The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Russell-Cooke offers the full range of legal services out of its network of offices across London. The firm has a diverse mix of commercial, private and public sector clients, and is also noted for its abilities in family, clinic negligence and real estate law. The firm employs around 200 lawyers.
The star performers
Charities and not-for-profit; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: general; Contentious trusts and probate; Court of Protection; Crime: general; Employment: senior executives; Family; Fraud: white-collar crime; Immigration: business; M&A: smaller deals, up to £50m; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Professional discipline; Property litigation; Social housing: tenant.
Advised the British Heart Foundation on a comprehensive governance review; acted for the Solicitors Regulation Authority against two individuals in relation to the collapse of a litigation finance fund and the misapplication of nearly £5m; acted for Petros London on the purchase and development of student accommodation at Canterbury Christ Church University; represented Woodcock Holdings in an appeal to the Secretary of State relating to a mixed-use project at West Sussex; acted for Sky UK in various proceedings pertaining to intellectual property rights.
Action for Children; Bar Standards Board; Farriers Registration Council; the International Protection of Adults; Just Healthcare; Kasada UK; Orderella; Rockshore Group; SportsDirect; Voluntary Service Overseas.
Russell-Cooke has a ‘breadth of practice areas across commercial, private client and the third sector’, so the work on offer is ‘high-profile and interesting’. Trainees are ‘encouraged to run their own small files’ and to be the ‘main point of contact for their clients’. The ‘supervision from partners is fantastic and there is lots of confidence placed in trainees’. This trust placed in trainees results in a ‘breadth of work’, but trainees would like ‘more mentoring’ rather than relying on ‘individual departments for informal support’. Staff are ‘friendly and approachable’, which creates a ‘relaxed environment’ as ‘everyone is treated with respect on all levels of the organisation’. There are ‘plenty of opportunities to get involved in cases in a meaningful way and to contribute to their outcome’. Top trainee moments include ‘attending a nine-day trial’, ‘helping clients achieve the settlement they deserved in personal injury proceedings’ and ‘running files in every seat from portal claims in PI to estate administration in private client to small disputes in commercial litigation’. Notably, current trainees comment on the ‘stressful competition for a single seat in popular departments’ which results in some not being able to complete their ‘preferred seats’. However, the ‘variety of seats’ on offer results in a ‘useful learning experience’ for trainees ‘even if you do not get your first choice’. Trainees work ‘reasonable hours’ so they have a ‘good work/life balance’. Those seeking ‘responsibility’ within a ‘wide range of practice areas’ should consider Russell-Cooke.
A day in the life of...
Amina Al Hashim first-year trainee, Russell-Cooke LLP
Departments to date: Property; trust and estate disputes
University:London School of Economics and Political Science
9.00am: I arrive in the office and head to the kitchen to make my habitual coffee. While I’m waiting, I chat with my colleagues about the day ahead. I then settle myself at my desk and check my emails. I have a simultaneous sale and purchase completion to work on this morning; I email the accounts team to let them know I’m expecting our client’s sale monies to come in. Once monies have arrived, I send the completion monies for our client’s purchase.
10.00am: I receive a telephone call from the seller’s solicitors to say that completion funds have been received and the keys have been released. I inform my clients who are delighted; they make their way to their lovely new home in the country and thank me for all my help. I’m pleased everything was done efficiently.
11.00am: I walk to East Putney station and take the tube into central London. I’m meeting a longstanding writer/director client while he’s filming on set. His schedule is tight so I wait for a pause in filming, witness his signature on various deeds and head back to the office. As part of a small trainee intake I enjoy meeting with clients on a regular basis and very early on in my first seat.
1.00pm : A work friend and I walk to a local Italian restaurant which bakes authentic Italian pizza. We relax and catch up over lunch before heading back to the office.
1.45pm: Having finished the completions this morning, I research stamp duty and collective enfranchisement so I can advise a residents’ association.
3.00pm: I make some amendments to an option agreement I’ve been drafting for a landowner client. My supervisor and I discuss it at length until we are happy that we’ve represented our client’s requirements and interests fully. We meet with the client and discuss our amendments; he’s happy with our work and asks our advice on another matter.
4.30pm: I tie up some loose ends at my desk and reply to some requisitions from the Land Registry. I review my calendar and flag the matters I will need to follow up within the next few days.
5.00pm: I fill in my trainee diary and make a record of everything I’ve done today. I have a discussion with my supervisor about tomorrow’s matters; he’s out of the office tomorrow and I’m holding down the fort. I work on some post-completion forms that need to be submitted to the Land Registry.
5.45pm: Satisfied that I’ve resolved everything that needs to be completed, I head to an inter-departmental event with the other trainees. We meet there and spend a couple of hours mingling and sampling the various cheeses on offer. I win a camembert in the quiz and head home with my prize!
About the firm
Address:2 Putney Hill, London, SW15 6AB
Telephone: 020 8789 9111
Fax:020 8780 1194
Senior partner : John Gould
Managing partner : Jonathan Thornton
Other offices: London (Bedford Row) and Kingston-upon-Thames.
Who we are: A broad London-based firm with a contemporary outlook, and strength in depth. Departments include charities, clinical negligence, commercial litigation, commercial property, corporate and commercial, cross-border estates and tax planning, employment, family, private client, professional regulation, and trust and estates disputes. Key clients include the Solicitors Regulation Authority, the Architects Registration Board, BSkyB, Pret a Manger and Sports Direct.
What we are looking for: An intellectually rigorous, independently minded trainee with a broad range of skills, both technical and personal.
What you'll do:Trainees sit in four departments across our offices with two formal reviews during each seat.
Sponsorship:LPC fees capped at £8,000.
Facts and figures
Trainee places available for 2019: 7
Applications received pa: Approximately 500
Percentage interviewed: 10%
First year: £34,000
Second year: £36,000
Newly qualified: Market rate for the area into which the trainee qualifies
Total partners: 59
Apply to:Tess Morley.
When to Apply:By 31 July 2017 for 2019 contracts.