What you need to know about… Pinsent Masons

December 9, 2021

4 min read

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An intro to the firm

A merger between national firms Pinsents and Masons in 2004, and then subsequent merger with Scottish firm McGrigors in 2012, led to the creation of Pinsent Masons as it is today; an international law firm with 25 offices globally, operating across 4 continents. Expanding further, the firm opened a new office in the Netherlands earlier this year. Pinsent Masons has a strong presence in the UK, with offices in cities such as London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Aberdeen, Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The firm has a fairly large intake of 68 trainees across these offices per year. Innovative, international and sector-based can describe the firm, as it has a strong reputation for being at the forefront of innovation. Having a sectoral approach means that work within the firm is grouped into industries rather than practice areas, so the firm can provide a range of legal services to clients. As the firm’s Senior Partner Richard Foley points out, 90% of the firm’s revenue is from clients in five sectors: infrastructure, financial services, real estate, energy and technology and science.

Its key strengths

Pinsent Masons ranks well in Chambers UK rankings, being highly regarded in each of its sectors, particularly for its top-quality planning and construction work. The firm is no stranger to awards, from being awarded Most Innovative Law Firm In Europe 2020 by the Financial Times, to Law firm of the year 2019 by Legal Business. The firm is consistently ranked highly as a Stonewall Top Global Employer, being recognised in Stonewall’s Top Global Employers Index for the fifth year in a row in 2020.

Pinsent Masons has strong relationships with its clients, including names such as E.ON UK, which has appointed the firm as its’ “sole adviser” until 2023. Other clients include leading names such as Rolls Royce, Matalan and Laura Ashley. Looking further afield, the firm won Belt and Road Deal of the Year and Overseas Deal of the Year awards at the China Business Law Awards this year. This was awarded for the firm’s work on the Red Sea Tourism Mega Project in Saudi Arabia, and work on Mexico City’s Subway Line Construction Project. Factors considered when awarding this was complexity of the deal, overall significance and innovative nature. It is the fifth consecutive year the firm has won the award; it is therefore an award to be proud of.

Training, training, training...

The training at Pinsent Masons can be described as being full of opportunities, well-supported and modern.

Regarding opportunities for trainees, client secondments are fairly common, and around 15% of trainees have completed one. These have been undertaken by trainees at companies such as Google, AXA and Heathrow Airport for example. The firm offers a variety of seats, including areas such as commercial litigation, intellectual property, energy, construction and environment to name a few. Trainees work within four different departments over the course of a two-year traineeship. In terms of pro-bono opportunities, Pinsent Masons works with various charities and organisations. Starfish in the city is the firm’s corporate responsibility programme, with the focus being on “inspiring young lives”. The firm has launched a Reconciliation Action Plan in Australia, which focuses on empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to reach their academic potential. Pinsent Masons has also worked with the human rights charity Amicus, and the WE Charity, which supports communities in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The firm supports trainees well, having a Spark Board that individuals can join. This group was created to promote inclusivity of thought, with the firm describing the aim of the Spark Board as being to “support an inclusive approach to strategic decision-making”. The firm also has a variety of networks that trainees can choose to join, including the Faith, Race, Ethnicity and Equality Network, Disability and Wellbeing Group, and LGBT+ Network to name a handful.

The firm is modern and innovative, being hot on legal tech. Pinsent Masons uses TermFrame ERA, an in-house platform to review documents, which is much more efficient than manually reviewing them. Smartdelivery allows the firm to automate documents, and has saved around 25% of costs for the firm’s clients, saving 11,000 hours per year. The firm also plans to further its contract review system, working with a legal tech startup called Genie AI. This focus on developing the use of technology is part of what makes the firm so innovative, and through automating the more mundane procedures, trainees can be better involved in more hands-on tasks. The firm also operates Vario, which flexibly offers professional services to clients, including work such as legal project management and diversity and inclusion consultancy for example. Vario is part of what makes Pinsent Masons unique; it is described by the firm as being “the leading global provider of flexible law firm-led solutions”, and some future trainees gain experience by working on Vario projects before beginning their training contracts.

Report written by Rowenna Allen

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