The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Insurance and litigation specialist Kennedys employs over 1,100 lawyers across the UK and Europe, the Americas, Asia Pacific and the Middle East. The firm merged with US insurance firm Carroll McNulty & Kull in June 2017, taking Kennedys' office count to 32, in addition to 16 associated offices and co-operations. Kennedys also provides services for the aviation, employment, maritime and international trade industries, with a particular focus on dispute resolution.
The star performers
Aviation; Clinical negligence: claimant; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Employment: employers and senior executives; Environment; Health and safety; Healthcare; Insurance and reinsurance litigation; Personal injury claimant; Personal injury: defendant; Product liability: defendant; Professional negligence; Rail; Shipping; Travel: personal injury.
Acted for insurers in the professional negligence case Harlequin Property (SVG) and Harlequin Hotels & Resorts v Wilkins Kennedy, which centred on an overseas property investment scheme; defended the Medical Protection Society over a liability claim involving an alleged negligent antibiotic prescription resulting in a fatal allergic reaction; acted in a £2m claim relating to the Tunisian Beach Massacre in June 2015 seeking to widen the scope of the duty owed by tour operators in relation to holidaymakers and security at resorts; defended Chubb against an unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim brought by a former employee; managed the civil claims arising from the crash of the Smiler ride at Alton Towers.
AIG; Allianz; BGL Group; Liberty; NFU Mutual; NHSLA; Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines; Transport for London; TUI UK; Virgin Trains.
Trainees overwhelmingly mention Kennedys' 'insurance litigation specialism', as well as the 'outstanding reputation in defendant personal injury and clinical negligence work' as their reasons for choosing to train at the firm. A key aspect of the training contract is that trainees have 'excellent participation on files', examples of which are 'practising advocacy' and 'attending conferences and trials'. By the same token, 'going to the Court of Appeal', 'attending a two-week trial on a personal injury matter' and 'managing my own caseload in the healthcare team' were cited as highlights. The 'interesting and high-value work' on offer is complemented by an 'exceptionally friendly' network of colleagues, which makes for all-round 'good training'. Essentially, Kennedys is 'less about working all night and more about the things you achieve while you're at work'. Trainees receive a 'high level of exposure and trust' which is encouraging, however this can sometimes feel like 'too much responsibility' and some would appreciate 'more support' at times. Nevertheless, recruits applaud the 'one-on-one work with senior associates and partners' who are 'very supportive of trainee learning and development'. Another bug bear is that the firm is rather London-centric, with trainees in regional offices required to complete a seat and attend numerous events in the capital. Whilst trainee remuneration is perceived as 'not as good as some other firms', this is partially offset by the 'better work/life balance' at Kennedys and trainees are grateful to receive 'really interesting and high-profile work' without sacrificing a 'life outside the office'. If an 'expanding firm' offering 'a lot more case handling', where trainees report 'really enjoying the vast majority of the work', appeals to you, consider Kennedys.
A day in the life of...
Lucy Thornton trainee, Kennedys Law LLP
Departments to date: Healthcare, liability
University:University of Exeter
Degree:Geography with politics (1st)
9.00am: I arrive at the office and get breakfast from our café, the Writz. I normally bump into another trainee in there so we catch up on our evenings and what we have on today. I then check my emails and make my task list for the day.
9.30am: An application needs to be made to the court to amend our defence. This requires drafting the application, a draft order, a witness statement of the fee-earner who has conduct of the matter and raising a cheque. I have a discussion with the fee-earner before I begin who gives me guidance on how to undertake this task. I work on it for a few hours before giving it to the fee-earner for their approval.
11.30am: Surveillance of a claimant has been sent to us, so I need to review it and make a note of any consistencies and inconsistencies that the surveillance shows in comparison to the claimant's witness and expert evidence. I prepare a note for the fee-earner and discuss my initial thoughts with her. I tell her that the surveillance shows the claimant undertaking activities which they said in their evidence they were unable to do, following their injury.
12.30pm: At lunch, as it is a sunny day, most of the trainees head down to Tower Bridge to have lunch in the sunshine together.
