The lowdown (in their own words...)
Why did you choose this firm over any others?
‘The exposure to fee earning work under good supervision’; ‘type of work, location and reputation’; ‘the firm’s impressive ranking in The Times Top 100 Best Companies to work for’; ‘I’d worked at the firm for a number of years and its atmosphere and friendly staff made me want to stay’; ‘it was apparent from the open evening that everyone got on really well with each other’
Best thing about the firm?
‘Trainees are able to work directly alongside partners on a day-to-day basis’; ‘the atmosphere’; ‘the flat hierarchy and a really good social side’; ‘colleagues’ willingness to help’; ‘trainees get plenty of responsibility such as conducting their own client meetings and attending court’; ‘I can ask questions without feeling stupid which means that my learning experience is much better’
Worst thing about the firm?
‘Gender balance at the higher levels’; ‘the salary, although reasonable, could be better (particularly given the cost of living in Oxford); ‘there is a tendency to be more Bath-focused which is where the firm’s head office is located, although this does seem to be changing with the addition of our London office’; ‘parking facilities’
‘Being involved in a mediation for a private client’; ‘a completion in my Corporate seat’; ‘it’s difficult to name just one but attending the Royal Courts of Justice for a preliminary hearing, a mediation in London and conducting my own client meeting have all been highlights’
‘Changing seats – it’s difficult to leave a team who you’ve worked so closely with’; ‘assisting in preparing trial bundles, which involved copious amounts of photocopying and paginating – not the most enthralling of tasks’; ‘making very minor errors and worrying about them too much!’
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Royds Withy King has offices in Bath, London, Oxford and Swindon, and the addition of a City base has, in the words of one trainee, 'given the firm a more national focus'. The firm certainly makes a good first impression. One previous employee said that the 'atmosphere and friendly staff made me want to stay', while another trainee says that 'there was a friendly and fun buzz to the office' at a firm open evening. This sense of collegiality persists throughout the training contract, as 'everyone is really social and we often go out for Friday night drinks'. Feedback such as this explains why the firm is named a Lex 100 Winner in the friendliness category. Trainees 'get plenty of responsibility' and the work 'is always varied'. Highlight moments to date include 'attending the Royal Courts of Justice for a preliminary hearing', 'spending a considerable amount of time on a high-value personal injury case' and 'successfully completing a contested advocacy hearing on my own and achieving a successful outcome for the client'. There are few major complaints, with minor gripes including 'parking facilities' and that 'the salary, although reasonable, could be better'. There is a 'flat hierarchy' at Royds Withy King, and 'partners are open, approachable and know your name'. Therefore, 'no matter how small your question there will always be someone who is prepared to stop what they are doing to help'. Additionally, 'the firm has a strong commitment to CSR with a great charitable committee that organises lots of events'. For 'good job satisfaction' at a sociable firm, add Royds Withy King to your shortlist.
Royds Withy King’s principal offices are in Bath, Swindon, Oxford and the firm also has an office in London. Founded in Bath in 1873, the firm has grown significantly both organically and via strategic merger in recent years and now employs 63 partners and over 470 staff. Royds Withy King is known for handling high-value commercial, private client and insurance (private client and personal injury) work.
Advising Bath City Football Club on its proposed takeover of Bath City Supporters Society; acted for The Kaleidoscope Collection on the time-sensitive acquisition of the former Carfax Hotel in Bath; advised Balfour Beatty Group on the letting of commercial units at Cheswick Village, Bristol to a number of large retailers; advising an online academic content publisher on its licensing agreements with academic organisations in multiple jurisdictions; advises on large- scale redundancies including collective consultations, complex TUPE transfers and high-value restructuring processes involving a numerous employees.
Applicable Limited; Airsprung Group; Balfour Beatty Group; Bath City Football Club; Bath Rugby; Blue Marlin Brand Design; Churchill Investments; Salters Hill Charity; The Kaleidoscope Collection; The Rugby Players Association.
Agriculture and estates; Banking litigation: investment and retail; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Court of protection; Employment; Family; Intellectual property; IT and telecoms; Media and entertainment; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property litigation.
A day in the life of...
Elizabeth Painter, trainee
Departments to date: Employment and Commercial Property. Elizabeth joined Royds Withy King as a Trainee in March 2017 in Bath.
Degree: BA Philosophy & Ancient History & GDL- Cardiff University
At Royds Withy King, the Employment team has a vast range of expertise advising businesses and individuals. Fortunately for me, the result is that each day in the office is different and I get plenty of exposure to an array of interesting work. Here is an insight into a day I had during my first few weeks with the Employment team.
