Ince & Co
Maritime couldn’t be more deeply ingrained within Ince & Co. The firm's eleven international offices cast a wide net, serving global clients in shipping, international trade, energy, insurance and aviation.
Quirky, friendly, good work/life balance.
- Varied and interesting work
- Trainees often work directly with partners
- Reasonable working hours
- High level of camaraderie between the trainees
- Excellent reputation in maritime law
- Little communication about partnership decisions
- Sometimes conservative and old-school attitudes
- Not always knowing where your work is coming from
Training Contract: We pride ourselves on our training contract. It’s different to most law firms’, not least in the results – the majority of our partners trained here. Spending six months with four different partners you’ll gain a solid understanding of the breadth of our work. You’ll have the opportunity to get involved in and take responsibility on cases, both big and small – and from initial instruction to conclusion, depending on the length of the case. This is a key feature, and another reason why our programme differs. The cases you work on stay with you throughout your training period, so you’re exposed to a whole range of legal skills in every case you work on. Our open door policy means that, through gaining work from a variety of partners, you’ll be able to grow your experience in the areas you’re particularly interested in. With the emphasis on hands-on experience, you’ll meet clients, deal with counsel, technical experts and opposing lawyers. Not only that, but at Ince you don’t qualify into one particular area. We encourage you to maintain a broad caseload for a period after qualification, developing your expertise in different areas of our practice.
When to Apply: We are currently recruiting on a rolling basis for our 2016 Training
Contract: The deadline for applications is 31 July 2014.
Salary: £36,000 in year one and £38,000 in year two
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Vacation Scheme: Not only is the scheme designed to give you a unique insight into our practice and a taste of what life is like at Ince, it could also be the first step on the road to becoming an Ince trainee. With us, you won’t be confined to just ‘shadowing’ someone. You’ll be encouraged to knock on doors, meet partners and ask for the work you’re interested in. Sitting with a partner, and with an experienced trainee assigned as your ‘minder’, you’ll work on real cases – which may involve attending court and hearings, meeting clients’, drafting correspondence and doing legal research. This is a great step in the early stages of your legal career - and it’s up to you to take it.
When to apply: Between 1 December 2013 and 31 January 2014. We run two Easter placements which we recruit for on a rolling basis.
Salary: £250 per week
Vacancies: Around 10 places
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Ince & Co ranks in the upper echelons of maritime law in the UK. Shipping and trade represent its mainstay practices, but the firm casts a wide net and also serves clients in energy and offshore, insurance and aviation. Ince & Co provides advice to a menagerie of businesses, ranging from international corporations to smaller companies, sole traders and individuals.
Maritime couldn’t be more deeply ingrained within Ince & Co, as even before founding the firm in 1870, Francis Ince was working as a shipping lawyer. The firm expanded from its Victorian roots by employing either family members or those who could provide significant capital. But in 1940 the firm broke with tradition and began hiring new young partners to help expand the business. In keeping with the progressive ethos of the ‘60s, the firm opened its doors to foreign lawyers for the first time. In 1979 the firm cut the ribbon on its first international office in Hong Kong. Singapore followed some time later, in 1991, and the firm has since opened offices in Dubai, Hamburg, Le Havre, Paris, Piraeus, Shanghai, Monaco and most recently Beijing in 2012.
Ince & Co’s structure is a little different from its peers’; instead of splitting lawyers into practice areas, the firm is divided by sectors. In practice, this means any lawyer can be called upon to serve in any area. Consequently, the firm develops generalists rather than individuals pigeonholed into particular specialisms.
Ince & Co’s shipping practice is considered by many as the best in the industry. It handles every aspect of maritime law, including collisions, salvage, charter party, carriage of goods, ship finance, work-out, general average, personal injury, pollution and even piracy. The firm’s second cornerstone practice is insurance and reinsurance, which has built a reputation as one of the strongest in the world. The client base encompasses all manner of insurance buyers, as well as many of the most discerning insurance and reinsurance companies and Lloyd’s syndicates.
Aside from these two heavyweight staples, Ince & Co has a further three practice areas that aren’t to be scoffed at: aviation, energy and offshore, and international trade. Ince & Co holds considerable clout in the aviation legal sector and has become well renowned for having expert knowledge of aviation technology, and an in-depth understanding of the industry and the current commercial issues.
Within its five core business groups the firm handles a wide range of domestic and international matters such as business sale and purchase, design, engineering and construction, D&O liability, financial instruments, fraud, insolvency, bankruptcy, JV and agency agreements, manufacturing and supply contracts, partnerships and shareholders' agreements, product liability, property, technology and telecoms.
