Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Addleshaw Goddard
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Addleshaw Goddard
Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I enjoyed the assessment centre, which is unusual!’, ‘the marketing materials appealed to me’, ‘I was impressed with the diversity message the firm was presenting’, ‘I was a former client’, ‘strong northern presence’, ‘the Manchester office gets instructed on most bigger projects in the area’, ‘it’s at the forefront of legal technology’, ‘ranking of key departments/partners in The Legal 500’
Best thing about the firm? ‘The other trainees are all very supportive’, ‘the people, without a doubt’, ‘free drinks Friday is amazing’, ‘its interest in legal tech’, ‘quality of north-west clients’, ‘people have always taken the time for training and explaining things’, ‘inclusiveness’, ‘the amount of money invested in trainees’, ‘the people; partners and other senior colleagues are very approachable’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘Sometimes a lot is expected of trainees, which can put us under a lot of pressure’, ‘the remuneration in Scotland is not competitive compared to other top firms’, ‘workloads can be high due to the nature of the work we do’, ‘no Manchester secondments’, ‘internal procedures and bureaucracy’, ‘presenteeism still exists in some departments’
Best moment? ‘Obtaining a world-wide freezing order for a client after working very long hours’, ‘drafting a bridge facility agreement’, ‘attending a super court at the Rolls Building’, ‘being highly praised by a partner for a tricky piece of work I completed’, ‘appearing in court before a Master’, ‘exposure to clients’, ‘representing the firm at a Women in Law event’
Worst moment? ‘Drafting documents late at night’, ‘demotivating admin tasks’, ‘data room management’, ‘doing billing reports’, ‘balancing personal life and family issues with professional obligations’, ‘moving from first to second seat, which feels like starting from scratch’, ‘not getting the seats I wanted’, ‘working until the early hours only to come back in at 8:30am’
The Lex 100 verdict on Addleshaw Goddard
The firm: Addleshaw Goddard has offices in London, Manchester, Leeds, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as in Hamburg, Singapore, Dubai, Doha, Muscat and Hong Kong. The firm is a market leader across its chosen sectors: digital, financial services, energy and utilities, health, industrials, retail and consumer, real estate and transport, and boasts an impressive FTSE 100 client base.
The deals: Handled BP’s acquisition of a minority stake in Lightsource Renewable Energy Investments for $200m; advised Transport for Greater Manchester on establishing a highways shared services arrangement with three Greater Manchester local authorities; advised Mark and Lucy Millar on the sale of comic book company Millarworld to Netflix; acted for Paragon Housing Association in its circa £1m turn-key acquisition of completed new-build properties in Alva; advised Stoke City Council on a proposed variation and refinancing of its pathfinder street lighting PFI Scheme.
The clients: BP; Castle Water Limited; FNZ; Hitachi; JD Sports; SSE; Tate & Lyle.
The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Banking and finance; Banking litigation; Commercial property; Construction; Corporate and commercial; Corporate restructuring and insolvency; Corporate tax; Education; Employment; Energy; Health; IT and telecoms; Intellectual property; Local government; Media and entertainment; Pensions; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Product liability: defendant; Project finance and PFI; Property litigation; Transport.
Trainees flocked to Addleshaw Goddard to pursue ‘news-worthy work’ in a firm with a ‘very strong regional presence’ in Leeds, Manchester, Scotland, as well as London. The training is described as ‘involved and ambitious’ and recruits receive ‘substantial training from the firm at the beginning of every seat’ which allows them to ‘stay on top of what is happening or on the horizon in the legal and commercial world’. What’s more, ‘there is a lot of focus on legal technology’ at the firm. A Lex 100 Winner medal for quality of work is explained by the ‘unusual amount of drafting and deal management responsibility’, which pleased trainees greatly. Thanks to a ‘more approachable partner set’, there is ‘no hierarchical snobbery’ at Addleshaw Goddard, and the ‘unrivalled friendly and collaborative culture’ is credited with ‘making a tough day much easier’. Some respondents complained about the remuneration, in particular in offices outside of London. It was also noted that the Scottish office buildings are ‘definitely lacking’ when compared with their English counterparts. ‘Long hours’ were begrudged, although it was acknowledged that ‘you’ll never find yourself working alone late at night – it is a team effort’. A second Lex 100 Winner medal is awarded for international secondments, during which trainees are ‘warmly embraced by overseas colleagues’ and ‘the firm does its best to ensure you have a good time’. ‘Going to Stornoway for a complex Land Court Hearing’ was a clear work highlight, whilst ‘sorting through boxes which had been in archive for 15 years’ was not as enjoyable. If a firm with a ‘real feel of team spirit’, which works for ‘clients people have heard of’, sounds like a good fit for you, research Addleshaw Goddard.
