The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Established in 1876, Leathes Prior is a leader in the East Anglia region. This 16-partner firm has four offices in the centre of Norwich, and specialisms include franchising, insolvency, intellectual property and sports law. The commercial property and agricultural teams have both recently expanded to meet client demand.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Crime: fraud; Debt recovery; Education; Employment; Family; Franchising; Health and safety; Intellectual Property; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Property litigation; Sport; Transport and shipping.
Advised AIM-listed CVS Ltd on numerous acquisitions; advised racing driver Seb Morris and rally driver Chris Ingram on contracts and sponsorship matters; represented a shareholder and director of UK and Spanish companies against allegations of fraud amounting to £9m; advised The Holkham Estate on tenancy matters; advises the British Horseracing Authority on all of its employment issues.
Air Livery, Banham Poultry, Countrywide Signs, Drain Doctor, Greensleeves Garden Care, Healthwatch Norwich, Intelligas, Norfolk Farm Produce Ltd, Senior Care at Home, Wok & Go.
A ‘well-respected local firm with a long history’, Norwich’s Leathes Prior ensures trainees ‘get early responsibility and involvement in valuable work right from day one’. This has led to stand-out experiences which include ‘being able to manage my own case load’ and ‘drafting and advising on complex commercial software agreements, with limited supervision’. There is a ‘genuine desire to accommodate the wishes of the trainee’, as exemplified by one trainee who successfully obtained an international secondment with the ‘joint UK Law Societies’ office in Brussels’. Though this wasn’t a Leathes Prior secondment, the trainee wrote that ‘my firm has been very supportive while I’ve been out here’. The workload can be inconsistent, with experiences ranging from ‘occasionally working long hours’ and ‘sitting for hours on end with nothing to do’. Respondents believe that they have ‘more client contact’ than peers working elsewhere. One recruit enjoyed ‘receiving an email complimenting me on my service, where I had more or less run a matter by myself’. Praise is also forthcoming from partners, and ‘receiving positive feedback when you have done a lot of work on a case’ was another individual’s favourite moment to date. One trainee moans that they ‘do not get the chance to meet up with other trainees often as we all have busy schedules’, but the ‘friendly and flexible attitude’ at the firm combined with the ‘approachable staff’ somewhat mitigates this and is enough to claim a Lex 100 Winner award for social life. ‘Additional training opportunities’ include ‘volunteering for the Norfolk Community Legal Services organisation’ and the ‘charity events that the firm participates in’. To train at a medium-sized East Anglian firm ‘with real personality’, head to Leathes Prior.
A day in the life of...
Alex Saunders trainee solicitor, Leathes Prior
Departments to date: Corporate, employment, dispute resolution and commercial
Degree:English Literature, 2(1)
My day starts in typical fashion; I walk a few hundred yards from the car park up the historic, picturesque Cathedral Close to the office. The location of our offices was one of a number of reasons that I wanted to join Leathes Prior and gives a good indication of the character of the firm as a whole. After grabbing a coffee and catching up with colleagues in my team, I set myself down to plan for the day ahead.
I spend a large part of the morning assisting one of the partners with due diligence on a corporate transaction that is scheduled to complete over the next week or so. I assist in preparing the legal due diligence report to send to the client and send additional queries to the other side’s solicitors. A point that will no doubt be echoed by the other trainees is that Leathes Prior offer and actively encourages trainees to take responsibility from an early stage.
While waiting for information that I need, I respond to a few emails and begin reviewing a sale and purchase agreement on a separate corporate transaction. I meet a few colleagues for lunch at a nearby café, where we catch up on our respective weekends, recent holidays and the more serious topic of the likely impact of Brexit on our various practice areas. I have noticed since joining that there is a real focus on socialising outside work at Leathes Prior – so whether it’s meeting colleagues for lunch-drinks on a Friday or firm wide events, there is always plenty going on.
On my return from lunch, I turn my attention to a distribution agreement that I am preparing for a client in the manufacturing sector. I liaise with the client on a few tweaks and send a final copy to him for use.
As it approaches the end of the day, a few colleagues and I meet to discuss different ways of marketing the corporate and commercial team, in particular the legal services that we provide to businesses in the digital and technology sectors. It is a productive meeting and we agree on a number of ideas to focus on over the next month. The ability to market yourself and your firm are becoming increasingly central to the role of a junior lawyer, and the marketing team at Leathes Prior is always willing to support and facilitate ideas where possible.
Before I leave the office, I review my notes on a matter in preparation for a conference call with the client tomorrow and with that, I leave the office to play tennis with a few friends from other firms in the city.
Having initially undertaken a work experience placement at Leathes Prior, and subsequently my training contract, I am looking forward to the prospect of embarking on the next stage of my career with the firm. If you are someone who enjoys client contact, thrives on early responsibility and is willing to put in hard work, I sincerely recommend applying for a training contract with Leathes Prior.
About the firm
Address:74 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DR
Telephone: 01603 610911
Senior partner : William Riley
Other offices: Norwich
Who we are: Leathes Prior is a leading East Anglian firm operating from offices in the exceptionally attractive Cathedral Close and Tombland areas of Norwich
What we do: We provide a comprehensive legal service to a wide variety of commercial and private clients, as well as several niche areas including: Full Contact (Sports Law), Mediation 1st, Employmentor and Traffic Lawyers.
What we are looking for: Save for exceptional cases, we look for a minimum 2(1) degree (in any discipline), a genuine desire to practise law and a preponderance of A or A* grades at A level, as well as the ability to spell preponderance. You should possess good commercial awareness, marketing skills and a desire to work in an environment where initiative is rewarded and responsibility comes early.
What you'll do:We aim to compile training programmes to meet the wishes of individual trainees. The normal pattern is four six-month seats. All trainees will work closely with the firm’s partners and will gain excellent hands-on experience of contentious and non-contentious work.
Perks: Trainees will benefit from health cover and the option to participate in various social and sporting events on behalf of the firm.
Sponsorship:Financial support by way of an interest-free loan to be used towards the LPC is available.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 3-4
Applications received pa: c 100
Percentage interviewed: 10-20%
First year: £20,500
Second year: £21,500
Newly qualified: c £30,000
Total partners: 13
Apply to:Lauren Smith, HR manager
When to Apply:By 23 July 2017 for 2019 contracts.
For 2017: deadline for applications is 31 January 2017, placements generally arranged for Spring/Summer with some exceptions made for those looking for Autumn/Winter placements.