Foot Anstey LLP

Foot Anstey LLP

Address: Salt Quay House, 4 North East Quay, Sutton Harbour,, Plymouth PL4 0BN




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘I worked here as support staff for two years throughout undergraduate and postgraduate before becoming a trainee, and the firm was incredibly supportive of my career progression’; ‘a friendly, inclusive environment and an excellent work/life balance’; ‘based in the South West but with City-quality work’; ‘open-plan offices’; ‘the firm really values its employees’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘All the staff are very helpful in supporting you’; ‘very professional yet friendly’; ‘the client contact from day one’; ‘managed responsibility’; ‘high-profile clients’; ‘the trust that the firm places in its trainees’; ‘you can have a sea view from your desk at the Plymouth office’; ‘the newly-formed Bristol netball team’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Trainees are expected to move between offices during the training contract’; ‘sometimes teams are so busy that you get little chance for feedback on your work’; ‘having to move location every six months’; ‘lower remuneration’; ‘few social activities within the firm’
Best moment? 
 '‘Being heavily involved in an interesting dispute, including attending a High Court trial in London’; ‘going to a round table settlement meeting’; ‘attending mediation and short possession hearings’; ‘being trusted to meet clients independently’; ‘being given a complex case to handle practically on my own’
Worst moment?
 '‘Dealing with a difficult staff member’; ‘being given lengthy tasks which someone without any legal experience or background could do’; ‘working late between Christmas and New Year to prepare a due diligence report’; ‘receiving feedback on my need to improve on accuracy’; ‘managing normal seat workload around induction training’'

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

Pongo (101 Dalmations) – loyal and intelligent, with a fun-loving side

The Verdict

The firm

Foot Anstey has a strong presence in the South West, with offices in Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Truro and Bristol. Firm strengths include agriculture and estates, corporate tax, TMT and insurance. Foot Anstey has an impressive list of clients, and was acknowledged for its performance by being shortlisted for National/Regional Team of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2016. 

The star performers

Agriculture and estates; Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: claimant; Court of Protection; Corporate tax; Construction; Commercial litigation; Contentious trust and probate; Environment; EU and competition; Employment; Family; Islamic finance; Licensing; Media and entertainment; Pensions; Property litigation; Public sector: education; TMT: IT and telecoms.

The deals

Advised Greenridge Investment Management on the financing of its £70m acquisition of the National Air Traffic Control Services HQ; assisted Bristol University Student Union with the £30m redevelopment of its central building; advised longstanding client 90 North Real Estate Partners on an offshore equity structuring to facilitate a residential development; advised South Gloucestershire and Stroud College on the expansion of its facilities through the acquisition of the former Berkeley Nuclear Laboratory site; advised Aardman Animations on user and child friendly content licence terms and revising its download terms.

The clients

Age UK; Bristol City FC; the Business Growth Fund; Department of Health; Jelf Group; Lloyds Bank; Odeon Cinemas; Robert Dyas; the Royal Shakespeare Company; Warner Music Group.

The Verdict

Foot Anstey is an ‘entrepreneurial, expanding firm’ which offers trainees the ‘opportunity to work with regional, national and international clients while remaining true to its roots in the West Country’. Trainees found the ‘personality and lifestyle combined with the reputation and growth’ of the firm particularly appealing. The ‘support network’ is good as trainees are assigned a supervisor, a buddy and a separate mentor. Most trainees sit next to their supervising partner so the ‘level and quality of supervision is very high’. As one trainee noted, ‘I don’t feel like I have people peering over my shoulder the whole time. I am simply allowed to get on with all the support I need.’ The ‘beginning of the training contract is always the hardest period’ as newcomers go through the ‘transition from student to trainee’. Trainees receive ‘excellent training’ and get a ‘manageable amount of responsibility’ including ‘client contact from day one’ and ‘high-quality work’, factors which have led to the firm winning a mightily impressive nine Lex 100 Winner medals. There is no ‘stay-late culture’ at Foot Anstey, and trainees are ‘encouraged to manage their workloads’ to ensure they can ‘get out of the office’. The main criticism is the ‘expectation to move every six months or so’ and the ‘geographical spread’ of the offices across the UK ‘can be a pain’ and means trainees are ‘required to travel’. But the trade-off is that trainees are not ‘just a number but get to play a vital role in transactions’. Highlights include ‘receiving favourable feedback’ and ‘completing my first Islamic finance transaction’. The ‘down-to-earth lawyers’ are ‘keen to help out’ and new recruits are made to ‘feel included’. If you are looking for an ‘ambitious firm’ with a ‘good reputation’ and an ‘excellent support network’, take a closer look at Foot Anstey.

