Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Maples Teesdale LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Maples Teesdale LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any other? ‘Maples Teesdale is the leading specialist commercial property law firm in the country’, ‘the firm’s specialism and reputation in commercial property and their rankings in The Legal 500’, ‘the firm encourages a good work/life balance which as a parent is invaluable to me’, ‘it is highly ranked across all departments in The Legal 500’
What is the best thing about the firm? ‘The best thing about the firm is the feeling of possibility because the office is full of sharp solicitors who carry reams of experience from different parts of the profession’, ‘the inclusivity and the collaboration between different teams’, ‘helpful and approachable colleagues’, ‘it is supportive and friendly’
What is the worst thing about the firm? ‘I think some of the firm’s practices could be strengthened by winning some more big-ticket work’, ‘the IT systems could do with a bit of improvement’, ‘the firm’s IT systems and deeds database could do with a bit of upgrading/improving’, ‘office politics’, ‘an extra laptop to keep at home would be ideal’
What has been the best moment of your training to date? ‘Supporting the completion of a development and funding agreement for a very grateful big client’, ‘being able to run matters such as wayleave agreements and licences for alterations on my own with minimal supervision and the satisfaction of wrapping up the matter on completion with very satisfied clients’, ‘the Christmas party’, ‘great autonomy’, ‘seat in real estate finance’, ‘getting to go to court for a hearing’
What has been the worst moment of your training to date? ‘There are the occasional slow days when hardly any work comes through – those days can be tedious!’, ‘having to stay a few late nights to ensure that some deals proceeded’, ‘scanning documents and binding engrossments’
The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Maples Teesdale LLP
Maples Teesdale’s ‘specialism and reputation in commercial property’ strongly influenced the current trainee cohort to apply. The London firm offers a training contract where ‘all seats are directly linked to real estate’. Seats ‘effectively bleed into another’ and, ‘as a result, Maples trainees emerge as real professionals in their field, with multidisciplinary skills that actually relate to their chosen practice’. The firm is full of ‘sharp solicitors who carry reams of experience from different parts of the profession,’ and trainees enjoy ‘seeing partners working collaboratively through a complex legal issue – it can be an intellectual playground’. The ‘collaboration between different teams’ is praised, as is the general feeling of inclusivity. ‘If you were to spend a day in the Maples office, you would find partners happily and regularly mingling with people of all levels: secretaries, paralegals, trainees; nobody cares. Across the board, everyone has time for everyone.’ Recruits are also encouraged to maintain a ‘healthy work/life balance’, something for which Maples Teesdale has earned a Future Lawyers Winner medal. The social life was also deemed deserving of a medal. As for the worst thing about the firm, comments were few and far between, but included that ‘the IT systems could do with a bit of improvement’ and that ‘the deeds database system could do with upgrading’. Some recruits would also like ‘an extra laptop to keep at home’. For a training contract which focuses on real estate, where ‘your colleagues really care about your future’, consider Maples Teesdale.
A day in the life of... Katherine Garner, trainee, Maples Teesdale
Departments to date: Commercial property; Real estate finance
University: King's College London
Degree: Ancient History
9.00am: I tend to come into the office early as I am not a morning person, and it takes me a couple of cups of coffee to wake up. Arriving early allows me to gently ease myself into the day! I receive daily legal updates and REF articles so start by having a quick read of them. I then make a note of anything that is relevant to the work I am doing at the moment. My first task of the day is to go through my matter list, which I update weekly, and amend my daily to-do list, which I made the night before, based on any emails that have come in overnight.
9.30am: The key task for the REF trainee is to handle the conditions precedent checklists which are an integral part of an REF transaction and a great responsibility. At the end of a transaction, we need to make sure all of the conditions precedents can be ticked off so it is really important to be on top of this!
I start by updating the checklists and then follow up with the relevant parties, which can either be overseas counsel, the solicitors on the other side, or another department internally. This task is a really good way to grow in confidence and measure your progress as you can assess what is needed and then proactively follow up. I have a query on one of the updates, so I speak to the associate who is supervising me. Everyone in the firm is genuinely committed to ensuring that you progress so I feel very comfortable asking questions even if they initially seem daft. As the associate is also next door, I can just pop my head round and ask!
