Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Brabners LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Brabners LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any other? ‘Its strong North West identity, friendly environment and impressive client base’; ‘its reputation and its ability to compete with other firms that are international, despite being regional’; ‘Brabners stood out to me as it is a full-service firm with a great client base yet still appeared to have a friendly, supportive culture with a good work/life balance’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The hands-on experience and responsibility that you are given’; ‘the people and the positive culture’; ‘a genuine emphasis on work/life balance’; ‘the culture – people enjoy working with each other and are happy to help each other out and bounce ideas off each other which creates a real team atmosphere’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The level of responsibility and quality of work differs across departments. Experiences can vary depending on which seat you are in’; ‘the IT systems and lack of information about seat moves’; ‘bit slow when keeping up to date with technology and other competitors on the market’

Best moment? ‘Participating in the annual Charity Challenge in the Lake District’; ‘assisting with high-profile sports matters’; ‘exposure to clients’; ‘successfully reaching a settlement on behalf of a client, and more generally resolving problems and seeing contracts I have helped to draft being executed and put into practice’

Worst moment? ‘Almost missing a court deadline’; ‘the suspense of not knowing what seat you have next’; ‘IT systems crashing and losing a big piece of work’; ‘moving from first to second seat, which feels like starting from scratch but it’s a great learning experience’

The Lex 100 verdict on Brabners LLP

The firm: One of the top North West independent legal practices, Brabners LLP has offices in Liverpool, Manchester and Preston. The firm has more than 396 employees with nationally recognised experts in key practice areas such as corporate, commercial, property, employment and pensions, litigation, sports, social housing, charity, family and private client law. The firm has a broad client base that includes plcs, public sector bodies, banks, other commercial, corporate and professional businesses, and high-net-worth individuals.

The deals: Advising Liverpool Football Club on the expansion of the Anfield Road stand and the application to hold concerts and major sporting events at Anfield Stadium; advising Peel Land and Property on their significant regeneration of the former docklands at Liverpool Waters; advised a number of well-known retail brands, including Regatta, Craghoppers and Hawkshead Outdoor, on the defence and management of their worldwide intellectual property; lead adviser on the amalgamation of Liverpool Mutual Homes with the three registered providers that were within the Torus Group, Helena, Golden Gates and Torus, creating Torus62; acting for Nando’s in relation to all aspects of the day to day management of its workforce, including representation at employment tribunals.

The clients: Beaverbrooks the Jewellers; Ben Stokes; Liverpool Football Club; Martin McColl Ltd; Panasonic; Peel Land and Property; Primark Stores; The Riverside Group; Torus62; The Very Group.

The verdict

North West powerhouse Brabners LLP continues to impress, building its reputation as a premier firm in the region and an excellent place to train. Retaining six Lex 100 Winner awards for job satisfaction, living up to trainee expectations, work/life balance, social life, inclusiveness and partner approachability, Brabners continues to be popular with the current cohort. Trainees applaud its excellent reputation and ‘its ability to compete with other firms that are international, despite being regional’ while retaining a ‘friendly and supportive culture with a good work/life balance’. Trainees praise the quality of the training where ‘individuality and difference mattered’ and ‘where my contribution to any department or team would be valued and measured holistically’. In terms of the training itself, trainees highlight the ‘vast amount of responsibility and genuine hands-on experience’. In comparison with other firms, it is ‘more structured’ and trainees are ‘given the chance to learn’; ‘my supervisor is genuinely committed to my professional development’. The firm is full service, with particularly strong family and sports law practices, and provides trainees with a great array of training options. ‘Participating in the annual Charity Challenge in the Lake District’, ‘assisting with high-profile sports matters’ and ‘exposure to clients’ are some recent trainee highlights. Grumbles include an outdated IT system, reportedly soon to be replaced, and uncertainty around seat changes. The firm has a strong pro-bono and CSR programme, including its TAG (Together Action Groups), a social mobility affinity group working ‘with local organisations to help promote social mobility e.g. attending panel events at local schools and assisting with mentoring schemes as well as running our own initiatives’.

Why Brabners LLP?

