Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Taylor Wessing LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over other firms? ‘The application process was incredibly supportive and everyone was very personable’, ‘supportive culture’, ‘friendly place to work’, ‘culture of openness’, ‘good quality of training and support’, ‘small trainee cohort (which suggests you get greater responsibility)’, ‘opportunities to work directly with clients on secondment in areas such as IP and tech’, ‘high calibre of clients’, ‘the high-quality work’, ‘technological focus’, ‘good work/life balance’, ‘my vacation scheme experience was the most enjoyable’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The trainee intake and collegiality is great’, ‘great culture’, ‘very friendly people and partners’, ‘social life, peer support, approachability, work/life balance’, ‘I have never felt put off asking people questions, particularly those in more senior positions’, ‘working with exciting clients on innovative tech and ideas’, ‘the approach to hybrid working’, ‘free breakfast every day’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The legal tech could do with some upgrades’, ‘the lack of consistency when it comes to trainee supervisors’ approach to their role as supervisor’, ‘the firm’s remuneration for trainees is slightly below competitors’, ‘long hours’, ‘the seat allocation, in which trainees have minimal say’, ‘some teams might not take any NQs on when it comes to qualification’

Best moment? ‘The induction with the other trainees’, ‘interaction with clients’, ‘attending a final hearing’, ‘managing deals with little supervision’, ‘being trusted to get deals over the line’, ‘being heavily involved in numerous matters to the extent that the partner in my team now asks for my opinion on issues’, ‘the head of the department feeding back that a client wanted to pass on their special thanks to me for my work and good attitude’, ‘it was great to see the work I was doing, alongside other teams in the firm, would help the company’, ‘a charity rugby tournament’

Worst moment? ‘Being in a department where everyone is too busy to give you any work all day, and then at 5pm you get given ‘urgent’ stuff to do all evening’, ‘staying up all night for a document signing which the partner forgot to tell me was not happening’, ‘negotiating more challenging personalities’, ‘finding out about my current seat, which was not on my list’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing ‘operates in interesting sectors for incredibly intriguing clients’ and is forever ‘encouraging employees’ professional growth and evolution’. The ‘forward-looking’ international firm provides trainees with ‘high levels of responsibility on matters and plenty of client contact’, whilst also offering ‘lots of guidance, rather than just throwing you in the deep end’. Taylor Wessing has a ‘supportive culture’ where everyone ‘is incredibly friendly and will make an effort to speak to you’, including ‘those in more senior positions.’ The firm encourages a ‘healthy work/life balance’, which includes a ‘fairly flexible work-from-home policy’. The vacation scheme is fantastic too. At Taylor Wessing recruits are given ‘the opportunity to work with industry-leading clients’ and ‘trusted to get deals over the line.’ Recruits work ‘with little supervision’ and feel confident in sharing their own ‘thoughts and suggestions’ with partners. The drawback is that they can also consequently be expected to work ‘long evenings’ and can be held ‘responsible for any error’ they may make! Several respondents complained that the salary is too low and ‘should be higher to be more competitive with other firms’. For one trainee, a low point was ‘feeling neglected by supervisors due to being in a department where everyone was too busy’. Overall though recruits feel appreciated and recognised within their teams; trainees here truly feel that their work ‘contributes to the success of the firm’. For both challenging and rewarding work in a friendly culture with colleagues who are experts in their field, take a closer look at Taylor Wessing.

Vacation scheme insider Fedellis Lim, future trainee, Taylor Wessing

Fedellis Lim, Taylor Wessing LLP

University: University of London: Queen Mary & Westfield

Degree: Law

Journey into Taylor Wessing: Taylor Wessing has and will always play a special role in my legal career. As a fresher, I was introduced to the concept of ‘commercial awareness’ when I took part in Taylor Wessing’s first-year insight day. After attending several introductory talks about the firm, networking with trainees and participating in a business case study, I thoroughly enjoyed learning about the firm’s work and culture, which left a lasting impression on me. I went home knowing that this was the firm for me.

Hoping to join the firm as a trainee solicitor after I graduate, I decided to apply to the vacation scheme a year later. Shortly after I submitted my written application, I was invited to complete an online assessment. I was then invited to the assessment centre, consisting of a competency-based interview, group exercise, commercial awareness exercise and critical thinking test. After the assessment centre, I was offered a place on the vacation scheme.

The vacation scheme: The vacation scheme lasted for two weeks and I was placed in a different practice area each week. During my first week, I was placed in corporate real estate and private capital. As this was a corporate seat, the work was very fast-paced and commerciality was a very important aspect of it. Several tasks included drafting board minutes, attending client calls, creating a joint venture PowerPoint presentation for a partner and finally a proofreading exercise of a due diligence report. In contrast, my second week in financial services and competition exposed me to more research tasks and the technicalities of the Financial Conduct Authority. I had the opportunity to attend a training session, research policies for a client and review an advice note.

