With a wealth of expertise including tech, private equity, private client, venture capital and life sciences work, you can guarantee this firm has a practice Taylor-ed to your needs.
Taylor Wessing training contract review 2024
Taylor Wessing is not like other firms. After all, how many firms can say they have their own photo portrait prize, showcased in the National Gallery? Though, if you asked us to capture the firm in a single snapshot, it would be tricky to pick just one of its best sides. Firstly, the Taylor part of its namesake is the eldest, with its roots traced back to 1788, meaning its name has been around for nearly quarter of a millennium. So, it has certainly seen a lot of things, but that’s hardly the reason why trainees flocked to the firm. One newbie clarified that “I went for TW, because it was forward-thinking.” In what sense? Well, “they embraced tech, and that stood out for me.” Indeed, a quick look on the firm’s website confirms this, with a chunk of the firm’s insights directed towards topics of the future, such as the metaverse and AI.
TW also happens to be a whizz with life sciences, picking up marks in Chambers UK for both its transactional and for IP/patent litigation life science practices. It also has a good grip in London of the City classics like banking & finance, corporate/M&A, IP, IT, and employment. And just when you think you’ve got the picture perfect, it receives top marks for private wealth, and defamation and reputation management in Chambers High Net Worth. In fact, many were keen to acknowledge the TW’s private client practice: “It’s another aspect of the firm where we’re seen as leaders,” trainees noted, “and that combination of slightly atypical corporate law drove my interest.”
“Everyone was incredibly willing to help, and I felt there would be good support during my training contract.”
Other than the firm’s practices, another oft-cited appeal was the culture. “TW stood out to me as a vibrant and exciting place. When I did an assessment day, everyone was friendly,” one trainee recalled, “everyone was incredibly willing to help, and I felt there would be good support during my training contract.” TW takes on trainees in its London HQ, who are hired either through internal applications or through the vac schemes. Though last year the firm announced they would also be taking two trainees on in their Cambridge hub, one starting in 2024 and another in 2025.
Trainees sit four six-month seats and are able to put up to seven preferred choices, which can include the “three or four client secondments available every cycle.” International secondmentsare also on offer, with one recent placement in Germany from the patents team and one in Dubai from the private equity team. Overall, general seat allocation was described as “a little bit of a lottery.” Trainees understood that “talent does the best they can, and that it’s hard when everyone wants to do the same thing,” but noted that “the process is constantly brought up as something they could do better with.” Though moving forward, we heard the firm “has taken recent steps to demystify the process,” like revealing the stats on which seats were popular in the previous cohort.
The firm’s corporate offering is made up of corporate tech and life sciences, corporate real estate, corporate finance, private equity and private capital. The corporate technology and life sciences team was said to have been “growing exponentially in the last couple of years,” given it is one of the departments the firm is known for.The group is split between M&A and funds work and juniors are encouraged to do work for both. Funding involves raising capital for start-ups and “the team represents the companies and sometimes the funds.” As they mainly do company side work, they advise these companies on the legal due diligence the fund wants to carry out. So, trainees were “on calls with clients, advising them on what documents go into the data room.” Alongside due diligence, “you’re involved in the ancillary docs such as board minutes, shareholder resolutions, and some shareholder consents,” one source told us.Trainees are then “responsible for drafting those” as well as “reviewing the existing agreements to see what docs are needed and also drafting those, like director resignations, consents to act, and disclosure letters.” Finally, once all the documents have been agreed, trainees are “responsible for making sure they are sent for signing and are completed.”
M&A was described as “similar to funds, as you’re figuring out what ancillary docs are needed and working on that.” Trainees work either on the buy or sell side, one explained that “if you’re on the buy side, you are involved in project management and due diligence.” On those deals, you’re mainly “ensuring due diligence is going smoothly and that questions being answered.” The firm represents a range of clients including Five, a start-up for self-driving cars on its sale to Bosch and Placid0, creators of an eye-care assessment app, which TW advised on its sale to eye-care brand WALDO. Also falling under the corporate umbrella is the private equity team, with trainees doing both private equity and venture capital work. Key clients include private equity firms Inflexion and Rockpool. TW have also advised Roadchef, a motorway services operator, on the sale of the business to Macquarie Asset Management. Trainees were again involved in the “due-diligence processes, making sure all the departments were submitting in time,” as well as “drafting ancillary docs” such as “stock transfer forms, board minutes, and resignation letters.” We also learned trainees were encouraged to “get involved in the disclosure process and draft some of those too.” Insiders told us there is a lot of client contact in this group, one said that “some clients would come through to me directly!”
