Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Michelmores

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Michelmores

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I heard positive feedback from trainees I knew here and was interested in the firm’s work in the agriculture sector’, ‘the firm’s values and the trainee retention rates’, ‘its full-service offering’, ‘culture, quality of work, reputation, location of offices’, ‘the opportunity to train in more than one office location’, ‘it offers high-quality work in the southwest’, ‘during the recruitment process, all of the staff involved were very friendly and welcoming. They couldn’t have been more supportive’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The people’, ‘friendly culture’, ‘the firm’s culture: the friendly and collaborative culture is something which has really stood out to me since joining. Colleagues are really keen to help trainees and give you as much experience as possible’, ‘everyone is very personable and it really feels like a great place to work’, ‘the culture – everyone is so supportive of the trainees’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The [Bristol] office is not huge and there are not enough desks (we are moving soon though!)’, ‘hot desking’, ‘the Bristol office’, ‘the Exeter office is located outside of the city centre, which can make spontaneous socialising after work more difficult’, ‘the limited opportunity for client secondments’

Best moment? ‘Completing difficult documents for the first time and being proud of them’, ‘successfully completing a corporate transaction’, ‘getting the opportunity to step up and run matters (including taking a matter from first drafts to completion within a week)’, ‘getting good feedback from supervisors, attending in-person hearings and conferences’, ‘attending court’, ‘being asked by the senior partner to join an initial meeting with a prospective client’

Worst moment? ‘Not understanding the different types of forms used by the Land Registry’, ‘producing frequent and unnecessary attendance notes (rather than using transcription software)’, ‘seats I didn’t enjoy, anxiety about qualification and the seats I’m interested in not taking on NQs’, ‘the start of each seat being particularly stressful as you start from nothing with very little experience. But the team are very supportive and understand this’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Michelmores

Michelmores is a ‘really strong full-service firm which attracts very interesting work regionally, nationally and internationally’. The Exeter, Bristol and London firm offers a ‘unique opportunity to undertake seats in, and qualify into, different offices’, which is useful for trainees still undecided about where they want to end up, either in terms of practice area or location. ‘The training process here appears to be far more structured and organised. We seem to have a lot more choice in terms of the seats that we do’ said one respondent. The best thing about Michelmores is the ‘high quality of work coupled with a good work/life balance’, and the colleagues who are ‘really keen to help trainees and give you as much experience as possible’. Recruits love that ‘our individual interests and career ambitions are taken into consideration’ by the firm. Michelmores is a Future Lawyers Winner for confidence of being kept on and sustainability. Some recruits expressed dissatisfaction at the ‘limited opportunities for client secondments’, although they acknowledged that ‘these are available following qualification’. Other annoyances are that ‘the Exeter office is old-fashioned, unsociable and not in a good location’, and ‘the lack of qualification leave’. Challenges included ‘an occasion where I took on too much work as the different teams would direct it to me – it did create a stressful few days’, and ‘the beginning of each seat being really stressful due to lack of knowledge of that area of law’. Thankfully, opportunities such as ‘going to many client meetings and taking a proactive approach to next steps’ and ‘attending a site visit and an employment tribunal hearing’ helped to soften the blow. For ‘very high-quality work’ in ‘a variety of interesting areas of law’ within a ‘a safe and comfortable environment which is conducive to learning’, research Michelmores.

A day in the life of... Sena Guvercin, first-year trainee, Michelmores LLP

Departments to date: Contentious probate

I am currently a second-seat trainee in the contentious probate team, based in the Exeter office. Although each day is very different, below is a preview of what can be expected in a day in the contentious probate team.

8.30am: I typically like arriving at the office a little earlier so that I can plan my day ahead and organise anything that is urgent to be dealt with by my supervisor and to finish off any filing/administration tasks from the day before. Once this is all done, I head over to the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee to drink while preparing my to-do list for the day.

9.00am: I start on an attendance note for a client meeting I attended the previous day. We will be meeting with the clients again in two weeks to provide a plan going forward, so I want to get the note down while it is still fresh in my mind.

10.00am: We have our weekly team meetings each Wednesday where we typically discuss our current work load and if anyone has the capacity to take on new jobs or assist each other. We also chat about new clients or any business development opportunities.

10.40am: After a quick catch up with my supervisor regarding one of our matters, I am asked to draft a settlement agreement. I start off by reviewing a settlement agreement that was prepared for a similar matter and I use this as a precedent since this is the first time I am drafting one!

12.40pm: My supervisor calls me over to her desk to go over the draft agreement together. This is really helpful as I am able to see what I did correctly and where I could improve. I am glad to hear that it is a good first draft and after taking careful notes, I head to the kitchen to grab my lunch and prepare for the lunchtime session.

1.00pm: There is a lunchtime training session on capital markets for anyone who may be interested and since my next seat is going to be in the corporate team, I think this is a great opportunity to gain some knowledge
so I go along with a couple of other trainees. Michelmores holds frequent lunchtime training sessions on different areas of law and I find these to be very helpful for future seat choices and to get to know people across the firm.

2.10pm: I receive an email from one of our colleagues in the tax, trusts and succession team who would like me to carry out an urgent research task for her. She is dealing with an estate where a car has been abandoned on
the drive of the property. The DVLA have confirmed the owner of the vehicle and my task is to investigate how we can remove the car from the drive and the procedure for doing so. I prepare a research report and schedule a call
with her to discuss my findings.