Aside from the written assessment, group exercise and verbal reasoning test, another major timetabled activity was the ‘Focus On’ sessions, where I learned about Taylor Wessing’s sector-focused approach and the different practice areas. These were very engaging sessions, providing me with insights into the work of each practice area and the opportunity to ask any questions. There were also socials in each week of the scheme, giving me some time away from the desk to get to know my fellow vacation schemers and current trainee solicitors.

Key takeaways: Throughout my time at Taylor Wessing, my supervisors, buddies and everyone else I met were very welcoming and willing to chat or provide support whenever I needed! This reflects their culture and values, which I had the opportunity to experience first-hand. The biggest highlight of my scheme was definitely the legal experience I gained. Coupled with the detailed feedback my supervisors provided during my appraisal, I was able to learn and mature so much throughout the two weeks. Despite two high-intensity weeks, the early talent team provided me with a very well thought-out timetable, giving me the flexibility to take charge of my own vacation scheme and manage my own time regarding what I want to do, when I should do it, how I should do it, etc. It is precisely because of the support given and the firm’s emphasis on my personal and career development that I accepted Taylor Wessing’s training contract without any hesitation when offered.

To all aspiring solicitors looking for an innovative firm that provides so much support to the personal and professional development of trainees, I definitely recommend Taylor Wessing’s vacation scheme. Not only does it provide a lot of insights into the legal industry (especially through the lens of their sector-focused approach), but it also provides you with legal experience of a typical day of a trainee solicitor at Taylor Wessing.

Taylor Wessing was the firm where I was first introduced to the corporate world, and I can’t wait to return to the firm in 2025 to start my legal career!

About the firm

The firm: Taylor Wessing is a leading international law firm. We work with clients in the world’s most dynamic industries and help them succeed by advising on their businesses throughout their life cycle. Specialising in technology, media and communications, life sciences and private wealth, we act for 32 of the world’s top 50 brands; some of the world’s most exciting start-ups and unicorns; and some of the world’s wealthiest families.

The clients: FarFetch; LVMH; PWC; Brentford FC; Pfizer; Sky; Monzo; Wooga (leading games studio); Secret Escapes; Audio Network.

The deals: Advising Wolt on a US$160m financing round; acting in successful Z Trust litigation; advising Babylon Health on its continuing investment in digital healthcare with the largest European and US fundraising; advising on the acquisition of Terra Verde by EMMAC Life Sciences Ltd; advising Vivion Investments on an international €1bn bond issuance and complex reorganisation; acting on the UK launch of the Volkswagen Financial Services and Daimler Mobility backed online marketplace, heycar; advised Vinted as it become the latest European Unicorn after closing a €128m Series E round financing; advising tech VC firm Dawn Capital on a unicorn deal; advising Glenmark on its product portfolio sale; advising Cazoo on £100m funding round.

Senior partner: Dominic FitzPatrick

Managing partner: Shane Gleghorn

Locations: London City, London Shoreditch, Cambridge, Liverpool

Overseas offices: 29 offices in 17 jurisdictions.

Who we are: Taylor Wessing is a global law firm that serves the world’s most innovative people and businesses. Deeply embedded within our sectors, we work closely together with our clients to crack complex problems, enabling ideas and aspirations to thrive. Together we challenge expectations and create extraordinary results.

Specialising in technology, media and communications; life sciences and healthcare; real estate, infrastructure and energy; and private wealth, we act for the world’s biggest brands, most innovative start-ups and unicorns, and wealthiest families.

We have over 1,100 lawyers in 17 jurisdictions across Europe, Asia and the Middle East, who advise our clients on their corporate, IP, disputes, and other matters. Working at the forefront of new areas of law, we help our clients by introducing them to new people, new markets, and fresh perspectives to help them flourish.

Collaboration is key to our success. We believe different backgrounds bring different interests and skill sets, enhancing and diversifying the service we provide to our clients. Many of our lawyers joined the profession from different backgrounds, and we welcome applications from both law and non-law students.

Open days 2023: Throughout October and November we’ll be running a series of open days where you’ll get the chance to learn more about the firm and hear from both senior lawyers and trainee solicitors. Our open days will be hosted in person and online so you can select a date and format which works for you. You’ll need to complete an application form to attend.

To be eligible to attend you must be a penultimate-year law or non-law finalist as this open day will be focused on our vacation scheme opportunities.

