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 others? ‘Reputation and culture’, ‘good retention rates’, ‘the work/life balance and the fact it is a specialist real estate firm’, ‘as it is a commercial property specialist firm and I’d like to qualify as a property lawyer’, ‘the firm encourages a good work/life balance, which is invaluable to me’, ‘it has a real reputation for excellent and high-quality work whilst respecting a work/life balance’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Good work/life balance’, ‘the culture’, ‘colleagues’, ‘the best thing about the firm is the feeling of possibility; the office is full of sharp solicitors who carry reams of experience from different parts of the profession’, ‘there is an exciting diversity of thought at the firm’, ‘the inclusivity of the firm and the opportunity to work alongside leading lawyers in their field of expertise’, ‘everyone is really friendly’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Diversity is limited’, ‘the IT systems could do with a bit of improvement’, ‘office politics’, ‘the IT systems and deeds database could do with a bit of upgrading/improving’, ‘an extra laptop to keep at home would be ideal’, ‘the salary’

Best moment? ‘Working on high-value deals and working alongside expert property lawyers’, ‘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’, ‘my seat in real estate finance’, ‘going to court’

Worst moment? ‘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

‘Commercial property specialist’ Maples Teesdale ‘operates purely in real estate’ and continues to draw in those who want to be property lawyers. The London firm often acts for the same clients on several matters across different practice areas. It is therefore ‘likely that on moving seats, you will be working on similar documents and deals, but from a different perspective’. The result is that ‘Maples trainees emerge as real professionals in their field, with multidisciplinary skills that actually relate to their chosen practice’. The firm’s consistently high rankings in The Legal 500 gave many applicants the validation they were looking for. Maples has a ‘reputation for excellent, high-quality work whilst respecting a work/life balance’. What’s more, ‘the firm values everyone as individuals. You really feel that your colleagues care about your future’. Trainees have ‘great exposure to work and clients’ and benefit from ‘sitting alongside partners in each department’, where they enjoy having ‘complete freedom to pick their brains’. In fact, partners at Maples are so approachable that they are often found ‘mingling with everyone from secretaries to senior associates’. Some downsides of working at the firm are the ‘limited diversity at senior level’ and that the ‘IT systems could do with a bit of improvement’. Some respondents also thought that ‘some of the firm’s practices could be strengthened by winning some more big-ticket work’. Best moments included a ‘secondment to Nestle during my first seat’, ‘helping to complete a high-value logistics deal’ and ‘the Christmas party’, whilst worst moments were ‘being yelled at for something that could have been resolved over a productive conversation’ and ‘quiet periods in some seats’. For a firm with a ‘leading reputation in commercial property’ where ‘trainees are welcomed into the bigger picture’ take a closer look at Maples Teesdale.

A day in the life of... Hester Coltman-Rogers, trainee, Maples Teesdale

Hester Coltman-Rogers, Maples Teesdale LLP

Departments to date: Litigation; Client secondment; Commercial property; Corporate

University: University of Edinburgh

Degree: French and Spanish (MA), First Class Honours with Distinction

9.00am: I arrive at the office, opting for stairs over lift because yesterday my health kick started ‘tomorrow’. We officially start work at 9.30am, but most people come in a bit earlier to get started or to catch up with colleagues beforehand and I like to do the same. I brief the senior associate in my team on Thursday’s post-work-social boogying. I have a comically strong coffee to dust off my brain cells. I check my emails and look through my ‘to do’ list, numbering tasks in priority order for the day ahead.

9.30am: A partner in my team asks me to draft a share buyback agreement, together with related written resolution and board minutes, and brings me up to speed on the background of the matter. We have a more general catch-up too and exchange a few one-liners from a stand-up show we have both seen recently.

I have not drafted a buyback agreement before, but I am trusted to give it my best shot. For any parts I am unsure of, I note down my reasoning for certain drafting choices as I go. If I have any more pressing questions, I can simply pop into the next-door office to ask. Everyone at MT is genuinely invested in your development as a trainee, so I am very comfortable asking for help when I need it. Once I am happy with the first drafts, I send them to the relevant partner for comment.

12.00pm: Our professional support lawyer runs a session on an upcoming change in legislation, highlighting the ways in which it is expected to affect the firm and our work. Attending these sessions is a great way to stay informed and to ask questions in a relaxed and supportive environment. Although this particular type of session is directed at the commercial property team (our largest department), anyone is welcome, particularly juniors.

1.00pm: I head out with colleagues for a weather-dependent stroll and, if my past self has failed my present self on the ambitious meal-prepping front (almost guaranteed), to grab something to eat. Our office is very well located; there are lots of great lunch spots nearby as well as places to sit in to gaze up at St Pauls and down at your M&S Best Ever Prawn sarnie in all their glory.

2.00pm: In relation to an ongoing purchase, I see that the seller’s solicitor has come back with comments on various ancillary documents being negotiated alongside the share purchase agreement; for example, the disclosure letter and directors’ letters of resignation. I review the mark-ups and prepare my own, with comments, before heading to the next-door office to present my thoughts to the senior associate. She confirms her agreement with my amendments, or we discuss certain elements further. I edit my mark-ups where necessary and send them on to the seller’s solicitor for approval. I also send an updated document list (another typical trainee task), tracking which documents are in agreed form or otherwise who the drafts are with and what stage they are at.

4.00pm: Committee meeting. There are a number of dedicated committees at MT; for example, the wellbeing and social committees. Anyone can join any that they feel a particular affinity towards. I’m a member of the CSR committee, which holds regular meetings to discuss our plans and budget for the months ahead. Today, my colleague runs us through a leaflet of proposed activities sent in by the East End Community Foundation, an organisation MT works with that connects businesses with grassroots organisations in the East End. We consider which of the activities we can offer to run at MT, such as mock interviews and CV reviewing sessions.

5.00pm: I receive comments back from the corporate supervising partner on some completion board minutes and an undertaking I have drafted. As I share an office with my supervisor, I can simply turn to them to ask whether it’s a good time to run through the proposed amendments. We do so, and I amend the documents and send them on to the solicitors on the other side of that deal for approval.

6.00pm: I head out to a seminar hosted by a barristers’ chambers nearby, which is followed by networking drinks. There is plenty of opportunity at MT to attend educational and/or networking events, often hosted by us. These are great for meeting clients of the firm in person, as well as other legal professionals.

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; FremantleMedia; Legal & General Investment Management; Lloyds Banking Group; DTZ Investors; Mileway; Patrizia.

Managing partner: Paul Burke

Who we are: Maples Teesdale is the UK’s leading commercial real estate specialist, 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.

Perks: 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.

Diversity and inclusion