Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Burges Salmon

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Burges Salmon

Why did you choose this firm over any other? ‘Everyone was so approachable on the vac scheme and this has carried on over to my training contract’; ‘I was looking for top-quality work but did not wish to work from London’; ‘provided the balance that I was looking for’; ‘the best mix of quality of work, culture and location’; ‘because of the firm’s reputation for training and development’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The inclusive, collaborative culture and the cake trolley!’; ‘the six-seat training contract model’; ‘the people’; ‘the approachability of staff at all levels’; ‘the genuine interest in your career development’; ‘the level of engagement with the local community through volunteering work’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Occasionally, due to the quality of the work/clients, the hours can be as bad as in London firms – but this is the exception rather than the norm’; ‘the failure to reimburse LPC costs for those who have already completed it prior to receiving a training contract offer from the firm’

Best moment? ‘Secondment to our Edinburgh office’; ‘supporting the client independently in the sealing of a large real estate deal which will change the landscape of the city’; ‘winning the firm’s charity Strictly Come Dancing.’; ‘assisting with a major government project which appeared in the national news!’

Worst moment? ‘Late nights in the corporate department’; ‘searching through years of emails to try and find a missing deed’; ‘making a client-facing error and having to deal with it’; ‘having to juggle so many different matters in my real estate seat’; ‘a particularly brutal period of hours in the disputes team’; ‘document reviewing thousands of emails for a regulatory investigation’

The Lex 100 verdict on Burges Salmon

The firm: Burges Salmon is the independent UK law firm which delivers the best mix of advice, service and value. It maintains a collaborative and cohesive culture which underpins the quality of its work and its client service. It hires, trains and retains the best people to work together to serve clients and provide them with the best possible experience.

The deals: Advised Leonardo Electronic Group Pension Scheme’s trustees on a £160m buy-in with financial services specialist Just Group; advised the majority shareholders of market-leading UK timber producer BSW Timber on its sale to private equity firm Endless; in a landmark private note offering,  advised US Bank National Association as collateral agent for the secured parties to the leisure travel company Carnival Corporation & plc; advised Gresham House DevCo Limited and Noriker Power Ltd on the disposal of two 50-megawatt battery-only projects to Gresham House Energy Storage Fund plc; advised Atlas Hotels and L+R Hotels on the acquisition of Holiday Inn’s Edinburgh City West Hotel.

The clients: Babcock International Group; FirstGroup; The John Lewis Partnership; The Financial Services Compensation Scheme; HSBC Bank plc; Virgin; Costain Group; The Crown Commercial Service; Highways England.

The verdict

A Bristol favourite, Burges Salmon LLP continues to impress trainees looking for ‘the best mix of London work and Bristol lifestyle’. Trainees feel that ‘Burges Salmon provided the balance that I was looking for’ with the ability to ‘do top-quality work for impressive clients’. Trainees consider the firm to be one of the best in the region in providing a balance of impressive work with distinctive culture, saying that it offers ‘the best mix of quality of work, culture and location’. This confidence in the firm is reflected in the Lex 100 Winner survey, where Burges Salmon LLP bags medals for its vacation scheme, social life, confidence in being kept on after the completion of the training contract, and for living up to trainee expectations. The firm’s ‘very comprehensive training programme’ was also highly praised by trainees, including PSC training modules, and the ‘six-seat seat system allows us to try a wide variety of departments before deciding where we would like to qualify’. Trainees also complimented the firm’s ‘structured and supportive’ environment; ‘they are accommodating of different personality types and don’t seem to encourage intra-trainee-cohort competitiveness – everyone is expected to support each other’. Limited grievances include the firm’s lack of secondment opportunities and occasional ‘late nights’. The firm has a strong CSR programme and a growing pro-bono focus which is welcomed by trainees. If you are looking for a Bristol-based legal career, Burges Salmon must be high on your list.

