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UK City Firms
Taylor Wessing (London)
Taylor Wessing was the product of the merger between the UK's Taylor Joynson Garrett and German firm Wessing in September 2002.
With over 250 lawyers prior to the merger, TJG was a sizeable enough firm. It made a name for itself with its IP and life sciences work and in this area is pretty much up there at the top of the market with Bristows and Bird & Bird. A client roster including such household names as Kelloggs, Toyota, Pepsi and Haagen-Dazs speaks for itself. There are some cool brands too - Malmaison and Hotel du Vin to name but two. And now there are almost 750 lawyers offering a full service to the above clients and plenty of others besides.
Obviously the technology clientele filter through to other parts of the firm - for example the property team acted for British Airways on the construction of the London Eye. TW also benefits from a respected mid-market corporate practice, specialising in AIM flotations and inward investment from the USA, and has some quirky departments such as private client and advertising and marketing which you don't often find City firms.
As expected for a firm that prides itself on its technology practice, it is pretty forward thinking. Equity is shared out on a merit based system rather than the traditional City lockstep. The firm is keen to stress that it's a gentler approach than the US "eat what you kill" model, and partners are rewarded for overall contribution not just billings, but it's also rumoured to have provoked some division amongst the partnership. Particularly those in Germany, who are appreciably less profitable then their London colleagues and are paid accordingly.
Still, it means that UK partners aren't subbing expensive foreign offices, and it's good news for ambitious young lawyers who will be rewarded for ability rather than the number of years that they have had their knees under the desk. Flexible working is offered when possible and female lawyers are offered courses along the lines of "how to deal with male colleagues who talk over you". Hmmm.
Along with every other City firm, turnover has flattened out over the past couple of years, and in 2009 hit an extremely creditable £178 million, which allowed partners (numbering 288, of whom 146 are on the equity)to pull in a decent wedge, London PEP standing at £455,000. More than you'd make at any other TMT firm, although you'll probably work longer hours for it. You've also got better prospects at the more junior end of the firm too. After several years of hiring trainees it didn't want to keep on at qualification, the firm now seems to have got its house in order and your chances of being offered an NQ place here are as good as at any other firm. Sources tell us that the people are friendly and approachable, too.
With excellent profits, decent salaries and good work TW looks like a good bet. Providing it can get itself into a position where it's making up more women partners. And providing the market remains strong - the firm axed a raft of assistants during the last recession.
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RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Scores
Firm of the year overall score:
Contributory, 6% of salary
For those with 2 years of service or more: 6 weeks at 100%, 20 weeks at 60% and the remainder at statutory rates (a proportion of the enhancement must be paid back if employee leaves within a year)
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Explanation and source of figures
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erm, gym membership subsidised or not?