Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Clyde & Co
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Clyde & Co
Why did you choose this firm over any other? ‘I chose the firm for its specialism in practice areas which were of most interest to me – Marine, Insurance, Energy’; ‘global reach, insurance capabilities and early responsibility’; ‘the culture and the sector focus’; ‘Clyde & Co felt like a family during the vacation scheme and it still does’; ‘impressive global reach of the firm with no let up to continue its unrelenting growth’
Best thing about the firm? ‘Its strength in the areas I want to work in. Work/life balance is generally good and people are generally more down to earth and friendly’; ‘global reach’; ‘the firm generally maintains a forward-thinking attitude and is not risk adverse’; the firm is clearly willing to be the key player in a lot of big sectors which is great from a training perspective’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘Lack of transparency with the graduate team regarding seat allocation’; ‘salary on qualification is lower than other competing firms’; ‘there is a lack of information/transparency about qualification’; ‘financial remuneration is not strong in comparison to the levels/quality of work expected, especially at junior associate level’
Best moment? ‘Attending an LCIA international arbitration hearing’; ‘my time on both client secondment and international secondment were the most valuable experiences to date’; ‘selected to join a core department in our Hong Kong office for my second seat’; ‘having instructions to counsel sent out that I drafted almost un-amended’
Worst moment? ‘Friday night bundling until 3am’; ‘late nights working on urgent matters’; ‘being shouted at over the phone by a client whilst in a real estate seat’; ‘working extremely long hours on a very administrative task’; ‘WFH because of Coronavirus right at the start of seat two’
The Lex 100 verdict on Clyde & Co
The firm: Clyde & Co is a leading, sector-focused global law firm with 440 partners, 1,800 lawyers, 2,500 legal professionals and 4,000 staff in over 50 offices and associated offices worldwide. The firm specialises in the sectors that move, build and power our connected world and the insurance that underpins it, namely: transport, infrastructure, energy, trade and commodities, and insurance.
The clients: Chubb; AXA XL; Willis; Deloitte; AkzoNobel; ED&F Man; QBE; Liberty Specialty Markets; Aviva; Zurich.
Clyde & Co is a growing City firm with impressive international reach, boasting a ‘Silver Circle-chasing’ calibre of work and prowess in the insurance field, all of which make it a highly attractive place to train. Popular with prospective trainees looking for a ‘global reach, insurance capabilities and early responsibility’ within the training contract, the firm’s sector focus, say respondents, make the firm’s training better than others. Clyde & Co’s ‘specialised industry focus means that you can tailor your training contract to your specific interests, whether that is shipping, aviation, construction or something else’. The training programme also allows for ‘high levels of exposure to litigation’ and a host of international and client secondment opportunities, all highly praised. Trainees consider the hours to be broadly better than at other similar firms, one added that ‘there are very few trainees I know of that have worked weekends or past midnight and compared to our equals in terms of size and revenue that is quite impressive’. However, remuneration was a consistent concern for respondents, who feel that the pay is ‘just not on par with our equals’, particularly at NQ level. While the work/life balance is applauded, there were grumbles over office technology and perceived differences between regional and London offices. However, trainees present an overall positive feeling about the firm, saying ‘there’s a culture to support and help each other thrive no matter what level you are’ and they feel welcomed. As one respondent said, ‘Clyde & Co felt like a family during the vacation scheme and it still does’.
A day in the life of… Jazil Eddaikra, trainee, Clyde & Co
Departments to date: Commercial (first seat), employment, pensions and immigration (current seat)
University: Cardiff University
Degree: Law, 2(1)
8.00am: My alarm goes off and I get up to make breakfast. I have been working from home during this seat due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, I have adjusted my daily routine and can afford to wake up slightly later than usual.
9.00am: I sit at my desk and check any emails that have come in overnight. I maintain a to-do list that categorises each task in terms of urgency. This helps me organise my time effectively as I know which work to prioritise. In the employment team, you are likely to work on numerous matters at once so organisation is key! I update my to-do list and catch up with some colleagues.
9.30am: I turn my attention to a Covid-19 related research task that I have been set. A client has some specific questions about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. I have been asked to research these points and prepare an email of advice to the client. The pandemic has highlighted the dynamic nature of employment law as there have been rapid developments on a weekly (and sometimes daily) basis. I complete my research and start drafting the email of advice.
11.00am: I receive a call from my supervisor who calls me every week for a catch-up. This has been a great way to stay in touch while working from home and it is also an opportunity to get involved in some of her matters. We chat about work, movies and weekend plans. Clyde & Co has been really supportive during the pandemic and I also have regular catch-ups with the early careers team, who are always available to speak with trainees.
11.20am: I complete my email of advice and send it to an associate to review, along with my research findings so that he can understand how I reached my conclusions. I then start actioning some tasks that relate to various ongoing employment tribunal matters. These involve working with clients in the fashion, construction and financial services sectors, to name a few. I have been preparing a hearing bundle for one of these matters, so I finalise this in light of some further documents we received overnight. I check everything is in order and send the finalised bundle to the matter partner. He is happy with the bundle and so I send this to the client for review.
12.30pm: I cook some lunch and catch up with some of the trainees on WhatsApp. If the weather is nice, I go for a short walk to get some fresh air and stretch my legs.
1.15pm: I get back to my desk and respond to some emails that have come in asking for trainee assistance. I agree to help and explain that I will start the task later this afternoon. I turn my attention to a High Court case that I have been assisting with. This involves a large commercial dispute that has an employment law angle. I review an investigation report to identify the opposing party’s breaches of FCA regulations and set these out in a short note. I also review our client’s compliance manual to ascertain which sections have been contravened. I send my findings to the supervising associate.
3.00pm: I help the team’s professional support lawyers update our client guides on various employment law topics. This is a great way to participate in the team’s business development initiatives and learn how we can add value for our clients. I then start work on the task I was given earlier today. This involves carrying out case law research on a nuanced area of employment law, before producing an advice note for our client. I make myself a coffee and get started.
6.30pm: I send my advice note to the supervising associate with a cover email summarising my observations. I then update my to-do list, post my time for the day and log off for the evening.
About the firm
Senior partner: Peter Hirst
Other offices: Manchester, Newcastle, Guildford, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Dubai
Who we are: Clyde & Co is a leading, sector-focused global law firm with 440 partners and 4,000 staff in over 50 offices and associated offices worldwide. The firm specialises in the sectors that move, build and power our connected world and the insurance that underpins it, namely: transport, infrastructure, energy, trade and commodities and insurance. With a strong focus on developed and emerging markets, the firm has been one of the fastest growing law firms in the world with ambitious plans for further growth. We view diversity and inclusion as critical to the international nature of our business and have created a working environment where people from different backgrounds can flourish. We run a number of vacation schemes in our London and Manchester offices each year, during which students join us for two weeks and learn about the firm and how the law is applied to our core sectors. We also run Bright Futures – a nine-month programme aimed at first-year law and second-year non-law students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds – and insight days during which students join us for a day in the office to gain insight into the culture and work of the firm.
What we’re looking for: The firm is looking for candidates with strong commercial acumen, with a practical approach to problem-solving and are able to demonstrate a real interest in the firm.
What you’ll do: One-to-one sessions with our graduate team covering things like your career preferences; workshops, presentations and training sessions at our offices; an LPC mentoring programme and social events.