The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
From its single office in central London, Bates Wells Braithwaite handles market-leading third sector work, representing a huge swathe of charities and public sector clients. This focus is supplemented by the firm’s busy commercial, employment and real estate departments. Bates Wells Braithwaite employs over 30 partners and more than 100 lawyers in total.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Brand management; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial contracts; Commercial property: general; Education: institutions; Education: schools; Electoral; Employment: employers; Employment: senior executives; Immigration: business; Immigration: human rights, appeals and overstay; Local government; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Partnership; Professional discipline; Property litigation; Reputation management.
Defended The Sunday Times and two journalists in libel and malicious falsehood claims brought by Peter Cruddas; advised the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in connection with a complaint made against a high-profile political figure, which involved potential criminal and civil proceedings; assisted with Bromley College and Greenwich College’s merger; advised the English National Opera on the removal of its chief executive and also negotiated the departure of its artistic director; acted for the Advertising Standards Authority in defending a judicial review application by UK Services Support.
ActionAid; the British Film Institute; Caffe Nero; Endemol; Euromoney Institutional Investor; Nikon UK; the Royal College of Nursing; the Royal Society of Arts; Thomson Directories; University of the Arts London.
With a ‘strong social ethos’ and an emphasis on ‘client contact’, Bates Wells Braithwaite is a ‘growing’ City firm with considerable ‘scope for future expansion and success’ in the market. The firm is a ‘socially responsible business’ at the cutting edge of developments in the charity and social enterprise sector. Trainees are given the opportunity to specialise and pursue their own areas of ‘personal interest’ such as faith-based, environment, technology and education. They are immersed in ‘diverse work’ and are rewarded with ‘high levels of responsibility’ and ‘quality training’. The firm provides a ‘welcoming atmosphere’ where trainees will gain hands-on experience taking ‘genuinely interesting’ projects through to completion. While ‘late hours’ are inevitable on important cases, and one respondent reported working late for ‘three weeks straight’, the firm ‘strives to maintain a healthy work/life balance’ as it recognises that trainees have a life ‘beyond the walls of the office’. ‘Public interest’ and ‘common good’ are at the heart of BWB’s work, and the firm offers newcomers ‘lots of high-quality client-based work’. Top first-year trainee moments include: ‘taking the lead on running a significant case for an important client’, ‘tabling an amendment in parliament and having it discussed in the House of Lords’ and ‘receiving praise for work’. The supervisors are both ‘encouraging and supportive’ and there isn’t a shortage of ‘inspiring people’ to work with. For the staff at BWB, it is ‘more than a job – people here really believe in making a positive impact on society’. Those looking for ‘excellent client contact’ at a socially responsible firm should further research the Bates Wells Braithwaite training contract.
A day in the life of...
Alex Jameson second-year trainee, Bates Wells Braithwaite
Departments to date: Dispute resolution, corporate and commercial, employment, charity and social enterprise, real estate
9.00am: I arrive in the office and settle down at my desk to check my emails while I eat breakfast. Coffee, croissant and tangerine-esque orange variant. Breakfast of champions. The office is open plan with a large kitchen and atrium in the middle where colleagues often meet through the day to catch up.
9.20am: A calendar entry pops up to remind me to undertake a weekly case-law check. A judgment has come in on a Court of Appeal case I was monitoring, so I prepare a note of the salient points to discuss with my supervisor.
9.30am: The team has a catch up each week to find out what our colleagues are working on and where assistance is needed. This is my opportunity to get involved in various matters.
10.00am: A partner has a conference with counsel this morning. I prepared the instructions so have been asked to come and take a note. After some final preparation, we take a taxi to the Strand for a pre-meeting and coffee with the client we’d been corresponding with as I put together the instructions. It was great to meet the client face to face.
12.00pm: The conference went well and we are back in the office. I’m told the note isn’t urgent, but the partner would like me to draft a letter to the other side based on counsel’s advice regarding their withholding documents, so I get to work on that. Buoyed by leading counsel’s advice, I come up with something quite robust and send it on for review.
1.00pm: It’s a nice day, so instead of heading up to our roof terrace a few of us make the short stroll across Southwark Bridge and pick up lunch at Borough Market.
2.00pm: I pop over to my supervisor’s desk to discuss the case update. They would like me to type up a note to send around the department that we can then send to our clients.
2.30pm: I begin typing up the note from this morning, but get interrupted by an urgent email. We have been bringing a high-profile class action on behalf of some 80 individuals, and the other side has applied to court to extend a deadline. After a brief discussion with the partner I get to work on drafting a response objecting to the application which is great exposure for me as a trainee.
3.00pm: Coffee. We have IPad coffee machines in the office. Back to that letter.
3.30pm: The partner and I discuss my letter and we share thoughts on tactics. After a few minor tweaks, I send it to court and other parties, along with an update to the clients.
4.00pm: I complete a couple of short research tasks for solicitors in the department, and find time to finish my note of the morning’s conference. I spend the rest of the afternoon working on a pro bono matter. We are encouraged to pursue work that is of particular interest to us and are given the time and support to do this. BWB is a B Corporation, an independently-awarded certification which recognises that the firm values people and the community as much as it does making a profit. This particular matter is a review of a music publishing agreement for a songwriter. One of the recently qualified solicitors, acting as my mentor, has agreed to check my work and we review. There are a few things I’d missed, but nothing fundamental and it’s all part of my training.
6.00pm: I check the week’s tasks are all done and dusted, and type up a list of things I need to do next week.
6.30pm: It is Friday. A group of us head to the pub and enjoy the rest of the evening.
About the firm
Address:10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE
Telephone: 020 7551 7777
Managing partner : Martin Bunch
Who we are: BWB is a City law firm servicing a wide range of commercial and statutory organisations, charities and social enterprises. BWB is the first UK law firm to certify as a B Corp.
What we do: BWB has one of the leading charity and social enterprise teams in the country, along with a fast-growing corporate and commercial practice. Our clients include third-sector organisations, commercial organisations, regulators and individuals.
What we are looking for: The firm is looking for trainees with not only an excellent academic record and the ability to communicate clearly and effectively, but most importantly it is looking for trainees who positively want to join a firm such as Bates Wells Braithwaite.
What you'll do:Two six-month seats in the first year and three four-month seats in the second year. The firm runs a programme of internal seminars specifically addressed to trainees and operates a mentoring scheme.
Perks: These include a firm pension scheme with match funding provided; profit-sharing scheme; interest-free season ticket loan; permanent health insurance; subsidised gym memberships; wellbeing weeks and classes; cycle to work scheme; volunteering scheme; introducer schemes (client and recruitment); option to purchase additional leave.
Sponsorship:The firm will provide full financial support for both the GDL and LPC course. Fees will only be paid for courses that commence after the offer of a training contract has been made.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 6
Applications received pa: 750
Percentage interviewed: 5%
First year: £34,000
Second year: £36,000
Newly qualified: £57,000
Total partners: 34
Apply to:Hayley Ferraro, senior graduate recruitment and HR advisor.
When to Apply:By June 2017 for 2019 contracts.
Apply by January 2017.
Apply by January 2017.