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? ‘I was a paralegal at the firm so I knew that I liked the culture and had already seen the quality of the training’, ‘the atmosphere and the camaraderie of the staff really stood out’, ‘inclusivity and ethos’, ‘the focus on entrepreneurial businesses’, ‘approachable attitude’, ‘the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of work and given high levels of responsibility was very appealing’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The level of responsibility you get, particularly in the smaller departments’, ‘the inclusive culture; there is no overbearing institutional pressure to conform’, ‘open-door policy and resulting accessibility and approachability of supervisors’, ‘prosecco Friday’, ‘the willingness of staff at all levels to stop and have a chat’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Communication from decision-makers could be better’, ‘the coffee’, ‘a lot of lateral hiring at the moment means the opportunity for internal promotion is somewhat limited’, ‘the social life could be better, although that’s not a huge criticism’, ‘the firm could benefit from some investment in the IT resources’, ‘lack of secondment opportunities’

Best moment? ‘Having my draft advice sent to clients without amendment’, ‘attending the opening of the London Stock Exchange with clients following substantial involvement in the company’s initial placing’, ‘running a completion meeting’, ‘dealing directly with the client in a big ICC arbitration and taking them out for dinner/drinks’, ‘appearing in front of a Master in the Royal Courts of Justice’

Worst moment? ‘Making an embarrassing typo in a client email’, ‘having no idea what I was doing for the first six weeks’, ‘feeling out of my depth in the first few weeks of each seat’, ‘late nights in corporate’, ‘updating a bundle at the last minute and being taken to the judge’s chambers to collect the bundle as it had already gone up!’

The Lex 100 verdict on Fladgate LLP

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. Based in London’s Covent Garden, and with a global reach, we have a broad skills base that covers a wide spectrum of legal services.”

The deals: Advised Ocado on an £8.6 million investment into farming start up Jones Food Company, also on investment into Karakuri, a robotic automation system and on the sale of Marie Claire Beauty Limited to Next Group; gave property and construction advice to Quintain on taking down the Olympic Way pedway to the stadium; advised iZettle, and acted for the lead group of financial investors on the sale of their entire interest in iZettle to Paypal Holdings, subject to regulatory approval, for $2.2B; advised Black Sheep Coffee group, on the acquisition of 8 cafes from Taylor Street Baristas; acted for leading book publisher Penguin Random House on the acquisition of independent children’s publisher, Little Tiger Group.

The clients: Conde Nast; EasyGym; Formula One; iZettle; Ocado; Odeon; Paul Smith; Rugby Football Union; Samsung; Yo! Sushi.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Commercial contracts; Commercial property: corporate occupiers; Construction (contentious); Family; Flotations: small and mid-cap; Fraud: civil; Gaming and betting; Immigration: human rights, appeals and overstay; Media and entertainment (including media finance); Mining and minerals; Oil and gas; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property finance; Property litigation; Residential property; Sport.

The verdict

‘From the very first day’ Fladgate partners are ‘inclusive and take an obvious interest in the trainees’. This translates into ‘high-quality supervision and training’, as well as ‘lots of responsibility, which ensures that ‘you do develop very well as a lawyer’. Little wonder that the London firm is a Lex 100 Winner for job satisfaction, quality of work, client contact, supervisor approachability and work/life balance. Elaborating on the latter, trainees report ‘better hours compared to City law firms’ which ensures that recruits ‘feel happy’. Encouragingly, ‘learning rates seem quicker’ thanks to a ‘lot of responsibility being pushed down by the partners’, with one respondent even claiming they had been given ‘more opportunity in the first six months than some of my peers at other firms have received in two years of training’. On the flip side, recruits commented that there is ‘little to no social life’ at Fladgate, although it was noted that the litigation department has recently introduced ‘Prosecco Fridays, which is a step in the right direction’. Moreover, some respondents feel that the firm could do with ‘a bit of modernisation in general’. Trainees enjoyed ‘being given a case to run on my own’, ‘going for drinks with a client at a private members club’ and being ‘invited to attend a conference in Dublin as part of the aviation enforcement team’. ‘Late finishes during a corporate seat’, ‘updating a bundle at the last minute’ and ‘putting 400 notices in 400 envelopes for service on 400 tenants’ were much less enjoyable. Overall, though, the ‘friendly, approachable’ attitude of the firm and the ‘time it invests in its trainees’ is largely unparalleled. If this sounds up your street, take a closer look at Fladgate.