A day in the life of… Ben Jones, second-seat trainee, Addleshaw Goddard LLP
Departments to date: Banking, financial litigation
University: University of York
Degree: Law, first class
9.00am: I arrive in the office and grab some breakfast from the canteen. I typically look through my emails while eating, making a note of any work which has come through before updating my to-do list. My to-do list is usually fairly fluid given the nature of the job, so I like to create a fresh one every morning.
9.30am: My day officially starts. I usually like to grab two minutes with my supervisor to discuss my current workload, before checking if there’s anything he would like me to do as well. These quick catch-ups are invaluable, as supervisors are able to help direct your attention toward upcoming matters which will require trainee assistance; once you know this, you know who to speak with about getting involved.
10.00am: I turn my attention to reviewing a witness statement I’ve been helping to amend. I run through the statement and add additional material to ensure fluency and completeness. Once this review is complete, I turn to the accompanying exhibit, ensuring it contains all of the documents referred to in the statement while also checking that all page references are correct. Satisfied, I send the witness statement and exhibit onto my supervisor for their review. In litigation trainees have the opportunity to be involved in many different types of work, including helping to draft vital material such as witness statements.
12.15pm: I then send an email to the print room, setting out a list of instructions for several bundles I’ll need for a witness interview later that week. At AG we’re fortunate to have phenomenal administrative staff who can help with the preparation of a variety of documents; this really makes a trainee’s life much easier.
12.30pm: I head downstairs to have lunch with some of the other trainees in our canteen. The canteen is great as we get subsidised rates, which is an absolute lifesaver in London
1.15pm: I head back up to my desk and see an email from a colleague in the Leeds office asking me to give them a call. After a quick chat, they ask if I can print out several documents, draft a covering letter and serve the documents on a law firm acting against us in a matter. While I put together the letter and the bundle of documents, my P/A books a taxi to collect me ASAP. After a quick journey, I’ve served the documents and have returned to the office to crack on with the next job. As a litigation trainee, it’s very common to serve bundles on the other side or at court; it makes a nice change of pace from sitting at your desk.
2.00pm: A partner has asked me to look into a particularly nuanced piece of legislation, so I begin to draft a research note explaining how it works in the context of his case-related query. After several hours of research, I present him with my findings and we talk through what it means for the case. Research tasks are a great way of demonstrating creativity, and putting your legal education into practise.
5.15pm: I then turn my attention toward a disclosure review exercise. I’m helping an associate by checking through various documents supplied by our client and noting whether they should be disclosed and whether privilege would apply.
6.30pm: I pick up the bundles I requested earlier in the day from the print room and spend a few minutes checking everything is ship-shape.
6.45pm: I finish my day by updating my to-do list with completed actions. I head off for the gym, with plenty of time left in the evening.
About the firm
Senior partner: Charles Penney
Managing partner: John Joyce
Other offices: Aberdeen, Dubai, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamburg, Hong Kong, Leeds, London, Manchester, Oman, Qatar and Singapore.
Who we are: We are a premium international law firm with an exceptional breadth of services. Our reputation for outstanding quality is built upon long-term relationship investment and a deep understanding of client markets.
What we do: We have a broad client portfolio, which is testament to the strength and expertise of our people. It includes financial institutions, public sector bodies, successful businesses and private individuals. We are a leading advisor to FTSE 100 companies and a market leader across: corporate, commercial, finance and project, real estate and litigation business divisions; specialist fields such as private capital; energy, financial services, health and life sciences, real estate, retail and consumer, and transport sectors.
