’. Work/life balance was another driver for applying, and the firm is a Future Lawyers Winner in this category. Recruits noted that there is ‘good trainee to partner progression’ at Blaser Mills, which gives them confidence that the firm is somewhere they can have a long-term career. In terms of colleagues: ‘it sounds corny, but the best thing about the firm really is the people’, said one recruit, echoing the sentiment of many others. ‘The firm just has this knack for hiring super-talented individuals with a sense of fun. There’s a real buzz about the place at the moment, with tonnes of exciting new hires, especially on the corporate/commercial side’. On the flip side, there is a perceived ‘lack of communication with trainees at times, especially about seat allocation’. The salary and benefits ‘could also be more competitive’, though some recruits feel that the work/life balance does compensate somewhat for this. Trainees enjoyed ‘exchanging and completing on my first property matter – it was a great feeling’, and ‘receiving some great feedback from a client whose management company I was responsible for setting up and incorporating’. Less stimulating was ‘being stuck with admin tasks, such as copying and scanning’ and some ‘fairly horrific data access/sorting exercises’, although it was acknowledged that ‘this comes with the territory, unfortunately!’. To train at a firm with a ‘supportive training environment and culture’ where ‘you can make an impact’, consider Blaser Mills.

A day in the life of... Richard Gowing, trainee, Blaser Mills Law

Departments to date: Corporate and commercial

8.45am: I usually arrive at the office around 8.45am, just in time for a cup of tea before the inbox starts whirring. I’m currently in my fourth seat with the corporate and commercial department and no two days are quite the same. We’ve recently completed on the sale of an insurance company – a fairly hefty deal requiring some late shifts – so it’s nice to return to a bit of normality and have time to catch up with the team.

9.00am: I receive a call from a client who wants some further advice on the drafting of a shareholders’ agreement. His company, an engineering parts business, is set to receive some equity finance from a foreign investor and the parties are keen to protect their interests. The client is particularly interested in ensuring that decision-making within the company remains free of deadlock, and so I try to get a better picture of the desired balance of power. As ever, the trick with these kinds of matters isn’t just to provide the answers, but also to ask the right questions. After the call I spend a little time hunting down an appropriate precedent, and after adding and amending some key clauses to the agreement I send an updated version to the client for approval.

10.30am: A member of our employment team reaches out to ask for some support. They are advising on a settlement agreement and their client, an executive of a high-street fashion chain, wishes to understand how his entitlement under a share option scheme is likely to be impacted by his departure. It’s not an area of law that I’m overly familiar with and so, after a brief review of the documents and some brushing up on PLC, I check in with a partner to discuss what’s involved and agree a sensible fee estimate.

11.00am: It’s the second Tuesday of the month, which means it’s time for our fortnightly business development and cross-selling meeting. It’s a call which brings together the various commercial departments to focus minds on generating and winning new work. It’s always interesting to hear about the new leads being developed across the firm. On the agenda this week is a possible instruction on the sale of an EFL football club, a major pitch from the telecoms team, and a motorsports networking event at the House of Lords attended by Toto Wolff. Never a dull day!

12.15pm: Lunch usually involves a walk into town with a colleague. There are some fantastic options on offer – the Tamil-run Dosa shop gets my vote any day of the week – but this afternoon I’ve got a business lunch over the hill in Marlow with a local financial adviser. With the firm having recently opened an office there, it’s great to find out a little more about the business scene in the town, which has become a magnet for tech start-ups and the creative industries, not to mention some top restaurants. For any foodie trainees, a seat in the Marlow office is a must.

1.30pm: Back at my desk, and with a slight lull in the inbox, I find time for some training. Today the FT are hosting a webinar about the risk of recession and its impact on M&A trends. It’s a fascinating talk – and reassuringly, not all doom and gloom.

2.20pm: I receive a call from my supervisor who is acting for an agri-tech company in the proposed acquisition of an automated logistics business. He would like to know whether the transaction might be caught by the National Security and Investment Act, in particular under the head of ‘Advanced Robotics.’ I review the key provisions of the Act and draft some further due diligence enquiries to go to the sellers.

3.20pm: A colleague is stretched with completion of a transaction, so I step in to provide some support with circulating the paperwork via DocuSign. We spot some errors in the stock transfer forms along the way, so I liaise with the solicitors on the other side to have them amended.

3.50pm: As a member of the Blaser Mills Law Inclusion Forum, an employee-led group responsible for developing an inclusive culture within the firm, I’ve recently been handed over the task of helping to update some of the firm’s D&I policies. I check in with our responsible business director to see where things stand and make some suggested amendments.