TW’s contentiouspatent team is “one of the biggest in Europe!” boasted one trainee and was a popular choice amongst our sources. The team takes four trainees each rotation: three in contentious and one in non-contentious. There is a big focus across the group on medical devices, life sciences and telecoms work. In telecomms, one trainee raved that “I was working with companies and brands everyone knows, like the network provider you use or the make of phone on your desk.” Telecomms work is mainly about licensing. Essentially, “if I’m the patent owner and you’re the brand, you’ll license the tech to use it.” The source added that, “every few years there’s a litigation dance. I’m saying ‘we need to agree a new license, and this is the new price.’” Then, the brand is “saying very little and trying to get me to agree to a lower price. The patent owner will then issue proceedings.” Trainees “spent a lot of time on expert calls” in this team, understanding “novel and new tech” and “building a merit of the case through these calls.” Common tasks include taking attendance notes as well as drafting pleadings as well as “a lot of court attendance.” Though sources did mention that there is a bit more responsibility as you get to draft correspondence and witness statements. Recently the firm represented Ericsson in a patent infringement matter against Apple, along with the Netherlands and Belgium offices.
“You’re thrown in the deep end, and I relished it.”
Private clientsits under the wider private wealth group and is split between contentious and non-contentious work. Overall, it is another big team at TW, though the non-contentious side takes on more trainees. On thatside, sources got stuck in “drafting wills, trusts, and advice notes on the tax implications of certain arrangements.” These issues concerned “people who wanting to move to UK and are looking at the residency rules.” Sources said, there were “lots of often-niche research tasks,” and it was common to see four to five clients a day, though the details of such are confidential. Private wealth contentious, on the other hand, is “a very small department, just eight or nine people and one trainee.” The team does work for high-net-worth individuals on anything “from trusts, to wills, to divorces.” Given there’s just the one trainee “you’re left with typical tasks like attendance notes and bundling – there’s definitely bundling!” one source emphasised.But insiders also said that they “had a lot of client contact – calls, emails, face-to-face meetings – alongside research and some analysis.” Reflecting on their time in this seat, one interviewee mused that “as the sole trainee in a small team, you’re busy. You’re thrown in the deep end, and I relished it.”
Across seats, hours varied “depending on what work is going on” and which team trainees sat in. Between 9am and 7pm was the norm for teams like private client but could ramp up past 8pm when you were heading towards a deadline. Despite hours being a little unpredictable, many sources felt that they were manageable, one noted that “I’ve never felt like it’s been unreasonable.” However, others did acknowledge that if the work hits crunch time, then the odd working weekend can crop up: “Weekend work wasn’t all the time, but at the pinch points, if it has to happen, it will happen.” But ultimately, there was a “really high appreciation for the work you do put in” and that when it does quieten down, “you’re encouraged to take it easy!”
Speaking of taking it easy, the firm gives trainees the chance to unwind with perks like “yoga on a Wednesday and a massage every month.” If you’re after something a little more fact paced, then they “have done a couple of Barry bootcamps” too. “It’s a nice environment”, one source said about the culture. Another referenced that fact that “no one gives me that stiff, stern feeling. It’s reflective of the tech and life science sectors we service.” Further in keeping with its future-forward outlook, the firm regularly asks trainees if there’s “anything we think that could be done to improve the firm from a trainee perspective.”
“The social side is one of the best things about the firm!”
Outside of work, “the social side is one of the best things about the firm!” raved one happy trainee. “There are monthly firmwide drinks upstairs in the cafeteria, interdepartmental events, and networking events.” For the sporty types, “there is a football team that’s quite popular,” as well as cricket, touch-rugby and netball teams. “There’s also an annual inter-office football tournament at one of the other TW offices every year,” others enthused. We also discovered that across offices people take part in the Vienna marathon. Outside of the organised fun, trainees make sure to get together informally, “my cohort make an effort to see each other,” said one insider. “We do an event every month like bowling, darts at Flight Club, that kind of thing.”
