Taylor Wessing was the product of the merger between the UK's Taylor Joynson Garrett and German firm Wessing in September 2002.
A client roster including such names as Spotify, Google, Hotel du Vin, Malmaison and Louis Vuitton speaks for itself. Obviously the technology clientele filter through to other parts of the firm. 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. Real estate is also an area of the firm that's doing well.
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.
Sources at the firm say it is "genuinely collegiate (more so than any of the other firms I've worked at)." Although, some areas of the firm are clearly happier than others, with one 5 year qualified solicitor reporting that in particular departments "a lot of associates have left recently".
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".
One female senior associate complained in the RollOnFriday Firm of the Year survey, "It is run by an Old School Men's Network. No female senior management, no female role models, all female partners are in the bottom 6 (out of 15) equity bands, the female partner target of 25% was determined without discussions with the female partners". She added, "some of the most sexist partners are those in senior management who think nothing of patronising and belittling their junior (usually female) associates". Ouch.
As for prospects, one partner enthused that "internal promotions are good (after a fallow period)". Although this is at odds with a more junior member of staff commenting that "2 out of 3 of last year's promotions were recent laterally hired associates."
There are positive comments about the firm. In the survey, an associate said "the powers that be communicate the strategy well" and that the firm was "friendly and engaging". Another associate felt that they had a better deal than their chums at larger firms: "It seems like everyone at a magic circle or US firm hates their life and gets their sole comfort in life from saying how miserable they are. I genuinely like my working life..." There are also other advantages to not joining the largest firms in the City, as noted by one associate who said "there's a feeling that anything you suggest will be considered, it's quite entrepreneurial in that respect."
A senior associate agreed that there is "Clear direction" and "Some good practice areas". And a partner pointed out that TW, which sponsors the photography prizes at the National Portrait Gallery, also boasts the "best pics in the lobby".
With 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 female partners. And providing the market remains strong - the firm axed a raft of assistants during the last recession.