1.30pm: When I get back to my desk a partner requests that I undertake some urgent research on airside/landside law for a case that he has where limitation is in dispute. I go on Lawtel and Westlaw to look for recent cases on this matter. I also speak to our information services team who can assist us on research tasks. The result of the research was that the limitation period had expired under the Montreal Convention and the claimant could no longer issue their claim.
2.30pm: A fee-earner asks if I would like to assist her on a matter where there is a conference with counsel and our experts in a few weeks. We go into a meeting room and discuss the case. She asks me to draft the instructions to counsel and liaise with the experts in advance of the conference. I review the file and the expert's evidence and begin to collate the documents counsel will require.
3.15pm: I receive a call from an insured who I sent a defence to yesterday for her review and comments. The insured had a few amendments she wished to make. I amend her statement and resend it to the witness for her final review and signature.
3.30pm: I need to serve witness summons on our witnesses for an upcoming trial on a matter I have been assisting a partner on. I write the cover letters and fill out the court forms and then send them out to our witnesses.
4.30pm: The fee-earner who I drafted the application for this morning returns it to me with his amendments and comments. I make the amendments and send off the application and relevant documents to the court and other parties in the matter.
5.00pm: On one of the larger cases that I have been working on, the claimant's solicitors have requested additional documents from our client. I ring our client and discuss whether these documents can be located and request that they be sent through to us.
5.30pm: I am attending a CCMC tomorrow morning so I spend some time refreshing my memory of the case. I check the copy of the bundle, ensuring that all documents required are included.
6.00pm: Tonight we have arranged a softball match at Primrose Hill against another team in the firm. We all head there after work for a picnic, drinks and a competitive match!
About the firm
Address:25 Fenchurch Avenue, London, EC3M 5AD
Telephone: 020 7667 9667
Fax:020 7667 9777
Senior partner: Nick Thomas
Total partners: 245
Other fee-earners: 866
Total trainees: 41
Other offices: Belfast, Birmingham, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Sheffield, Taunton, Auckland, Bogota, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dubai, Dublin, Hong Kong, Lima, Lisbon, Madrid, Mexico City, Miami, Moscow, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Basking Ridge, New York, Austin, Philadelphia and Chicago.
Who we are: Kennedys is a global law firm with unrivalled expertise in the insurance/reinsurance and liability industries. With over 1,700 people worldwide across 32 offices, we have some of the most respected legal minds in their fields.
What we do: Kennedys' lawyers provide a range of specialist legal services for many industries including: insurance and reinsurance, healthcare, construction, transport, maritime and international trade, rail and aviation. There is also a particular focus on dispute resolution and litigation.
What we are looking for: As Kennedys has a vibrant and supportive working environment, we're looking for sociable and enthusiastic team players with commercial awareness. Minimum required degree grade: 2(1). Minimum UCAS points or A Levels: 300 UCAS points or equivalent.
What you'll do:The purpose of the training contract is to give trainees a mix of experience and skills that will set them up in their legal career as a lawyer with Kennedys. Kennedys ensures that trainee solicitors are given sound training in the core disciplines. All supervisors are approachable and ready to offer support when needed. Our training contracts are two years in length and you will undertake four six-month seats within areas such as insurance and reinsurance, liability, corporate and commercial, and healthcare. You may also have the opportunity to go on an international or client secondment.
Perks: Life insurance, permanent health insurance, employee assistance programme, pension, private medical insurance, season ticket loan, child care schemes, gym membership, gym subsidy, eye care vouchers, corporate GP, 25 days holiday - increasing to 27 after five years.
Facts and figures
Training contracts available for 2020: 16
Applications received pa: 600
Percentage interviewed: 6%
First year: £35,000 London, £26,000 regional
Second year: £38,000 London, £29,000 regional
Newly qualified: Varied
Apply to:Hannah Worsfold, HR advisor - trainees and apprentices.
How: Online application
What's involved: Application form, video interview, critical thinking test, assessment day including a group task, written task and interview.
When to Apply:
Training Contract beginning in 2019: 31 December 2018.
Training Contract beginning in 2020: Between 1 May and 31 December 2018.
Summer Vacation Scheme: 30 September 2018.