Sources were equally upbeat about the firm’s efforts on DE&I. “There are a huge number of talks, seminars, and awareness-raising workshops,” explained one source. Trainees mentioned “an International Women’s Day event as well as another on cultural differences.” Like many firms, “there’s a lot of diversity much lower down, which tapers off higher up,” but trainees told us that “there’s a clear dialogue about it.” We also heard there are “a lot of lunch-and-learn sessions,” which involve “panel discussions around things like managing family life and diversity within families.”The firm is also making strides with pro bono, such as partnering with University House on family matters like domestic violence.
For those heading towards qualification, want-to-be NQs apply in April and interviews follow shortly afterwards. Interviewees mentioned that “there’s a presentation where we’re told a bit more about the process,” during which “they provide a list of jobs. They declare which departments have availability, but not the number of jobs.” After that, how technical the interview is, depends on the department. In 2023, the firm didn't disclose its retention figures.
At Taylor, We-sing:
Taylor Swift may have stiff competition from the Taylor Wessingers, aka the firm’s choir.
How to get a training contract at Taylor Wessing
- Vacation scheme deadline (London and Cambridge schemes): 1 December 2023
Apply for a training contract through the firm's vac scheme
The firm hosts four open days across October and November, and one First Year Insight in April each year which runs for two days. The First Year Insight is targeted solely at first years, while the open days are for penultimate year law and non-law finalist students. The firm has also added an open evening to its line up in its Cambridge office (deadline for applications is 1 November, 2023, and the open day will be held on 16 November 2023).
The firm generally receives over 800 applications for its 40 vacation scheme places each year, with up to 22 training contract places up for grabs. Applications begin with an online form, and candidates need a minimum AAB at A level and a 2:1 degree. However, each application is looked at in context and the firm does not auto-reject. There are spaces to detail mitigating circumstances, along with the use of Rare's Contextualised Recruitment system. There’s space to list prior work experience, though Alice Hasted tells us the firm "appreciates that not everybody will have been able to take advantage of such opportunities.” The form contains a few questions designed to gauge a candidate’s motivations and general commercial awareness.
“We’re looking for the whole package,” says Hasted. “We look at applicants' academic achievements and commercial awareness, but also for evidence that they can think innovatively and work well in a team: I recommend that candidates isolate key differentiators about themselves that clearly exhibit their skills, and then show how they could use these at Taylor Wessing.”
At present, if you pass the first round of screening you will be invited to complete an online assessment.
Applicants who pass the initial screening stages are invited to attend a half-day assessment centres. Each assessment centre consists of a group exercise, as well as a commercial awareness exercise and interview. During the group exercise, candidates are given a business scenario they could potentially encounter as a trainee, and then asked to come up with a solution and present it to the assessors.
“We review both their leadership skills and their team-working abilities,” Hasted tells us. “They need to balance these and show that they can build strong, collaborative relationships.” A candidate’s focus and ability to prioritise is also assessed. The interview takes place with a partner and a member of the talent team. This involves commercial awareness tasks, plus a competency-based discussion on the candidate’s application form and prior experiences.
The firm makes its vac scheme offers straight off the back of the assessment day.
Taylor Wessing runs two two-week vac schemes over June and July in London. There are up to 20 spots on each. The firm will also be hosting a two-week summer vacation scheme in its Cambridge office. The deadline for applications is 1 December 2022 and you can apply here.
Participants spend each week in a different practice area and are assigned a supervisor, usually an associate, as well as a trainee buddy. Both delegate live work. Alongside lunches with their trainee buddies, vac schemers attend several ‘focus on’ sessions that provide insight into various practice areas and the trainee role within them.
Vac schemers work on a group project throughout their placement and present the results to a panel at the end of the scheme. “The management team usually gives you an article on a high-profile commercial issue or sets a question to kick-start the project,” a current trainee told us, mentioning that “ours was ‘What country would you invest in and why?’” On the social front there are drinks events, yoga, comedy nights, bowling excursions and karaoke contests. “Make sure you demonstrate that you have the ability to network well and connect with others,” our sources advised. Indeed, Taylor Wessing's trainees regularly participate in business development initiatives, so recruiters will be keeping an eye out for those with stellar mingling skills.