A day in the life of… Joshua Bennett, second-year solicitor at Fladgate LLP

Joshua Bennett, Fladgate LLP

Departments to date: Dispute resolution, core property

University: Cardiff University

Degree: BA Religion and Philosophy

8.30-9.00am: Upon arriving at the office, I like to take some time to review emails and make a plan for the day, while also catching up with members of the team.

9.15am: I draft some responses to emails in relation to a mediation we have next week, including arranging a call with the client for later that day. I forward these on to the senior associate on the matter before being given the go ahead to send.

10.00am: Having sent out the emails, I head over to a partner’s office for a conference call with a client. On this particular matter, I am working directly for the partner, and following the call we discuss next steps, including responding to the most recent letter we have received. She asks me to draft a response and give her a first draft later in the afternoon so we can send it out before the end of the day.

11.00am: I have a pre-arranged call with a funder over a potential new matter; I have already prepared a funding note which has been reviewed by the partner. Following the call, I update the partner on what we would need to provide in order to receive funding and he asks me to email the client an update.

12.00pm: I catch up with one of the senior associates I am working with before they head to the free fitness sessions run by the firm twice a week. We agree to discuss the witness statements I have drafted on Monday morning. I return to my desk to get my head down and draft the letter for later that day.

1.00pm: I head out to lunch with some of my fellow trainees – being in Covent Garden, we always have a wide array of restaurants to pick from! Over lunch we have a good catch-up and discuss the next trainee social which we are in the process of organising.

2.00pm: Upon my return from lunch, I grab a quick coffee and finish drafting the letter I started earlier that morning. Upon completion, I check it over one more time before sending to the partner for review.

2.30pm: We receive confirmation from a client that they would like to issue a new claim today. I have already prepared the majority of the claim form, but the client has provided some new details, so I must make the relevant amendments. Having made the changes, I send them to the senior associate to review.

3.00pm: The senior associate who reviewed the claim form is happy and gives me the green light to file the claim with the court!

3.45pm: I meet the senior associate in one of the conference rooms so we can call our client about final preparations for the mediation the following week. I am then given a number of jobs, including liaising with the defendant’s lawyers, so I make sure I take notes.

5.30pm: I have a quick chat with my supervisor about my capacity as we are heading for trial in the next month, and he wants me to help with the preparation.

6.00pm: An email comes round inviting people to meet at the bundling table…for Prosecco Friday! This event is organised by one of the partners in the litigation department and occurs every couple of weeks. Initially, it was a chance for people on the 7th floor to have a catch-up and a laugh… but word spread quickly throughout the building! Now, staff from all across the firm will head upstairs for a drink. Following this, everyone heads out to one of the pubs next to the office before heading off for the weekend.

About the firm

Chairman: Richard Reuben

Who we are: An innovative and progressive international law firm servicing corporate, institutional and private clients from modern offices in the heart of Covent Garden.

What we do: Corporate (including tax, private capital, IP and employment), litigation and real estate (including planning, construction and real estate litigation). 40% of our business is derived from international clients.

What we’re looking for: We seek candidates who demonstrate high levels of commercial awareness and business acumen, enthusiasm and leadership potential. We value strong academics, previous work experience and an eagerness to take responsibility.

What you’ll do: Training at Fladgate combines a first-class education programme with real hands-on experience and client contact. A small intake of trainees each year means exposure to high-quality work with lots of responsibility from an early stage. Each of our trainees will complete core seats within corporate, real estate and litigation, with the fourth seat either being a repeat of an old favourite or within one of our more specialist areas.

Perks: Contributory pension, flexible holiday scheme, life assurance, private medical, sports club loan (GymFlex), season ticket loan, childcare vouchers.

Sponsorship: GDL/LPC sponsorship with The University of Law (ideally Moorgate campus). Maintenance loan of £6,000, or £5,000 if undertaking the course outside of London.