A day in the life of… Tabitha Gould, first-year trainee, Burges Salmon LLP

Tabitha Gould, Burges Salmon

Departments to date: Real estate, planning and compulsory purchase, dispute resolution

University: University of Edinburgh; University of Law

Degree: Social Anthropology MA 2(1); GDL (Distinction) and LPC with MSc in Law and Business (Distinction)

8.20am: I leave my house in the lovely area of Southville and take the scenic walk along the river for half an hour which leaves me feeling energised for the rest of the day.

8.50am: I head straight to our canteen and to the DIY toast station; I normally bump into another toast regular and we have a chat.

9.10am: I look at my to-do list and check to see whether any new jobs have come in to my inbox overnight, then catch up with my supervisor.

9.30am: I head to our department’s weekly catch up meeting. This is a great opportunity to see what jobs everyone is working on, and I can volunteer to help out with any of the tasks.

10.00am: Back at my desk I get started on my main task of the day. Today’s task is drafting some wording for a development consent order (DCO). A DCO is a type of planning permission granted by the Secretary of State. Clarity in drafting and attention to detail are the key skills required on this task. I review previously granted DCOs as examples of good drafting and then draft my own wording before sending to the partner for approval.

11.30am: Time for a quick coffee break – my supervisor and I head down to our canteen with our keep cups (as we have gone disposable coffee cup free!).

11.45am: One of the senior associates asks if I have time to complete a research task for him that day. He would like help finding out how and when privately owned road bridges can be publicly adopted by highways authorities for a call he has at 4.00pm. I make a start on the research straight away just in case something more urgent comes up later on, and send over my findings before lunch.

1.00pm: I’ve arranged to have lunch in the canteen with a number of the other first-year trainees. Our canteen puts on a real feast each day, and the salad bar always has an amazing variety at a great price. After lunch we go for a walk along the river to get some fresh air and stretch our legs.

2.00pm: I make a start on a presentation which I am due to give at the department’s monthly ‘Hot Topics’ lunchtime session. I am presenting on a recent case which discusses the Environmental Information Regulations and whether energy companies are considered to be public authorities. The outcome of this case is of particular significance to our clients as we work with a lot of energy providers and so we need to keep up to date with the law in this area.

3.30pm: I head over to the partner’s office to discuss my DCO drafting from this morning. On the whole she is happy with my drafting, but has suggested some small amendments. I make the changes she has requested and send the final version to her to sign off.

4.00pm: The senior associate who requested the bridge research asks if I would like to pop along to his meeting with our disputes colleague. I agree as it would be good to understand how my research fits into the bigger picture.

4.45pm: I spend the last bit of my afternoon updating my Unity trainee records. These records are a log of the work I have completed as part of my training contract and will need to be submitted to and approved by the SRA before I can qualify.

5.30pm: I create my to-do list for tomorrow, and shut down my computer. As today is a Monday I change into my running gear to run home; if it was a Thursday or Friday I would probably be heading to the downstairs wine bar instead!

About the firm

Senior partner: Chris Seaton

Managing partner: Roger Bull

Other offices: Edinburgh, London

Who we are: We’re an independent UK law firm with an enviable range of national and international clients. Joining our award-winning training programme, you’ll enjoy exposure to our high-profile client list and friendly, collaborative culture as you gain quality experience across a broad range of legal practices.

What we do: Our core expertise includes banking, corporate, commercial, dispute resolution, employment, projects, private client and real estate. Our clients range from large national and international organisations and entrepreneurial businesses to public sector bodies and private individuals.

What we’re looking for: There is no ‘standard’ Burges Salmon trainee. However, the one thing all our people have in common is their ambition and drive to deliver top-quality work. We look for a minimum 2(1) degree in any discipline alongside excellent communication and analytical skills.

What you’ll do: As well as the professional skills course we provide a range of in-house training and through the job training across a six-seat programme with an allocated qualified lawyer supervisor.

Perks: Pension, life assurance, private health insurance, firm-wide bonus scheme, discounted local gym membership, sports and social club, corporate responsibility programme.

Sponsorship: All GDL and LPC fees plus £7,000 maintenance grant for each course.

Diversity and inclusion