Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Milbank LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Milbank LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The small trainee intake and nice people’, ‘I decided to join Milbank because the firm has maintained a welcoming, collegiate environment, despite its exponential growth in London’, ‘the finance law offering’, ‘small intake, greater responsibility, international nature of the work’, ‘quality of work and small trainee intake’, ‘very good quality of work’, ‘the people were friendly and the quality of work seemed to be very high’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The people’, ‘quality of work’, ‘generally very friendly people across the firm who are keen to help and make you feel welcome, free breakfast and an extensive coffee selection (which is also free!)’, ‘the people and the opportunities offered’, ‘everyone is very approachable and happy to help me to learn’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The work/life balance at times’, ‘unpredictable hours, though that comes with the nature of the work rather than the firm culture’, ‘the expectation of availability’, ‘the rate of staff turnover’, ‘unpredictable hours, lack of formal training in some departments and occasionally unreasonable demands from seniors’, ‘IT issues!’

Best moment? ‘Most of my training has been on the job, which I have appreciated very much’, ‘client contact’, ‘completing my first closing’, ‘attending socials’, ‘working closely with award-winning partners on a regular basis’

Worst moment? ‘It can be a high-pressure environment and the consequences of sending the wrong email, for example, can be detrimental’, ‘a particularly brutal leveraged finance signing’, ‘a signing at odd hours of the night!’, ‘getting stressed about a task’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Milbank LLP

Milbank offers ‘excellent finance work and a growing, ambitious London office’. Recruits make up a small cohort at the US firm; ‘we almost never have more than one trainee on any transaction which means we usually get better quality of work and are much more involved at every stage’. Although ‘formal training is less structured’ at Milbank, trainees appreciate being ‘encouraged to learn on the job and take on responsibility at an early stage’. When choosing where to apply, respondents loved that ‘the recruitment team was approachable and took a genuine interest in us as individuals’ and were enticed by the prospect of being ‘thrown in the deep end from day one’. Milbank is a Future Lawyers Winner for quality of work, client contact, social life, vacation scheme, salary and diversity. Trainees relish ‘being surrounded by very talented and bright professionals’, who are ‘keen to help and make you feel welcome’. What’s more, ‘the offices are pretty great, and the trainee cohort are really good friends, which makes life at work so much better’. That there is an ‘expectation of availability’ at Milbank probably won’t come as a surprise. The ‘unpredictable hours’ can make achieving a work/life balance difficult, though trainees were keen to point out that ‘this comes with the nature of the work rather than the firm culture’. Nevertheless, ‘6am finishes’ and ‘working 18 days in a row, which included successive 12-16 hour days’ took their toll. On the plus side ‘pro bono is great at the firm, and there are so many different types of projects you can get involved with’. Trainees were proud of ‘partners telling me they wanted me to qualify into their team’ and ‘being heavily involved in and responsible for signing and closing a multi-billion-pound re-profiling of a gold mine, which involved a complex transfer process and went on for several months!’ For a firm which is high quality in every aspect, from work to people to culture, consider Milbank.

A day in the life of... Zara Barnes, trainee, Milbank

Departments to date: TSG; Leveraged finance; Litigation

University: University of Cambridge

Degree: Law, 2(1)

Morning: The day starts between 9-9.30am. First, I check my emails to see if anything has come in overnight (perhaps from clients working in different time zones) and either reply to those or complete the tasks set in them. Tasks might include updating conditions precedents checklists to help everyone working on a deal stay up to date with the progress of the deal and what stages the various documents are at, amending documents based on the comments received from a client or external counsel, or emailing documents onto various parties for their review.

Lunch: Now that we have returned to the office, lunch is a great time to talk to other Milbank employees, whether this be fellow trainees, people from your team, or people from other departments in the firm.

Afternoon: In the afternoon, I either continue the work from the morning or get set more work by associates in my team. Often, they call me (if we are not in the office) or come into my office to explain the task and make sure that I understand what I am doing. Everyone is very helpful. The work set includes drafting the various documents required for transactions, creating signature packs for when deals are being signed, or checking documents for missing definitions or cross-references.

Evening: If you are working into the evening, you can eat at the office and complete your work. If not, the evening is yours to spend however you like! On some nights, I like to cook or go out for dinner with my friends. On others, I might go to the gym, but usually I just collapse onto the sofa and watch TV with my housemates!

About the firm

The firm: Milbank is a premier international law firm handling high-profile, complex cases and business transactions through 12 offices worldwide.

The deals: Please refer to website for recent deals we have worked on.

Managing partners: Tom Canning and Andrej Wolf

Other offices:

Who we are: Shaping the legal landscape.

Driven to deliver exceptional results for our clients, we push boundaries and challenge assumptions. That’s been core to our ethos since our founding in 1866. It fuels how we work and define ourselves, and it informs our growth and evolution as a firm.

We keep impressive company. Our clients are market leaders, global innovators and paradigm-shifting entrepreneurs that advance emerging industries. Surrounding ourselves by the best inspires and challenges us to constantly reimagine what’s possible.

Our clients are why we strive for remarkable results.

What we do:

What we’re looking for: Our trainees work in small teams and are given responsibility from day one. Working directly with associates and partners, our trainees are an integral part of the team in every seat. The benefit of our select intake is that our trainees receive exposure to high-quality work as well as first-class training and supervision throughout their training contracts.

We’re looking for candidates who not only have strong academics but who also possess excellent interpersonal and problem-solving skills. Candidates will need to be ambitious, intellectually curious and have a genuine interest in our practice areas. You should also have (or be predicted) a 2(1) or above in any degree discipline.

Sponsorship: Costs for PGDL and SQE covered by Milbank. Maintenance grant amount has now been increased to £17,000.

Diversity and inclusion

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Percentage of female associates: 45%

Percentage of female partners: 37%