Each vac schemer is reviewed at the end of the process, and those who impress are offered a training contract.
How to wow
As for trainee backgrounds, you might wonder if the firm's tech/start-up edge attracts individuals with a certain type of degree background, eg. science. But this isn't the case: the firm works hard to ensure there is a good representation from different degree backgrounds. Of the 40 trainees with the firm currently, five had science degrees. Just over a third had studied law at undergrad (14) with the remaining 20 studying a mixture of non – law degrees.
That doesn't mean you should be disengaged from the firm's focus on tech and the 'industries of tomorrow'. Graduate recruitment and development partner Matthew Royle advises "being curious about the world in which we operate and being curious about your chosen path and industries will stand you in good stead."
5 New Street Square,
5 New Street Square,
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, real estate, energy and infrastructure 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.
A diverse client base allows us to advise on more than just the law. We're a firm that encourages new ideas and different ways of doing things. Our experts play an essential role in advising clients on business growth and protection, while introducing them to new people, new markets and fresh perspectives that will help their businesses stand out and flourish.
Collaboration is key to our success. We recruit a wide range of students including those who haven't studied Law.
Types of work
We have an unrivalled network of industry leaders we work with and introduce our clients to. From start-ups to liquidity to global brands, clients work with us because it sets them apart.
'Superb', 'outstanding', 'expert', 'strategic' and 'commercial' are all terms associated with our reputation. We want everyone to enjoy working with us – as much as that is possible when providing legal advice. Efficiency is important, but anticipating needs for greater protection and security through creative solutions compliments the advice we provide to clients and will prepare you for future challenges of exceeding expectations.
Who should apply
We have been recognised by LawCareers.Net for being the 'Best Trainer' among large City firms and crowned as one of Legal Cheek's Firms of the Year. Our award winning training allows our trainees to experience six-month seats in four different practice groups, including one contentious seat and one in our corporate or finance areas. Our programme is recognised for the extent of partner contact available to trainees. You'll work closely with associates on high-quality work from the outset with client contact and secondment opportunities in their offices offered. Most importantly, regular support and feedback every step of the way ensures that your career goes in the direction you want it to.
When and how to apply
All candidates need to apply via our online application form at https://www.taylorwessing.com/graduates. Please see our website for details on our deadline. We recruit only through our vacation scheme for our 2024 and 2025 training contract.
Taylor Wessing is "a great place to work". We were awarded Firm of the Year 2019 by Legal Cheek, which recognises all aspects of our work, clients, culture, environment and opportunities for our people.
Our award winning vacation scheme is designed for you to experience life as a trainee solicitor in a fast-paced and creative international law firm. You’ll spend two weeks in two different practice areas gaining first-hand experience under the supervision of associates and partners.
Open days 2023
Join us on one of our open days to find out more about the firm. It will be a packed day, during which you’ll be given the chance to learn more about the Firm, attend skills sessions to help you with your vacation scheme applications and take part in a commercial business game.
To be eligible to attend you must be a penultimate year lawyer or non-law finalist as this open day will be focussed on our vacation scheme opportunities.
First year opportunities
Join us on our Trailblazing First Year Insight Scheme on 17 and 18 April 2023, to find out why we're a law firm for the game-changers; the smart thinkers and the ground-breakers. The deadline to apply is 1 February 2023.
The two day scheme, based in our London office, will provide you with the chance to learn more about the Firm, network and shadow senior lawyers and trainees, take part in a group commercial exercise and attend social events with your cohort. You'll not only gain experience in two different practice areas but gain skills and have a one to one session with a member of the Early Talent team to support you with the next step of your journey.
To be eligible to attend you must be a your first year of your degree (any discipline), as this scheme will be focused on finding out more about Taylor Wessing to prepare you for our vacation scheme opportunities in 2024/2025. To apply, please see here.
