The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
RPC posted a 6% rise in turnover for 2015/16, and is highly-regarded for its dispute resolution, insurance and media law capabilities. In May 2016 it launched RPC Perform, a consultancy for in-house lawyers. The firm was shortlisted for the Insurance & Legal Technology Team of the Year crowns at the Legal Business Awards 2016. RPC has UK bases in London and Bristol, as well as overseas offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The star performers
Banking litigation: investment and retail; Brand management; Commercial contracts; Commercial property; Competition litigation; Construction: contentious; Corporate crime (including fraud, bribery and corruption); Health and safety; Insurance: insolvency and restructuring; M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Personal injury: defendant; Private equity: transactions: Mid-cap deal capability; Product liability: defendant; Professional discipline; Professional negligence.
Defended the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia before the Court of Appeal in a claim concerning the application of diplomatic immunity; advised Independent Print on the competition aspects of its £24m sale of the i newspaper to Johnston Press; acted for RFIB Holdings on the sale of its business to Calera Capital; advised Zeno Capital on the £90m sale of the London Fire Brigade’s headquarters; advised International Brand Management Limited on a global endorsement deal with British band Little Mix.
Bellway Homes; Betfair; Ernst & Young; Faraday; Imperial College London; Lyceum Capital; RSA; Sports Direct; Taylor Wimpey; XL Caitlin.
RPC has an ‘ambitious nature’ and a ‘pioneering spirit’ that really appeal to trainees. The firm is ‘paving the way for a modern, creative and commercially savvy way of practising law’. Senior management oozes with ‘entrepreneurial spirit’, adding to the ‘refreshing modern outlook’. Trainees praise the ‘inclusive culture’, which ‘lived up to expectations’, and the trainee WhatsApp group is ‘constantly active’, befitting a firm named a Lex 100 Winner for social life. There is a degree of uncertainty around the number of NQ positions as they ‘vary year-on-year’, but top trainee moments include ‘twice travelling to Russia with partners’, ‘attending a criminal trial undercover’ and ‘working on high-profile trials in the High Court’. The ‘personality and environment’ of the firm encourages a ‘strong work/life balance’, and trainees report being involved in ‘cutting-edge work’ whether that is working on ‘high-profile cases or alongside well-known clients’. Current trainees are also impressed with the ‘quality of work’ they received on the firm’s vacation schemes. The ‘structured training programme’ results in ‘recognition of hard work’ and ‘high levels of responsibility’. There have been a few grumbles about ‘bundling on weekends’ and ‘late nights’, though one trainee describes how ‘the team rewarded me for my individual working style and the quality of work by upping my responsibility’. Supervisors give trainees work that is ‘challenging and interesting’ but there is a ‘great support network’ so you don’t feel overwhelmed. If you are looking to get your hands on ‘good-quality work’ at a pioneering firm that ‘punches above its weight’, take a closer look at RPC.
A day in the life of...
Chloe Johnston first-year trainee, RPC
Departments to date: IP litigation, professional and financial risks
Degree:Philosophy and Political Economy, 2(1)
8.00am: I arrive at the office and take my things up to my desk. Usually I’d be heading to the café to get my breakfast but this morning the editors of the ‘Trainees Take on Business’ blog are hosting a breakfast event so I head to the client lounge to help set up.
8.30am: The ‘Brexit Breakfast’ kicks off and there is lots of discussion about the upcoming vote. We have laid out a selection of today’s newspapers to inform the debates going on around the client lounge.
9.30am: I head back upstairs and check my emails. One of our clients has emailed requesting a consultation with counsel next week to discuss strategy for an upcoming hearing. I check the availability of the partner and associate on the matter, then call the clerk at chambers to request corresponding dates to put to the client.
9.45am: I write my daily to-do list and then pick up where I left off last night on a longstanding chronology task. I’ve been tasked with creating a chronology of all the documents we have and these span more than a five year period. This type of task is a great way to become familiar with a new matter and, as I will be involved with this case throughout my seat, it’s crucial to get to grips with the background and facts.
11.30am: I take a call from an associate in the commercial disputes team who has a bundle which needs to be lodged at court urgently. Each of the first-year trainees in a contentious seat is on a rota in case our outdoor clerk is unavailable and this morning is my slot!
1.00pm: I arrive back from court just in time to catch some of the trainees at lunch in the café.
1.30pm: Back at my desk, a partner comes over to ask if I can assist on a matter which is potentially heading towards a judicial review. I prepare a memo which sets out a detailed analysis of which grounds we could rely on and the procedure for issuing a judicial review.
4.00pm: I have my weekly catch up with my supervisor. We grab a coffee and discuss my current workload, any challenges I’m facing and if I have any ideas about other work I’d like to get involved with.
4.30pm: During our catch up my supervisor briefed me on a new matter and asked me to research potential barristers that we could instruct. I review the CVs of various barristers and put together a list of those with the requisite expertise and experience and email it to my supervisor.
5.30pm: I attend a conference call which is between a partner, the clients and counsel, and take a thorough note. The purpose of the call is to discuss the claimant’s disclosure that we have recently inspected and our strategy going forward. I type up the attendance note and speak to the partner about a task I have been set for tomorrow, which is to begin analysing the disclosure to determine if there are any gaps in what we have been provided with.
6.45pm: I leave the office and meet up with some of my GDL classmates for drinks and dinner on the docks!
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: If you’re looking for a predictable career in a traditional firm, then please stop reading now. At RPC you’ll get a whole lot more. Of course clients expect their lawyers to understand the law. But what they really want is advice from smart people who get the commercial context and can spot the business implications. On this measure, you won’t find better than RPC; in 2015 the UK’s leading client satisfaction report placed us in the top spot overall out of 383 firms benchmarked, and ranked us number one for quality of commercial advice. Not for the first time.
What we do: Combining this commercial outlook with some of the leading lawyers in their fields and great clients, we offer a depth of knowledge and creative approach to problem solving that few firms can rival. It’s no surprise, then, that we’re regularly praised in the leading directories for the quality of our training programmes.
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 energy, enthusiasm, business sense, commitment and the ability to relate well to others just as highly. Recruitment usually takes place in either July or August, two years before the training contract begins. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to one of our assessment days during which they will meet our existing trainees, associates and partners.
What you'll do:As a trainee you will receive first-rate training in a supportive working environment. You will collaborate closely with a partner and will be given real responsibility as soon as you are ready to handle it. At least six months will be spent in four areas of our practice. We encourage our trainees to express preferences for the areas in which they would like to train. In addition to the Professional Skills Course, we provide a complementary programme of in-house training. When you qualify we hope you will stay with us and we always do our best to place you in the area of law that suits you most.
Sponsorship:Bursaries are available for the GDL, if applicable, and the LPC. Bursaries comprise course and examination fees and maintenance grants of up to £7,000. We request that all our trainees complete their LPC and GDL at BPP Law School.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 15
Applications received pa: 600
First year: £37,000
Second year: £40,000
Newly qualified: Merit-based
Total partners: 81
Apply to:Trainee recruitment team.
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017 for 2019 training contracts.
Apply by 31 January 2017.