Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Fladgate LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Fladgate LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Small intake’, ‘genuinely friendly people’, ‘excellent work but not too big’, ‘the friendly, collegiate atmosphere’, ‘work/life balance, size of firm, friendly and personable’, ‘I was impressed by how open and friendly everyone was at the assessment day. It also offered seats in areas of law I was interested in’, ‘the location in Covent Garden’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Work/life balance’, ‘friendly people, interesting work’, ‘the friendly atmosphere and the approachability of partners and associates, which has been important and has enabled me to feel supported while working from home’, ‘the people’, ‘the friendly culture’, ‘it is the perfect size’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Reputation does not reflect the quality of the work’, ‘the pay’, ‘the social life, although the introduction of Microsoft Teams has improved things’, ‘limited financial support for home-working set up – there is some but it doesn’t go very far!’, ‘lack of social activities, although this could be a consequence of the pandemic’, ‘sometimes the hours can be pretty long, and I’ve worked quite a few weekends over the last year’

Best moment? ‘When I was reading up on recent Court of Appeal cases and flagged a judgment to my supervisor that was crucial to our success at the hearing that week’, ‘successfully recovering hundreds of thousands of pounds for clients in proceedings’, ‘client meetings’, ‘receiving an email with the word ‘gobbledigook (sic) in it!’

Worst moment? ‘Limited communication during furlough’, ‘meeting colleagues for the first time via Teams’, ‘those first few weeks when you barely know how to work the system/complete the tasks you have been given (the training Fladgate gives is good so I think it’s just part of the learning curve)’

The Lex 100 verdict on Fladgate LLP

At Fladgate, a small trainee intake means ‘exposure to work you would not get until further in your career elsewhere’ plus ‘you are far more likely to get placed in the department you want. The full-service firm, which is located near London’s Covent Garden, is the ‘perfect size’ and offers ‘high-quality work and friendly people’. At Fladgate trainees are afforded ‘large amounts of responsibility when completing tasks, rather than just tagging along’. The ‘very approachable partners and associates’ have been a blessing during the pandemic as they have enabled trainees to ‘feel supported while working from home’. However, Fladgate is ‘very top heavy on partners’ and whilst it is ‘great that you get to learn from talented lawyers from day one, this can affect approachability’. Trainees also bemoaned the limited social activities, although it was acknowledged that ‘this could be a consequence of the current circumstances’. ‘Attending and winning a heated mediation’, ‘holding meetings with clients within the first month of my training contract’ and ‘seeing deals I’ve worked on make national news’ were pride-inducing moments. Conversely, ‘finishing late on my last working day before Christmas’ and ‘being unaware of the urgency of a matter and logging off early when others were working into the night’ were moments trainees would rather forget. Some recruits reported that ‘sometimes the hours can be pretty long’ but, on the whole, there is a ‘strong emphasis on a good work/life balance’. For a firm with an ‘open-door culture’ where you will be encouraged to ‘take ownership of your own files’, research Fladgate.

The firm: Fladgate LLP is one of the UK’s top 100 law firms, with a strong reputation for both commercial and private client work. It delivers highly personal service for entrepreneurial, ambitious and fast-moving clients with complex needs that are often international.

The clients: Conde Nast Publications; Ocado; Yo Sushi!; Red Tiger Gaming; London Wall; Fox Networks; Random House Group; the street artist Bambi; Credit Suisse; Blockchain Worldwide; Close Brothers; Monster energy; Major Baseball League; Guild Esports; Zouk Capital; 23 Capital; The National Portrait Gallery; Headspace; Patron; over 100 of the world’s influential families, leading entrepreneurs, celebrities, sports people and 80+ family offices.

The deals: Advised Allocate Software in connection with an eight-year outsourcing agreement with NHS Professionals for design, build and operate services, which will deliver a managed staff rostering platform available to approximately 250 NHS trusts; assisted Zouk Capital (as the manager of the UK’s Charging Infrastructure Investment Fund) with an investment in electric vehicle charge point operator, including the set-up of a new AssetCo/OpCo structure, and development/negotiation of the commercial agreements in support of the new structure including Charger offtake and installation, outsourced management services agreement, charger software services and charger operation and maintenance, and representing Zouk in its electric vehicle charge point infrastructure joint venture with Liberty Globa; advised online gaming start-up SharedPlay and its founder, Karolina Pelc, on its €1.5m seed investment round led by LeoVentures (the corporate ventures arm of LeoVegas; advised Argo Blockchain Plc, a provider of crypto-mining services, on its admission to the standard segment of the Official List and to trading on the London Stock Exchange’s Main Market; represented GlaxoSmithKline on the outsourcing of its global ethics and compliance function to Ernst & Young, and advised GSK on its global procurement project (Enterprise FM Next Generation) involving the outsourcing of facilities management and scientific support services across the entire GSK portfolio, including master services agreements with CBRE, EMCOR, Mitie, PerkinElmer and Sodexo, with a total spend value of £1.2bn.

