Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Jones Day

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Jones Day

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The collegiate culture of the firm, its reputation and remuneration’, ‘perfect intake size and better pay’, ‘I enjoyed the vacation scheme’, ‘flexible training contract, flat hierarchy and more responsibility’, ‘internationalism of the firm’, ‘I greatly appreciated the firm’s culture during my vacation scheme and found the work and clients very exciting’, ‘unique training system, well remunerated’, ‘the pay’

Best thing about the firm? ‘My colleagues and the quality of work’, ‘partners and associates are generally very approachable and supportive’, ‘flat hierarchy’, ‘the non-rotational training system’, ‘the variability and quality of work trainees can get involved in’, ‘the approachability of partners’, ‘the ability to focus on work I enjoy’, ‘the train-to-retain policy’, ‘the freedom to pursue your own interests’, ‘although it sounds a bit of a cliché, it’s the people’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Lack of social activities, possibly all due to Covid though’, ‘unpredictability of hours’, ‘it can be difficult not to worry when you are sometimes quieter due to the non-rotational system’, ‘the workload’, ‘over lockdown, the firm has been poor at ensuring there is a separation between work and home’, ‘there is still a culture that celebrates, rather than questions, incredibly long working hours’, ‘the training system means you can be extremely busy for a few weeks and then very quiet – it’s hard to manage workloads’

Best moment? ‘Celebrating when a deal finished’, ‘getting good feedback on a piece of work I struggled with’, ‘working in some great teams in the global disputes department’, ‘working on the largest private real estate transaction in the UK’, ‘week-long trip to Washington DC with all the new joiners’, ‘attending a trial’, ‘a closing held at our London office which I organised and ran’

Worst moment? ‘Working very long hours during lockdown with no appreciation/support from senior management’, ‘long admin tasks’, ‘a corporate deal that never seemed to end’, ‘having little instruction on a deal which was completing’, ‘working until 2.30am and then 4.30am the following day’, ‘working three weeks in a row without a weekend’, ‘working two days straight with no sleep’, ‘pulling a 24-hour shift in the office’

The Lex 100 verdict on Jones Day

US-founded, internationally-regarded Jones Day has made a name for itself on the UK training contract scene with its non-rotational system, an aspect that is widely enjoyed by its trainees. This allows trainees to collect work from different departments gaining experience across the firm without designated seats. As one trainee puts it, ‘the collegiate culture of the firm, its reputation, its remuneration’ really sell the firm, as well as its ‘less structured training and more learning on the job’. One trainee felt that they ‘greatly valued the culture during my vacation scheme and found the work, clients and the firm itself really exciting’. Another comments ‘I felt like it balanced being a global law firm with the intimacy of a smaller London office very well and I admired the non-rotational training contract’. Trainees mention that there is a lot of responsibility which is described as ‘a great way to develop as a young solicitor’. As one trainee adds, ‘I can count on one hand the number of emails I have received from trainees at other firms, for example, whereas I have sent hundreds to clients and lawyers on the other side’. With responsibility comes pressure that can be ‘intense’ at times, particularly aggravated by home working during the pandemic. However, trainees applaud the firm’s pro-bono work with the MacMillan Cancer charity and the Waterloo law clinic, as well as the vacation scheme and remuneration. If you don’t fancy strict seat rotations and aspire to top-tier work with international exposure, then Jones Day is worth a closer look.

The firm: Jones Day is a global law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers in 42 offices across five continents. The firm is distinguished by: a singular tradition of client service; the mutual commitment to, and the seamless collaboration of, a true partnership; formidable legal talent across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions; and shared professional values that focus on client needs.

Its distinctive, non-rotational training system provides flexibility and early responsibility. Jones Day trainees assume their own workload and work across different practice areas simultaneously.

The clients: British Land; Blackstone Group; Mastercard; CBRE; Hansteen Holdings; Goldman Sachs; London Metric; Koch; True Capital Ltd; Greystar.

The deals: Advised CBRE Global Investors, on behalf of its value-add fund European Value Partners (EVP 2), and its joint venture partner Valfondo (a developer and manager of Montepino logistics assets in Spain) on the sale to Bankinter of a portfolio of 22 Spanish logistics assets, totaling 865,000 sqm, together with a development pipeline of a further 13 logistics assets; represented LondonMetric Property Plc, a British property company, in connection with a £225m unsecured revolving credit facility coordinated by Barclays Bank plc; advised Horizon Technologies in its Series A financing led by Maven Capital Partners with participation from Virgin Money; advised J.F. Lehman & Company, a leading middle-market private equity firm focused exclusively on the aerospace, defence, maritime, government and environmental sectors, on its acquisition of a substantial investment in Trillium Engineering, LLC, a leading designer and manufacturer of highly engineered camera gimbals for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) performing mission-critical intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, from its founders; represented Greystar Real Estate Partners, LLC in the £291m acquisition of five purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) assets from the Nido portfolio. 