What we’re looking for: We require ABB at A level and a 2(1) honours degree (or equivalent). But what will really open doors to an outstanding career here is the real you. At Addleshaw Goddard, we’re looking for original minds and collaborative spirits alongside motivation, drive and commercial awareness. We’re constantly delighted by the diverse backgrounds of our best lawyers, and we’re open to law and non-law graduates alike, as well as those looking to change career.
What you’ll do: As a trainee, important cases will come your way from the get-go. You will work on everything from multimillion-pound deals to high-profile fraud cases, employment disputes to complex technology contracts. Our success is intrinsically linked to yours, so we’ll always have your back and help you realise your potential.
Perks: We provide all trainees with a substantial and competitive range of benefits. These include: dental cover, gym allowance, season ticket loan, interest-free loan, bonus scheme, group pension membership with matched contributions at 3-5%, life insurance, permanent health insurance and private medical insurance.
Sponsorship: GDL/LPC and maintenance grant of £7,000 (London), £4,500 (other UK locations).
Vacation scheme insider
University: University of Manchester
Why did you apply for a vacation scheme at Addleshaw Goddard?
Most people often forget – it’s not only about whether you are right for the firm, but whether the firm is right for you and the best way to know that is to experience it for yourself. When I was applying for vacation schemes, I kept my focus on firms in the North, and AG really stood out to me. Not only do they have a strong regional presence, but their values and culture also made it appealing. As I wanted to gain a better understanding of what made AG different, I thought the best way to do so would be to experience the vacation scheme and this was one of the main reasons I applied. Not only did it allow me to fully experience life at the firm, it also made it clear to me that AG was something I wanted to be a part of – because of the friendliness of the people, the quality of the work and the opportunities that it promised.
Experience on the vacation scheme
The vacation scheme lasted two weeks and was split between two departments. I spent my first week in the employment department, and having had zero experience in the field beforehand, I was actually quite nervous. However, the employment team were more than happy to take the time out of their days to sit down with me and explain the work. This really helped me to settle in quickly and in turn allowed me to enjoy the rest of the vacation scheme without unnecessarily worrying. It was also really helpful that we were assigned a trainee buddy for the two weeks, most of whom were vacation schemers before they became trainees. They were happy to share their experiences as trainees with us, giving us an honest insight into what it would be like to train at AG, and help us with tasks we were given.
I spent my second week in the real estate department, giving me the chance to experience work in two completely different fields of law. Across both weeks, I was given work that would usually be given to a trainee, ranging from researching and summarising updates in the law to lease reviews and even taking part in a preliminary hearing. This gave me the opportunity to learn and develop personally, alongside getting to know the firm. In addition to the department work, we were also assigned a research task by the grad team on the first day of the vacation scheme, and were given a group task where we had to pitch the firm to a potential client. This was a fun, light-hearted way of getting to work with other people on the vac scheme and taking advantage of the task to talk to people about their experience at AG and what makes it different to other firms.
In addition to the informative sessions that were held, there were also various social events planned across the two weeks. We started off the vacation scheme with an informal networking session which was attended by a range of people from partners to trainees. This was a nice way to get to know everyone outside work, and they were more than happy to talk about their experience at the firm and how they got to where they were. In fact, everyone at the firm went out of their way to make all of us on the vacation scheme feel welcome and like we were part of the team. Later on in the week, the grad team had a lunch where we got to ask them questions. They also organised a brunch with the trainees, and this was followed by a dinner with the partners. However, one of the highlights of the scheme was the monopoly game organised by the trainees on the penultimate day of the scheme. We had been put into teams and were given two hours to run around Manchester and take pictures in front of as many landmarks as we could before returning to the Anthologist for an evening of food and drinks. This was a great way to end the scheme and wind down at the end of the two weeks.
Not only is the vacation scheme at AG a great way to experience the firm, but you also get the chance to learn so much from the amazing people that make it what it is. I personally learnt so much and developed greatly on the scheme, and it also made it easier for me once I started my training contract as I already knew people at the firm and how it worked.