A day in the life of... Cecilia Ricks, trainee, Fladgate LLP

Cecilia Ricks, Fladgate LLP

Departments to date: Finance, funds and regulatory; Dispute resolution; Employment

University: University of Cambridge

Degree: BA, Human Social and Political Sciences

7.30am: I normally arrive at the office at around 7.30am. Having cycled into work, I go and have a shower and get ready for the day in the changing rooms.

8.30am: Upon arriving at my desk, I like to take some time to review my emails and plan my day accordingly. On one of the matters I have been working on, I receive an email from the other side setting out amendments to some heads of terms. I review the amendments and email the partner in charge of the matter, setting out my opinion on the proposed amendments and suggesting some next steps.

9.30am: I have volunteered to help out with the work experience scheme taking place this week. I have a catch-up with a couple of the students before they start their sessions for the day. I will meet up with them again on Friday evening for something to eat and bowling at All Star Lanes.

10.00am: I have been assisting with the preparation for a final hearing at the Employment Tribunal. I am responsible for preparing the final hearing bundle and have been assisting with setting up and preparing for the witness interviews that are taking place over the next couple of weeks. I make some further amendments to the bundle as well as preparing a list of questions to ask the witnesses.

11.00am: I have a call with the partner in respect of my earlier email regarding the heads of terms. We discuss the other side’s proposed amendments and I am instructed to email the client about the heads of terms and suggested next steps.

12.00pm: I have a call with the associate regarding the hearing bundle and the witness interviews.

1.00pm: I head outside to grab some lunch – being in Covent Garden we always have a wide array of restaurants and coffee shops to pick from.

2.00pm: I have a catch-up with one of the first-year trainees who will be joining the employment team in September.

2.30pm: A partner and I have a call with ACAS to explain a potential claim our client may want to bring against his former employer.

3.00pm: I continue to work on some of the hearing preparation.

5.00pm: I have been asked to review the employment-related disclosures for a due diligence exercise. I review the instructions and start to review the documents in the data room.

6.00pm: I leave the office to go and do some sport. Various departments organise events in the evening, such as Prosecco Friday. People occasionally head out to some of the nearby pubs for drinks before heading home.

About the firm

Senior partner: Sunil Sheth
As the new senior partner of the firm, I am acutely aware that our vision and values are built around the word personal. We are a people business dependent on brilliant client relationships. Inclusion and diversity objectives are therefore not ‘soft’ business aspirations, they are fundamental to our success.

Managing partner: Grant Gordon

Who we are: Fladgate LLP is an innovative, progressive and thriving law firm which prides itself on its friendly and professional working environment. We are based in modern, attractive offices in London’s Covent Garden.

What we do: Fladgate has a broad skills base that covers a wide spectrum of legal services across the business lifecycle, and is shaped to operate collaboratively to move fast and flexibly:

  • Dispute resolution: which includes regulatory, corporate governance and investigations, banking and financial services litigation, international commercial arbitration, insurance, contentious trusts and family, civil fraud and asset protection.
  • Corporate: including private capital, capital markets, M&A, tax, restructuring and employment.
  • Real estate: including planning, construction, real estate finance and real estate litigation.
  • Funds, finance and regulatory: including investment funds, private equity, fund managers, asset and investment managers, promoters, sponsors and investors.

What we’re looking for: We look for the best. We value academic ability, previous work experience and relevant extra-curricular activities. We seek candidates who demonstrate high levels of commercial awareness and business acumen, enthusiasm and leadership potential.

What you’ll do: Our two-year training programme is divided into four seats of six months and combines a first-class education programme with real hands-on experience and client contact. The nature of our business and small intake of trainees each year mean you will be given exposure to high-quality work with lots of responsibility from an early stage.

Perks: A generous holiday allowance of 26 days, staff introduction bonus, life assurance and access to the YuLife wellbeing app, group income protection, private medical insurance, employee assistance programme, free online GP service, contributory pension, season ticket loan, corporate gym membership loan, cycle2work, private dental, eye test vouchers and free weekly personal training and yoga sessions. We also have a ‘dress for your day’ policy which allows smart-casual wear in the office to suit your schedule when you have no external meetings.

Sponsorship: GDL, LPC and SQE course fees sponsorship, maintenance loan of £6,000 (£5,000 outside London) for those studying a sponsored GDL, LPC or SQE.

Inclusion and diversity at Fladgate