Solicitor apprenticeship programme 2023
Are you currently studying your A-levels or equivalent and interested in an Solicitor apprenticeship? Our six-year apprenticeship programme has been designed to help you hit the ground running from day one. You'll work towards an LLB (Hons) Law degree and a Solicitor Level 7 Apprenticeship. Each week you'll spend four days working in a practice area on client cases, with one day studying with our training provider, University of Law (ULaw).
We look for individuals who're on track for a minimum of AAB (or equivalent) in their A-levels and have a minimum of seven GCSEs at grade 6 or above including Maths and English.
Applications open on 1 March 2023 and close on 1 April 2023. For more information and to apply please visit https://www.taylorwessing.com/en/careers/united-kingdom/students-and-graduates/solicitor-apprenticeship-programme.
Pro bono initiatives
Being involved in pro bono work gives us the opportunity to help those who would otherwise not be able to gain access to justice.
It’s something we encourage everyone to do. It helps us take a step back from our complex international transactions and witness the impact the law has on the lives of people in our local community.
We support numerous individuals and organisations each year including the Mary Ward Legal Advice Centre where we provide weekly advice which all of our trainees are involved in, Founding firm of Lawyers Volunteering for the Arts and the British Fashion Council. Additionally, we are panel members of the Human Dignity Trust. Additionally, we are panel members of the Human Dignity Trust.Diversity & Inclusion Creating an inclusive working environment and recognising the value diversity brings to the firm is key to our people strategy at Taylor Wessing; it's what makes Taylor Wessing a great place to work. Diversity in all professions is very important and the legal profession is no exception. The end goal for any firm is to create and maintain a supportive environment for everyone regardless of their background, culture or lifestyle. Our trainees are involved in shaping out culture through our inclusion networks. These cover: gender balance, LGBT+ inclusion, racial equality, social mobility and physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Balance in Business
Gender balance is one of our strategic inclusion priorities. Our goal is to achieve better gender balance in our partnership and in leadership roles across the firm. Our Gender Plan seeks to optimise talent retention, promote modern working practices and enhance our clients’ experience. Like all strategically important projects, our UK executive board reviews progress to ensure we're achieving our goals. We exceeded 25% female partnership in May 2021 and continue to focus on the gender balance of our talent pipeline. Our Balance in Business Network works to ensure we level the playing field so gender isn't a factor for career success. We host discussions and client round tables on issues that challenge expectation, the network sponsored the unveiling of a new piece of artwork at the Supreme Court celebrating 100 years of women in law.
Cultural Diversity Network
Racism and racial injustice have no place in our world. Increasing the representation of people from minority ethnic groups at Taylor Wessing is our second strategic inclusion priority. We all play a crucial role in making progress and we launched our dedicated Race and Ethnicity strategy in 2020. Our cultural diversity network creates a safe space to learn from each other and celebrate our different cultures. It works to encourage more individuals from diverse backgrounds to enter into the legal sector and remove any barriers they face to achieve their goals and aspirations.
Our commitment to working with Rare enables us to find more and better ways to overcome racial injustice. It's through working closely together, we can continue to challenge the prejudice and privilege which prevent us reaching our goal of a fairer and more equal society.
We're committed to providing a workplace where your talent can flourish and you can be yourself, no matter your sexual orientation or gender identify. Our LGBT+ and allies network, equaliTW, was our first employee network and exists to promote LGBT+ inclusion. They run a dedicated programme of support and initiatives throughout the year, helping our people learn more about key issues affecting LGBT+ people in the workplace and wider community. We support Opening Doors London and established the Freehold network for the property sector in 2011. We're a Stonewall Top 100 Employer for the third year in a row and in the top 10 law firms on the list.
Maintaining a positive approach to physical and mental wellbeing is of huge importance to us. Central to this is a commitment to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health and disabilities. Our network helps to raise awareness of visible and invisible disabilities, creating an accessible and safe working environment and promotes wellbeing initiatives as a way of preventing the onset of physical and mental health conditions.
The network hosts regular sleep clinics, yoga classes, lunchtime learning with qualified doctors and psychologists as well as the support of over 65 mental health champions and first aiders. Everyone has access to the Headspace app. Our onsite GP and inhouse counselling service provide invaluable support. In November 2019, we won the best new entrant category for the FT and Vitality's Britain's Healthiest Workplace for medium-sized companies.
