The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
A leader in East Anglia, Leathes Prior has four offices in the centre of Norwich and has 14 partners, 11 associates and over 100 members of staff. The firm offers expertise in a variety of areas and has developed niche specialisms in IP, franchising and sports law. The firm has continued to expand in the past year.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Debt recovery; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Crime: fraud; Crime: general; Education; Employment; Family; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Intellectual Property; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation; Sport; Transport and shipping.
Assisted international oil engineering group Derrick Services with a disposal involving complex cross-border matters; acted for Woodforde's Brewery on its sale; acted for Countrywide Signs Limited in a dispute over the termination of contractual agreements; assisted the British Horseracing Authority with senior exits and employment tribunal matters; advised the 5,000-acre Somerleyton Estate on property matters such as trespass and forfeiture of mixed commercial and residential premises.
Active Norfolk; Atlas Mapping; CVS (UK); Dereham Town Council; Just Regional Publishing; Lynford Hall; Norwich School; OSR Recruitment Services; TaxAssist Accountants; The Great Hospital.
Located in a 'beautiful setting near the cathedral', Norwich's Leathes Prior has a 'good reputation in the local area'. The opportunity to work in a 'wide-range of different practice areas' was a frequent theme throughout the feedback, and 'sport, employment, litigation and corporate' are cited as some of the firm's diverse areas of expertise. Praise for the firm's 'promotion of early responsibility' has been equally prominent, as trainees are encouraged to 'get stuck into associate-level work' from the start of the training contract. This is made possible by the 'unwavering network of support' in which 'fee-earners are never too busy to answer your questions and offer a helping hand'. The current cohort's work highlights include 'going toe-to-toe over the phone with an experienced partner at a firm on the other side', 'leading a client meeting' and 'being given free rein to argue a legal point in which I secured a significant payout'. Though there is generally a 'hands-on approach to training', including 'training seminars most weeks', one respondent complained about 'the scarcity of initial training on the IT and financial systems' at the start of the training contract. It is also felt that 'there could be better communication between teams and offices', and 'it can take time to meet and get to know the rest of the firm' because of the spread across four offices. There are 'plenty of opportunities to attend networking events', and the 'thriving social life' is a considerable plus factor. Impressively, the firm is a Lex 100 Winner in seven categories this year, including for client contact and job satisfaction. To train at a 'prestigious' East Anglian firm which boasts a 'vast network of local and national clients', send an application to Leathes Prior.
A day in the life of...
Chris Goodwin second-year trainee solicitor, Leathes Prior
Departments to date: Corporate and commercial, dispute resolution and employment
The most exciting thing about being a trainee solicitor at Leathes Prior is being exposed to new experiences. One of my more varied days as a trainee took place during my dispute resolution seat. Along the way, I will share some of my tips for surviving as a trainee.
I sit down at my desk at around 7.45am and check my emails. My job for the morning is to compile the trial bundle for an upcoming High Court trial. Putting together a bundle is a lot of work and requires supreme attention to detail, but is not the most exciting task. This brings me to tip one: there's no such thing as a bad task. Not everything you are asked to do as a trainee is going to be thrilling, but everything you do is a chance to impress and gain experience.
At around 12 noon (thanks in no small part to the help of the team's secretaries), the finished bundle lands on my desk. I check through it and hand it to my supervisor.
As I mentioned above, the key to being a trainee at Leathes Prior is throwing yourself in to new experiences. A few weeks earlier I had been offered the opportunity to play football at Norwich City's 27,000-seater stadium, Carrow Road, as part of a networking event run by a local firm of accountants. My second tip to surviving (and thriving) as a trainee is simple: get stuck in! It's never too early to start building your professional network.
I walk down to Carrow Road, which is about 20 minutes from the office. I recognise a few faces from other networking events and get talking to one of the accountants. Before long I am walking out onto the hallowed turf. It has been a long time since I played on an 11-aside pitch, and my touch is a little rusty (not to mention my fitness). Between matches I get talking to an existing Leathes Prior client, the managing director of a small London- based business and the finance director of an initiative based in Peterborough. The match ends with a penalty shoot-out competition, and I tuck my kick away in the side netting. Where's my England call up?
The hours fly past and before long it's 3.00pm and time to get back to work. Polly Langford, an associate in the team, gives me the number of a prospective client who is having trouble with a customer. I give him a call, take some information and give him a fee quote.
At Leathes Prior you will be expected to be able to deal with clients throughout your training. Before I begin drafting the letter of advice I discuss my initial thoughts with Polly. This brings me nicely to my third and final tip: know when to ask for help. A five-minute chat at the outset of a research task can save you from wasting hours chasing your tail. As a trainee your work will be checked before it is sent out, giving you the freedom to form a conclusion in the confidence that it will be checked over.
I begin drafting our letter of advice. At around 6.30pm my progress begins to slow, and I decide to call it a day.
A training contract is what you make of it. A Leathes Prior training contract will give you the opportunity to throw yourself in to everything the role and the local community have to offer, and if you are the sort of person who is willing to work hard and get stuck in, you will certainly reap the rewards it has to offer.
About the firm
Address:74 The Close, Norwich, NR1 4DR
Telephone: 01603 610911
Senior partner: William Riley
Total partners: 14
Other fee-earners: 37
Total trainees: 7
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
Training contracts available for 2020: 2-4
Applications received pa: c100
Percentage interviewed: 10-20%
First year: £20,500
Second year: £21,500
Newly qualified: c£30,000
Apply to:Lauren Smith, HR manager
When to Apply:By 22 July 2018 for 2020 contracts.
Whats involved:Successful applicants will be invited to attend an assessment day.
Summer:For 2018: deadline for applications is 31 January 2018, placements generally arranged for Spring/Summer with some exceptions made for those looking for Autumn/Winter placements.