 A day in the life of...

Oli Macrae , Foot Anstey 
Departments to date:  Construction, commercial, and media and IP litigation
University:University of Exeter  
Degree:Law 2(1) 

6.35am:  I usually head to the gym (conveniently next to the office) at the start of my day. I find that it clears the mind and sets you up for a productive day.

8.00am:  I arrive at the office, check my emails and browse the local news for the day. I then prepare my to-do list for the day.

9.00am:  At our weekly huddle (an office-wide standing meeting during which we discuss cases, events and interesting topics) I present a short update on any relevant local news stories that may affect our services, clients or the wider business community. I present for up to five minutes and the meeting lasts no longer than 20 minutes.

9.30am:  Having concluded the huddle, I return to my desk to an email from a senior associate in our Bristol office, enquiring as to my availability to assist with a distribution agreement review that requires turning around within 48 hours. I set aside time in my afternoon to begin the task.

10.15am:  I meet a solicitor in the commercial team in our boardroom to practices a presentation I will be delivering the following day to the client I am on part-time secondment with. The presentation is on effective contract negotiations for the client, so I have a run through to ensure my timings are on point, and that the content is digestible.

11.00am:  I spend the remainder of the morning finalising a client note on the obligations on banks when issuing payment instruments (bank cards). When completed and proof read, I send this to the partner in the financial services branch of the commercial team to consider before sending to the client.

12.45pm:  I walk into town with some of the team to grab something to eat.

1.45pm:  I start reviewing the distribution Agreement received this morning. My role is to review the document in full, highlighting any possible risks to our client and, where possible, suggesting places where we could reasonably improve their position. We aim to ‘participate rather than commentate’, which means going further than simply risk flagging – we look out for the client’s best interests at all times, come off the fence and give our view on the best option for the client, and reflect this in our advice.

3.00pm:  I take a five-minute break from the contract review, to check in with the other trainees regarding a CSR day we are arranging for the following month. I suggest a couple of local options and we agree to decide on our preference at our next meeting.

5.15pm:  I send the completed first draft of the distribution agreement review back to my Bristol colleague for his input and comment. I have flagged a couple of areas I was unsure of, but still tried to put forward my opinion and be proactive rather than immediately seeking guidance from others.

5.35pm:  I sit down with the partner who reviewed the note prepared for the bank this morning. There were a couple of changes made to the note.

5.45pm:  Before heading off I ensure I have all my materials to hand for the presentation I will be delivering the following morning. I then head off to a Foot Anstey cricket match against an important referrer of the firm. This offers a good opportunity for trainees to network. During my time at Foot Anstey, I’ve had a fantastically varied workload, exposure to high-value matters, plenty of autonomous responsibility (while still feeling supported by those that supervise me) and an abundance of direct client contact – this is something that really makes Foot Anstey stand out as a prospective employer for applicants.

About the firm

Address:Salt Quay House, 4 North East Quay, Sutton Harbour,, Plymouth PL4 0BN

Telephone: 01752 675000

Fax:01752 675500


Managing partner : John Westwell

Other offices: Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Truro. 

Who we are: A leading regional, top 100 law firm, Foot Anstey is a major presence in the South West. With five offices across the region, our lawyers offer a range of specialist legal services to our regional, national and international clients.

What we do: The firm is arranged into seven main groups: clinical negligence; real estate; commercial; corporate; dispute resolution; employment; and private wealth. We also have a niche expertise in Islamic finance.

What we are looking for: We welcome applications from all law and non-law graduates who have a strong academic background, exceptional communication skills, and the vision to be part of our future. We are an ambitious firm – we want people that will help take us there.

What you'll do:Our training programme is designed to help you reach your full potential. Our trainees undertake six seats of four months with regular, open communication between the trainees and supervisors as standard. You will get exposure to situations to develop your legal and commercial expertise, in an environment that is friendly and supportive.

Perks: All trainees are entitled to the flexible, forward-thinking ‘choices’ benefits package, which includes: 25 days’ holiday, options to buy/sell holiday, contributory pension scheme, life assurance, cycle scheme and childcare vouchers. In addition we offer a popular ‘lifestyle hour’, the chance to take one hour off work each week to promote a healthy work/life balance.

Sponsorship:Grants available towards GDL, LPC and living expenses.


Facts and figures

Trainee places available for 2019: 12


First year: Competitive

Second year: Competitive

Newly qualified: Competitive

Total partners: 49

Other fee-earners:155

Total trainees:21

 Application process

How: Online application.

When to Apply:By 1 June 2017.

 Vacation schemes

apply by 1 April 2017