Back to overview

Meet the recruiter

Georgie Lewis

Georgie Lewis

Based in Bristol, Georgie Lewis (she/her) is recruitment business partner at Michelmores LLP.

What are the most enjoyable aspects of recruiting?

I love running assessment days, watching candidates going through the recruitment process and giving it their all to try to get a training contract. It’s exciting to meet people who’ll be the future of the firm.

Another enjoyable part of the job is meeting with managing and senior partners at the firm to talk through our trainee strategy. There’s real buy-in from the top into our focus on early careers, which shows that everyone across the firm is interested in the training programme and equally invested in finding and retaining the best talent.

When does your firm run vacation schemes? Will it be in person or virtual?

We run two, one-week vacation schemes in the summer, in Bristol and Exeter. In 2023, the scheme was a mixture of in-person and virtual, with four days in the office and one day working from home to complete the assessment days. We had feedback that candidates enjoyed completing the assessments and interviews from the comfort of their own home, but we also wanted them to get a feel for the firm’s culture by spending time in the office.

What kind of work do candidates experience during the vacation scheme?

The vac schemers are sat in a team and complete specific tasks for that team. These tasks won’t be assessed and are general pieces of work so that the vac schemer can get insights into exactly what that department does.

There’s also a group exercise to work on throughout the week and present back on at the end. Our vacation scheme includes assessments during the week so that we can offer vac schemers training contracts at the end.

You also get plenty of opportunity to hear about what’s going on in other parts of the firm, network and meet our trainees alongside our managing partner. We make sure you get to know us as much as you can during the week so you can make an informed decision about whether Michelmores is somewhere you’d like to start and grow your career.

How important is your vacation scheme as part of the recruitment process?

When applications open in October, you’ll be able to apply for our spring assessment day, our vacation scheme or our summer assessment day. It’s completely up to you if you choose to do the vacation scheme to get increased exposure to the firm, or if you go straight for the assessment day. We don’t have a set target of how many training contracts are offered from the vacation scheme or direct training contract applications. On average, we offer approximately 70% of our vac schemers training contracts.

Does your firm run an assessment centre?

Our separate assessment centres take place over two half days. There are a series of exercises, including a group exercise, written exercise, verbal reasoning assessment and an article discussion, which is focused around demonstrating commercial awareness. Finally, there’s an interview with a partner and someone from HR. If you’re doing the vacation scheme, these assessments will take place throughout the week.

We make sure that before you come for your assessment centre you can speak to myself or someone in HR about the day, how it works, the specific assessments and what we’re looking for to help you prepare. We know these days can seem very daunting for candidates, so we want to support you as much as possible to perform your best.

What key skills does your firm look for in candidates when they apply?

We want trainees who have diversity of thought – not just carbon copies of trainees we’ve had before. We want people coming in, challenging the way we’re doing things and looking for improvements to help us on our growth journey. This is how we’re going to move forward and continue being successful. Individuality and finding people who embody our culture and values are core criteria we look for in candidates – we recruit to retain and want to find individuals with the potential to be our future leaders.

What is the most common way that candidates let themselves down in their applications?

One obvious way is failing to check for simple spelling and grammar mistakes. We see candidates spelling the firm name wrong all the time – or even putting the wrong firm’s name! You should also make sure your application isn’t generic. We know you’re not applying to just one organisation, but we want to feel that you’ve taken the time to research who we are and what we do and that you’re passionate about joining us. You can’t do this if you submit too many applications in one round.

At Michelmores, we want you to be yourself through the application process. In our last cycle we noticed that candidates who were fantastic in their written applications were then stunting their answers at interview by thinking they should use a particular type of language or trying to quote our website. It’s ok to be yourself throughout the application and interview process. We want people to be different!

Should candidates draw on their non-legal work experiences when applying to your firm?

Absolutely! Any work experience is good work experience, including extracurricular activities. There’ll be value in all your experiences – a lesson you’ve learnt or a behaviour you’ve developed. If you’ve worked in a shop there are lots of skills you’ll have demonstrated that are transferable in a legal role such as communication, teamwork, and serving and identifying customer needs. 

What key things about your firm should any good candidate know and be able to talk about?

You should understand who we are as an organisation and what we do. For example, our practice areas, position in the market or even basic things like where we’re located.

We’re really impressed by those candidates who can talk about our culture and values and how it aligns to your own values and morals, as this showcases a real desire to join us. We also want to hear that people have an awareness of our Destination 2030 strategy, and what this might mean for us as a firm and for them if they were to join us. It's as important to understand where we’ve come from as it is to understand where we’re heading.

How is the firm adopting the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE)?

Our first trainee cohort will train through the SQE route in 2024. We’ll continue to sponsor for the completion of the SQE and provide a bursary to support people financially while they study. We’re asking candidates to complete their SQE upfront before joining the firm, and then undertake their two years’ qualifying work experience with us. This’ll be a similar format to the training contract where candidates will complete four six-month seats around the business. We think it’s beneficial to gain a breadth of knowledge while training as this leads to better future solicitors.

We’ve also launched our graduate solicitor apprenticeship, which offers an alternative route to qualification for university graduates. This programme allows you to work, earn and learn at the same time. This is another great way to qualify if you want to get into the workplace sooner and start earning a salary.

How important is diversity and inclusion (D&I) to your firm?

At Michelmores, we believe our strength lies in valuing people as individuals and sustaining a culture where inclusion and a sense of belonging are paramount. Our approach to inclusion focuses on understanding our impact in terms of our people, our planet, the communities we work in and the clients we support.

At an early careers level there’s a particular focus on social mobility and accessibility to law. We want to ensure people from all backgrounds can succeed at Michelmores.  

We use scenario and strength-based questions to ensure all candidates have an equal opportunity to be successful in our recruitment process. We focus on a candidate's potential, as opposed to their actual experience, as we know some people may find it easier to get work experience placements than others. We’ve already seen greater diversity in our trainee cohort because of this and will continue to review our assessments moving forward.

We've launched our Momentum programme in partnership with VisionPath, re-launched our work experience programmes, participated in the nationwide #10000BlackInterns initiative, joined a diversity graduate recruitment company, plus so much more. We’ve also had our first cohort of graduate solicitor and school leaver legal apprentices join us in 2023.

More generally, we've implemented gender neutral policies, introduced wellbeing and menopause champions, and have been working on creating a more inclusive environment. We listen to employees through a firm survey and focus groups, and discussed inclusion and belonging as part of our annual general meeting. We’ve exceeded our female partnership target and launched our LGBTQ+ network this year. We’ve also made D&I a core part of our Destination 2030 strategy through our culture pillar.

Does your firm attend university law fairs in the autumn term? What is your main objective when you go to a law fair?

We’ve signed up for a few careers fairs and are excited to get back to meeting students in person again. Our main objective is to help graduates understand the different routes to qualification and support them to choose the right option for them, while also showcasing Michelmores and the opportunities we have available. We believe Michelmores is a fantastic firm to train in, we want more people to know us and hopefully apply to work with us.

What’s your favourite TV show?

My current favourite is Lincoln Lawyer – I know I’m very behind the hype on this but we only just discovered it and I can’t wait to see how season two finishes. There better be another series!