Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Cripps

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Cripps

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘It had a friendly yet professional feel’, ‘strong private client team’, ‘it offered seats in my preferred areas’, ‘work/life balance’, ‘I liked the ethos of the firm’, ‘I wanted to assist and work with leading individuals in the areas I was interested in and have the opportunity to establish a career in a top firm’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The work/life balance’, ‘varied and interesting work, trainee responsibility and firm ethos’, ‘the social atmosphere and approachable nature of everyone in the firm’, ‘friendly and approachable people at all levels’, ‘we get to participate in more client work’, ‘good work/life balance’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The remuneration’, ‘the difference in culture between the London and the Tunbridge Wells offices’, ‘sometimes departments don’t have enough substantial work for trainees’, ‘the pay’, ‘occasionally there can be some IT issues, but this is to be expected from time to time, especially when the majority of the firm is working remotely’

Best moment? ‘Client meetings, particularly those which take place at very nice offices’, ‘receiving appreciation from clients’, ‘organising a successful firm-wide charity event’, ‘attending a trial’, ‘receiving positive feedback from supervisors about my work’, ‘three divorce matters settling with orders in our clients’ favour in the space of a week. I had been running one matter and was heavily involved in the other two’

Worst moment? ‘Adjusting to remote working at the beginning of the first lockdown was difficult’, ‘being furloughed’, ‘working in a very quiet seat and frequently having to ask for more work’, ‘working from home because of Covid’, ‘making mistakes’

The Lex 100 verdict on Cripps

Cripps offers ‘real and varied work’, many ‘high-net-worth clients’ and a ‘friendly office atmosphere’. Several trainees felt that the ethos of the Tunbridge Wells and London-based firm aligned with their own and chose the firm after ‘greatly enjoying the vacation scheme’. Cripps has been awarded two Lex 100 Winner awards for social life and work/life balance. Elaborating on the latter, trainees appreciate that their life outside of work is respected by colleagues but still enjoy ‘getting to work with leading individuals and interesting clients in a plush office’. ‘Everyone is approachable, regardless of their position’ and ‘excellent supervision’ is provided by engaging partners and senior associates. Despite some inevitable difficulties, such as IT issues, whilst working from home during the pandemic, staff at Cripps have ‘tried their utmost to ensure that we get the most out of our training as possible’. Recruits generally benefit from a ‘high level of responsibility on client matters’, although this does depend on the seat, and some trainees did experience ‘quiet seats where I had to frequently ask for more work’. Complaints centred on the remuneration, which is ‘on the low side’, ‘the difference in culture between offices’ and ‘having to choose all your seats before your training contract begins’, which is difficult to do when ‘you don’t yet have any experience of what the teams are like’. Best moments include ‘high-profile client meetings’, ‘receiving appreciation from clients’ and ‘three divorce matters settling in our clients’ favour within the space of a week – I felt on top of the world walking out of court on the final day’. To get ‘plenty of participation in client work’ from the outset, consider Cripps.

The firm: Cripps is one of the country’s leading legal practices serving corporate, real estate and private clients. With offices in Kent and London, the firm offers a flexible team of more than 450 people to deliver exceptional service to its clients. The firm builds, equips and continuously strengthens its teams, investing in the best talent and technology to deliver this service.

The clients: Chapel Down Group; Holiday Extras; AdEPT Technology Group; Harrow School; Thortful; Local Planet; Cadogan; Deliveroo; Fender Musical Instruments; M&G; Wates Developments.

The deals: Sole legal adviser to the joint owners of the centre:mk in Milton Keynes, Hermes and AusSuper, dealing with all lettings, asset management and construction work for over 240 stores, restaurants and cafes; assisting robotics company Ocean Infinity with a 20-year lease of their new UK headquarters in Southampton to accommodate their growing control centre, training facility and collaborative research and development space; advising Birchall Properties on all aspects of the construction and development of the £250m Peak Gateway Resort, a leisure, health, sport and education destination located on the edge of the Original National Park at Chesterfield, Derbyshire – Robert Swan OBE is brand ambassador for the Summit, one of the five components of the resort; main advisers to Slough Borough Council in relation to their £1bn urban renewal project that is creating a new library ‘The Curve’, providing the Arbour Park community sports stadium, improving schools and providing new housing; supporting AdEPT Technology Group’s ambitious growth strategy by advising on the company’s acquisitions, the latest being of technology company Datrix; acting on the acquisition of a further education college from the Hadlow Group, the country’s first education administration; advising Jarvis Securities plc on a £2.2m sale of treasury shares through the PrimaryBid platform; advising high-profile start-up Alpha 311 on the commercialisation of its novel vertical wind turbine technology, which generates energy from passing vehicles; providing legal services to Chapel Down on a range of matters, including on agricultural tenancies, corporate governance, employment matters and fundraising; advising Eurotunnel on a wide range of projects including real estate management, IT procurement and employment; advising Holiday Extras on its high-value commercial contracts and on the impact of Covid-19 on its business, including advising on its workforce requirements and on the handling of large volumes of customer enquiries; advising the GC of a multinational technology company following the harassment she received for being a single parent and achieved a favourable settlement of her sex discrimination, harassment and whistle-blowing claims.