Social Mobility Network
Our social mobility network works to improve access to the legal profession through school and student outreach. Your potential, ability and talent – not your socio-economic background or schooling – determines your success at Taylor Wessing.
We open up opportunities in the legal sector and make talented people of all backgrounds feel welcome, along with supporting a number of powerful initiatives. We've recently signed up as a partner of the 93% Club. We're proud of all of our Social Mobility programmes and the impact they have on participants and our business. By supporting the 93% Club we hope to make our talent even more diverse, build their confidence, increase their knowledge of the range of careers in an international law firm and inspire them to reach their full potential. Find out more at taylorwessing.com/responsible-business
Our climate is in crisis. We must act now to cut greenhouse gas emissions and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. "Acting sustainably, together" Outlines our journey to becoming net zero by 2030. Our people, teamwork and clients are fundamental to achieving our goal. We're advocating for the use of technology to accelerate decarbonisation.
Stage one is to be carbon neutral in our operations by 2023. That means reducing emissions within our direct control and responsibly offsetting those we can't. Being net zero is more challenging, meaning eliminating or offsetting emissions produced as a result of all our business activities, including our supply chain. We're determined to achieve our goal and as a trainee you can drive change through involvement in our sustainability network. We've been passionate about sustainability for many years Find out about our progress: www.taylorwessing.com/sustainability.
As a trainee you can drive change through being involved in our sustainability network.
Not every candidate’s achievements look the same on paper. That’s why we use Rare Recruitment's Contextual Recruitment System to consider every student's achievements in context, helping to identify those with the greatest potential, from all backgrounds.
We have an open dialogue around disabilities from the start; whether it’s discussing concerns about the recruitment process or our working environment. We partner with MyPlus consulting to make disability confidence part of our student recruitment strategy, beginning with attracting candidates, through to assessment and onboarding.
To provide opportunities for students from under-represented groups, we partner with Aspiring Solicitors (AS). As a result, we’re delighted that 50% of our training contract hires have made to AS members for the past two years. Each year we host events in collaboration with Aspiring Solicitors, share our success stories with other firms and take part in the professional ambassadors' programme which allows students to speak first-hand to our lawyers. Most recently, we have collaborated with Aspiring Solicitors on BASS, a Black Aspiring Solicitors Mentoring Scheme.
We are also partner members of myGwork, a business community for LGBT+ professionals, graduates, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality.
Additionally, one of our partners is the founding member of freehold – the first network to support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) professionals working in the real estate industry.
Finally, we are a Stonewall Top 100 employer.Social MobilityWe also support inclusive initiatives through partnerships with 93% Club, 30% Club, Future First and PRIME.
This Firm's Rankings in
UK Guide, 2023
- Intellectual Property (Band 2)
- Banking & Finance: Borrowers: Lower Mid-Market (Band 2)
- Construction: Non-contentious (Band 4)
- Corporate/M&A: £100-800 million (Band 3)
- Employment: Employer (Band 4)
- Information Technology & Outsourcing (Band 3)
- Intellectual Property (Band 2)
- Intellectual Property: Law Firms With Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys Spotlight
- Intellectual Property: Patent Litigation (Band 2)
- Planning (Band 5)
- Professional Negligence (Band 2)
- Real Estate Litigation (Band 4)
- Real Estate: £150 million and above (Band 4)
- Data Protection & Information Law (Band 4)
- Defamation/Reputation Management (Band 2)
- Employee Share Schemes & Incentives (Band 4)
- Fraud: Civil (Band 4)
- Hotels & Leisure (Band 2)
- Life Sciences: IP/Patent Litigation (Band 2)
- Life Sciences: Regulatory (Band 2)
- Life Sciences: Transactional (Band 3)
- Media & Entertainment: Games, Interactive Entertainment & Social Media (Band 3)
- Media & Entertainment: Publishing (Band 1)
- Private Equity: Buyouts: Up to £500 million (Band 3)
- Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment (Band 1)
- Product Liability: Mainly Defendant (Band 4)
- Professional Discipline (Band 3)
- Real Estate Finance (Band 3)