The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Founded in 1934, Roythornes is well established as a leader in the field of agricultural law. The firm’s expertise also spans the property and food sectors. Roythornes’ main office is in Spalding, which is complemented by offices in Nottingham, Peterborough and Alconbury.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Corporate and commercial; Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant
Advised the UK subsidiary of TGW Logistics Group on a framework agreement with a major international retailer; assisted ParentMail with its sale of a software company to Iris Software Group; advised a client who had sustained severe injuries as a consequence of a failed diagnosis of a cancerous cyst; advised a client on a phased disposal of a substantial agricultural and equestrian estate, involving among other things issues with the Rural Payments Agency
Point74; Miebach Consulting; MSF Technologies
Trainees at Roythornes liked that the firm ‘took a personal approach throughout the interview process’ and ‘took a real interest’ in them as prospective recruits. ‘Reports of an excellent work/life balance’ enticed respondents, who found that this was indeed true on the ground. There is a ‘great deal of responsibility’ and a ‘high level of training’ on offer and one trainee waxed lyrical about the ‘supervision and training I have received so far from my supervisor, Robert Dempsey’. More generally, ‘partners and senior staff are very approachable and understanding’ and ‘despite Roythornes being a relatively large firm in the area, it still feels very personal and friendly’. The firm’s Spalding headquarters appealed to some because it is ‘near home’ but frustrated others who feel that ‘there is very little to do in the area’. Furthermore, ‘the potential to work at other offices [in Nottingham, Peterborough and Alconbury] is very limited’. In terms of work, respondents told us that it is ‘interesting and challenging’ with ‘plenty of variety’. ‘Missing a court deadline’, ‘being unsuccessful in arguing our costs at court when I was representing a client of the firm at trial’ and ‘trying to keep up after being overloaded with work’ were trainees’ worst moments. Conversely, favourite moments were ‘successfully selling a canal boat which was an asset of an estate’, ‘settling a claim from start to finish and achieving a fair outcome for my client’ and ‘conducting a client meeting alone’. For ‘better training, a greater level of responsibility’ and an ‘excellent work/life balance’, apply to Roythornes.
A day in the life of...
Natasha Bicknell who has now qualified with Roythornes, but as a trainee, this was a typical day
Departments to date: Property/planning
University:University of East Anglia and BBP Law School, Holborn
Degree:Law 2(1), LPC: Distinction
8.35am: I arrive in the office and head to the kitchen where there is always a friendly face to talk to and have a quick catch up while making a coffee. It is not long before I am at my desk, reviewing my emails and calendar to see what tasks, deadlines and meetings there are today and looking ahead. I then write myself a to-do list which helps me set out what tasks need to be completed and prioritise accordingly.
9.10am: Morning catch up with my supervisor. Working in a busy and fast-paced planning department, communication is key to ensuring that deadlines are met and clients‘ expectations are exceeded with enquiries being handled in good time and effectively. Roythornes places an emphasis on ensuring that trainees are involved as a valued member of the team at every stage. This daily catch up gives me a great opportunity to speak one-on-one and review any work I have done the day before and ask any questions or queries that I may have.
l0.00am: I am now planning the rest of my morning around a meeting at 12.30pm – a developer client phoned earlier this week as an application for planning permission was refused for residential development. We have arranged a meeting to discuss the strength of a potential appeal application. My supervisor has asked me to do some backgroundresearch on the planning application and find out the reasons for refusal in light of the local and national planning policy.
11.30am: Catch up with my supervisor to evaluate the information I have found, as well as discussing my supervisor’s thoughts and knowledge on this matter. We discuss the reasons for the refusal and the potential grounds of appeal, especially in light of the lack of a five-year housing land supply in the area concerned.
12.30pm: At the client meeting, my role is to take notes of the key issues and to gain an understanding of what is required, as I will be assisting with drafting the written representations for the appeal if the client wishes to proceed. Sitting in on meetings allows me to have a real insight and involvement in each matter, and also gives the client comfort in knowing who will be dealing and assisting with their case.
1.30pm: This lunchtime I head to Costa with a colleague who is also a fellow trainee and started at the same time as me.
2.30pm: Back at my desk, I dictate the attendance note for the appeal meeting, and then focus on urgent enquiries that need to be dealt with today. I receive an email from the council with proposed amendments to the draft s106 agreement which I issued to them earlier this week. After reviewing the changes, I telephone the client and discuss each amendment and we agree a strategy for responding. I then spend time drafting the client’s proposals and run through them with my supervisor before reverting back to the council.
4.00pm: I ensure all urgent tasks have been completed and I start reviewing an infrastructure agreement and preparing a report which is to be issued to the client tomorrow.
5.40pm: It’s Wednesday evening so it means only one thing, a badminton tournament with work. Tonight there are eight of us, one partner, a solicitor, and a few trainees and paralegals. I hope my team wins… again!
About the firm
Address:Enterprise Way, Pinchbeck, Spalding, PE11 3YR
Telephone: 01775 842500
Senior partner: Paul Osbourne
Managing partner: Vember Mortlock
Other offices: Nottingham, Peterborough and Alconbury.
Who we are: At Roythornes, we have been putting our clients first for over 80 years. By really getting to know their strengths, ambitions and concerns, we are better able to support and guide them, becoming their trusted advisors. We offer a powerful breadth and depth of legal expertise; we look at the big picture while getting the detail right. We embrace our individual talents while operating as one team.
What we do: Our clients include major blue-chip companies, family businesses, private estates and high-net-worth individuals, based locally, nationally and internationally. Our expertise spans the agricultural, food, property and energy sectors, as well as having strong private client and commercial/corporate law departments.
What we are looking for: We are looking for bright individuals who want a great career in law with Roythornes, who want to do exceptional work rather than just the everyday. They need to have the ambition and drive to make it happen. We are looking for trainees who will care about our clients and want to make long-term relationships, growing their work through referrals.
What you'll do:We are a partner-led firm and the trainees will have exceptional learning and development and supervision. Working alongside some of the leading experts in their fields the trainees will be exposed to complex, challenging work that will help them grow into the best they can be. We have our own Agri-academy and business development academy, regular lunch and learns, at home withs... alongside many externally run training schemes, including a leadership programme. We are fully committed to the blended learning approach.
Perks: Pension, health and life insurance, childcare vouchers, subsidised reflexology and massages on site, cycle to work scheme, 24 days’ holiday per annum, study leave, discounted legal fees.
Sponsorship:We offer sponsorship of up to £10,000 for the LPC whether the trainee wishes to do the course full-time or whether they wish to do their LPC part-time while doing their training contract. We have trainees following both paths. We also run a bursary scheme for local students to support them entering the profession.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 28
Other fee-earners: 94
Total trainees: 12
Trainee places available for 2021: 6
Applications received pa: 120
Percentage interviewed: 30%
First year: £25,000
Second year: £26,000
Newly qualified: £35,000
Apply to:Gillian Nash-Kennell, HR director.
What's involved: Stage one: face-to-face interview with three partners. Stage two: full day, an assessment exercise in the morning followed by two different panel interviews.
When to apply:
Training contracts: By 31 January 2019.
Summer vacation scheme: By 29 March 2019.