The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
RPC is highly regarded for its dispute resolution, insurance and media law capabilities. The firm has offices in London, Bristol, Hong Kong and Singapore. Clients range from hedge funds, European banks and asset managers through to luxury goods retailers and high-street brands, publishers and broadcasters and tech companies.
The star performers
Banking litigation: investment and retail; Brand management; Commercial contracts; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: retail; Commodities: physicals; Customs and Excise; Data protection and cybersecurity; Health and Safety; Insolvency and restructuring; Insurance and reinsurance litigation; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; Intellectual property; IT and telecoms; M&A: lower mid-market deals, £50m-£250m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Partnership; Professional negligence; Regulatory investigations and corporate crime; Sport
Acted as lead advisor to Sports Direct International on its disposal of the sportswear brand Dunlop and related wholesale business for $137.5m to Sumitomo Rubber Industries; acted for crude oil trader Dukkar in a $2.5m Commercial Court claim against a Greek refiner and oil storage provider arising from the contamination of a cargo of fuel oil; acted for PizzaExpress in a number of matters, including the rollout of its first franchise restaurants across Welcome Break service station sites; assisted Agent Provocateur with franchise and trade mark licence agreements across multiple jurisdictions; defended Marsh in a £50m claim brought by NatWest relating to the placement of its public liability policy
Google; Facebook; Hitachi; Ingenious Media Holdings; MountainPeak Trading; News UK; RSA; Sovcomflot; Tommy Hilfiger; Vallis Commodities Limited
The unique ‘house system’ at RPC ‘makes it much easier to get to know everyone’. Feedback was littered with references to the friendly and collegiate atmosphere, and prospective trainees can look forward to an ‘open-plan environment and open culture, which combines to make working on the floors very easy’. ‘Forward-thinking and client-focused’, RPC is a leader in the insurance sector and is renowned for its contentious work. ‘Attending an all-party mediation for a multi-million pound claim’ and ‘going to court for an emergency injunction’ were highlights. Although ‘the work is tough and of a high quality, there is not a culture of 2am finishes just for the sake of it’ and trainees feel that they have ‘more free time to pursue both personal and professional social activities’ than some of their peers at comparable firms. This year, RPC is a Lex 100 Winner in the international secondments and approachability categories. Because of the specialist nature of the firm, ‘seat choices and NQ opportunities can be more limited’ and there is sometimes a ‘lack of jobs in areas people are interested in, for example, commercial over insurance’. But the ‘level of exposure you get as a trainee’ is unrivalled and it is encouraging to hear that there are ‘some really inspiring female partners’. Despite murmurs that some ‘lateral hires from Magic Circle and US firms have created a different work environment’ which has led to some later finishes, ‘in all fairness partners stay late too’. This adds to the ‘collaborative and team feel’ of the firm. To work at a firm with a ‘good client list’ where ‘everyone is friends’ and the training is ‘more developed’, consider RPC.
A day in the life of...
Max Rossiter first-year trainee, RPC
Departments to date: Professional and financial risks, commercial and banking litigation University: McGill University Degree: History & Philosophy
8.30am: I arrive at the office and check my emails and the news. I make sure that any work due for the morning is done and I do another check over it. I often have bundles produced over night and so I ensure they have been completed and are ready for the team or to be sent to counsel. I then browse any relevant legal updates that might be relevant, as banking litigation can change quite quickly.
9.30am: I have coffee with another trainee.
9.45am: After making sure nothing urgent has come in, I start working on a lengthy analysis of a payment structure for the distribution of profits in an investment SPV set up by a client. Our client is being sued by former investors who claim our client misrepresented how the payments would work, and how much they would receive. My supervisor wants me to unpick the payment structure to see how the payments worked in practice, so we can compare it to the promotional material that our client produced.
11.30am: Taking a break from the payment analysis, I check to see if there have been any updates on a number of cases I work on by checking to see if anything has been filed in court or if we have received any letters from the other side. This allows me to keep on top of any developments in the cases, and plan for future tasks. I flag anything relevant to my supervisor and then update the respective bundles.
