The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Farrer & Co is an independent law firm with a centuries-long tradition of advising private families, individuals and charitable institutions. This is complemented by the firm's work with businesses and entrepreneurs. A focus on long-term client relationships has ensured Farrer & Co's continued success and the firm is especially highly regarded for its private client capabilities.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Art and cultural property; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Education: institutions; Education: schools; Employment: employers and senior executives; Family; Fraud: civil; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Media and entertainment; Partnership; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Property finance; Property litigation; Residential property; Sport
Advised the Tate Modern on the return of a Turner sketch which had been looted by the Nazis from its Hungarian owner during World War II; advising WWF-UK in the review and reporting of its compliance obligations; assisting Research Libraries UK with the development of an open access policy and the UK Scholarly Communications Licence, enabling unrestricted access to scholarly communications between universities; advised the Duchy of Cornwall on the development of an urban community in Dorchester; advised the founders of iCheque Network on its sale to Pollen Street Capital, and on its merger with Cashflows Group, one of Pollen's subsidiaries.
Alpha Plus Group; Asahi Group Holdings; Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Charities Property Fund; Church Commissioners of England; Coutts & Co Finance Company; Highgate School; Hub Group; Kings College London; Save the Children.
'Unique firm' Farrer & Co has a 'very interesting client base, attracting some quite niche work'. Trainees appreciate the long-established firm's 'commitment to taking on challenges' and feel that 'its values come before profit making'. The training is of a 'very high standard' and from the off, recruits are given 'stimulating and substantive' work which is 'diverse and challenging', as well as being 'more legal and less administrative'. Respondents were 'made to feel like part of the team from day one' and lauded 'approachable supervisors' who are 'genuinely interested in developing your skillset rather than using you for cheap labour at a junior level'. Little wonder that trainees 'genuinely enjoy' their time in the office and can see themselves 'working at the firm for the foreseeable future', earning the firm one of an impressive six Lex 100 Winner medals for job satisfaction. There is an 'interesting range of practice areas' led by 'partners and associates who are at the top of their game'. Trainees can also expect an 'appreciation for work/life balance' and 'realistic expectations in terms of what is achievable'. As a result, trainees struggled to find major complaints about the firm, apart from the lack of communal eating space. Working 'some late nights' also irked trainees, especially in the corporate department, although it was pointed out that this was not a frequent occurrence. On a positive note, 'working closely with a partner on a domicile case' and 'being trusted to attend a trial at court for three days on my own' were highlights. If a firm with 'interesting and complex matters' which has a 'superb culture' and an 'exceptional reputation in exciting sectors' where 'work and life is never boring' sounds good to you, apply to Farrer & Co.
A day in the life of...
Tabitha Juster trainee, Farrer & Co
Departments to date: IP and commercial, banking, employment
University:University College London; BPP Law School; Kaplan Law School
Degree:French and Italian (1st); GDL (Distinction); LPC (Distinction)
8.15am: I arrive in the office relatively early in the morning to give me time to plan my work for the day. The employment department puts on regular breakfast seminars. I went to an excellent seminar recently given by a judge who spoke about her experiences of the courts and various legal issues.
9.30am: I have been asked to sit in on a phone call with a client. Trainees are involved in as many client meetings as possible, which has two main benefits in my view: first, trainees have regular opportunities to observe how the lawyers communicate with clients and advise on a variety of legal and commercial issues; second, a trainee's role in the meeting is to record all the key details of the meeting and a lengthy meeting provides a great opportunity to practice my dictation skills when producing an attendance note. Following this meeting, I have been asked to draft an email to the client setting out relevant law on employment status and outlining the client's options.
11.00am: Since joining the firm, I have been struck by the variety of work in which trainees are involved. The employment team does a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. In my experience, non-contentious work has ranged from drafting agreements and emails of advice to researching particular legal issues for partners or fee-earners. Trainees are accorded a significant level of responsibility and are expected to communicate with clients and other professionals on a regular basis. Typically, my work on contentious matters involves drafting instructions to counsel, preparing bundles for disclosure or hearings and drafting letters to the Employment Tribunal and/or the other side. I am working with one of the partners on a matter in which we act for the respondent in a claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination and am due to attend the preliminary hearing next week.
1.00pm: The firm's location really comes into its own on sunny days, during which I will have lunch in Lincoln's Inn Fields with colleagues. The firm also has regular lunchtime seminars during which partners or fee-earners will speak about developments in a particular area of the law. These seminars are a great way to pick up knowledge from other areas of the firm.
2.00pm: I have been asked to draft a letter inviting the employee of a client to a disciplinary hearing, together with a guidance note for the client on how to conduct the disciplinary hearing. I have been working with a partner and an associate on this matter. The supervision at the firm is excellent; trainees are encouraged to develop their own judgement but fee-earners and partners are approachable and willing to review drafts and offer advice.
5.00pm: The firm does fascinating work on child protection, from advising on the handling of current or historic concerns, to drafting safeguarding and child protection policies. I have been involved in various aspects of this work. Today, I have been asked to research recent developments from the Australian Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse for a fee-earner who will use the research when speaking at a conference next week.
6.00pm: I generally finish work between 6.00pm and 7.00pm. Trainees are encouraged to get involved in business development at the firm and are regularly invited to evening events. These are often seminars followed by drinks and provide a great opportunity to get to know colleagues and clients outside the office. There are a number of ways to get involved in corporate social responsibility at the firm, whether by volunteering as a reading helper at a local school or teaming up with a fee-earner to provide free advice at legal advice centres.
About the firm
Address:66 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LH
Telephone: 020 3375 7000
Fax:020 3375 7001
Senior partner: Anne-Marie Piper
Total partners: 73
Other fee-earners: 183
Total trainees: 20
Who we are: Farrer & Co is a leading modern law firm with a distinguished history of providing expert advice to a diverse range of clients, both UK and international.
What we do: We advise individuals, families, businesses, financial services, educational and not-for-profit organisations on every aspect of the law, wherever the need arises. Superb client service sits at the heart of everything we do. We are modern lawyers with timeless values.
What we are looking for: Team spirit, leadership, dynamism, versatility, a questioning mind, great communication skills, commercial awareness and a sense of fun.
What you'll do:The trainee will experience six seats across the firm, handling 'real' work with early responsibility and an excellent legal and skills-based training programme.
Perks: Flexible benefits scheme, sporting teams/clubs, season ticket loan, 25 days' holiday, group income protection, group life assurance, company doctor, subsidised yoga/pilates, subsidised gym membership, pension scheme, private medical insurance after one year, wellwoman/wellman checks.
Sponsorship:We pay all LPC and GDL fees, plus a maintenance grant of £7,000 per year of study.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 10
Applications received pa: 800
Percentage interviewed: 6%
First year: £37,000
Second year: £40,000
Newly qualified: £60,000
Turnover in 2016/2017: £59.9m Profits per equity partner: £530,000
Apply to:Claire Roche, graduate recruitment and development adviser.
What's involved:First interview with written exercise, second interview with a case study scenario.
When to Apply:By 31 July 2018 for 2020 training contracts.
Spring Vacation Scheme: By 31 January
Summer Vacation Schemes: By 31 January