Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Clyde & Co LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Clyde & Co LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The inclusive and friendly people’, ‘I had two offers and preferred Clydes due to its practice areas and international reach’, ‘during my vac scheme I found the firm was sociable and provided good quality work opportunities to lawyers at all levels’, ‘shipping and insurance strengths’, ‘one of the first law firms in the Middle East’, ‘the absolute top-notch quality of work’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The people – genuinely some of the nicest, most supportive partners and associates’, ‘international outlook and international work’, ‘it is ambitious and growing’, ‘interesting clients’, ‘the range of litigation seats available’, ‘open and inclusive culture’, ‘interesting industry focus: departments which are small in other firms are major teams at Clydes’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Trainee salary is lower than some other firms of a similar size’, ‘I would prefer to work in an open-plan space as this encourages people to be more sociable’, ‘there can be a lack of cohesion between different departments’, ‘some of the technology is slightly outdated’, ‘not much opportunity to work from home as a trainee’, ‘work/life balance varies by department’

Best moment? ‘Attending a site visit to interview witnesses’, ‘going to an international arbitration hearing’, ‘first appraisal’, ‘working on a $500m acquisition’, ‘attending a conference at chambers’, ‘going to Jeddah for a week to take part in face-to-face negotiations with a large aircraft manufacturer’, ‘an interesting mesothelioma case where the claimant was pushing for privately-funded immunotherapy’

Worst moment? ‘Keeping up to date with my training diary’, ‘all-night bundling’, ‘working on tasks with no clear instructions’, ‘discovering that hearing bundles contained incorrect cross references’, ‘being reprimanded for a poor piece of work’, ‘being asked to bundle for 20 days straight’, ‘feeling overwhelmed with work’, ‘at times the hours have been gruelling’

The Lex 100 verdict on Clyde & Co LLP

The firm: Clyde & Co has a long history of working with the world’s insurance markets and is exceptionally highly-regarded in this area, as well as for its expertise in shipping and aviation. The firm launched an office in Dublin in May 2019.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Aviation; Clinical negligence: defendant; Commercial property; Commodities: physicals; Fraud: civil; Health and safety; Immigration: business; Infrastructure (including PFI and PPP); Insurance and reinsurance litigation; Insurance: corporate and regulatory; Insurance: insolvency and restructuring; M&A: mid-market, £50m-£250m; Mediators; Oil and gas; Personal injury: defendant; Product liability: defendant; Professional negligence; Public international law; Shipping; Trade finance.

The verdict

‘Front runner in shipping and insurance law’, Clyde & Co offers an ‘impressive level of exposure to litigation work’. Indeed, the opportunity to ‘specialise in a niche sector whilst still working at an international City firm’ is largely unparalleled. Trainees appreciate that ‘partners and other senior fee earners have time for us and trust us to do their work’, resulting in a ‘far more practical experience’. It is often the case that ‘it will just be the trainee and the partner’ working on a case, which is an ‘amazing experience’. There is ‘definitely a culture of wanting to help each other’ at Clyde & Co, which offers training contracts in London and Manchester. Some respondents acknowledged the ‘better work/life balance’ and ‘lack of facetime culture’ championed at the firm, but others felt that ‘whilst this may have been true in the past, the expectation is changing’. Many voiced the opinion that the salary is not always reflective of the longer hours expected of trainees. The work is ‘incredibly interesting’, though; ‘working on cases which are currently appearing in the news’ and ‘attending a without prejudice emergency injunction hearing at the commercial court’ are such examples. A ‘solo business trip to Cape Town to attend a business development conference’ and a secondment in Dar Es Salaam were also singled out as best moments. A ‘couple of weeks of 2am finishes’ and ‘working on tasks where I haven’t been given clear instructions’ were much less popular. For a firm with a ‘maritime and insurance focus’, with an ‘international reputation’ and a unique ‘litigation focus’ for its size, look at Clyde & Co.

A day in the life of… Merve Danagoz, trainee, Clyde & Co LLP

Merve Danagoz, Clyde & Co LLP

Departments to date: International arbitration, insurance, financial and professional disputes (IFPD)

University: University of Warwick

Degree: Law, 2(1)

9.00am: I arrive at the office and check my emails to determine whether any urgent tasks have come in from my supervisors or other members of the team. Having checked my emails, I prepare a to-do list which outlines my tasks for the day in order of priority. Before I begin my first task of the day, I make myself a coffee in the kitchen. My supervisor arrives and asks whether I have time to attend the handing down of judgment on a case we have been working on.

11.00am: I travel to the Rolls Building with my supervisor to attend the handing down of judgment. The case is a solicitors’ negligence claim. Our client’s application to strike out the claimant’s claim has been granted and the claimant will therefore be ordered to pay our client’s costs. Before we enter the hearing room, counsel for our client briefs us on the costs arguments that he expects the claimant’s counsel will make. The hearing begins and I am tasked with taking an attendance note. This is an interesting experience as I observe the costs submissions made by counsel for each side as well as how the judge responds to the various arguments.

1.00pm: I arrive back at the office and meet a group of trainees for lunch at the staff restaurant. It is a sunny day so we make the most of it by sitting outside on the 13th floor terrace overlooking Tower Bridge.

2.00pm: I return to my desk and begin reviewing a draft witness statement. The draft witness statement contains a number of action points that I need to respond to. The action points are aimed at addressing gaps in the timeline of events and information being covered by the witness statement. I complete the action points by reviewing relevant documents on the document review platform. I then draft paragraphs in the witness statement which contain the new information and send the associate a tracked change version of the revised witness statement.

3.30pm: I attend a conference call with my supervisor and our client who has brought a negligence claim against its financial adviser. We discuss the responses that we will need to provide to the defendant’s requests for further information of the particulars of claim. We also discuss case strategy. I learn that requests for further information can be a strategic tool aimed at pressuring the opposing party to encourage settlement. I go back to my desk and draft responses to the relevant questions based on the client’s comments.

5.30pm: The department’s trainee mailing list receives a capacity request which involves drafting a letter of claim for breach of contract. I want to gain experience of drafting a letter of claim so I volunteer. The associate comes into my office and briefs me on the task. I begin reviewing the correspondence and the contract in order to start drafting the letter.

7.30pm: I have made good progress on the letter of claim so I prepare my to-do list for the next day, submit my time recordings and head to the pub for a drink with trainees from my intake.

About the firm

Senior partner: Simon Konsta

What we do: Advise clients across our five core global sectors: insurance, energy, trade and commodities, infrastructure, transportation. Other areas of expertise include: banking and financing, corporate disputes, cyber security, education, emerging markets, employment, financial services, fraud, healthcare, hospitality, intellectual property, litigation, pensions, real estate, trade sanctions.

What we’re looking for: The firm is looking for candidates who combine an excellent academic track record with strong commercial acumen and a practical approach to problem-solving. Trainees need to communicate effectively and build relationships with both clients and colleagues.

What you’ll do: You will gain early responsibility with opportunities to develop your skills through close personal supervision and a wide range of training courses. You will undertake four six-month seats, which will cover both contentious and transactional work. You may choose to be seconded to one of our international offices, or have the opportunity to undertake a client secondment.

Perks: Private medical insurance, dental insurance, 25 days’ holiday per year, life assurance, pension, interest-free season ticket loan, subsidised gym membership, employee assistance programme, cycle to work scheme and a subsidised restaurant.

Sponsorship: Full fees for GDL and LPC as well as a maintenance grant. We also sponsor international candidates on a Tier 2 visa.