, Brabners LLP

Brabners LLP has expanded rapidly in recent years, enabling us to provide a greater range of services and increased strength and depth. We recruit and retain a team of highly motivated and skilled professionals and support staff, committed to delivering effective, client-focused legal services. Our proactive approach is constructive, committed and down to earth, and we work closely with our clients to provide commercially realistic solutions to their legal problems.

Brabners LLP is one of the few law firms that holds ‘Investor in People’ status and we place great emphasis on the structure and progression of our training programme. The programme is continually re-appraised to ensure that it meets the requirements of each trainee solicitor.

Brabners LLP is consistently listed as an award winner in The Lex 100 student guide to the UK’s premier law firms.

As a firm we strongly believe that trainees have a place within our teams and encourage them to contribute to the work of their teams by allocating them responsibility from the outset. In each of your four seats you will spend time with a partner or senior lawyer, although you may also assist other fee-earners within the department. Your work will be closely monitored by your principal who will give support, guidance and assistance.

Trainees are encouraged to discuss with their principal any problems they encounter as part of our strong ‘open-door’ policy which encourages trainees to seek help whenever they need it. We recognise and encourage an eagerness to learn and consider a genuine ambition to succeed to be an attribute. We willingly devote the time required to ensure our trainees achieve their goals.

We strongly believe a wide range of disciplines should be experienced before a decision to specialise is made. Our comprehensive training and development programme includes all that is required by the SRA and also provides an induction course and ongoing in-house training and development.

Personal development appraisals are conducted at three- and six-monthly intervals to ensure that trainee progress is valuable and informed. Training and staff development in the firm is the responsibility of our training principal, Dr Tony Harvey, and the training programme is overseen by the firm’s trainee partners, Rupert Gill and Helen Brown (Liverpool), Sam Mabon and Joanne Radcliff (Manchester), and Nicola Whittle (Preston).

Life as a trainee with us is not all work and we encourage a positive work/life balance. Our offices maintain a friendly and social environment, something envied by many larger firms. Brabners LLP’s social life will play a great part in your life as a trainee and our trainees are encouraged to organise regular social events, including the annual staff conference, and our annual pro bono activities frequently raise in excess of £30,000 for the charity chosen by our staff. Brabners LLP colleagues regularly socialise after office hours, with Liverpool and Manchester having vibrant young professional scenes in which trainees soon become involved. We are active participants in a football league and regularly engage in other sports with other professionals. Officers of the regional JLDs are frequently Brabners LLP trainees.

It is our practice to select seven trainees each year, three based in Liverpool, three in Manchester and one in Preston. We seek to recruit people who have great potential to succeed. We are not looking for clones, but individuals with varying personalities, who offer and receive a great deal of benefit from their time with us. You should be able to demonstrate intelligence, intuition, humour, approachability and commitment and have some connection with, or interest in, the North West. We prefer candidates to have achieved, or to be forecast to achieve, a good 2(1) degree but, ultimately, our assessment of you is based on our belief in your ability.

About the firm

Managing partner: Nik White

Other offices: Manchester, Preston.

What we do: The firm carries out a wide range of specialist legal services in a number of core sectors including real estate, business services, healthcare, media, technology, retail, sport and charity.

What we’re looking for: Graduates and those undertaking the GDL or LPC who can demonstrate intelligence, intuition, humour, approachability and commitment.

What you’ll do: Brabners is one of the few law firms that holds Investor in People status and has a comprehensive training and development programme. Trainees are given a high degree of responsibility and are an integral part of the culture of the firm. Each trainee will have partner-level supervision. Personal development appraisals are conducted at three- and six-monthly intervals to ensure that trainee progress is valuable and informed. The training programme is overseen by the training principal, Dr Tony Harvey and each centre has designated trainee partners.

Perks: 25 days’ holiday, travel loan, fresh fruit delivered to the office, charity and social events, payroll giving, colleague recognition, smart working practices, buy and sell holidays, pension scheme, subsidised discounts in retail stores, cycle to work and Medicash.

Sponsorship: Full LPC fees paid.

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