12.00pm: We have a weekly team meeting to catch up on matters. This helps to ensure you are in the loop on all the current matters and also helps with the allocation of work. After Covid it is also nice just to catch up with colleagues! We have regular know-how sessions during the meetings, in addition to the firmwide updates and specific junior training. Everyone on the team presents including trainees, senior associates and paralegals so you really feel a part of the team and are encouraged to contribute. Once the meeting is over, I go back to my desk and write up any notes I have made. If I have been allocated new matters, I quickly read into them and make a note of the next steps I will need to take.
2.00pm: MT is in a great central location, so the juniors and trainees usually pop out for lunch as a group and if it is sunny, we sit in one of the many parks dotted around. Once I am back at my desk, I make a start on drafting a deed of release and the other necessary documents for a redemption. I have drafted similar documents before so look back at the helpful feedback I have previously been provided with in order to improve. Most of the time the feedback is delivered in person and the team always takes the time to talk through any queries that I may have, so I feel confident knowing what I am doing and can enjoy the work. In addition, my supervisor asks me to draft a structure chart for a new matter, so I set to work analysing the heads of terms to report back later.
4.00pm: At MT trainees sit next to their supervisors so it is easy to ask questions and learn by ‘listening in’ on how they handle matters. My supervisor and I informally go through the structure chart I have drafted, and I am encouraged to explain my reasoning for the choices I have made, with the supervisor often playing devil’s advocate. At MT you really feel like you are an integral member of the team and that the work you do is valid; as an example, after this discussion there is a team meeting for the new transaction, and I present the structure of the deal to the team who ask questions, which thankfully I know the answers to!
4.30pm: MT have a strong CSR commitment and there are often events on, which more often than not involve cake. A couple of colleagues and I have a quick tea break while eating cupcakes in support of the chosen charity. I then pop back to my office and draft a consent letter. This is for a minor matter which I am wholly responsible for – it is great to be the first point of call both for the client and the partner on this matter!
6.00pm: Just before 6pm I prepare to attend one of the firm’s networking and seminar events. We have a number of really interesting talks throughout the year, on a whole host of subjects from 50 Shades of Green to Co-Living. The event is for both members of the firm and clients, so it is a great opportunity to put names to faces.
About the firm
The firm: Maples Teesdale covers the entire spectrum of real estate law services, from construction to property finance. Some of the issues its clients face are seen time and time again. But there are always surprises. So the firm brings fresh thinking and innovative solutions to both old and new challenges.
The clients: abrdn; Columbia Threadneedle Investments; CBRE Investment Management; City of London Corporation; Deutsche Hypo, NORD/LB Real Estate Finance; FremantleMedia; Legal & General Investment Management; Lloyds Banking Group; DTZ Investors; Mileway.
Managing partner: Chris Wilkinson
Who we are: Maples Teesdale are the UK’s leading commercial real estate specialists, providing innovative, full-service and truly partner-led services.
What we do: The core property practice is complemented by strong construction, planning, property litigation, finance and corporate teams. Our clients include large institutional investors, property developers and companies, construction companies, multinationals, banks, high-net-worth individuals and family offices, sole property traders and occupiers.
What we’re looking for: We welcome applications from both law and non-law students. Among other things, we look for candidates with a strong academic background (minimum ABB at A Level (excluding General Studies) and a 2(1) at degree level). When reviewing your application we also consider work experience (both legal and non-legal), sporting achievements and any positions of responsibility held. We also like to find out a little bit about you and your personality, and what has inspired you into a career in the law.
What you’ll do: Our trainees are the future of our business. You will receive the best training possible in a friendly and supportive environment. At the same time, we will ensure that your training contract is stimulating and rewarding.
Our largest department is our commercial real estate department. This is supported by five other departments: construction, corporate, finance, real estate litigation and planning. Our trainees have the opportunity to gain experience, skills and knowledge across these different departments in four six-month seats and there may also be an opportunity to spend time on secondment with clients.
Benefits: 25 days’ annual leave, contributory pension scheme, cycle loan scheme, interest-free season ticket loans, life assurance, private medical insurance, subsidised gym membership, childcare vouchers, employee introduction bonus, volunteering day, discretionary performance-related bonus scheme, bring your dog to work days, employee assistance programme, discretionary Christmas bonus and an additional day off over Christmas.