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 from its network of offices across London. The firm has a breadth of expertise, with particular specialisms in areas as diverse as commercial property, professional regulation, criminal and children law. The client base comprises a mix of commercial, private and public sector clients.
The star performers
Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: retail; Contentious trusts and probate; Court of protection; Crime: general; Employment: employers and senior executives; Family; Family: mediation; Fraud: white-collar crime; Immigration: business; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Professional discipline; Social housing: tenant; Sport
Advised The Gym on the leasing aspects of the client’s purchase of multiple facilities in the Midlands and northern England; assisted Pret A Manger with a pre-let agreement for a Grade II listed building in the Tottenham Court Road Cross Rail development; assisted Sky UK with protecting its IP in relation to European sports broadcasts; advised Newable Property Developments on multimillion-pound development site acquisitions; acted for a solicitor in disciplinary proceedings brought by the SRA. The allegations involved taking advantage of a vulnerable client, lending money to a client on unfavourable terms, and conflict of interest
Action for Blind People; British Fencing; Chelsea FC; Esher Tennis Club; Loughborough Estate Management Board; Tottenham Hotspur FC; World Vision UK; World Wildlife Fund; the Youth Hostel Association
Russell-Cooke offers a ‘mix of work: a combination of commercial, legal aid and private client’. There is a ‘breadth of work’ on offer thanks to the ‘wide variety of practice areas’, making the firm ‘slightly different to the average ‘City’ firm’. There is also a ‘nice culture’ and, generally, a ‘good work/life balance’. Trainees work on ‘matters of a high quality’, such as ‘attending the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Procedural Hearing’, ‘being entrusted with the responsibility of managing complex cases’ and genuinely feel as though they are ‘treated as associates’. Such responsibility brings with it less desirable work too, such as ‘dealing with challenging clients’ and ‘being given a task late on a Friday night which could have been completed earlier in the week’. The qualification process is described as ‘unclear and uncertain’. There were some concerns about a number of trainees not being kept on, with one recruit saying that ‘it is up to the trainee to seek out a job for themselves’. The upside of this proactive approach is that ‘departments are willing to create a seat for trainees if there is enough work and interest’. Prospective recruits can look forward to being ‘given as much work as you can handle’ from ‘helpful and supportive teams’. Because of the variety of practice groups, ‘each department varies so much that it does not feel like one unified firm but instead feels like several small firms under one umbrella’. But social activities, such as ‘film night and board games evening’, help to bring everyone together. To train at a firm with a ‘greater diversity of seats’, take a closer look at Russell-Cooke.
A day in the life of...
Georgia Haughney first-year trainee, Russell-Cooke LLP
Departments to date: Housing and property litigation
University:University of Oxford
Degree:BA in Jurisprudence, 2(1)
9.30am: I arrive at the office just before 9.30 after a short walk from home. Putney is a great place to live and work with a community feel but all the buzz of London. I make a cup of tea, eat cereal at my desk and check emails. I review the files I’m running myself to see what needs doing, then turn to the tasks I’ve been given by other solicitors in the team.
9.45am: First I prepare final versions of licences for alterations, overseen by a partner who checks the correspondence and documents I draft. I’m the only trainee in the department and have my pick of a great range of work. It’s a busy but friendly group with a positive atmosphere. Although I get work from all different directions I don’t get overburdened. If I’ve got too much I can say so.
10.15am: Next, an application for an order for sale, acting for landlords in relation to an unpaid debt for rent arrears and service charges. This involves me preparing a witness statement, detailing the circumstances that have led to the application. I have to work out the total amount owed to date, which involves calculating interest on the sums already owed. This is quite a lengthy task, and takes up the rest of my morning.
12.30pm: At lunchtime, a large group of trainees meets up each day. As it’s summer, we congregate on the roof terrace to enjoy the sun and chat. Conversation ranges from discussion about work to debates about last night’s episode of Love Island! One of our senior associates runs yoga classes at lunchtime, so on the days I am feeling slightly more energetic I go to these. It’s a great way to unwind and take a break from work.
1.30pm: This afternoon I’m working on an appeal against the council’s decision not to offer a homeless client temporary accommodation. I need to write submissions detailing the evidence and circumstances to prove the elements needed for the council to accept their duty to house the individual. I must show the client is homeless, has special circumstances making them in priority need (usually a disability or because they have dependent children) and meet immigration and residence conditions. I must also prove they did not become homeless intentionally.
1.45pm: I review medical records to demonstrate the client has a genuine condition that makes them ‘vulnerable’ and therefore in priority need.
3.30pm: Next I review their previous rent and financials to prove the reason they became homeless was because they could not keep up payments.
4.15pm: As I now have the evidence I need, combined with statements from the client, I draft a letter to the council setting out why our client meets all the requirements for the council to rehouse them.
5.10pm: Tomorrow I’m attending the Grenfell Inquiry. Our department is acting on behalf of some of the survivors and residents. We work collaboratively with a number of other law firms acting for those affected and their families. Someone from our team will attend the inquiry every day to ensure any issues necessary to protect the interests of our clients are raised. It’s eye-opening and harrowing but also very rewarding as it’s such vitally important work.
5.45pm: The firm runs various clubs and societies after hours. A particular favourite is the film club with popcorn, pizza, ice cream and drinks. This evening it’s The Greatest Showman. It’s a relaxed way to meet other people from across the firm – lawyers and non-lawyers from all three offices.
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 top 100 London firm with approximately 200 specialist solicitors advising a mix of commercial, private, regulatory and not-for-profit clients.
What we do: Russell-Cooke offers an unusual range of experience – to include charities and social business, clinical negligence, commercial litigation, real estate, 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. We require a minimum 2(1) degree.
What you'll do:Trainees sit in four departments across our offices with two formal reviews during each seat and ongoing mentoring and supervision from dedicated supervisors.
Perks: Perks: Trainees are eligible for all standard employee benefits including bonus scheme, pension, childcare vouchers, private medical insurance and an employee assistance programme – the full list of benefits is available here – russell-cooke.co.uk/employee-benefits-package.
Sponsorship:We provide capped sponsorship of up to £10,000 per candidate for LPC fees. We also offer an interest-free loan of up to £5,000 repayable out of a trainee’s salary over a two-year period.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 59
Other fee-earners: 131
Total trainees: 19
Turnover in 2017: £34.2m (+5% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £219,000 (+8%)
Trainee places available for 2021: 9
Applications received pa: Approximately 400
Percentage interviewed: 12%
First year: £36,500
Second year: £38,500
Newly qualified: Market rate for the area into which the trainee qualifies
Apply to:Tess Morley.
When to apply:By 30 June 2019 for 2021 contracts.
What's involved:If you are selected after applying via our online application form, we will invite you for an interview with a partner at the firm. For those who are successful in making it to the second round, you will be invited for a second interview involving consideration of a case study, a group discussion and exercise and a further interview with the recruitment panel of three partners. You will also meet our current trainees, look round our offices and have the chance to put your questions to the graduate recruitment partner.
Spring:1-5 April and 8-12 April 2019; apply by 1 March 2019.