Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Mishcon de Reya LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Mishcon de Reya LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘It has niche practice area offerings that are not commonly found in other firms’, ‘the standard of training, highly-ranked disputes teams, friendly/understanding culture and the exemplary early careers team’, ‘it felt right. I felt like I could be myself, and that the firm was headed in an innovative direction that aligned with my own interests’, ‘I was particularly drawn by the strength of the employment department, which is probably the best in London, or certainly up there’, ‘the culture and core values’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The people and culture – everyone is so, so lovely and supportive it’s a great place to train’, ‘the variety of work you get to experience as a trainee. I have really been able to manage whole workstreams and matters and have been given the autonomy to interact with clients freely which has helped to build my confidence. The people are also outstanding, as is the training’, ‘the office and the people. The former feels more like a hotel, and the people within it are always interesting’, ‘there is a true sense of being part of a team’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Not the best social side – not many team socials etc (but that’s very department specific so some teams have many more)’, ‘the food and/or the pay’, ‘the coffee in the coffee machines is terrible. The decaf actually tastes better’, ‘the lack of connectivity around the firm, you don’t feel like you get to know other teams very well and people aren’t open to introducing themselves’, ‘the remuneration’

Best moment? ‘Success on a public inquiry transforming a client’s life’, ‘writing a tax report from scratch – it was a great feeling having the opportunity to work a whole matter from researching through to drafting the advice as a whole which went to the client’, ‘my secondment to a media and entertainment client’, ‘attending in-person client meetings’, ‘the corporate ski trip’, ‘assisting with the largest litigation matter at the firm’, ‘going to court on a matter we had worked on for months – it was a great feeling to see it all come together’

Worst moment? ‘A late night organising statutory declarations’, ‘some of the quiet times (e.g. following the Liz Truss mini budget a lot of deals paused) are hard to navigate because it feels very empty’, ‘only being able to pick four seats out of several possibilities!’, ‘not feeling like I’ve had enough formal training but not feeling able to ask for more, and being left to get on with things’, ‘high-intensity work on the run-up to litigation deadlines; very stressful’, ‘working with a difficult partner at the start of my training contract’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Mishcon de Reya LLP

‘It’s rare to see a firm with such strength in both private client and corporate offerings’, and this is what makes Mishcon de Reya so popular. Trainees at the London firm have the benefit of experiencing a ‘more diverse set of tasks and deals’, spanning specialist areas such as ‘family, art, immigration and private law matters’. Mishcon ‘encourages you to be who you are’, rather than ‘creating cookie-cutter lawyers’ and ‘appreciates that your value comes from what makes you an individual’. Training is ‘really top class’ and ‘quite deliberate, with courses akin to university courses or even in some cases to Oxbridge tutorials’. There is also an emphasis on work/life balance at Mishcon: ‘supervisors have always encouraged mental health and wellbeing’. Complaints included ‘the IT systems, which have had a lot of investment recently, but the technical support is still sometimes lacking’. Some respondents also feel that the ‘pay (in particular at associate and managing associate level) is la bit low’, especially when ‘the hours can sometimes be exactly the same as other firms which pay more’. Trainees had their fair share of worst moments, such as ‘the one all-nighter I’ve had to pull on a deal’, ‘trying to find the answer to a really difficult technical tax law question’, and ‘working on an imaging and search order for a fraud matter (there was a 5am finish in there)’. More pride-inducing moments were ‘meeting all the celebrities that came into the office to speak as part of the Academy programme’ and ‘working on an employment tribunal case which ended in a positive result for the client. It was the second highest whistleblowing award ever given by the tribunal’! To be part of an ‘exciting workplace with friendly colleagues, approachable seniors and a great work/life balance’, consider Mishcon de Reya.

A day in the life of... Shreya Chakraborty, trainee, Mishcon de Reya LLP

Shreya Chakraborty, Mishcon de Reya LLP

Departments to date: Corporate; Employment; Family

University: UCL

Degree: Law

8.30am: I head into work. My commute is only around 30 minutes, so I try and come into the office four days a week. I pick up a coffee from my favourite coffee shop next to Holborn station (a pumpkin spice latte feels appropriate).

9.00am: Once I’ve settled into my office for the morning, I review my emails and Teams messages to check whether any urgent work has come in. I then write down my action list for the day based on emails and my calendar. I like to have a hand-written copy of my list on my desk so that I can tick off tasks as I go along.

