Shoosmiths LLP

Shoosmiths LLP

Address: The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7SH




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘Personality-focused’; ‘the calibre of clients’; ‘very friendly and welcoming’; ‘because I had worked here as a paralegal and therefore had experienced the relaxed and friendly culture here’; ‘enjoyable assessment day’; ‘the firm always ranks highly for client and employee satisfaction’; ‘exposure to a broad range of work’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘Friendly and supportive co-workers’; ‘little hierarchy’; ‘the culture’; ‘work/life balance’; ‘friendly team’; ‘good supervision’; ‘everyone works hard and expects you to put the effort in but is also very supportive of your career development, no matter what level they are’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Not being able to choose first seat’; ‘lack of transparency about seats and NQ positions’; ‘the remuneration for the training contract is not the best’; ‘outdated IT systems’; ‘hidden hierarchy’; ‘international ventures are not an immediate focus’; ‘Solent office location’; ‘no opportunity to work in London’
Best moment? 
 '‘Secondment opportunity’; ‘face-to-face client meeting’; ‘settling a case with 100% recovery and feeling like I could do the job’; ‘first deal completion’; ‘visit to European HQ of international company’; ‘client secondment to a leading car manufacturer’; ‘I was involved in an urgent action for a large nationwide retailer days before Christmas’
Worst moment?
 '‘Stressful times with not enough guidance from the person delegating the task’; ‘taking my first PSC exam’; ‘supplemental office duties’; ‘not getting out to see clients as much as I would like’; ‘typing up notes from a meeting with counsel’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Columbo – under the friendly, unassuming façade is an astute and relentless character

The Verdict

The firm

Shoosmiths set up its eleventh office in July 2016, adding a base in Leeds to its extensive UK network. The firm offers a full service to its clients, and is particularly noted for its debt recovery, employment, commercial property and property litigation departments. It was shortlisted for National/Regional Firm of the Year at the Legal Business Awards 2016. 

The star performers

Banking and finance; Banking litigation; Clinical negligence: claimant; Commercial contracts; Commercial property; Corporate and commercial; Court of Protection; Debt recovery; Employment; Immigration; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Licensing; Media and entertainment; Pensions; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning and environment; Professional negligence; Product liability: defendant; Rail.

The deals

Acted as lead adviser to British American Tobacco in a supply chain and logistics project with DHL; advised Porterbrook Leasing on the procurement and leasing of new fleets of rolling stock for use by the Southern, Thameslink and Great Western franchises; advised MML Capital Partners on a term loan facility to finance the acquisition of the Learning Curve Group; continues to act for IKEA on a range of property mandates, including the disposal of two undeveloped sites and the purchase of a new potential store site; advised Truworths International on the £256m acquisition of the UK footwear retailer Office Retail Group.

The clients

Aldermore Invoice Finance; Bibby Financial Services; Coca-Cola Enterprises; DB Schenker; Gourmet Burger Kitchen; Hitachi Rail Europe; Honda; McDonald’s; Thomas Cook; Thorntons.

The Verdict

Shoosmiths is a firm with a ‘sizeable national presence’ where trainees receive a ‘good level of client contact’. Examples of current work highlights include a ‘client meeting in the Isle of Man’, ‘attending a six-party mediation in London’ and ‘assisting in an all-party meeting for a potential development site’. Client secondments have also been popular, as they are a ‘really valuable insight into what clients want from their lawyers’, and one respondent was seconded to ‘one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world’. The firm has secured Lex 100 Winner gongs for job satisfaction and living up to expectations. Indeed, the ‘friendly environment’ at the firm ‘enables trainees to thrive’, and Shoosmiths is ‘very supportive of your career development’. Respondents cite a ‘lack of choice’ regarding seat rotations, and two trainees have commented on being given seats that they did not want, though with mixed results. One says that their ‘opinion didn’t change’ after completing the seat, while the other says it ‘ended up as a very positive experience’. The pay ‘could be better’, and ‘salaries are not different according to the office location’, though on the flip-side you can look forward to a ‘good work/life balance’. Shoosmiths has a ‘reputation for excellent training’, and there is a clear ‘emphasis on learning and developing’. Highlight moments enjoyed by the current cohort include ‘completing my first transaction’ and a ‘nerve-wracking but thrilling urgent action for a large nationwide retailer days before Christmas’. To represent ‘high-calibre clients’ at a national firm that ‘continues to grow and develop’, consider applying to Shoosmiths.

 A day in the life of...

