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 others? ‘Six-seat training contract’, ‘small cohort and breadth of practice areas’, ‘reputation and ranking in areas that interested me’, ‘its expertise in working for people rather than companies’, ‘most other top London firms are pretty much the same identical shade of corporate grey; there is nothing like Farrer’, ‘opportunity to combine my interest in business with great client contact’, ‘consistently rated the highest for good work/life balance’
Best thing about the firm? ‘Beautiful and historic offices’, ‘the work/life balance and the six-seat system – both of which ultimately make for more well-rounded lawyers’, ‘I feel so supported, despite having worked from home completely so far!’, ‘how much the firm cares about the people who work there. Anne-Marie Piper, the senior partner, has worked with trainees to develop a series of firm-wide initiatives to keep people connected during lockdown’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘We perhaps get paid a bit less than peers at other firms, but we do have a better work/life balance’, ‘the lack of communal dining area, but this has been addressed during the pandemic and is being built’, ‘feeling daunted at times by the cleverness of colleagues and no-nonsense clients’, ‘it sounds like the “Trainee Revue” would have been a bit of a nightmare – where you mock a partner who you may not have even met before! Thankfully this didn’t happen this year!’
Best moment? ‘Receiving direct feedback from a client that they were very happy with the quality of legal service I provided’, ‘carrying out complex case law research for a partner who ended up passing my work straight onto a top QC’, ‘weekly catch ups with other trainees’, ‘sitting in a virtual conference with counsel – I learnt so much about the law, problem-solving and client care in that hour alone!’
Worst moment? ‘Being trusted by a partner to be in charge of a slide deck on a Zoom client meeting, only to find that the sound failed to play on the videos’, ‘trying to be visible when working remotely’, ‘not being able to go into the office’, ‘working 100% remotely has been difficult – if you run into trouble it can feel lonely with just a screen in front of you and mistakes seem worse than they really are’
The Lex 100 verdict on Farrer & Co LLP
‘The clients, the training, the work and the culture combine to make a firm that is truly unique’. The London firm’s ‘illustrious history comprises a crucial part of who we are but at the same time there is a conscious effort to be a welcoming, diverse and forward-thinking business’. Farrer & Co is ‘full of friendly people who care deeply about your experience and progression’ and trainees love being given the ‘opportunity to run a few of the smaller matters’ as part of their training. An excellent work/life balance and very high job satisfaction levels have earned Farrer two Lex 100 Winner awards in these categories. ‘Beautiful and historic offices’ in London’s Lincoln’s Inn are the cherry on top of the cake. For years trainees have longed for a communal space in the office for dining and socialising purposes and, according to respondents, such an area is in the process of being built. As for the six-seat rotation: ‘although it is great to be able to experience lots of different practice areas, you have little choice over your seats’. Best moments included ‘drafting an article that wasn’t amended by the supervising partner and has been used in successful pitches’ and ‘attending a family hearing and being personally responsible for various aspects of it’. On the flip side, one trainee’s worst moment was ‘forgetting to take off my tacky Christmas jumper before a call with a serious corporate client’! For a firm with a ‘broad practice, incredible clients and top lawyers which is also social, friendly, inclusive and caring’, consider Farrer & Co.
The firm: Farrer & Co is synonymous with the highest quality legal advice and service. Clients present the firm 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.
The clients: Natural History Museum; The Prince’s Trust; PGA European Tour; Warwick University; Metro Bank; The Football Association; Motability; St Paul’s Girls’ School; BMJ Publishing Group; Great Ormond Street Hospital Charity.
The deals: Advising a variety of leading entertainment and sports figures and institutions, such as the FA and individual England Team players before, during and after the 2019 FIFA Women’s Football World Cup, including handling issues connected with media intrusion, privacy and harassment, and liaising with major national newspapers such as The Daily Mail, The Sun, The Sunday Times and The Guardian on an ongoing basis; advised on the ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Wonders of Nature’ exhibition at the Natural History Museum, working closely with the museum on contract negotiations with Warners relating to the exhibition and tour including the licensing of valuable IP rights to the museum from Warners and the loan of film props and replicas; instructed by 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, and also representing BALPA in an additional judicial review concerning the failure of the DWP and the PPF to properly implement the EU Insolvency Directive.
A day in the life of... Iman Kouchouk, trainee, Farrer & Co LLP
Departments to date: Employment
University: University of Birmingham
Degree: Media, Culture & Society (BA Hons) First Class
9.00am: I normally log on to my Farrers laptop around 9.00am, though this could be earlier if I expect to have a busy day. I have done most of my seat virtually, but I go into the office once a week on the same day as my trainee supervisor. On any given day, I first check my diary to see which meetings I have scheduled, and I also look at any emails that have come in since yesterday. I then update my ‘to do’ list and prioritise the tasks I intend to complete over the course of the day.
10.00am: As a trainee in the employment team, I work on a broad range of legal matters, including employer/employee work, safeguarding, investigations and education matters. This morning, I am writing up the minutes for a meeting I attended with an independent school client. The lead partner on the matter has also asked me to draft a proposal for the school’s governing body. Farrers encourages its trainees to develop by taking on more responsibility and I routinely work directly with the partners, as well as with the associates in our team. On another matter, a client has asked me to review the provisions in a service occupancy agreement for a live-in domestic carer. I call a colleague in our property team to get some additional insights in order to draft a detailed memo of advice. When reaching out to colleagues, people within my team and across the firm, at all levels, are always willing to help me with specific technical questions. Many have trained in the firm, so have been in my position themselves; people stay with Farrers for many years after qualification, which is a testament to how much the firm values its people.
12.00pm: Farrers is hosting a webinar on the impact of Covid-19 on employment law. Lawyers from Farrers are presenting alongside external experts from a barristers’ chambers we regularly instruct. A partner in the team has asked me to take a note of the key points discussed, as I will be including some of these insights in an article that I am writing about this very subject for our weekly WorkLife blog.
1.00pm: We have our weekly employment team catch-up. This is an informal call which all 40+ members of the team attend to update each other on the matters we are working on. I then head out for some lunch. When I’m in the office, I usually have lunch with other trainees on Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which is a large green space in front of the office.
2.30pm: I make some calls to several independent experts who we work closely with on our investigation matters. I have been asked to ascertain their interest and availability to conduct an independent investigation for a university client, following internal complaints about sexual harassment. I make these calls on a ‘no names’ basis. Many of the issues we deal with are highly sensitive, so it is always important to maintain confidentiality. The experts I contact are all interested in undertaking the investigation, so I draft an email so that the client can select the expert who they think will be most suitable.
4.00pm: My supervisor calls me about a set of briefing notes and presentation slides she would like me to prepare on the Equality Act, as it applies to employee recruitment. The presentation will be delivered by one of the partners to the HR department of one of our museum clients. Aside from client work, my supervisor and I have regular catch-ups. She has been particularly supportive about my wellbeing and checks in with me to see how I am doing, especially as I have been working from home for most of my seat. We also discuss a virtual preliminary hearing in the Employment Tribunal, which she would like me to attend and take a note at next week.
6.30pm: I typically log off around 6.30pm. Before I leave today, I draft some text for our intranet to promote a firm-wide fundraising initiative that I am organising with two fellow trainees in aid of a youth homelessness charity.
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, subsidised 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
Please visit www.farrer.co.uk/our-story for information.