My ‘average day’ started with a mandatory round of tea and coffee. But don’t panic, this isn’t a trainee solicitor job! Rather our love of caffeine means that everyone in our team takes it in turns to precariously balance a tray of drinks to and from the kitchen every few hours. Feeling caffeinated, I made my way to greet a client with my supervising solicitor. The client had come to see us regarding an employment related dispute. This is one of my favourite tasks as it’s a valuable opportunity to meet clients and develop my understanding of the real issues faced by people during and after employment. With more exposure and training, I should be able to lead such a meeting myself.
Next up, I was asked to draft a negotiation letter, under supervision, on behalf of one of our clients. Exercises like this are a great way to gain experience of mediation tactics. I can also work on those persuasive writing skills! Where employment disputes arise, negotiation is preferable to litigation to help clients manage their legal costs. This means that the early steps are really important for setting the tone for ongoing discussions.
I then began work on preparing advice for a client in relation to the pension auto-enrolment requirements and their responsibilities as an employer. It was interesting to research the topic and, guided by senior members of the team, look at how to apply the information.
Full of knowledge from my research and feeling concerned about the fact I have only just started paying into a pension, I moved on to submit an early conciliation form for a client. Starting early conciliation is a mandatory pre-litigation step for parties wanting to bring an employment claim in the tribunal. Volunteering to complete the form was a handy way to get more familiar with this stage.
My last action of the day was to review an employment contract and provide the client with comments on whether it is up-to-date with the current law. A great chance to get exposure to as many obscure contract clauses as possible (and trust me, there can be lots!). It is also a good opportunity to review how to translate legal jargon into clear, coherent comments that the client can easily understand and put into action.
Although my working day was technically done, I left the office to catch the train to Bristol for a speed-networking event. I’ll admit I was really nervous about the prospect of talking about myself and my work at the firm within my first two weeks of working here. But throwing myself in the deep-end turned out to be a really worthwhile experience for improving my confidence. It was a fun evening full of stimulating chats with other professionals and just the right amount of wine. I will definitely be keen to take part in similar events again!
As I made my way back to Bath I felt content that everything I had carried out would substantially contribute towards my training. I had the opportunity to develop my communication skills, worked on my negotiation tactics, researched a new legal subject and familiarised myself with the procedure for starting early conciliation. I reviewed an employment contract and I strengthened my networking skills. All in all another varied day with plenty of interesting work!
About the firm
Address: 5 - 6 Northumberland Buildings, Queen Square,Bath BA1 2JE
Telephone: 01225 730 100
Who we are: Royds Withy King is a progressive UK Top 100 law firm with the combined expertise of over 470 staff. The firm has a reputation for exemplary client care and workplace excellence; ranked 30th in the Sunday Times 100 Best Mid-Sized Companies to Work for 2017 and one of just six law firms to achieve the coveted 3 star ‘extraordinary’ award from Best Companies.
What we do: Royds Withy King is a composite practice known for its commercial, private client, medical negligence and personal injury work. The firm’s lawyers advise individuals and businesses on local, national and international matters. The firm also operates in a number of specialist sectors, including real estate, retail and leisure, international banking, technology, private wealth, charities, health and social care, sport and racing & bloodstock.
What we are looking for: Royds Withy King’s core values are the foundation and driving force of the business. The firm is looking for trainees that can bring to life their ability to respond to clients’ needs, demonstrate commercial understanding, build networks with others and contribute to their wider community.
What you'll do: Trainees will undertake four, six months seats across diverse areas of law. You will be trained closely by experts in their respective fields. Our trainees get hands-on experience from day one.
- 2 paid days per year for volunteering
- A host of social events through out the year
- Season ticket loan
- Life assurance
- Health care cash plan
- Employee Assistance Programme
- Free will
- Discounted conveyancing
- Birthday bonus
- Buy & Sell up to 5 days annual leave
- Perkbox – a whole suite of money-off discounts and benefits (including free cups of coffee, discounts off gym membership and shopping)
Facts and figures
Total partners: 66
Other fee-earners: 215
Total trainees: 19
Trainee places available (ie for contracts commencing in 2019 / 2020): 12
Applications received pa: 350
Percentage interviewed: 20% of applicants invited to assessment centres
First year: South West £26,000; London £31,000
Second year: South West £27,000; London £32,000
Newly qualified: South West £37,000; London £40,000
Apply to: Claire Fennell, Recruitment Manager
How: Online application form
When: 30th April 2018
What’s involved? Application form, Video Interview, Assessment Centre, Final panel interview and presentation.
Spring: 31st January 2018
Summer: 31st January 2018