4.40pm: I receive an email from my supervisor containing a letter of claim which has been sent to one of our clients, a recruitment agency. The letter is from a competitor who alleges that they are entitled to payment of an ‘introduction fee’, having previously engaged a successfully placed candidate belonging to our client. I spend some time researching relevant case law and begin drafting a rebuttal letter.

5.30pm: The firm has recently set up a cricket team, so I call a local club to book some nets ahead of our first big game in a few weeks’ time. With several of us not having bowled a ball in over a decade, it’s fair to say we could do with the practise…

5.40pm: After tidying up a few loose ends and making some notes for tomorrow, I head home. There’s a strong emphasis on healthy work-life balance at the firm and the philosophy is that when the work is done, its done – no unnecessary ‘clock-watching’. With a young daughter to take care of at home, it’s a huge plus point to life at Blaser Mills Law. Along with the cricket of course.

About the firm

The firm: Multi-disciplinary firm Blaser Mills Law is based in the South East with offices in High Wycombe, Marlow, Amersham, Silverstone and London. The firm acts for organisations and individuals, and has a strong corporate and commercial offering.

The firm has a rich history and a strong reputation for high-quality legal advice from lawyers who are experts in their fields. At the same time, its modern and innovative approach means that it delivers practical and cost-effective solutions.

Senior partner: Alka Kharbanda

Managing partner: Jonathan Lilley

Other offices: Marlow, Amersham, Silverstone, London

Who we are: Blaser Mills Law is a leading law firm based in South East England with 24 partners and over 46 lawyers. It is a full-service firm, offering a comprehensive range of legal services to businesses and private individuals.

What we do: Our highly regarded firm has a strong business services offering, including corporate and commercial, employment, commercial property and dispute resolution. We also have experienced private client and family lawyers, and specialist lawyers in personal injury, child care, residential property and criminal defence.

What we’re looking for: As well as a strong academic background, excellent communication skills and analytical ability, we look for talented individuals who have a strong team ethic, ambition and who embrace responsibility.

Trainees are right at the heart of the firm and nothing demonstrates this more clearly than the fact that the majority of our trainees choose Blaser Mills Law as their career firm, often going on to become partners within the firm. Progression to partnership is strictly on merit and excellence is continuously rewarded throughout your career at Blaser Mills Law. We are proud of the diversity of our teams of lawyers, in terms of experience, background and approach. We therefore look for diversity in our trainees too.

What you’ll do: Training generally starts in September with a full induction day. Trainees will have varied seats in both non-contentious and contentious practice areas, allowing them to gain experience across a broad range of legal disciplines in a variety of locations. From day one, trainees are given plenty of responsibility with ongoing support from experienced training supervisors. In addition, we operate a mentor scheme that gives trainees confidential access to recently qualified lawyers who can offer first-hand advice. Throughout the training contract, trainees will develop their technical skills, department knowledge and client care. Business development is a further skill that we look to develop, so when it comes to qualifying, trainees are confident to approach prospective clients and build their own client list – achieved through article writing, presenting at seminars or attending networking events.

Perks: Trainees are enrolled into our pension scheme and are given life cover from day one. Trainees are also involved in our employee benefits scheme which includes offers and discounts on a variety of products and experiences. As part of the mentor scheme, trainees will get together multiple times a year for social events. Generous company sick pay; flexible working culture; group life assurance; commitment to development and progression; quality exposure to matters.

We also offer an employee assistance programme including counselling, legal advice, wellbeing initiatives and financial planning for colleagues. Eye care vouchers and volunteering days.

Internal book club: The firm has started its very first own internal book club. Are you a fan of reading and want to join in on our free flowing discussions? Treats included.

Blaze Rewards: We have multiple employee discounts which can be accessed online using our Blaze Rewards benefits package. For example: up to 10% on holiday bookings; savings at shops/restaurants/days out; gym discount.

BML Rewards: A brand new incentive that has been introduced in 2022. BML Rewards is a chance to reward and recognise the hard work of our employees. Nominate your peers for employee of the month, send instant rewards and thank you cards and receive a thank you for your long service.

Responsible business: Blaser Mills Law is committed to being a responsible business, and is an active member of BITC (link). We run many initiatives to underpin our commitment including an Inclusion Forum, Wellbeing Group and Environment Group.

Diversity and inclusion

Blaser Mills Law is a firm where we don’t just talk the talk on diversity and inclusion; the diversity of our workforce speaks for itself.

We are immensely proud of our record on diversity and inclusion. By simply always looking to recruit great people, with different backgrounds and characteristics, we have a firm full of brilliant creative minds; people, each making their own unique contribution to the life and business of Blaser Mills Law.

Find out the full details here: https://www.blasermills.co.uk/our-culture/diversity-inclusion-and-social-mobility/.