Law: A-Z of Employers - Lovell White Durrant

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Age: Prior to mergers, it's 100 years old.

History: The firm was formed in 1988 by the merger of two major City firms: first, Lovell, White & King - which had a large, broadly-based, international corporate practice and was founded in 1899 - and second, Durrant Piesse, a smaller firm known for its banking and financial services expertise, which was formed in 1973.

Address: Head office is in Holborn Viaduct, central London. There are also offices in Peking, Brussels, Chicago, Saigon, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York, Paris, Prague, Singapore and Tokyo.

Ambience: Employees are loyal: more than 90 per cent of trainees are still with the firm two years after joining.

Vital statistics: There are more than 1,600 employees globally, including 165 partners and 840 lawyers.

Lifestyle: Trainees have a high chance of getting to work abroad at some stage: six-month secondments to international offices are common. Trainee solicitors are given their own budget for social events, and there's also an intermingling with employees from other law firms. There are plenty of sports teams: football, hockey, netball and squash, among others. The company is keen to provide trainees with the chance to get involved in pro bono work, including opportunities with Voluntary Service Overseas, the homeless, environmental charities and prisoners on Death Row. The banking litigator Ian Gardener, for instance, is currently planning to navigate his way across six countries to raise awareness and money for Motivation, a charity that trains people in developing countries to make and use their own wheelchairs.

Easy to get into? No. The company is hugely popular with applicants, with up to 2,000 applying for 80 contracts. You'll need at least a 2.1, plus good communication skills, a genuine interest in law and business, and plenty of energy, initiative and motivation. There are 70 work experience placements available during the Christmas and summer holidays. Successful applicants get an allowance of pounds 200 a week. For more information, see the company's website:

Glittering alumni: Peter Gerrard CBE, who became the first general counsel of the Stock Exchange; Graham Pimlott, director of Barclays Bank.

Pay: Trainees start on pounds 21,000, which rises to pounds 24,000 after 18 months. There's an annual salary review each May.

Training: Those taken on by the company are put through four six-month "seats" in differing practice areas: there is broad training in corporate and litigation sectors, and there's the opportunity to get experience in banking, intellectual property, mergers and acquisitions, employment, environmental and insolvency cases as well. Trainees also undergo an individual programme of legal training.

Facilities: The staff restaurant is, it seems, about it. But, says a spokesperson, it has just been refurbished with new, tastier menus.

Who's the boss? Senior partner is Andrew Walker; managing partner is Lesley MacDonagh.

Rachelle Thackray