The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Top 100 firm Bevan Brittan has a strong public sector focus which includes work in the healthcare, education and local government sectors. The employment, insurance and real estate teams are also well regarded. A firm with over 40 partners and nearly 200 lawyers in total, Bevan Brittan has offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and London.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction: contentious; Education; Employment; Energy; Environment; Healthcare; Health and safety; Insurance and reinsurance litigation; Local government; Personal injury: defendant; Planning; Professional discipline; Project finance and PFI; Property litigation; Social housing.
Advised Greater London Authority on the £250m mixed-use Lewisham Gateway Development; acted for Portsmouth City Council on a series of disputes with Ensign Highways concerning a PFI project; advised University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust on the legal aspects of its 100,000 Genomes Project; advised Chevin Housing Association on a £15m loan and bond from Lloyds Bank; acted for the Solicitors Regulation Authority in the prosecution of a number of solicitors firms involved in conveyancing fraud.
Bristol City Council; Covanta Energy; the Department of Health; G4S; Kajima; Marketform; Places for People; Praxair; Sovereign Housing Group; University of Oxford.
The ‘very strong’ focus on the public sector at Bevan Brittan makes for ‘interesting clients and working opportunities’, as trainees work alongside ‘leaders in their specialist fields’ where the ‘reputation and strength’ of the clinical negligence department is particularly well known. There is the chance for trainees to get involved in a ‘diverse range of work’ and gain ‘very valuable experience with a great deal of responsibility’. There are ‘good quality’ files for trainees to get their hands on and as the firm only takes on a ‘small group’ of trainees each year, this allows you to gain a ‘fuller’ experience. ‘Good exposure’ allows trainees to develop and ‘learn quickly’ with ‘more client contact and responsibility’, plus the ‘no long-hours culture’ and ‘openness and inclusivity’ is much appreciated. Trainees’ top moments include ‘closing a PFI deal’, ‘attending inquests and court’ and ‘tackling a hearing and telephone conference’. One trainee remarked that the firm is a ‘good size’ so trainees get to know all the people in the office ‘very well’, and the ‘friendliness of people’ is highly commended by respondents. Many trainees reported that ‘failings’ with IT is a real problem. Although trainees are ‘thrown in the deep end’, Bevan Brittan offers recruits a ‘positive supportive environment’ and the chance to learn on the job, thus trainees naturally feel ‘appreciated and valued’. Bevan Brittan is the perfect choice for those interested in working for a leading public sector firm.
A day in the life of...
Sean Goldstein second-year trainee, Bevan Brittan LLP
Departments to date: Clinical negligence/medical law and property.
University:University of Manchester
8.50am: I arrive at my desk and begin to prepare for the day ahead. I set my voicemail and, croissant and indispensable cup of coffee in hand, I review any overnight email correspondence, and prioritise urgent matters accordingly. This morning, I have to draft an order in a Court of Protection matter, authorising a deprivation of liberty. Once the order is completed, I add it to the bundle, and arrange submission to the court.
9.45am: I set to work on a disclosure review, in a well-publicised jury inquest matter. We have been sent over 2,000 documents, which all need to be reviewed and summarised, and any particularly important information identified. I have set aside approximately one hour each morning, so that the review is both manageable and completed to the same standard throughout. The medical law seat provides a great insight into coronial law, and the complex and emotionally demanding work of the Court of Protection. I’ve obtained a snapshot of the day-to-day challenges faced by our clients – mostly National Health Service trusts – in fiscally demanding times. The cases are engaging on a human level and for anyone interested in public sector service provision the seat offers an opportunity to expand your knowledge base.
10.45am: Time for some legal research. A clinical commissioning group client wants advice on its obligations under s117 of the Mental Health Act. Section 117 requires health service organisations and local authorities to work together, in order to provide patients who have been detained under the Act with aftercare upon their discharge. The client wants to know whether the Act addresses the issue of apportionment of funding for such provision. I send it over to the instructing associate in time for lunch.
1.00pm: I head out to lunch with two other trainees. I’m new to the city, so it’s a great opportunity to scout out good restaurants and markets. We settle on a place, and I enjoy a nice red lentil soup; a suitably light meal for a lovely summer day.
2.00pm: I begin the afternoon with a much needed coffee round for the team. I am asked to assist with an application for a reporting restriction order (RRO). I obtain contact information for local media outlets, and verify the information on our database. Once I have obtained the sealed order from the court, I circulate it to the relevant organisations, and follow up by telephone to ensure receipt.
3.30pm: An associate asks for assistance with a judicial review matter. A CCG funding decision is being challenged, and we need to establish how the client would like us to respond to a letter before action. I schedule a teleconference with the relevant individuals at the CCG, and sit in to take minutes. The CCG wants to robustly defend its position, and I’m asked to draft the client’s letter of response. It’s a great opportunity to get involved with a contemporary issue.
4.30pm: After a review of the papers, I set to work on the letter of response. I share a pod with my supervisor, so she’s not too far away if I need assistance and, however busy, she’s always happy to help. A snack or two later, I email the letter to the associate with conduct of the matter, for a final pre-submission review. There is sufficient time for this to be done in the morning, so I begin to wrap up for the day.
6.15pm: I write my to-do list for the next day. I make sure nothing important has popped into my inbox at the last minute and, thereafter, I head for the door. There’s an on-site gym, but it’s such a lovely day that I opt for a leisurely walk home; of course, that’s not before a few drinks with the other trainees at the cosy pub around the corner.
About the firm
Address:Kings Orchard, 1 Queen Street, Bristol, BS2 0HQ
Telephone: 0370 194 1737
Senior partner : Joanne Easterbrook
Managing partner : Duncan Weir
Other offices: London, Birmingham, Leeds
Who we are: Bevan Brittan provides practical, high-quality and commercially relevant legal advice to public, private and third-sector organisations. Our experience includes working with clients across central and local government, NHS commissioning and provider organisations, 40 housing associations and over 100 private sector companies.
What we do: Our services include advice covering outsourcing, major infrastructure projects and PFI, employment matters, regulation and governance, property, clinical negligence, construction, litigation and dispute resolution, and general commercial issues.
What we are looking for: We are looking for bright people with sound common sense and plenty of energy, who can think logically and clearly. An interest in the type of clients we work for is essential. You need drive, commitment, willingness to take responsibility and the ability to work and relate well with others.
What you'll do:The training contract is made up of four six-month seats. During each seat, the core of your training will be practical work experience in conjunction with an educational programme. You are encouraged to take on as much work and responsibility as you are able to handle, which will be reviewed on a regular basis with your supervisor. The firm is friendly and supportive with an open-door policy along with a range of social, sporting and cultural activities.
Perks: Life insurance, private healthcare insurance, pension, group income protection, health assessments, cycle scheme.
Sponsorship:The firm sponsors both the LPC and GDL and provides a study bursary of £5,000.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 8
Applications received pa: 511
First year: Competitive
Total partners: 53
Apply to:Gavin Potts.
June/July 2017 (apply by 28 February 2017)