Tom Newborough newly-qualified solicitor, Shoosmiths (Nottingham) 
Departments to date:  Real estate litigation, corporate, banking, commercial real estate
Degree:Psychology 2(1)  

8.45am:  I arrive at the office and go through my morning routine of checking/responding to emails. At Shoosmiths the focus is always on delivering a first-class client experience, so listening to and providing a prompt response to client enquiries is an important part of maintaining client satisfaction. Once my inbox is up to date, I keep on top of current affairs by browsing the internet. I also subscribe to email alerts from The Lawyer , so I aim to read these to keep up with the legal market specifically.

9.15am:  I receive an email from a client requesting an update on the status of an engagement letter for which we need to agree terms with the solicitors on the other side. I have been trusted with the responsibility of taking the lead on this one, which means I am the client’s first point of contact. I respond promptly, advising that we are awaiting a response from the solicitor on the other side, but it’s important to be proactive so I inform him that I will chase this up. I email the solicitor involved to see if they’ve reviewed the document and if so whether there are any outstanding issues.

10.00am:  I’ve been assisting my supervisor on an asset sale transaction which involves a Danish buyer and a UK seller. We are involved in the UK aspects of the transaction through our connections with a Danish law firm, via the World Services Group. The team are working to tight time-scales and I am asked by the client partner to co-ordinate a list of enquiries to go to the seller for tomorrow afternoon. The transaction involves input from specialists across various departments, including pensions, regulatory, employment and commercial contracts. My role is to project manage this aspect of the transaction, to ensure all the necessary information is collated. I receive a call from one of the Danish lawyers leading the transaction to update me on the scope of work that is needed on the UK aspects of the deal. I then liaise with the relevant people involved and pass on this information.

12.30pm:  I receive an email from the solicitor on the other side regarding the engagement from earlier in the day. There are still a few outstanding issues so we arrange to have a call later to discuss these further.

2.00pm:  After lunch, one of the commercial partners involved in the asset sale transaction is in the Nottingham area and pops in to discuss the contract due diligence. I ask if I can assist further and it’s decided that, as a training exercise, I will also review the relevant contracts and feed back my findings. I’m pleased to have been given the opportunity to take on more responsibility and that I have the support of my supervisor and colleagues.

4.00pm:  I prepare for my negotiation call as arranged earlier. This is the first contractual negotiation I’ve had over the phone, so I’m keen to ensure I have prepared arguments for the main contentious points that are likely to be raised. Everyone in the team is very approachable so I run this by a colleague who will be sitting in on the call as a silent observer and he gives me some final tips. The call goes relatively smoothly and we agree most of the points; however there are a couple of things which require further instructions from the client. I call the client and explain the key points and he gives me the go-ahead to go back to the other side and get everything agreed.

6.00pm:  I send an updated version of the engagement letter to the solicitor, incorporating the changes discussed. This version is agreed and we arrange for execution of the document by the relevant parties. The client is pleased that this was finalised swiftly following his email this morning. I make a to-do list for tomorrow, prioritising the asset sale transaction work which needs to be checked by the partner in the morning, then meet a few colleagues for dinner and a couple of drinks.

About the firm

Address:The Lakes, Bedford Road, Northampton, NN4 7SH

Telephone: 03700 863075


CEO : Claire Rowe

Chairman : Peter Duff

Other offices: Basingstoke, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, London, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, Reading, Solent. Check our website for offices we are currently recruiting to. 

Who we are: Shoosmiths is a major national UK law firm which is known for providing a consistently superb client experience. Our focus on people, relationships and results has defined our achievements for 170 years.

What we do: We offer training across five core practice areas. These include commercial, employment, regulatory, litigation, real estate, corporate, tax, private client and asset finance.

What we are looking for: You should be able to take initiative and talk business sense. You will have the drive and desire to learn quickly and develop your skills with high levels of client contact.

What you'll do:You will complete four six-month seats, one of which could be a secondment to a client’s in-house legal team. You’ll train in a supportive environment with the freedom to manage your own caseload and deal with clients on a daily basis.

Perks: Membership costs for local young lawyer groups, 23 days’ flexible holiday, pension, life assurance, private medical insurance, dental plan, corporate discounts, £50 and a day off on your birthday.

Sponsorship:We will fund your GDL and/or LPC while you are studying, as well as providing a living allowance. We do not specify which provider you should complete your GDL and LPC at.


Facts and figures

Trainee places available for 2019: 25

Applications received pa: 2,000+ 

Percentage interviewed: 10% 


First year: £26,000

Second year: £27,000

Newly qualified: £40,000

Total partners: 155

Other fee-earners:750

Total trainees:42

 Application process

Apply to:Samantha Hope, graduate recruitment manager.

How: Online application only.

When to Apply:By 30 June 2017.

 Vacation schemes

June/July 2017 (apply by February 2017).