I was attracted to DLA Piper as it is unique in being a firm with both a national and truly international presence across many sectors. I had a personal desire to work in Manchester, and felt that DLA Piper was best placed to allow me to experience the highest quality of work in the city, coupled with opportunities to practice law across a variety of sectors and regions.
Having engaged with DLA Piper, who were a sponsor of my university law society, at campus events during the third year of my undergraduate law degree, I applied for a Summer Internship at DLA Piper’s Manchester office in January 2016. Fortunately, the Summer Internship was a success, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the firm, one with the Employment team, the other with the Restructuring team, and following the internship, I was offered a Training Contract beginning August 2018.
My first two seats have been in the Real Estate and Restructuring teams where I have found the work to be quite different, albeit equally enjoyable across both. The Real Estate team typically handle large portfolio work and this can include day to day management, sales, acquisitions, leases or refinancing. The Restructuring team by its very nature typically work with distressed businesses be that advising the company itself on the restructuring process, or advising insolvency practitioners, accountants and funders. My day-to-day tasks in both teams have involved a significant amount of drafting, with first turns of transaction documents a standard trainee task. This drafting work is generally mixed in with some due diligence work, file management tasks, such as updating the client as to the progress of a particular deal, co-ordinating completions and post-completion tasks. If I was to pick out one highlight from each seat, in Real Estate it would be working on a project in which the Real Estate team, along with members of our Corporate team, helped a client purchase a large portfolio of care homes in a very short period of time, it was an intense working period given the time restrictions and size of the transaction undertaken. In Restructuring, early in my seat I was involved in a pre-pack administration of a manufacturing business in which the Manchester and London Restructuring teams worked to save thousands of jobs, this I found to be a particularly rewarding experience.
The training programme for trainees in each seat at DLA Piper is thorough and practical. Generally, there is a full day of training in each seat and occasional lunchtime sessions thereafter, most of which are given by fee earners across the national team. In addition, the graduate recruitment team organises our SRA compulsory training which includes a two week induction before the first seat and a week long course in the second seat.
The training programme organised by the graduate recruitment team on in the two week induction is exceptional. The day sessions are filled with interesting internal and external speakers, and there is a real focus on making it both enjoyable and educational. A real highlight of the second week is when the UK trainees are joined by our counterparts from both Hong Kong and Australia, you very quickly recognise how wide reaching the DLA Piper family is and the opportunity to forge relationships and friendships with colleagues across the world is hugely rewarding.
The nature of the job is that there is the occasional late night and long day, but everyone across each team in the office is supportive and happy to answer any questions you may have as a junior member of the team. Typically with the work we undertake, a number of teams in the office will be engaged on the same project. Every individual in the office is approachable and willing to help. Having such a great network of knowledge and enthusiasm is a relief when the work begins to stack up or something particularly challenging comes across your desk.
Away from day-to-day tasks, the Manchester office has a very active social committee which typically organises an office wide event each month. These have included a private screening of the new Lion King film, a games night with consoles ranging from a Commodore 64 to the latest Virtual Reality headsets and a bingo night (which was surprisingly much more fun than I imagined it would be!)
DLA Piper is an energetic and interesting place to work, there is very rarely a “typical” day in the office. As we operate on a One-UK basis, there really are opportunities to get involved with work across a variety of sectors and offices. Even in my short time with the firm, I have been fortunate enough to work alongside colleagues in each of the UK offices and work on projects across a variety of jurisdictions including in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.