This is the Mishcon de Reya profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Mishcon de Reya profile.
Mishcon de Reya, with three offices in the UK, one in Singapore and an associate office in Hong Kong, may be on the smaller side of London firms, but is by no means less mighty. While it wasn’t among the first wave of firms to enter solicitor apprentice market, Mishcon is now fully onboard and has established a programme where newbies can get stuck into interesting and high-profile work it’s known for. Based at its London HQ, recruits can expect to work within its six core departments throughout the programme: corporate, real estate, litigation, innovation, employment, and private.
“I felt that this was the perfect thing for me,” one third year Mishcon apprentice told us. “For me, it just made sense”. As many other apprentices can attest, this route clearly appeals to those more inclined toward a learning-on-the-job approach to a career in law. And, for our interviewee, Mishcon was an attractive choice — not just for its great reputation, but for the variety of clients and types of work. “I couldn’t believe I could be exposed to this type of firm or these types of matters!” they told us. For example, previous Mishcon clients include Princess Diana and Brexit activist Gina Miller.
The Mishcon apprenticeship boasts an impressive eight-seat rotation throughout the six-year programme. Rookies enjoy an annual seat rotation each year for the first four years, and four six-month rotations in the final two “training contract”-style years, where apprentices join the graduate recruits.
And just because the majority of Mishcon’s offices are UK-based, it doesn’t mean secondment opportunities are lacking. According to our interviewee, Mishcon’s career development team are in talks to introduce a client secondment for apprentices. This would be in addition to the current set-up, where apprentices may undertake an exciting six-month seat in the firm’s Singapore office during the final years of the programme.
Although recruits will typically be fitting into more administrative roles within their first couple of years (similar to other firms), rookies can look forward to more responsibility later in the programme, taking up a paralegal-style role in years three and four, and a trainee role for the final two. Whilst the work can, “sometimes be a bit too admin heavy”, we’re told that “this varies a lot from team-to-team”, with more legal work to be expected towards the end of each year-long rotation, as an apprentice’s knowledge and experience grows.
As for the hours at the firm, we’re told that “the apprenticeship route is highly valued and respected at Mishcon”, with rookies generally expected to work a regular nine-to-five to begin with, building up to longer working hours later down the programme.
Recruits can also expect to have a strong input in their own development, our source confirms. With the apprenticeship scheme still in its infancy, feedback is often highly valued, with suggestions implemented so that apprentices can enjoy the best, and most productive, experience possible. “I’m currently the wellbeing champion, and our aim has been to integrate all junior members of the firm through introducing more informal social events and get-togethers”, one interviewee tells us. So, there are plenty of opportunities to make your mark at Mishcon!
As for studying, future-solicitors are enrolled in a part-time LLB with The University of Law (ULaw) and are allocated a study day once per week, before progressing onto the Solicitors Qualifying Exams (SQE). Interestingly at Mishcon, apprentices start in October and work full-time until the new year, at which point they start their degree programme part-time. One interviewee remarks that studying a law degree this way is highly beneficial for those who do not necessarily suit full-time academia. “It suits me well”, she tells us. “I like the way that it’s structured and assessed. I’ve had a great mentor with ULaw who has been with me all the way through and I’ve found her support invaluable.” She adds that the study time on the course rarely runs over one day unless it’s her own fault! Fortunately for hopeful apprentices, Mishcon seem particularly generous and flexible in terms of making time for apprentices during exams and mocks, with extra time-off seeming the norm in more intense exam periods.
When it comes to what makes Mishcon different, one interviewee emphasises the culture of the firm and the approachability of the teams as “big pull factors”. “It being a well-known firm, you’d imagine it being cut-throat or even hostile, but I’ve had no experience of that at all,” our insider tells us. “The clients that we work with are so interesting and colourful, so you come across some really interesting work”. The number of seats on offer creates a diverse and varied training programme from the very first year, we are told, and the relationship between budding apprentices and the careers development team is said to be a huge plus.
When asked what a successful Mishcon de Reya apprentice looks like, one recruit says, “notably intelligent and hard working” but also “charismatic and has an element of uniqueness to them”. At Mishcon, she says, “there is room for people to flourish in their unique sense of self”.
This is Mishcon de Reya’s Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Mishcon de Reya’s full Legal Cheek profile here.