12.15pm: I send a few emails to an external contact in a network I help run and which RPC sponsors. We organise a conference call for later in the week to discuss an event that we are putting on. I also send an email to the internal diversity and inclusion team about our up-coming initiatives and whether there is scope to collaborate.
12.35pm: I head down to the café for lunch with the other trainees before grabbing a coffee near the office.
1.10pm: I notice that another client has come back to us with instructions and I discuss our next steps with the associate dealing with the case. We are trying to help the client recover a debt, and she wants me to draft a letter explaining the process to the clients. After speaking through any issues I begin researching the relevant law.
3.00pm: Having finished my research, I begin drafting the letter to the clients. I highlight any issues that I have found, and that my research has not answered, so that I can discuss them with the associate later. The clients are foreign lawyers, so it is important to get the balance of legal analysis right so as not to overwhelm them.
5.15pm: An associate I have been working for tells me that we are instructing counsel on a case we have been working on and asks me to prepare bundles for them to be sent out on Monday. I locate the documents on our internal system and create a combined pdf. I then contact reprographics and send them the bundle so that it can be printed and ready for Monday morning.
6.20pm: I check my emails and flag anything that needs to be done on Monday. I make sure that there are no urgent tasks that the team might need doing, before finishing off my billing for the day.
6.40pm: I text one of the fellow trainees to see if they are still at the pub, and head down to join them.
About the firm
Address:Tower Bridge House, St Katharine’s Way, London, E1W 1AA
Telephone: 020 3060 6000
Other offices: Bristol, Hong Kong, Singapore
Who we are: At RPC, you can be you. In an environment that’s real. Strikingly real. Do you want a career in a firm that values personality as much as professionalism? For us, business success comes from building real relationships and thinking creatively to achieve the best solutions. So if you value character over conformity, the unique over the uniform, and ambition over apathy, let’s talk.
What we do: Our lawyers are market leaders. Our clients are often household names. And together we achieve award-winning results. Results that have seen RPC regularly voted among the best for commercial advice. Our business is built on mutual respect and trust. That’s where you come in. From day one, you’ll have contact with our partners; you’ll have contact with clients; and you’ll be given real responsibility. As a trainee, you could be assisting with large-scale global disputes, or offering business-critical commercial advice.
What we are looking for: Although proven academic ability is important (we require a 2(1) degree or above, not necessarily in law) we value personality, energy, creative thinking, business sense, loyalty and diversity just as highly. Recruitment for Bristol and London training contracts usually takes place in April and August respectively. If you’re shortlisted, you’ll be invited to one of our assessment days during which you’ll meet our existing trainees, associates, legal directors and partners. If successful following the assessment day, your training contract will start two years later.
What you'll do:As a trainee, we believe you’ll deliver your best if you’re free to be you. And that means being able to ask questions openly, being supported to develop your strengths, and having the right opportunities to grow. Our offices are non-hierarchical and open plan. This means from day one you’ll be sitting next to a partner. Whether you’re handling complex insurance claims, resolving large-scale global disputes, or providing commercial advice and transactional support, your opinions will be listened to and respected.
Perks: Along with a competitive annual salary, you’ll be offered a creative full package of benefits. We’re all unique. And that’s why RPC’s benefits package is too. We respect we’re all real people with passions, families and lives away from our desks. So, we offer you the chance to tailor your benefits, offering choice and flexibility to everyone who works here. Our benefits package covers almost everything, from wellness festivals and social events, to extra annual leave, and family and wealth-related rewards.
Sponsorship:GDL funding: fees paid plus up to £7,000 maintenance. LPC funding: fees paid plus up to £7,000 maintenance.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 79
Legal Directors: 33
Total trainees: 24
Trainee places available for 2021: 12
First year: £38,000 London, £35,000 Bristol
Second year: £41,000 London, £36,000 Bristol
Newly qualified: £64,800 London, £46,350 Bristol
When to apply:By 28 June 2019 for 2021 London training contracts, by 15 March 2019 for 2020 and 2021 Bristol training contracts.
What's involved:Online application form, online verbal reasoning test and assessment day.
Summer:Apply by 18 January 2019.