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 highly regarded for its private client capabilities.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: development; Contentious trusts and probate; Employment: employers and senior executives; Family; Fraud: civil; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Partnership; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Property finance; Reputation management; Residential property; Retail funds; Sport
Acted for Credit Suisse on a £30m term loan facility to fund the acquisition of a commercial office property in Manchester; advising Natura Cosmeticos on the employment components of its acquisition of The Body Shop from L’Oréal; defending the British Airline Pilots’ Association in the High Court against Thomas Cook Airlines’ application for an injunction to stop strike action by its pilots; acting for The British Library in connection to the disposal of land for the St Pancras development site, and the construction of gallery facilities and public spaces; advised the Football Association (FA) on the Select Committee inquiry into its handling of bullying and discrimination allegations lodged against former England women’s manager Mark Sampson
Bauer Media; CCLA Investment Management; Charities Property Fund; Coutts & Co; Deutsche Bank; Emirates NBD; Imperial College London; Lawn Tennis Association; National Gallery; Royal Bank of Canada
Expert in ‘family and private client law’ but with expertise across the board, London-based Farrer and Co works with ‘first-class clients’ to whom trainees get ‘incredible exposure’. The firm operates a six-seat training contract which recruits love as it means they ‘get to experience more departments than trainees at other firms’. Recruits reported that they’re ‘more involved in significant elements of the work’, are ‘treated like grown-ups’ and get to ‘conduct associate-level work (supervised, of course!) on some fascinating areas of the law’. Farrer is a six-time Lex 100 Winner, for job satisfaction and quality of work, among others. One respondent enjoyed ‘leading on the re-financing of a high-value property for a private bank’ and subsequently ‘receiving high-praise from a partner’; another said ‘having my input consistently valued is the best part of my job’. However, that ‘the firm can be slightly old-fashioned’ and feel like ‘a bit of an old boys’ boarding school’ discomforted some trainees. Others moaned about the lack of communal space to eat lunch. Salary was an issue for new joiners who argued that on ‘rare occasions when you’re working City-firm hours, you’re not receiving City-level pay’. Memories of ‘misunderstanding a task and making a mistake’ and ‘getting some research wrong for a head of department’ made trainees wince, but having ‘supportive and approachable supervisors’ made such moments somewhat bearable. There is ‘great pastoral support’ and ‘on-going training, seminars and events’ to ensure rookies are constantly developing in their journey towards becoming a newly-qualified solicitor. To be part of a ‘prestigious firm’ with ‘strong retention rates’, apply to Farrer & Co.
A day in the life of...
Anisha Birk trainee, Farrer & Co
Departments to date: Banking, IP and commercial, private client
University:Durham University; Courtauld Institute of Art and BPP Law School
8.30am: Usually I arrive between 8.30 and 9.00am to give myself a bit of time to check my emails and plan for the day ahead.
9.00am: At Farrers, you are encouraged to be involved in real work from early on in training. Since arriving in the IP and commercial team in May, at the same time as GDPR came into effect, I have been involved in helping a range of clients to meet the new regulatory requirements. Today I am drafting a template data processing agreement. Having had a preliminary discussion yesterday about our approach, I take advantage of a fresh mind in the morning and sit down to start drafting.
11.00am: This morning I have my weekly catch-up with my supervisor. Supervision at the firm is excellent, and you are able to be independent but supported. You sit in a pod with your supervisor and are encouraged to ask questions or discuss work. In addition, I have a weekly catch-up which gives me the opportunity to ask more questions and check my workload. My supervisor ensures I have a good balance of work across our practice areas. We also discuss any new matters he is working on which I can be involved in. I note them down to follow up later in the week.
11.30am: One of my tasks is to monitor trade mark use for clients. Today I am writing to the client to update them. I draft the letter and discuss it with a partner before sending it. You are encouraged to have client contact and I often draft client letters and emails.
12.30pm: Even as trainees we are encouraged to be involved in business development. Today, I am heading to a lunchtime seminar on the firm’s not-for-profit sector. The session is headed by the sector heads whose practice areas span across the firm. It is a helpful insight and exciting to see all the work we do in this area. I am heading to an event at a national museum later in the week and today’s lunchtime talk has given me plenty to discuss there.
2.00pm: Afterwards, I catch up with another trainee who attended the talk and we go for a walk in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. We are expected to take time for lunch and get out of the office, even when attending additional learning sessions or meetings over lunchtime.
2.30pm: I get back to the office and find that an urgent request has come in from a client on consumer law. I look into the matter and complete some preliminary research. We work collaboratively in the team, so I feel comfortable in approaching colleagues to discuss the client issue and my proposed approach. I draft and then send an email to the client summarising our advice.
4.00pm: I am sitting in on a client call this afternoon. I meet with the associate who takes time to explain the background. I take the minutes throughout, and it is interesting to hear the associate advise the client, explaining complex law succinctly but also in terms of commercial risks. The client is pleased and we plan the next steps.
5.00pm: I finish up my drafting from this morning and send the documents to the partner to be reviewed. Pending any amendments or feedback, I also draft a covering email to go to the client. I put time aside in my diary for the next day to follow up.
6.15pm: I leave the office between 6-7pm. There are many post-work opportunities, from sporting events to garden parties. Tonight, I am attending a talk hosted by Farrers and Westminster and Holborn Law Society. This talk is especially interesting because it is given by the director of JUSTICE. It’s an important reminder of how our firm’s work is part of a wider judicial system and the positive impact lawyers can have. I have also been given the chance to join our local law society and sit on the international committee.
About the firm
Address:66 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3LH
Telephone: 020 3375 7000
Senior partner: Anne-Marie Piper
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 are leaders in private client, agriculture, sports, defamation, heritage, family and charity law. Our IP and commercial practice, disputes and employment teams are also highly rated.
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
Total partners: 80
Other fee-earners: 197
Total trainees: 20
Turnover in 2017: £59.9m (+4% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £532,000 (+5%)
Trainee places available for 2021: 10
Applications received pa: 800
First year: £38,000
Second year: £41,000
Newly qualified: £64,000
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:
Training contracts 2021: By 31 July 2019.
Easter and summer vacation schemes: By 31 January 2019.