Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Farrer & Co LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any other?  ‘Type and variety of work and clients’; ‘I wanted to work with private clients’; ‘smaller firm with a small intake’; ‘the six-seat system; the breadth of practice areas; prestige; location in Lincoln’s Inn Fields; the quality of training’; ‘small/collegiate, breadth of work, work/life balance’; ‘positive experience on the vac scheme’

Best thing about the firm? ‘There is an expectation that you’ll have a life outside of work’; ‘the best thing about the firm is the people. Everyone is very approachable and you feel as if you are really being trained’; ‘amazing clients’; ‘variety of departments – the firm truly is full service which means a training contract here is likely to be extremely varied’; ‘beautiful main building full of history’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Lack of communal dining areas’; ‘there’s no canteen’; ‘old fashioned and stuck in its ways’; ‘perhaps the lack of international secondment opportunities’; ‘lower salary – but this is reflective of the work/life balance’

Best moment? ‘Working closely with the founder of a start up in the early stages of launching their business’; ‘drafting an article that has been republished twice and which was used in a successful pitch’; ‘being one of the main fee-earners working on matters which are in the news and highly confidential’; ‘attending court hearings with the Family team’

 Worst moment? ‘Covid-19 taking everyone out of the office part-way through discussions on qualification. That being said, the firm’s IT systems are well set up so working from home during the pandemic has been quite painless’; ‘the qualification process’; ‘when printers fail at critical moments’; ‘working on Sunday’.

The Lex 100 verdict on Farrer & Co LLP

The firm: Farrer & Co is synonymous with the highest quality legal advice and service. Its clients present it with complex and varied challenges. Whether that’s a complicated family trust issue, a multinational corporate transaction, or an emerging threat to their reputation, they need clear thinkers who can advise on the best solutions, fast thinkers when speed is of the essence and agile thinkers who can produce a fresh approach to get the job done. Superb client service sits at the heart of everything the firm does. They are modern lawyers with timeless values.

The deals: Works closely with Telegraph Media Group, the publisher of The Daily Telegraph, on employment, commercial and data protection projects, including advising on crucial GDPR compliance issues such as programmatic advertising and the use of cookies, as well as customer rights; advises the Economist Group on a range of intellectual property, commercial and reputation management matters, including advising on the highly technical area of geo-blocking in respect to digital services and the laws relating to pricing online content in different EU countries, the use of the fair dealing exemption in relation to online content and podcasts (including in the context of the ‘deep fakes’ phenomenon), guidance on advertorials connected to political issues, and advice on competition law issues arising from a potential joint sales arrangement with another publisher; instructed by British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) to represent more than 130 former employees of British Midland Airways Limited, in a group Francovich claim brought against the Department of Work and Pensions, as well as in an additional judicial review brought against the DWP and the Pensions Protection Fund regarding the failure of the DWP and the PPF to properly implement the EU Insolvency Directive.

The clients: Natural History Museum; The Prince’s Trust; PGA European Tour; Warwick University; Metro Bank; The FA and England Women’s Team; Motability; St Paul’s Girls’ School; BMJ Publishing Group; Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.

The verdict

Located in Lincoln’s Inn, with a longstanding presence in the private client and family sectors, Farrer & Co provides trainees with ‘a broader range of practice areas than most London firms (Corporate, Property, Litigation, Charities, Employment, Contentious Trusts, etc.) and a vastly more interesting client base’. Trainees love the ‘variety of departments within the firm which was a big draw’ as well as the ‘level of client contact’ and the ‘small and collegiate’ working environment. The firm uses a six-seat rotation system, commended by its trainees, who also appreciate its ‘location and the quality of training’. Trainee feelings are reflected in the survey; Farrer & Co has an impressive seven Lex 100 Winner awards for overall job satisfaction, living up to expectations, overall quality of work, client contact, work/life balance, social life, and its vacation scheme. One trainee sums up the appeal: ‘we have a much smaller intake – this means we are often the only trainee in a department, whereas peers at other firms will be one of many. This often means more responsibility and client exposure, and usually opportunities to work with everyone in the team’. With an ‘old-fashioned’ atmosphere, trainees are critical of the firm’s inclusivity, while praising the work/life balance. For those looking for a wide range of private client and commercial opportunities, within a small intake size at a traditional and collegiate firm, Farrer & Co is a great option .