9.30am: I have a catch up with my supervisor, with whom I share an office, to check whether I can assist her with any tasks during the day. I then make a start on the first task of the morning, which is to prepare a Form H for a hearing at the RCJ that I am attending next week. In divorce and finance proceedings, each side is required to fill in a Form H to inform the court of legal costs that have been incurred and remain outstanding. This involves working through the fees incurred on our billing system and allocating them to categories on the form. While this can be a lengthy process, as a trainee, it is a good task to help develop attention to detail and gain a general overview of how the case has been run so far.

10.30am: I head to the kitchen after an hour or so to take a quick break from my screen and catch up with colleagues.

10.40am: I continue working on the Form H until lunch, stopping in between to reply to emails or complete ad hoc tasks. I have found that in departments where you work with private clients, you have far more matters running simultaneously, and you often dip in and out of your matters during the day. For example, today I have to pause work on the Form H to obtain translations of foreign bank statements that are needed for financial disclosure on a different divorce and finances case. I contact our designated Litigation Support Hub who are very helpful in obtaining urgent translations.

12.45pm: A few of the other trainees and I head down to the canteen for lunch.

1.30pm: I have an in-person new client meeting with one of the partners at 2pm. To prepare, I read through the documents that the client has provided to understand the context of the meeting.

2.00pm: The partner and I head down to collect the client. As a trainee, my role in client meetings is to take a verbatim note of what is discussed, making sure I have recorded important details such as names of any children, properties or important assets. I find that client meetings are a great way to learn because the partner will be explaining legal concepts, such as how assets are split on divorce, in more basic terms to the client.

3.15pm: After the meeting, I head to the lounge for a coffee with my development partner. At our firm, trainees are paired with a partner who will oversee your progression during your training contract and will be on hand to discuss your career goals. We discuss how I am enjoying my seat so far, as well as my involvement with the M: BRACE racial equality strand at the firm.

4.00pm: I head back up to my office to tidy up my attendance note from the client meeting. I then check my emails and see that I have been asked to prepare an exhibit to a witness statement in child arrangement proceedings. I run through the task with the associate and then spend the afternoon locating the documents on the file management system and compiling the exhibit. Again, this is a good task to gain a general overview of a case.

6.00pm: I check my emails and flag any tasks that will need to be picked up in tomorrow’s action list. I then make sure I have submitted my time recording for the day before leaving the office.

6.30pm: I walk over to Covent Garden to catch up with a uni friend for dinner before heading home.

About the firm

The firm: The Mishcon de Reya Group is an independent international professional service business with law at its heart, employing over 1,450 people with close to 670 lawyers. It includes the law firm Mishcon de Reya LLP and a collection of leading consultancy businesses that complement the firm’s legal services. We have grown rapidly in recent years, showing more than 40% revenue growth in the past five years alone.

Senior partner: James Libson

Managing partner: James Lisbon

Other offices: London, Cambridge, Oxford, Singapore and branch office in Hong Kong in association with Karas So LLP.

What we do: Based in London, Cambridge, Oxford and Singapore, with an association with Karas So LLP in Hong Kong, the firm services an international community of clients and provides advice in situations where the constraints of geography often do not apply. The work we undertake is cross-border, multi-jurisdictional and complex, spanning six core practice areas: corporate; dispute resolution; employment; innovation; private; and real estate.

In times of such far-reaching and profound change we want to be the law firm that enables our clients – and our own people – to shape the world’s possibilities. We are here to help our clients benefit from new economies, new geographic centres of wealth, the new global movement of people and capital, and the impact of new technologies and new knowledge.

What we’re looking for: At Mishcon de Reya our junior lawyers are the future of our business. And the future of law is not predictable: the years to come will look nothing like the years that came before. So we need shapers. We need bold individuals who can adapt to seismic changes across the legal, social and political spheres. We need creative thinkers who can revolutionise the way we work.

What you’ll do: Our training contracts are the foundation of our graduate schemes. Working with some of the best and brightest individuals, you get to shape your training contract across a two-year scheme, gaining exposure to four six-month seats in our leading practice groups, varying from large-scale dispute resolution, to representing the firm’s private clients across a wealth of specialisms. Not only do you work with expert lawyers in their field, you have continuous development from our Academy to help carve your career as a Mishcon de Reya lawyer.

Perks: While on the training contract there are core benefits including: 25 days’ holiday, income protection and life assurance. Other optional benefits include: health screening, dental insurance, private medical insurance, travel insurance, critical illness cover, gym membership, season ticket loan, group pension scheme, yoga classes, childcare vouchers, cycle scheme, in-house doctor, bonus scheme and give-as-you earn schemes.

Sponsorship: Full funding, plus £9,000 maintenance grant.

Diversity and inclusion

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Percentage of female associates: 67%

Percentage of female partners: 39%