In energy - the fastest growing of Ince and Co’s practice areas - the firm’s lawyers have been providing contract drafting and negotiating, asset and project finance, insurance, and dispute resolution for many years. The firm has expertise in various areas, including construction and operation of pipelines, offshore structures, rigs, FPSOs and other vessels, drilling and offshore services, transportation, and refining oil and gas. In looking for evidence of Ince & Co’s prestige, you need look no further than its client list; major names such as Ace Aviation, Gard Services, Nordisk, Transocean and Vitol rank amongst its roster of clients.Read all 687 employee quotes
If you want to join Ince & Co, brace yourself; landing a position at the firm is far from easy and a top degree from a renowned institution is ‘a must’. Current solicitors say that ‘knowing about the firm's ethos, offices and big cases is definitely a bonus’ and that ‘an interest in shipping or insurance would help.’ Candidates need to demonstrate confidence, ambition and commercial awareness, and ‘fluency in a language of one of the foreign offices is a definite plus’. Top-drawer communication skills are also helpful. As one solicitor puts it, ‘Ince looks for independent thinkers who are also able to work well in a team.’
Ince & Co takes pride in its training programme which is refreshingly different from most other law firms. There are no specific departments so trainees do four six-month seats sitting with different partners, but take work from any of the firm’s groups – shipping, energy and offshore, insurance and aviation. Trainees can take their work with them and continue to work on the same cases once they move seats. This means that it is much more flexible and you are free to ‘pursue the work that interests you’, working for a range of people throughout the two years.
The recruitment process is pretty straightforward. After submitting an online application, candidates can expect a brief interview with HR and will need to complete an in-tray exercise and two written tests. This will be followed by the main interview with two partners. The interview can be quite lengthy and is comprised of questions designed to see how you react and think. There will also be a discussion of the earlier in-tray exercise. Interviews are generally described by solicitors as being fair, informal and a ‘fairly low stress experience’. However, be prepared to think on your feet, show initiative, deliver your answers decisively and then justify them.
There is only one vacation scheme availiable at Ince & Co, and it runs for two weeks during the Easter holidays. With only ten places to fill in total, you’re right to think that it’s going to be tough to snap one up. However, if you’re successful in securing a place, you can expect to sit with a partner and work on live cases, which could even involve attending client meetings, hearings and going to court.
While you’ll get a chance to delve into some real legal work, you will also be able to tour the Royal Courts of Justice and go to in-house lectures. Applications are open between1st December 2013 and 31st January 2014, so make sure you don't miss out!
Ince & Co Graduate Recruitment Info
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013
Trainee Recruitment Placement Scheme: 31st January 2014
No. of lawyers firm-wide: 245
No. of lawyers in London: 108
London Partners: 58
London Senior Associates: 20
London Trainee intake: Up to 15
London Trainees retained: 93% (2011)
Approx. no. of applications per year: 1,000
INCE & CO: 2014 LAW RANKINGS
# 8 in Top 50 Law Firms (7.38/10)
# 1 in Pro Bono (8.97/10)
# 4 in Offices & Dress (8.72/10)
# 8 in Level of Stress (6.07/10)
# 9 in Diversity (7.93/10)
# 9 in Formal Training (8.29/10)
# 10 in Interview Process (7.6/10)
# 13 in Green Initiatives (6.62/10)
# 14 in Hours (7.06/10)
# 14 in Salary (7.55/10)
# 15 in Informal Training & Mentoring (7.69/10)
1st year trainee: £36,000
2nd year trainee: £39,500
Newly Qualified: £58,000
1 year PQE: £64,960
2 years PQE: £69,020
3 years PQE: £76,125
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Energy & Offshore
Insurance & Reinsurance
Ince has a reputation for being a good place to work and this is certainly true. The partners are approachable and will sit and discuss any issues you may have. Monthly office drinks are a good way for people to get to know one another in an informal environment. Most of the trainees meet whilst studying for the LPC so they already have a close bond, and this continues throughout the training contract. Both years tend to socialise together and the result is a good sense of camaraderie.First year trainee, LondonHelpful?
Taxis, good flexible benefits scheme, pension (but not available to those seconded to the international offices!).Newly qualified solicitor, LondonHelpful?
There are recycling paper bins in the office, and recycling bins in the kitchens.First year trainee, LondonHelpful?
Retention rates are historically high at Ince.First year trainee, LondonHelpful?
1 St Katharine's Way
London E1W 1AY
Tel: +44 (0) 20 7481 0010
No. of worldwide offices: 11