For details of how to apply and deadlines please visit our website.

Vacation scheme: Our award-winning scheme lets you experience what it’s like to be a trainee solicitor in a fast-paced international law firm. You’ll spend two weeks immersed in two different practice areas, gaining first-hand experience under the supervision of our approachable associates and partners. You’ll also be involved in socials, networking opportunities, pro bono work and more, so you’ll end the scheme with invaluable experience and a clear sense of career direction. To be eligible to apply for our summer vacation scheme you’ll need to be in the second year of your degree or beyond.

Our 2024 summer vacation scheme is the only way to be considered for a September 2025/26 training contract position with the firm. Applications open on 1 September and close on 1 December 2023.

What we’re looking for: To be able to apply for our summer vacation scheme, you’ll need to be in the second year of your degree or beyond.

Regarding academic ability, we do look for AAB at A Level and a 2.1 in any degree discipline. If you do not meet the AAB requirement but are able to demonstrate strong academic performance elsewhere and have the motivation, skill set and attitude to succeed, please reach out to one of the team to discuss your application.

We want to recruit top talent for our relatively small intake, and we know that academics aren’t the only measure of success and appreciate diversity of experience. We do not automatically reject applications based on academics and screen the whole application form before making a decision. We use Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System to consider everyone’s achievements in context.

Therefore, we will review your performance across all areas of the form before making a decision, for example: interests and achievements, work experience, overall communication, and answers to commercial and career-focused questions.

What you’ll do: Before commencing the training contract, students undertake the SQE 1 and SQE 2 examination. We have partnered with University of Law for this course, which will enable you to gain a breadth of knowledge before commencing these examinations. Additionally, you will also undertake an SQE-plus course to provide you with further legal knowledge ahead of joining the firm, which includes a master’s.

Ahead of commencing the course, you will meet with the early talent and development team to learn more about the course and our expectations, and be provided with support throughout the year-long course.

By completing the course and examinations ahead of your start date, you will be able to hit the ground running and gain your two years’ qualifying work experience through our training contract.

Within a small intake of around 25 graduates, you’ll find the support you need to flourish throughout your training contract while benefiting from the experience you need to become a brilliant lawyer. Across two years, you’ll move through four six-months seats in different practice groups. All trainee solicitors take on a seat in either corporate or finance, and at least one seat must involve contentious work.

Seat options include construction, banking and finance, real estate, corporate technology, corporate real estate and private capital, corporate finance, employment, pensions and mobility, private client, tax and incentives, private equity, financial services and competition, disputes and investigations, commercial technology, and data, patents, IP and media.

We offer up to 23 training contracts each year in London, and two training contracts in Cambridge. Regardless of whether you’re based in London or Cambridge, we’ll provide you with all the training and experience to help you succeed.

Sponsorship: We’ll pay your tuition fees for the PGDL and SQE, to be studied at the University of Law London, our chosen law school provider. During your studies we’ll also supply you with a £12,500pa maintenance grant. Before you commence your training contract with the firm, you will undertake the SQE 1 and SQE 2 examination. We have partnered with University of Law for this course, which will enable you to gain a breadth of knowledge before commencing these examinations. Additionally, you will undertake an SQE-plus course to provide you with further legal knowledge ahead of joining the firm, which includes a master’s.

First year opportunities: In April 2024 we’ll be hosting our two-day first-year insight scheme where you’ll get the chance to learn more about the firm, network and think commercially. The first-year insight scheme is a great step to ensure you’re ready to apply for the 2025 summer vacation scheme.

The first-year insight scheme will take place on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 April 2024.

To apply for our 2024 scheme, you’ll need to be in the first year of your degree (studying any subject) and complete an application form to attend.

Applications open on 1 December 2023 and close on 1 February 2024.

Solicitor apprenticeship: Our six-year programme has been designed to enable you to hit the ground running from day one. You’ll work towards an LLB (Hons) Law and a Solicitor Level 7 Apprenticeship. Each week you will spend four days working in a practice area, working on cases for our clients with one day studying with our training provider, University of Law (ULaw). All your tuition fees will be paid for you, and you’ll earn a salary while training and gaining your qualifications.

Diversity and inclusion

We build inclusive and progressive workplaces and aim to have a positive impact in the legal world and broader society. We look after the health and wellbeing of our people, and celebrate diversity in all forms, creating an environment where everyone can thrive.

Nurturing a diverse, inclusive culture allows all of our talent to flourish. It sparks creativity among our people. It powers innovation for our clients.

Our trainees have the opportunity to join our inclusion networks. These cover: gender balance, LGBT+ inclusion, racial equality, social mobility and physical and mental health and wellbeing.