Bates Wells Braithwaite

Bates Wells Braithwaite

Address: 10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 ''The firm's reputation for charity law' 'the interesting and varied client base' 'size of the firm' 'I had a great experience during my vacation scheme - it had the right level of competitiveness and friendliness that would help me strive' 'it is an innovative firm' 'I was already working here as a paralegal and found the work very interesting'
Best thing about the firm? 
 ''The people' 'the opportunities to grow within the firm' 'the amount of client contact' 'good relationships with colleagues, even partners' 'the variety of work and clients' 'the working hours are manageable' 'diverse work' 'more exposure to complex work and being more involved in matters'
Worst thing about the firm? 
 ''The lack of international dimension' 'the increased implementation of over-complicated procedures as the firm grows in size' 'outdated policies that don't reflect what we do in practice or where the firm is going'
Best moment? 
 ''Attending a week-long trial and subsequently winning the case' 'taking the lead on running an important case for a significant client' 'being commended for my work' 'receiving very positive feedback after working on several completions in a very short period'
Worst moment?
 ''The occasional time when I've had to stay late to prepare court bundles' 'uncertainty around qualification prospects' 'receiving negative feedback and not knowing how to respond to it' 'making mistakes''

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Marge Simpson - passionate, friendly, hardworking but also not a pushover

The Verdict

The firm

London-based Bates Wells Braithwaite is renowned for its work in the third sector, representing a huge swathe of charities and public sector clients, some of whom are international. The firm also has strengths in corporate, employment, real estate and immigration law, to name a few. Bates Wells Braithwaite employs more than 100 lawyers in total. 

The star performers

Administrative and public law; Brand management; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial contracts; Commercial property; Education: institutions; Education: schools; Electoral; Employment: employers; Employers: 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; Sport.

The deals

Acted for Hounslow Music Service on the transferral of its music services to an independent charity; assisted Westminster Kingsway and City & Islington Colleges with their merger; advised a charity named Girl Effect on branding, advertising, IP rights and governance matters; acted for former principal of North East Surrey College of Technology (Nescot) Sunaina Mann on a dispute regarding aggregate remuneration; advised 118 Business Information on an agreement to develop a new interactive marketing database for npower.

The clients

Advertising Standards Authority; British Council; Endemol UK; Hillsong Church London; London Metropolitan University; Mulberry School for Girls; National Audit Office; Nikon; Portman Group; Royal College of Nursing.

The Verdict

Bates Wells Braithwaite's 'reputation for charity law' and 'general ethos' continue to be major attractions for trainees. But beyond this well-known specialism, the firm has an 'interesting and varied client base' and offers trainees 'greater exposure to high-level work and more involvement in matters' from the get-go. Recruits can expect to do 'diverse' work in an environment which 'has the right level of competitiveness and friendliness that helps trainees strive', whilst enjoying 'manageable' working hours. A unique 'flightpath approach to training contracts' whereby trainees complete two six-month seats in their first year and three four-month seats in their second year distinguishes the firm from its competitors and 'the opportunity to grow within the firm' made respondents feel valued. A friendly firm, trainees appreciate 'the good relationships with colleagues, including partners' and, more generally, the 'great people'. Whilst there were some complaints about 'the lack of international dimension' and 'over-complicated internal procedures', the firm's 'good size' and 'strong social ethos' seem to compensate somewhat for any shortcomings. Stand-out moments include 'attending a week-long trial and subsequently winning the case' and 'seeing HMRC adopt changes that I had suggested into its own guidance'. In terms of pro bono, Bates Wells Braithwaite is 'very committed to the charity sector' the firm 'runs various outreach programmes and is always open to new ideas' and 'trainees and paralegals are encouraged to volunteer at a local legal advice clinic'. Those wanting to pursue a career in a firm which 'continues to be at the forefront of developments in the charity and social enterprise sector' should consider Bates Wells Braithwaite.

 A day in the life of...

Matthew James second-year trainee, Bates Wells Braithwaite 

Departments to date:  Charity and social enterprise, immigration, public and regulatory, and real estate


9.00am:  I arrive in the office and settle down at my desk to check my emails and update the day's to-do list (making sure I've also had that all-important first coffee of the morning!)

9.15am:  I head over to our atrium where the charity and social enterprise department holds a weekly meeting to discuss capacity and work coming up.

9.35am:  I'm due to head to a client meeting with one of the partners at 10am, so spend some time reading into the matter.

10.00am:  The client has arrived and we meet them in reception. The client wishes to establish a new charity in the wake of a recent humanitarian disaster, so I take a detailed note of the proposed activities of the charity and the advice given in the meeting.

11.30am:  The meeting has ended and the partner tells me that a detailed note of the meeting isn't urgent, but she would like me to draft an email to the client summarising both the advice given and suggested next steps. There has been plenty of client contact throughout my training contract and it is likely that I will be the first point of contact for this client as we work towards a successful registration.

12:30pm:  My supervisor asks me to give a potential new client a call to find out more about the advice he wants. I do so, draft a quick note of the call and update my supervisor. BWB's given me a lot of client-facing responsibilities, which I've enjoyed.

1.00pm:  It's summer, so a few of us head up to the roof terrace to have lunch looking out over the Thames - double-checking the weather forecast before we head up there!

2.00pm:  I am back at my desk promptly as I have a call with a client and need to brief the partner beforehand. We have been advising the client on their submissions to HMRC regarding the human rights impact of the new common reporting standard for certain charitable trusts. I update the partner on my review of the current draft HMRC guidance documents and my proposed improvements. The emphasis on early responsibility was something that attracted me to the firm as I enjoy taking initiative. She agrees with my proposals and we call the client. The client is very happy with our approach and asks us to draft a letter to HMRC.

3.20pm:  On my way back to my desk I catch up with a colleague about BWB's upcoming B Corp reassessment. B Corp certifications are like Fairtrade for businesses - if you pass the assessment, it's a recognition that your business values people, the environment and making a positive impact on society as much as it values making a profit. The assessment is rigorous and needs to be undertaken every two years to ensure we're keeping up standards. I return to drafting the letter.

4.00pm:  An associate asks if I can join them on an urgent call. We pop into one of the 'pods' so we don't interrupt anyone in the open plan office.

5.30pm:  I finish my first draft of the letter and read it through for typos. I draft a covering note for the client and send it to the partner for review.

5.45pm:  I'm a member of the firm's social committee and we have arranged a firm-wide pub quiz for tonight. I double check the questions I have written and head over to the venue to set up for a 6.00pm start. The firm embraces the opportunities to get all colleagues together for social events.

About the firm

Address:10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE

Telephone: 020 7551 7777

Managing partner: Martin Bunch

Total partners: 38

Other fee-earners:66

Total trainees:10

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 a leading charity and social enterprise team, which sits alongside 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 but also the ability to communicate.

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 fee 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

Training contracts available for 2020: 6

Applications received pa: 400 

Percentage interviewed: 10% 


First year: £35,000

Second year: £37,000

Newly qualified: £58,500

 Application process

Apply to:Hayley Ferraro and Nicole Cardinali, graduate recruitment team.

How: Online via website.

Whats involved: Assessment day.

When to Apply:

Training Contract beginning in 2020: By 1 June 2018.

Spring Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.

Summer Vacation Scheme: By 31 January 2018.