Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Kingsley Napley LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The firm’s reputation for interesting work’; ‘it has a good workplace culture’; ‘it isn’t too big’; ‘outstanding quality of work’; ‘the firm is transparent in its objectives and aims’; ‘pro-active in its charity and pro-bono initiatives’; ‘focus on inclusivity’; ‘I liked the people’; ‘based on the high-rankings of the area of law I was interested in’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The people’; ‘the amount of client contact we receive’; ‘working with people you like makes the mundane or difficult tasks enjoyable’; ‘the open-door policy’; ‘no-one is made to feel inferior or junior’; ‘senior members of staff are approachable’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The departments are a bit disjointed’; ‘our IT systems are terrible, but a big project is on-going to improve this’; ‘some older partners are a bit stuck in their ways and show a reluctance to adapt to modernisations’; ‘we are going through a transitional period which means day-to-day support is slightly less comprehensive and prompt’

Best moment? ‘Succeeding in tasks and receiving really good feedback from a client’; ‘seeing a client satisfied means a job well done’; ‘working on high-profile cases’; ‘attending a three-day international relocation hearing and winning’; ‘having great client exposure’; ‘organising and completing the trainee Three Peaks Challenge’; ‘hard work being noticed’

Worst moment? ‘Disclosure deadlines’; ‘dealing with difficult clients’; ‘travelling to court with eight large files for a week-long hearing’; ‘making silly mistakes’; ‘feeling overwhelmed’; ‘dealing with a heavy workload’; ‘spending time doing admin tasks’

The Lex 100 verdict on Kingsley Napley LLP

The verdict

Several respondents applied for Kingsley Napley’s training contract after working at the firm as paralegals and ‘knew that it was a different type of law firm’ instantly. From day one, trainees felt ‘at home’ in a firm that ‘promotes inclusivity and respect at all levels’. Kingsley Napley has a stellar reputation in criminal law, and ‘came out on top by miles’ in comparison to other firms with similar specialisms. It is felt that KN offers ‘a much higher level of client contact than similar-sized firms’, and is ‘more supportive of non-billable time’. Another draw is that ‘the partners are very approachable and there’s no sense of hierarchy’. It comes as no surprise then that ‘the people and friendly culture’ were praised by all respondents. One of the most common complaints was that the ‘IT systems and support are a nightmare’, yet applicants acknowledged that these issues are currently being worked on. Best moments relate to the work trainees have done on ‘some really exciting cases’, such as ‘preparing for and attending a successful mediation’, with many happy about the level of client contact and exposure they received. Being ‘highly involved’ in cases and witnessing ‘client satisfaction’ were also commended, and trainees were proud of ‘receiving really good feedback from their supervisors’. Predictably, making mistakes were recruits’ least favourite moments. But many were grateful for the ‘constructive feedback’ partners had given them afterwards. If you’re looking for a ‘great workplace culture in a good-sized firm’, then apply to Kingsley Napley.

A day in the life of… Emily Elliott, second-year trainee, Kingsley Napley LLP

Emily Elliott, Kingsley Napley LLP

Departments to date: Regulatory, real estate, dispute resolution

University: University of Newcastle upon Tyne/College of Law

Degree: Politics 2(1)/GDL and LPC (Distinction)

8.45am: I arrive at the office and pick up some of the fresh fruit and porridge from our department kitchen to eat while I look over my emails. Although we are not expected until 9:30am, I prefer to arrive slightly earlier so I can have a chat to my colleagues and ensure my to-do list ready for the day ahead.

9.15am: We have a hearing today following a recent without notice injunction. Having checked all the bundles are safely in the suitcase, the partner and I walk over to the courts while chatting about the marketing drinks with other fraud lawyers we both attended the night before. Kingsley Napley (KN) welcomes trainees attending events, which is a great opportunity to network and meet other lawyers.

10.00am: At court we have a quick meeting with counsel and the client before the hearing starts. During the hearing I take careful notes and flag the relevant documents from the hearing bundle to the partner.

11.30am: Following the hearing, we walk back to counsel’s chambers to have a debrief meeting with the client. I prepare a list of tasks during the meeting that I need to work on, such as preparing a Norwich Pharmacal application. As a trainee at KN, you are often involved with all areas of the case: from chasing transcripts at court, to drafting affidavits or applications, to being part of all the meetings with the client. I have always been impressed with the fact that our input and opinions on the case are valued and encouraged.

12.30pm: Once back at the office, I respond to any emails from the morning and join my fellow trainees to walk to the local food market on Leather Lane for some lunch.

1.30pm: Having reviewed my note from court this morning and circulated it to counsel, I start my work on the mediation I have been assisting with, which relates to a multi-million pound professional negligence case. Part of the planning includes drafting the position statements, reviewing the documents and liaising with the other side regarding the bundle for the mediation itself.

3.00pm: I join my colleagues from other departments for our regular charity committee meeting. At today’s meeting, we are in the middle of organising our Strictly Come Dancing event, which has “celebrity” dancers from each department (including partners!). This year we are fundraising for SANE, a charity established to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness, and Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospice.

4.00pm: While tucking into (what feels like) a never-ending supply of cake and treats in the kitchen, I have a quick chat with my supervisor – who I share a room with – about a blog we are drafting to do with a recent case development: she’s always on hand for any guidance or help.

4.15pm: Before leaving for the day, I have been asked to research enforcement of a judgment in another European country. The senior associate reviews my memo and circulates it to the other lawyers involved with the matter (both here and in the other European country).

4.45pm: I receive a call from a client about her ongoing settlement negotiations arising from a breach of copyright. We briefly discuss her queries and arrange a meeting with the partner and counsel for the following morning. KN supports their trainees having client contact and it is great to have exposure to clients on all of the varied matters.

6.00pm: After submitting my timesheet, I join my colleagues for a free yoga session at KN before leaving the office to meet my friends for dinner in nearby Exmouth Market.

About the firm

Senior partner: Stephen Parkinson

Managing partner: Linda Woolley

Who we are: Kingsley Napley is known for combining creative solutions with pragmatism and a sensitive approach. We have a unique culture that we are extremely proud of and encourage individuals to be just that – individual, but also to work as part of a team to get the best result for the client.

What we do: Kingsley Napley is a litigation-led, top 100 law firm based in central London, specialising in a number of diverse practice areas including criminal litigation, dispute resolution, family, employment, clinical negligence and personal injury, and immigration.

What we’re looking for: Successful candidates will have passion and a long-term interest in Kingsley Napley and the areas of the law that it practises in. While previous experience is not essential, we welcome candidates from all backgrounds and have trainees who joined us immediately following their LPC as well as those with an entire career behind them.

What you’ll do: Trainees are given the chance to meet with clients and be responsible for their own workload. They are encouraged to take part in marketing activities and as far as possible, work as a qualified fee-earner would.

Perks: Private medical insurance; corporate cash plan; contributory pension; season ticket loan/cycle to work scheme; wellness subsidy; buy/sell holiday; will writing service; group life insurance; group income protection; travel insurance; long service awards; conveyancing contribution; discretionary performance awards.

Sponsorship: Discretionary.