A day in the life of… Kay Lubwika Bartlett, trainee, Farrer & Co LLP

Kay Lubwika Bartlett, Farrer & Co LLP

Departments to date: Employment, banking and financial services, disputes

University: Manchester University

Degree: International Business, Finance and Economics

9.15am: I normally log in to my Farrers laptop between 8.45am and 9.30am, depending on how busy I expect to be on the day. When we were working from the office I would arrive just after 9.00am which gave me time to make breakfast in the team kitchen before getting started. I have a look through any emails that have come in since yesterday and check my diary, before updating my list of actions.

10.00am: As a trainee in the disputes team, I work across a broad range of areas including commercial disputes, property disputes and reputation management. This morning, I continue to make my way through a cryptocurrency fraud matter which began last week. The lead partner on the matter has allowed me to take on a lot of the responsibility, which is encouraged for trainees at Farrers. I have been researching different avenues for recovering funds, reviewing points of law and drafting a detailed memo of advice to the client. I call a colleague from the financial services team to get some additional insights for the advice. One of the benefits of having a six-seat system and being at a mid-sized firm is that you meet lots of people from around the firm, so you have a good idea of who to call when you have specific technical questions.

12.00pm: Farrers is hosting a webinar on data breaches. Lawyers from Farrers are presenting alongside external specialists from a PR firm and a consultancy. A partner in the team has asked me to take a note of the key points discussed and then put together a summary to share with attendees after the event.

1.00pm: We have our weekly disputes team catch-up. This is an informal call where we update each other on the matters we are working on, as well as chatting about interesting things we might be doing outside work. I then have some lunch before heading out for an afternoon walk. When I was in the office, I would have lunch with other trainees in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which is a large green space in front of the office.

2.30pm: I receive an email from opposing solicitors on a property case I have been dealing with; they are making a new accusation against our client of trespassing onto their client’s property and tampering with the land. I call the associate on the matter to discuss next steps, and then I call the client to get their side of the story. It is a sensitive matter as the dispute is between siblings and has escalated over the years. Calls with the client are less focused on the specifics of the law and more about the different motivations and interests of the people involved. After the call, I draft a response to the other side and send this to the associate for review.

4.00pm: My supervisor calls me to ask how I am getting on. We have a brief call every day to make sure that I’m getting a good balance of experience, particularly as I have been working from home for the duration of the seat. We also discuss a draft article that we are co-authoring on copyright disputes that will be published on the firm’s website.

6.00pm: I typically log off between 6.30 and 7.00pm, but today I am on the rota to assist with a virtual appointment for a client of the Mary Ward pro bono legal advice centre. Farrers has a longstanding relationship with Mary Ward and lawyers at all levels from trainee to partner are involved with the service. I have been assigned to the dedicated employment law clinic for today’s session. I join a call with an associate and a client who has been attacked by a colleague in the workplace and is unsatisfied with how their employer has handled the matter. I take notes while the associate leads the call. I then prepare a list of documents that we need from the client before their next appointment.

About the firm

Senior partner: Anne-Marie Piper

Who we are: Farrer & Co is a leading modern law firm with a distinguished history of providing expert legal advice to a diverse range of clients, both UK and international.

What we do: We advise individuals, families, businesses, financial services, educational and not-for-profit organisations on every aspect of the law, wherever the need arises. From our offices in London we work with trusted professionals around the world to deliver a seamless international service.

What we’re looking for: A keen analytical mind, initiative, good communication skills, commercial awareness, teamwork, leadership skills, drive and ambition, a sense of humour.

What you’ll do: The trainee will experience six seats across the firm, handling ‘real’ work with early responsibility and an excellent legal and skills-based training programme.

Perks: Flexible benefits scheme, sporting teams/clubs, season ticket loan, 25 days’ holiday, group income protection, group life assurance, company doctor, subsidized yoga/pilates, subsidised gym membership, pension scheme, private medical insurance after one year, wellwoman/wellman checks.

Sponsorship: We pay all LPC and GDL fees, plus a maintenance grant of £7,000 per year of study.

Diversity and inclusion