Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Bevan Brittan LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Bevan Brittan LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I wanted to work with public sector clients’, ‘the fact that the firm undertakes work which has a real impact on society’, ‘the small trainee intake – I didn’t want to be just a number’, ‘It was obvious the firm had a friendly culture’, ‘the health and social care work interested me’, ‘the expertise in a specialist area of law’
Best thing about the firm? ‘That the work we carry out is actually meaningful’, ‘the work/life balance’, ‘the high levels of responsibility’, ‘the opportunities to take ownership of or play an integral role in important matters’, ‘the staff – everyone is friendly, whatever their role or level of seniority’, ‘the warm and friendly environment’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘The pay’, ‘some people don’t know who we are’, ‘working from home (although this can’t be helped at the moment!)’, ‘remote working makes it hard to get to know your team, and especially hard to get to know people in other departments’
Best moment? ‘Drafting deeds of easement from scratch during my property seat and receiving good feedback’, ‘attending court hearings for which I had played a big part in the preparation’, ‘being given the responsibility of running my own small matter’, ‘attending (virtual) hearings’
Worst moment? ‘Quiet periods with not much to do’, ‘mundane, admin tasks (but these are part and parcel of being a trainee)’, ‘making silly mistakes’, ‘bundling’, ‘feeling out of my depth while getting to grips with a new practice area’, ‘having too many pieces of work going on at once’
The Lex 100 verdict on Bevan Brittan LLP
Bevan Brittan has offices in Bristol, Leeds, Birmingham and London. The ‘opportunity to work for public sector clients’ and to undertake ‘meaningful work’ were two of the reasons that motivated trainees to apply. Respondents were ‘particularly drawn in by the culture of the firm’ and got a sense that they would be ‘valued as individuals and not lost among a horde of other trainees’. Recruits at Bevan Brittan are given ‘a lot of responsibility’ and ‘have plenty of support, as well as a good rapport with supervisors and other senior colleagues’. The firm is praised for its inclusiveness. Ordinarily, seat options are location-dependent but one unexpected upside of being forced to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic is that ‘seats across all offices have been made open to all trainees’. The downside of working from home is that ‘there aren’t as many opportunities to mix with colleagues outside of the department you’re currently working in’. Among the best moments were ‘drafting deeds of easement from scratch during my property seat and receiving good feedback’ and ‘attending court hearings for which I had played a big part in the preparation’. By contrast, ‘trying to organise a client meeting which was mutually agreeable for about 12 different people’ and ‘periods where I didn’t have much work’ proved a bit more frustrating. For high levels of responsibility on interesting matters in an ‘inclusive, approachable firm’, take a closer look at Bevan Brittan.
A day in the life of... Claire Bradford, second-year trainee, Bevan Brittan LLP
Departments to date: Litigation, advisory and regulatory; clinical risk; commercial
University: London South Bank University
Degree: Law, First Class
8.10am: I choose to start work fairly early in the morning: I value the time when I first arrive to consider all tasks for that day and how best to approach them. This enables me to work as efficiently as I can; I begin the day by dealing with any particularly urgent matters. I can see that for today, I have a number of deadlines, and decide that I will start with drafting the letter of instruction to an expert in one of our high-value clinical negligence cases, seeking his expertise on complex issues of causation.
Once I have considered and prioritised tasks for the day, I make myself a cup of tea (one of many to come!) and make a start on the letter of instruction. I review in detail the particulars of claim in order to determine which particular allegations require comment from our expert. After also reviewing the claimant’s medical records, I have enough information to prepare the letter and send the draft to my supervisor for approval.
9.20am: There is a conference scheduled at 11am to take place on a case I am assisting on. This allows me time to make progress with a number of other tasks, such as contacting potential witnesses to be involved in another case and telephoning chambers to book counsel for hearings and trials. I make a detailed attendance note of all calls out to witnesses and chambers, so that our records clearly show the matters discussed and my colleagues can view these if required.
10.50am: I gather all relevant documents to take to the conference with counsel, witnesses and experts. My supervisor has asked me to take a detailed note of comments on the allegations and the claimant’s prognosis during the conference. Once the conference has finished, we are in a much clearer position as to the strengths and weaknesses of our case and we are able to update our client on whether there is any change to the litigation risk of continuing to defend the claim.
I take some time to finalise the conference note and list any arising action points.
12.30pm: It’s a nice day outside so I decide to take an early lunch break, hoping to beat the queues in Pret! Post-lunch, I offer to make the tea round – a good excuse to catch up with some of my colleagues from other pods, see how their day has been and discuss our plans for the weekend!
1.45pm: The next task I have on my list is to draft a letter of advice to our client; we have received medical records, expert reports and obtained witness statements for a particular case and I make a start on carrying out a review of key documents and considering our advice on liability and causation. This takes me well into the afternoon but I’m confident that I have carefully considered all evidence and send my draft letter to my supervisor to approve.
3.40pm: My inbox has filled up while I have been drafting the letter of advice. I have been asked to assist with disclosure and prepare a list of documents, detailing all relevant documents which we have had or have access to. Once drafted, the list of documents is sent to the solicitor who oversees this case for approval.
4.20pm: Next, I contact a number of experts and witnesses to arrange a conference for a case. It is a case in which the experts express different views on the claimant’s prognosis; the significance of this is the extent of damages which may be payable to the claimant. Now that emails requesting availability have been sent, hopefully we’ll have a date in the diary by the end of the week.
4.50pm: Not long to go until end of the month office drinks! I spend some time diarising directions received from the court before heading out to meet my colleagues in the client suite. It is a nice way to end the day: having drinks with pizza and catching up with friends!
About the firm
Senior partner: Joanne Easterbrook
Managing partner: Duncan Weir
Other offices: Birmingham, Leeds, London
Who we are: Bevan Brittan is a UK top 100 national law firm providing a comprehensive range of legal and advisory services to over 300 private sector businesses, as well as being a market-leading firm within health and social care, housing and local and central government.
What we do: Based in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and London, our award-winning teams provide commercial, corporate, property, regulatory, employment and litigation (commercial and clinical negligence) legal advice.
What we’re looking for: We are looking for bright people with sound common sense and plenty of energy, who can think logically and clearly. An interest in the type of clients we work for is essential. You need drive, commitment, willingness to take responsibility and the ability to work and relate well with others.
What you’ll do: Our trainee solicitors get a tailored training and development programme that gives them early exposure to real work for real clients. Trainees complete four six-month seats with a choice across all our departments.
Perks: Life insurance, private healthcare insurance, pension, group income protection, health assessments, cycle scheme.
Sponsorship: We sponsor fees for you if you have not yet completed the GDL or LPC. We will also pay you a £5,000 bursary while you study.
Diversity and inclusion
Bevan Brittan has a strong and vibrant diversity programme. We are aiming to achieve an environment where all of our people feel comfortable being themselves, and feel valued for who they are. Diversity awareness helps us to attract and retain the most talented people right across our business. It is also a key issue for many of our clients. By demonstrating our commitment to diversity, we are fulfilling our promises to understand them and provide them with the right teams. The firm’s diversity strategy is led by senior partner and board member Joanne Easterbrook. We have a diversity and inclusion committee which is always keen to welcome new members. We regularly monitor diversity within the firm and we run online diversity training which we expect all our employees to complete. We are members of the Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter and actively work with the Law Society to demonstrate our commitment to diversity. In addition to this, promoting a culture which recognises health and wellbeing and a wide range of benefits that offer support, guidance and information, are our key priorities.