This is the Taylor Wessing profile for those considering solicitor apprenticeships. Students looking to apply for training contracts should check out Legal Cheek‘s main Taylor Wessing profile.
Fresh to the solicitor apprenticeship scene, Taylor Wessing offers a good home for rookies in search of varied training and top quality work with an international outlook. It services a number of high-profile clients, such as Sky, Pfizer and Monzo – and, with over 1,000 lawyers spread across 29 offices in 17 different jurisdictions, the firm boasts a noteworthy global presence. Insiders say there is a wealth of juicy and interesting work across areas including technology, media and communications; life sciences and healthcare; real estate; infrastructure and energy, for those that can prove themselves. Apprenticeships are on offer both at the firm’s London office, nestled in Holborn, and at the Liverpool office in Royal Albert Dock, just a stone’s throw from the Tate Museum.
For one TW rookie, the apprenticeship route is a winner because, she says, “I prefer learning more hands-on, and the apprenticeship route gives you the opportunity to learn through participating in the legal industry and through your day-to-day tasks at the firm”. Even though she had places lined up at university, it was this practical aspect of the apprenticeship that most appealed to her.
And, for one insider, the firm appealed not just for its international presence, but also for its infamously friendly culture. “The friendly ethos of the firm drew me in, and I experienced this first-hand throughout the interview and application process.”
The structure of this outfit’s apprenticeship certainly provides the opportunity for recruits to learn through getting stuck-in. With eight different seat rotations across six years, newbies get the opportunity to gain experience in a whole host of the firm’s practice areas. Hopefuls can look forward to moving into a new practice area each year for the first four years of the programme, before joining the graduate training cohort in their fifth and sixth years.
These final ‘training contract’ years involve the classic four six-monthly seat rotations, allowing apprentices the same opportunities as their graduate counterparts. “The variety of work that I knew I’d be getting to do was a huge attraction – it’s reassuring knowing that you’re bound to find the practice area that you really belong in,” one apprentice enthuses. We have also heard whispers that “there will be an element of choice” for lucky rookies in terms of which practice areas they’re most eager to experience.
Even though it can be “nerve-racking” joining an international commercial outfit as a school leaver, the induction process is said be both thorough and comprehensive. For the first two weeks, apprentices can expect a strong two-week induction into the firm’s culture, practice areas and IT systems, before settling into their first legal seats. Beyond this, apprentices also join the graduate trainees in training sessions for each practice area. “The training I’ve been given in my first weeks has been invaluable. It’s helped me get to know the firm and get to know my practice area before diving into the legal work,” one apprentice tells us.
Once the nerves settle down, recruits can expect a varied workload. Speaking to one insider in real estate, we’re told that, “apprentices get involved in a range of tasks. I’m currently drafting deeds of variation for an associate, and I regularly deal with responses to commercial property enquiries”. One interviewee also raves about the support network they have within the firm, being allocated a mentor and a supervisor to go to, along with a “very friendly and personable Talent Team”.
But beyond the day-to-day legal work, apprentices enjoy the perkiest of perks at the firm. The café and restaurant on the top floor of the London office, Cloud Nine, is undeniably a big one for recruits based in the Capital. Taylor Wessing recruits get free breakfasts everyday including the popular “Friday fry-ups” as well as enjoying subsidised lunch grub on Cloud Nine’s balcony.
And the firm has a great reputation for keeping its office space tip top. It’s sponsorship of the National Portrait Gallery’s Photographic Portrait Prize and its partnership with Tate Liverpool are echoed in its office space, with office walls lined with eye-catching portraits and other artwork.
On the social side, as well as regular drinks with their teams, apprentices are clearly well integrated with the trainees at the firm. Firm-wide events are also organised once a month, along with regular award ceremonies which are “really exciting to attend”. “In a couple of weeks, we have the firm’s Christmas party at the Roundhouse,” one insider tells us – a very glamorous affair for any school leaver! “Having a social life was definitely one of my concerns when choosing an apprenticeship over uni, but there was nothing to worry about at all!” one apprentice remarks. And it’s clear that apprentices here are a very social group, going for “lunches and coffees” with each other regularly.
On top of this, the firm seems very active when it comes to clubs and initiatives. “We’ve got a lot of sports clubs at the firm including a running club, yoga and a football team. Our London office football team have just come back from Prague for the firm’s international football tournament!” one enthusiastic insider reveals. “There’s also a choir, as well as loads of pro bono and volunteering opportunities.”
On these, we are told, “the firm is very focused on tackling climate change, so there’s lots of environmental committees you can join which aim to undertake environmental pro bono work.” For adventurous apprentices looking to experience the world outside of the firm, the outfit also offers both international and client secondment opportunities to recruits in the final two years of the programme.
Hopefuls must also not forget that one day of each week will be dedicated to working towards their law degree with The University of Law. “It’s a lot to get used to, but I’ve adjusted quite quickly,” an apprentice tells us. “I have found that my studying fits quite well within the one day – as long as I’m disciplined.” And the firm appear very supportive and flexible with their studying cohort in responding to added academic pressures during exams and mocks. “My team are very supportive if I need extra time to allocate towards my studies as they understand that the educational element is just as important as my working responsibilities.” Also, “the fact that we’re integrated so well with the trainee cohort is really great,” we are told, “because we can always go to them for help and support with both the degree studies and at work”.
One the best things about the TW programme is the “variety”, another apprentice explains. “I’m working with three or four different client matters each day.” Secondly, “everyone is treated as equals here. I’ve felt no imposter syndrome because everyone is just so friendly; you never feel out of place”.
This is Taylor Wessing’s Solicitor Apprenticeship profile. Read Taylor Wessing’s full Legal Cheek profile here.