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

 Rebecca Boothby

Why did you choose the firm? I chose Kennedys because I wanted to work within a firm where I would get to work on good-quality, high-value work, but also feel part of a true community. All of the trainee testimonials I read about Kennedys pointed to the firm being friendly, approachable, supportive… and that has definitely been my experience. It’s tricky to find that balance, as often big firms lose that sense of team spirit, but Kennedys definitely still has it.

Best things about the firm? Many things! The firm’s many large insurer (and non-insurer) clients mean that from day one you get great experience working on very interesting and often high-value matters. The firm (from the top down) is down to earth, kind and inclusive. Kennedys is very flexible and supportive and has a true appreciation of the work/life balance.

Best moment? Again, so many, but lockdown has to be up there (strangely!). When Covid-19 put the country into lockdown, the firm felt like an incredibly steady ship. We performed brilliantly financially, nobody was made redundant and the trainee salaries even still went up at the end of the first year, as planned. Among all the sad news of companies having to furlough or let people go, that made me feel very lucky to be a trainee here. We transitioned into working from home so smoothly and the team spirit really spoke for itself. We had team WhatsApp group chats to keep in touch and talk about non-work-related things (our lockdown equivalent of a quick coffee break and chat in the kitchen!), weekly Zoom quizzes, sunflower growing competitions and so on. Despite all of us being at home, I felt very connected to my colleagues.

 Nisha Dusanj

Why did you choose the firm? I chose to work at Kennedys due to its strong reputation in insurance law and dispute resolution and the exposure to working with a globally connected client base.

Best things about the firm? The work provided to trainees is of high quality and involves a good amount of client contact. You get the opportunity to get involved in a wide variety of cases. This is through specifying in each seat review the type of work you would like to cover for the remainder of your seat.

Best moment? Preparation and experience of attending a hearing which lasted a full day where we obtained a successful outcome for the client and Kennedys. We obtained an injunction to full trial regarding property rights in a desirable residential area in Kensington.

The Lex 100 verdict on Kennedys Law LLP

The firm: Kennedys is a global law firm with expertise in dispute resolution and advisory services. It handles contentious and non-contentious matters, and provides claims and coverage advice to insurers and self-insureds for all lines of business worldwide.

The deals: Assisting Stagecoach South Western Trains with the employment elements of its move out of the South West Trains Rail franchise including TUPE work and redundancy issues; acting for Protector Insurance, the property and liability insurer of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the RBKC Tenants Management Organisation (TMO), in relation to the Grenfell Tower tragedy; acted for AXA Insurance against Ted Baker in claims arising out of the theft of stock by an employee from its warehouse over a period of years; acting for British Airways and AIG on claims arising from the fire and evacuation of flight BA 2276 at Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport in 2015; represented Esure in a claim by an insurance customer for losses in connection with a motorcycle accident and consequent life-changing spinal cord injuries.

The clients: Aer Lingus; British Cycling; Chubb; Etihad Airways; Great Western Rail; Hilton Hotels; JD Wetherspoon; Ryanair; Travelers; TUI group.

A day in the life of… Ingrid Hu, trainee, Kennedys Law LLP

Ingrid Hu, Kennedys Law LLP

Departments to date: Liability (with a four month secondment), marine

University: University of Bath

Degree: Politics and International Relations 2(1)

8.00am: I arrive and check my emails, as the marine team deal with many international matters, so items often come in overnight. I review my tasks for the day and if there is nothing urgent I spend the first hour completing shorter tasks that I can tick off to free up my day for more substantial tasks.

9.00am: I pop to the cafeteria and have a quick breakfast (toast provided) with some other trainees.

9.15am: Back at my desk, I start on an attendance note for a conference with counsel I attended at chambers the previous day. We are meeting with clients next week to provide a plan going forward so there was a lot of detailed discussion and I want to get the note down while it is still fresh in my mind.

10.00am: A new matter has come in. The client has sent through a large number of documents which I review to create an indexed bundle and chronology (a staple trainee task). Creating the bundles for new matters is a useful task as you become familiar with the documents and are then in a good position to provide assistance as it progresses.

11.00am: I receive a response to a letter I had sent disputing liability. I review the letter, discuss the arguments with the handling partner and draft a letter of response. I leave it on the partner’s desk for review.

12.30pm: Usually for lunch, any free trainees will gather in the cafeteria. Today, however, there is a lunchtime seminar on contract construction. Kennedys hold frequent lunchtime seminars on different areas of law and they are both interesting and helpful for future seat choices.

1.30pm: When I return, I make amendments to the draft letter of response following the partner’s review and send it, along with an update, to the client for approval.

1.40pm: I settle down to review and draft a witness statement from a ship Master who had refused to load cargo due to safety concerns. The matter is very technical and it takes a while to review the correspondence and documents to ensure that I am familiar with the events.

3.00pm: I take a break and head to the kitchen for a tea and a chat with colleagues.

3.15pm: One of the things on my list for the day is to research the procedure for service out of the jurisdiction. I first call the foreign process section then do some further research into the relevant regulations, conventions and required forms and send my note to the associate.

4.00pm: Instructions to settle come in on a matter I have been assisting with. We call the other side to inform them that the claim will be settled. As the policy is subject to Spanish law and jurisdiction, I correspond with our Spanish office regarding a draft settlement agreement – one of the benefits of being part of a firm with offices around the world.

4.30pm: We have received instructions to advise on policy coverage for a vessel that has been detained by foreign authorities for suspected breach of sanctions.

5.15pm: My supervisor asks me to prepare instructions to counsel to draft claim submissions for an arbitration we have just commenced. We have a chat about what needs to be in it and I make a start, but it is definitely something on the to-do list for tomorrow.

6.00pm: Kennedys is part of a legal softball league and we have a match in Regent’s Park tonight. I pick up some food and drinks from catering to take to the match and meet with the team to head over.

About the firm

Senior partner: Nick Thomas

Managing partner: Suzanne Liversidge

Other offices: 39 offices in the UK and Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Who we are: Kennedys is a global law firm with expertise in litigation and dispute resolution, particularly in the insurance and liability industries. With over 2,000 people worldwide, we have some of the most respected legal minds in their fields. We’re here to make a difference for our clients, and each other, every day. We empower our people to deliver the very best work and reach their full potential.

What we do: Kennedys’ lawyers provide a range of specialist legal services for many industries including: insurance and reinsurance, healthcare, construction, transport, maritime and international trade, rail and aviation.

What we’re looking for: As Kennedys has a vibrant and supportive working environment, we’re looking for sociable and enthusiastic team players with commercial awareness. Minimum required degree grade: 2(1). Minimum UCAS points or A Levels: 120 UCAS points or equivalent.

What you’ll do: During your training contract, you’ll complete four six-month seats across our core practice areas of insurance and reinsurance, liability, healthcare and commercial. We also offer exciting client and international secondment opportunities. In addition, you’ll attend in-house and external seminars, while having access to a large array of online training through our internal systems.

Kennedys is also introducing a new innovative training programme for graduates. Our programme will prepare you for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE), the new route to qualification that is coming into effect from Autumn 2021. The two year six-month programme will involve working at Kennedys four days a week and having one day off a week to study at BBP. In addition to a dedicated supervisor at Kennedys, you will have a tutor and skills coach at BPP.

Perks: Life insurance, income protection, employee assistance programme, pension, private medical insurance, season ticket loan, gym membership, gym subsidy, eye care vouchers, corporate GP, 25 days’ holiday – increasing to 27 after five years.

Sponsorship: LPC and GDL sponsor.