A day in the life of… Ronan Casey, second-year trainee, Jones Day

Ronan Casey, Jones Day

University: Australian National University

Degree: Juris Doctor (2016)

9.15am: I arrive and head up to my office, which I share with another trainee. I work through emails that have come through overnight (I’m helping out on an M&A transaction for a US-based client) and then make a to-do list for the day.

9.45am: I spend an hour on a research task for a construction-based dispute, reviewing case law on a point that we will need to address in submissions. It’s a feature of our non-rotational training system that we’ll usually be working with multiple teams across different departments simultaneously. It’s not always easy to manage your workload or move between completely different types of work in the same day, but we have a lot of autonomy and the opportunity to seek out work that we’re particularly interested in.

11.00am: I join one of the real estate partners in her office for a call with the client on a development project and take notes. After the call we run through the action points and she asks me to take the first pass at reviewing and commenting on the construction contracts we’ve received from the other side.

1.00pm: I meet up with a few other trainees from my cohort down in the foyer. As the sun’s out (unusually) we decide to go across to Temple Gardens to eat lunch outside.

1.45pm: On my way back to my desk I stop by an associate’s office so that we can run through the outstanding points and the completion checklist for the M&A transaction. As the target company has a Chinese subsidiary there are a couple of points that we need to confirm with colleagues in our Shanghai office. After talking through the issues the associate asks me to send an email to our team in China to get their input.

3.00pm: I join the other trainees and we head up to a training session. The session is about the trainee role on banking deals. It’s run by a partner and an associate and we run through a case study before breaking into smaller groups to discuss various issues. It’s really helpful to have a junior associate with recent experience of what it’s like to be a trainee involved in the session, as they’re able to point out a lot of common pitfalls to avoid.

4.00pm: Back at my desk I get to work on reviewing the construction contracts for the development deal and start drafting an issues list. I note down questions to raise with the partner tomorrow.

8.30pm: I pack up and head home for the day.

About the firm

Managing partner (London): John Phillips

Other offices: 42 offices across five continents.

Who we are: Jones Day is a global law firm with more than 2,500 lawyers in 42 offices across five continents. The firm is distinguished by: a singular tradition of client service; the mutual commitment to, and the seamless collaboration of, a true partnership; formidable legal talent across multiple disciplines and jurisdictions; and shared professional values that focus on client needs.

What we do: Jones Day clients are guided through their constantly changing and increasingly complex legal and regulatory challenges by a wealth of insight and skills from our lawyers in London, a magnet for multijurisdictional transactions and disputes relying on English law for their documentation and resolution.

What we’re looking for: It doesn’t matter to us whether you are a graduate, postgraduate or coming from a different career, which university you went to, or whether you read law or not at university. We seek the best and recruit to retain. Academic achievements are important: we expect at least a 2(1) university degree. But we are equally as interested in the person you are and the lawyer you can become. We want our trainees to have understood and enjoy our distinctive, non-rotational training system, the global nature of our work and our culture.

What you’ll do: Our distinctive training contract structure is integral to our culture and success and the benefits are felt at every level. In the absence of a rigid seat-system, trainees have the flexibility to mould their career from the earliest opportunity and enjoy a high level of responsibility. Our trainees are quickly integrated into various teams across the firm and gain unparalleled exposure to different areas of law. Trainees are never held back by set ‘trainee’ tasks or have to drop an interesting case or deal to move on to another department. This aids strong client bonds and opportunities to assist on all aspects of a case or transaction.

Perks: Free gym, subsidised café, private healthcare, season ticket loan, group life cover, salary sacrifice schemes and personal pension.

Sponsorship: Law school fees paid, plus £10,000 maintenance grant per year of study.


 Emily Stew, Hiring partner

‘Jones Day’s commitment to diversity does not stop with recruitment. We are committed to making meaningful progress on diversity in the legal profession; to increasing diversity within the firm; and to recruiting, retaining and promoting the best talent, from all backgrounds.

In London, our initiatives include, among others, affinity groups, bringing together employees with shared experiences or backgrounds to provide support, training and networking opportunities; our Aspiring Professionals Programme, working directly with state schools in under-privileged neighbourhoods to help students from under-represented and low-income backgrounds gain access to leading universities and enter careers in global professional businesses like Jones Day.

We also partner with charities providing internships and training students and graduates from ethnic minority backgrounds and contextualise our application process to help us better identify candidates with true potential regardless of circumstance.

Our Legal Apprenticeship Programme, one of the first in the City of London, offers high-achieving candidates the opportunity to enter the workplace straight from school and qualify as solicitors, without the burden of university debt. We are proud of our accomplishments and we remain unwaveringly committed and optimistic about the firm because of our people, who allow us to tap the true potential of our global organisation.’

 Yvette McGee Brown, Partner-in-charge of diversity, inclusion and advancement

‘Jones Day enthusiastically endorses diversity and diligently pursues it. Diversity improves us and helps deliver the service our clients expect. By mentoring and promoting diverse colleagues we leverage the unique strength of our exceptional lawyers, while enhancing the atmosphere of our firm.’


Firm wide: