The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Roythornes Solicitors’ primary area of expertise is in representing clients in the agriculture sector, with renewable energy and property being complementary practice groups. The firm’s headquarters is in Spalding, while the support of the Nottingham, Peterborough and Newmarket offices enables Roythornes to service clients on a national scale.
The star performers
Agriculture and estates; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Family; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate.
Acted for an investor on £14m-worth of agricultural land acquisitions; advising on divorce cases related to the division of agricultural assets; worked on the re-organisations of large estates and farming groups; advises on military accident, sports and travel injury claims.
Clients include family businesses, major blue-chip companies and private individuals based locally, nationally and internationally.
Roythornes Solicitors has four offices across East Anglia and the East Midlands, and is labelled a ‘regional heavyweight with a personal feel’. This ‘medium-sized firm’ can offer recruits a ‘breadth of complex work’, and there are ‘lots of varied departments to get experience in’ with the ‘significant property department’ earning a special mention. This year, the firm is named a Lex 100 Winner in the job satisfaction and vacation scheme categories. The ‘trust and respect the partners place in you’ is clear, and trainees appreciate the ‘involvement with high-profile cases’ and the ‘ability from early on to be responsible for file-handling’. Trainee highlights have included ‘preparing for and attending a huge trial on a long-running case’, ‘attending a joint settlement meeting with counsel and one of the firm’s partners’ and ‘running and completing a high-value banking transaction’. There are instances of ‘staying late’ and being required to ‘keep an eye on files during annual leave’, and one respondent complains of ‘stress from taking on too much work’. That said, Roythornes ‘invests in trainees and all staff’, and colleagues ensure that ‘great weight is given to your personal preference of seats’ – a sign of the ‘friendly and helpful atmosphere in the office’. There are minor gripes about the ‘location of head office’ which ‘could be closer to the town centre’, an inconvenience which ‘makes going to the pub after work a little more difficult when everyone drives home’. It is good for those who ‘love the countryside’ though, plus there are still ‘plenty of opportunities to visit clients, go to court and attend hearings’. For an ‘overwhelmingly positive experience’ where you can ‘work closely with partners on complex files’, add Roythornes Solicitors to your shortlist.
A day in the life of...
Natasha Bicknell first-year trainee, Roythornes Solicitors (Spalding)
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, PEll 3YR
Telephone: 01775 842500
Senior partner : Paul Osborne
Managing director : Vember Mortlock
Other offices: Nottingham, Peterborough and Newmarket.
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 and 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 exceptionally 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, regular lunch and learn, at home with... alongside many external training providers. We are also growing our mentoring scheme and fully committed to the blended learning approach.
Perks: Pension, health and life insurance, 24-days holiday per annum.
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
Trainee places available for 2019: 5
Applications received pa: 90
Percentage interviewed: 33%
First year: £23,500
Second year: £24,500
Newly qualified: £33,500
Total partners: 27
Apply to:Gillian Nash-Kennell, HR director.
When to Apply:By 31 January 2017.
Two weeks from l0 July 2017 (apply by 28 February 2017).