The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Birketts is headquartered in Ipswich and has offices across the East of England in Norwich, Cambridge and Chelmsford. The full-service firm advises businesses, institutions and individuals in the UK and internationally, and has enjoyed substantial growth in terms of size, geographic spread and turnover in recent years.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial property; Construction; Corporate and commercial; Crime; Debt recovery; Environment; Family; Health; Immigration; IT and telecoms; Licensing; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Professional negligence; Property litigation; Transport and shipping
Advised Inspired Impact House Limited on the construction of 235 apartments at a site in Croydon; acted for an NHS foundation trust in numerous matters including the interpretation of contract terms and public law duties associated with the funding of care packages; acted for shareholders of Gardline Holdings Limited in the sale of the company to Dutch maritime services company Boskalis Holdings B.V; advised Santander on a refinancing involving two facilities; acted for Countryside Properties in the high-profile redevelopment of Beam Park Dagenham, which will include 2,900 homes, two schools and a new railway station
Barclays Bank; Cambridge City Council; Countryside Developments; Enterprise Property Group Limited; Gastro Pubs Limited; Ipswich Building Society; Mid Suffolk District Council; Patisserie Valerie; Persimmon; Tarmac
Birketts is a regional firm with an ‘excellent reputation’ in East Anglia. The firm offers trainees a ‘variety of seats’ in ‘niche’ areas such as ‘agriculture, construction and corporate criminal defence’. Despite being outside London, Birketts is still ‘large enough to offer exposure to important and large transactions and cases’ meaning recruits enjoy ‘high-quality work’. The experience is very ‘hands on’: ‘I am learning more and being pushed to work independently (under supervision)’ says one recruit. It’s not all work at the firm though, trainees report that the socials are one of the best things about Birketts earning the firm one of its seven Lex 100 Winner medals. There were some grumbles about the state of the offices which ‘could be more modern’, however, it was acknowledged that this matter is ‘soon to be rectified’. Also disliked was the ‘lack of parking’ and ‘the firm moving trainees between offices for seat rotations’ – some recruits found it ‘difficult to uproot their lives and take on the additional financial burden to travel or rent’. Trainees also moaned about ‘deciphering old property deeds’ and dealing with ‘long periods with no work’. On the flip side, highlights included ‘managing the purchase of a property through from exchange to completion’ and ‘attending a public inquiry in West Sussex’. In addition to official training at the firm, recruits have the option to engage in CSR and pro bono work. The firm gives ‘each member of staff one CSR day per year’ where employees can partake in initiatives such as the Cumbrian Challenge and Walking With The Wounded. If you’re looking for a ‘good alternative to working in the City’, Birketts is a great choice.
A day in the life of...
Rosie Shipp first-year trainee, Birketts LLP
Departments to date: Employment and residential property
University:University of East Anglia
Degree:Law with American Law 2(1)
8.30am: I arrive at work, and respond to any urgent emails.
8.45am: I review my to-do list that I made at the end of the previous working day, while having a cup of tea.
9.00am: It’s Monday morning so I have a meeting with my team to talk about everyone’s work load and what’s likely to be in store for the week ahead.
9.15pm: I start drafting a contract of employment for a new employee of one of our larger corporate clients.
10.30am: I have an urgent piece of research to do – so the contract of employment is put aside until I finish this.
11.30am: The research is complete. I do a final check of the contract I had been working on and send it on to the solicitor to review.
12.00pm: I then begin drafting a response to a claim for unfair dismissal. I review the claim and the paperwork sent by our client. I then consider the counter-arguments and research a number of key cases which may assist us. I then begin drafting the response.
1.00pm: Lunch. Most of the time, I am organised enough to bring lunch to work with me, but I do regularly manage to get out of the office for a stroll around the city or meet a friend for coffee.
2.00pm: I continue with that draft response – the court deadline is creeping up!
4.00pm: I have a meeting with one of the lawyers in my team to receive feedback about a previous piece of work and to take on new tasks, all of which are jotted down on my to-do list.
4.30pm: The response is put aside to pick up and review tomorrow. When I draft a long document, I like to be able to pick it up with fresh eyes and give it a final check before I give it to the solicitor dealing with the matter. For now, I am running settlement negotiations on another ongoing litigation matter, so I advance another counter-offer to the other side.
5.30pm: Conference call with lawyers acting on the other side of a claim that I am working on. We discuss the legal arguments and establish that at this stage neither party is interested in settling the claim outside of court. For now, we are getting on with meeting the case management deadlines set by the Employment Tribunal and preparing everything ready for the hearing.
6.00pm: Tidy my desk, update my to-do list – some of which is now scheduled for attention tomorrow as matters have cropped up today that I hadn’t anticipated. That’s all part of the fun and I have learnt to prioritise, juggle and work later as and when I need to. As there’s nothing which is absolutely pressing for today – home time!
About the firm
Address:141-145 Providence House, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1QJ
Telephone: 01473 232300
Senior partner: James Austin
Other offices: Cambridge, Norwich, Chelmsford
Who we are: A top 100 UK law firm in East Anglia with 600+ employees, award winning by The Lex 100 and highly ranked in The Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners.
What we do: A full-service law firm, providing legal advice to corporate, commercial and private clients. We also house niche areas of law such as charities and social enterprise, shipping, corporate criminal defence and corporate immigration.
What we are looking for: Applications are welcome from both law and non-law students. Applicants should have a minimum of a 2(1) degree and good A Level results (minimum B,B,B or equivalent), strong interpersonal skills and a common sense approach.
What you'll do:A trainee will complete four seats, with a high degree of input and client contact from day one.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday plus bank holidays, 5% matched pension contribution, health insurance, season ticket loan, cycle to work scheme, gym membership discount, paid CSR day, social events throughout the year.
Sponsorship:We provide LPC sponsorship up to £12,500 if students have not already started or completed the course from the time of offer.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 64
Other fee-earners: 608
Total trainees: 20
Trainee places available for 2021: 10-15
Applications received pa: 450
Percentage interviewed: 10%
Turnover in 2017: £42.3m (+8% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £291,000 (+10%)
First year: £25,000-£26,000
Second year: £26,000-£27,000
Newly qualified: £39,000-£40,000
When to apply:By 30 June 2019 for contracts commencing 2021.
What's involved:Online application, interview, presentation and group assessments
Summer:June 2019 (dates to be confirmed)