What does it do?

Pinsent Masons is one of the top 15 law firms in the UK, with half a dozen offices around the country, four bases overseas, and links to a wider spread of firms around the world. It's what's called a full service commercial law firm, with a broad range of specialisms, including energy, finance, construction, government, retail, leisure and technology. Among recent projects, where they've looked after the legal niceties, are two street lighting schemes in London, and a £74m new schools programme in Birmingham. The Pinsent arm of the business has always been confined to the UK and dates back to the 1870s. Masons, a younger firm, brought the international element, with particular strength in the Asia Pacific region, when the two merged in 2004. If some of this sounds a little dry, try reading the firm's magazine, at www.out-law.com, for a taste of its arty, edgier side.

Vital Statistics:

Of the 1,500 staff, including 900 lawyers, all but 60 work in the UK. There are 260 partners.

The office:

The head office, in the City, houses 540 staff. The rest, in declining numbers, work in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Bristol. Abroad, the firm operates in Brussels, Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Is this you?

Around 55 graduates are taken on every year, to work across all practice areas. The firm stresses an openness to both law and non-law graduates, as long as they possess a sharp mind, commercial acumen and strong people skills.

The recruitment process:

Applications, via www.pinsentmasons.com/graduate, are currently being accepted for trainee solicitors to join in September 2008 and March 2009, although 70 per cent of trainees are recruited via the annual summer placement schemes. The assessment process includes two interviews, a group exercise assessment, and preparation of a case study. The two year training period is split into four six-month "seats" in different departments, with constant supervision by senior solicitors. Within this framework, there may be opportunities to be seconded to clients' offices, move offices within the firm or be sent on overseas assignments. In parallel, trainees undergo all the formal elements of solicitor-training, specified by the Law Society.

Top Dollar?

Pay rates are currently under review, but this year's figures for London-based trainees are £28,000 in the first year and £32,000 in the second.

Beam me up Scotty?

The firm sees training as the start of a something longer. Between 80 and 90 per cent of graduate recruits stay on after qualification, progressing to associate, senior associate and, eventually, partner grade.

Who's the boss?

Chris Mullen has been senior partner since July last year. A pensions lawyer by background, he's acted for some of the UK's largest companies and pension schemes.

Little known fact:

Haven't you heard that name Pinsent somewhere before? You have... and the Olympic multi-gold medal rower, Matthew Pinsent, is the great grandson of Richard Pinsent, founder of the Pinsent part of this firm.

Next week: The Police

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