A day in the life of… Rachel Phillips, second-year trainee at Cripps

Rachel Phillips, Cripps

Departments to date: Corporate transactional; Commercial real estate; Employment; Family

University: Durham

Degree: Law, 2(1)

9.00am: I am in our Tunbridge Wells office sitting with the family team for the final six months of my training contract. Since restrictions have eased, I have been back in the office for roughly 50% of my week. Once I get to my desk, I check my emails, and catch up with fee-earners in my team for any updates on matters which I am assisting with.

9.30am: I join a team call and know-how session on Zoom, which lasts roughly an hour. The partners inform us of any recent news or updates, and we then move on to a joint know-how session, where the team is invited to share any recent topical knowledge they’ve acquired. We discuss an exciting new online system the team is now able to offer which uses artificial intelligence to provide family law clients with personalised and instant advice.

10.30am: I call one of the family courts to request an update on a children dispute case I’m working on. After being on hold for a while, I get through to a helpful assistant who advises me that the case has been listed for a dispute resolution appointment in a few months’ time. I then give the fee-earner a call to let them know how the case has progressed.

11.00am: I receive financial disclosure from the other side for a financial remedy case I’m assisting a partner with. I review the documents, and prepare a detailed spreadsheet of both parties’ assets so I can assess their respective financial positions. I then prepare a questionnaire on the other party’s financial disclosure, asking for information and documents I have identified as missing. I print both documents off so I can review them with the partner who is also working in the office.

12.30pm: I send an email out to my team informing them of our first fundraiser for the firm’s newly announced charity of the year, Myeloma UK. As part of the charity committee, we have organised a sweepstake for the postponed Euro 2020 Football Championship. I spread the word to get as many of the team involved as possible, and look forward to seeing which countries everyone will be allocated and who will win the final prize.

1.00pm: During my lunchbreak, I make the most of the sunshine and meet up with other trainees who are working in the office to have lunch on the common. We catch up about the current teams we are in, and how nice it is to have the option to be back in the office. I always feel very privileged to have so much lovely green space surrounding our offices!

2.00pm: Back in the office, I receive some feedback from a fee-earner on a letter I have drafted to the other side concerning childcare arrangements and mediation. I review the amendments made, and confirm to the fee-earner it is now ready to be sent to the client.

2.30pm: I have a two-hour conference call with our client and counsel ahead of a final hearing next week. The case concerns a child arrangement order which has been applied for by the father, and we are acting for the respondent mother. We ask how the current childcare arrangements have been working, and discuss the father’s proposals. Counsel then explains to the client how the final hearing will proceed, and the fact that it will be an online hearing via the cloud video platform. Our client is happy with the flexibility that remote hearings offer, and thanks counsel and the fee-earner for their advice. Following the meeting, I send my attendance note to the fee-earner to check.

5.00pm: I finish in the office by updating my to-do list, so I can start the next day feeling organised. I make sure I have recorded all of my time for the day, and check my inbox is clear before I leave.

5.30pm: I leave the office with colleagues to meet the head clerk of a family chambers we use frequently in reception, as he is taking us out for some drinks! We stroll down to the Pantiles where we have an outside table booked. It’s lovely to start post-work drinks again following Covid, and the Pantiles are bustling as everyone else has clearly had the same idea. We enjoy a few drinks and some food to share before I get the train home at 8.00pm.

About the firm

Senior partner: Mike Scott

Managing partner: Gavin Tyler

Other offices: London

Who we are: We are a full-service, top 100 UK law firm but expertise and experience are not enough – how we work matters. Our lawyers care more, imagine better, enjoy their work and consistently over-achieve for clients.

What we do: We provide a fully integrated offering for HNW individuals and families, national and international privately-owned businesses and non-profit organisations. We have one of the UK’s largest private client teams helping individuals and families to maximise their assets, making their lives easier by taking the burden out of managing their personal affairs. Our multi-award-winning corporate team supports many of the UK’s most exciting businesses from innovative start-ups to global brands, fulfilling all the legal service needs a business has during its life cycle. We have one of the largest commercial real estate teams in the UK covering every aspect of the property life cycle, working with private and institutional owners/investors, developers, lenders, private equity, landed estates and major occupiers.

What we’re looking for: Those who share our sense of purpose to help others, have a genuine interest in our firm, relevant work experience, and good commercial and business awareness.

What you’ll do: We offer a comprehensive induction programme and ongoing training throughout the two-year contract. Support is provided regularly through structured reviews and on-the-job coaching. We offer a four-seat training contract providing genuine hands-on experience. Levels of responsibility are high, with many trainees managing their own files under supervision.

Perks: Benefits include 25 days’ holiday, pension scheme and season ticket loans. You will also receive an uplift in salary while undertaking a London-based seat as well as the associated travel costs between our Kent and London offices.

Sponsorship: We provide full funding if you study the BPP’s Legal Practice Course (LPC).

Diversity and inclusion

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