4.30pm: I finally find time to finish off the draft letter I had started on the previous day. After reviewing the matter WIP report, I set out the different payment options for the client: fixed fee or hourly rate. I send this off to
the matter partner for review and approval before sending it out to the client.

5.00pm: I am trying to stay on top of my training record so I dedicate 30 minutes at the end of each day to update this by noting down the different types of work I have experienced and the skills I have developed. This will be submitted to the Solicitors Regulation Authority when I apply to be admitted to the roll of solicitors.

5.30pm: Since I am participating in the South West Coast Path Challenge in support of FearLess (our charity partner), I go for a short walk with a fellow trainee before heading home.

About the firm


The firm: A leading full-service UK law firm that has grown organically since beginning in 1887. Our people thrive on delivering high-quality, complex work for our private and business clients. We have offices in Exeter, Bristol and London and have both national and international clients.

The clients: The Forestry Commission; Freshways Dairy; Soros Economic
Development Fund; The Mayor’s Office For Policing And Crime; Exeter Rugby Group plc (Exeter Chiefs); Haynes Publishing Group plc; DMGT plc/Landmark Information Group; Lendlease; CG Fry & Son; Cancer Research UK; Mindful Chef; Sea Salt, Natwest; plus many more national and international clients.

The deals: Advising a ground-breaking partnership between WWF and Tesco as part of a consortium headed by agricultural Formatted: Superscript
consultants ADAS, a cross-sector team of Michelmores’ lawyers assisted in developing a roadmap to accelerate the use of insect protein in UK animal feeds; advising recipe box specialist Mindful Chef on its successful crowdfunding on the Seedrs and Crowdcube platforms, a subsequent investment by Piper Private Equity, and recently, on its sale of a majority stake to Nestlé; appointed to provide niche rural business and public law expertise
to the Forestry Commission across the firm’s agriculture, employment and commercial teams; advising long-standing client Haynes on three strategic acquisitions, as well as on the sale of Haynes Publishing Group plc to French buyer Infopro Digital; advising Freshways Dairy, the largest independent family-run dairy product supplier in the UK, on its merger with Medina Dairy to establish a c£400m turnover sustainable and progressive dairy business which will promote the best interests of its combined staff, customers and the British dairy farmers that supply them.

Partner in charge: Tim Richards (managing partner)

Senior partner: Richard Cobb

Other offices: Bristol, London, Sidmouth and Cheltenham

Who we are: We are an ambitious and growing firm, with our people being central to driving us forward. Therefore, we focus on recruiting to retain, as demonstrated by our recent retention rate of 7 out of 8 of our NQs.

We encourage our trainees to bring their individuality, challenge how we do things and bring in their diversity of thought to help us succeed and grow as a firm. Trainees are given a high degree of responsibility from the beginning, are supported by senior partners and other trainees, receive training and development, and are encouraged to flourish and grow a career with us at Michelmores. Our trainees are well rounded, and we believe that makes for the best solicitors.

What we do: We offer specialist legal advice to businesses and private clients over a broad range of work, so as a trainee you will be able to experience a variety of types of client and sectors across your two years. We are a full-service law firm, with over 15 teams and offer clients a full-service experience. We go above and beyond for our clients and strive to build long-lasting relationships with both our national and international clients.

What we’re looking for: We are looking for individuality; we want people to join our organisation and make a difference. Our trainees are central to challenging our thinking, bringing in diversity of thought and driving Michelmores forwards.

We want people who are ambitious and want to build a long-lasting career with us.

Alongside this, we want people who work well in a team, are collaborative, have a strong ability to problem solve, think independently, and offer an outstanding client service. We want people who are keen to be part of our cross-office and collaborative culture from day one. We recruit to retain. We are looking for our future leaders.

What you’ll do: We run a structured training and development programme, which aims to equip trainees with the key skills needed to be a successful solicitor, both technically and personally.

You’ll spend six months in four different teams, working closely with a designated supervisor and receiving high levels of responsibility and client contact from an early stage. Every day will be different, and no trainee journey is the same.

You will also have the opportunity to support Michelmores on our initiatives outside of the day-to-day role, including supporting on our MainStream programme, getting involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives such as our Momentum programme, and other firmwide projects. We encourage our trainees to take up every opportunity they can and get the most from their time with us.

Perks: 32 days’ holiday (including bank holidays) with an additional day off for your birthday and a day off to volunteer each year, group personal pension, private medical insurance, cycle to work scheme and a range of social events and special interest groups including our book club and choir.

We encourage our colleagues to have an active lifestyle, so we offer gym schemes, yoga and relaxation classes, running club, as well as a Cycle to Work scheme. We proactively support mental wellbeing and promote a culture of openness about mental health. This year, all Michelmores colleagues were given an additional day off to focus on our individual wellbeing.

You will have access to a range of resources and activities across the year, including subscription to Headspace, guest speakers and wellbeing apps. Should you or your loved ones need extra support, you will have access to qualified counsellors and behavioural therapists. For those trainees who choose to do a secondment to our London office, we cover the cost of accommodation and travel to support you with the higher cost of living.

Sponsorship: We fully fund the SQE with the University of Law and offer a £5,000 bursary. We also reimburse students who have already completed the LPC/SQE prior to being offered a training contract by us.

Diversity and Inclusion

Percentage of female associates: 68.32%

Percentage of female partners: 47.30%

Percentage of BAME associates: 14% (2.11% undisclosed)

Percentage of BAME partners: 1% (7% undisclosed)