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 other? ‘Aside from having departments which were top of their game in the areas I was interested in, the culture of the firm was a deciding factor’; ‘everyone seemed so relaxed and approachable, the type of supportive environment you need when starting out’; ‘I love criminal litigation and this firm is the best for that area’; ‘the reasonable office hours were a factor’
Best thing about the firm? ‘It’s like a high-street-firm environment with the work of a City firm, which is the best of both worlds’; ‘you can tell the firm actually does care about your training contract experience and wants you to get the best from it’; ‘training at Kingsley Napley is far more supportive and less competitive than other firms’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘Teams are currently quite separate, which makes it harder to get to know people around the frim. Hopefully this will change with our big office move’; ‘the pay could be much better given that the quality and quantity of our work doesn’t differ from bigger City firms’; ‘there are only six trainees’
Best moment? ‘I enjoyed attending one of the Diversity and Inclusion speaking events organized by the firm’; ‘I have enjoyed attending hearings’; ‘attending a roundtable meeting in which a high-value clinical negligence claim was settled’; ‘client satisfaction and positive and constructive appraisals’; ‘success on a deputyship matter where the client was really pleased with the work we had done’
Worst moment? ‘Late night trial bundles’; ‘employment law’; ‘our team had multiple hard deadlines, on different cases, all on the same day’; ‘I’ve had no really bad moments, though getting used to the IT system in my first few days was difficult’; ‘it’s nerve-racking trying to get things right in your first week’
The Lex 100 verdict on Kingsley Napley LLP
The firm: Kingsley Napley is a dynamic, progressive, leading law firm. It provides legal advice nationally and internationally and works with a wide range of clients in a significant number of specialist fields. It is proud of its diverse practice and is united as a firm in providing the best possible service to clients, in their business and private lives.
Criminal and family law stalwart Kingsley Napley attracts trainees interested in these areas and by its ‘inclusive culture, working with interesting people and range of departments’. A full-service firm in the City, Kingsley Napley offers trainees, what one describes as, ‘a high-street-firm environment with the work of a City firm, which is the best of both worlds’. This culture is a major selling point, as another trainee adds, ‘aside from having departments who were top of their game in the areas I was interested in, the culture of the firm was a deciding factor. Everyone seemed so relaxed and approachable, the type of supportive environment you need when starting out’. The small intake size is also praised: ‘as the firm only takes on six trainees per year, I think you get a much more tailored experience at this firm and more exposure. Being able to know which seats you are going to do at the start of your training contract is a massive plus’. Trainees comment that in comparison with their peers elsewhere they receive a ‘wider breadth of experience.’ Some trainees address the size of the training cohort saying that it aggravates the limited interaction between departments, and point to the IT system and pay scale as not being in line with competitors. However, the firm is applauded by trainees for its working hours, commenting that ‘the training is far more supportive and less competitive than elsewhere’. If you are considering criminal or family law and want a City-based, full-service firm, Kingsley Napley is definitely worth a look.
A day in the life of… Lucy Bluck, second-year trainee, Kingsley Napley LLP
Departments to date: Private client, family, dispute resolution
University: King's College London University of Law (Bloomsbury)
Degree: Law (LLB) 2(1); LPC (Commendation)
8.30am: I log on to look over my emails with a cup of tea (we are currently on day two of a final hearing in financial proceedings so most of my emails relate to that). We are all working remotely and Kingsley Napley (KN) has provided us with screens and the other IT equipment we need to work productively from home. We are not expected to be online until 9.30am, but I prefer to log on a little earlier to catch up on my emails and have a clear to-do list ready for the ‘official’ start of the working day (this is particularly the case on a day where I am ‘in court’ – most hearings are still being held remotely at the moment).
8.45am: One of the emails I have received relating to the final hearing is from counsel asking for a copy of a particular document, so I locate it within a bundle from a previous hearing and forward it to him. Once this is done, I work on tidying up my draft attendance note of the previous day’s conferences with counsel and the client (I have already finalised the sections of the note covering the hearing itself so that counsel had access to this ahead of the next day in court to assist with his submissions).
9.15am: The fee-earner on another matter I am assisting with (a straightforward finance matter where I have already drafted the financial remedy/consent order) asks me to send an email to the client chasing up approval for one of the court forms we have previously sent him. I send the email and diarise a reminder for myself to email again in a week’s time if we have still not heard from him.
9.30am: My supervisor and I join the conference on Zoom with counsel and the client ahead of the hearing reconvening at 10.00am. The client has a few questions about his cross-examination which is due to take place today. My supervisor answers his questions and reassures him and counsel runs through how today’s hearing will run. On the first day of the hearing, it was agreed that a supplementary bundle would be produced – I created it yesterday and counsel asks me to have an email with it ready to send to the judge and other parties once he has dealt with the issue in ‘housekeeping’ at the start of the hearing.
10.00am: The hearing is being held on CVP – the judge checks that all parties are present and asks her clerk to start the recording. The preliminary ‘housekeeping’ issues are dealt with (including the supplementary bundle which I send to the judge and the other parties) and our client’s cross-examination begins. Judges are very aware that remote hearings mean a lot of screen-time which can be tiring and stressful for parties and legal teams alike – this judge made a special effort to schedule regular breaks so staring at a screen for hours on end could be avoided. During the hearing I take a careful and accurate attendance note which I will type up later in time to send to counsel before the close of play.
1.00pm: The hearing is adjourned to be reconvened at 10.00am tomorrow. The client, counsel, my supervisor and I jump back onto the Zoom conference for a quick chat as to how the hearing went and to plan for tomorrow. We agree to meet again on Zoom at 9.30am the next day.
1.30pm: I make myself some lunch and join the rest of the family team on Zoom for a lunchtime training session on equality, diversity and inclusion. KN encourages trainees to attend as many training and know-how sessions as possible – departments also have fortnightly know-how meetings which trainees are encouraged to get involved with (I am presenting at one of these later in the month on a parental alienation case). There is also a diversity and inclusion committee at KN – most recently the committee (in partnership with the charities and communities committee) organised the ‘KN CReW’ event to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement and money for the charity Show Racism the Red Card. KN is really keen for its trainees to be involved with its responsible business initiatives (I am an active member of both the charities and communities committee and the diversity and inclusion committee).
2.30pm: I have a quick break away from my screen to sit in the garden (the weather is beautiful!).
3.00pm: I review and finalise my attendance note of this morning’s hearing and circulate it to my supervisor, the matter partner and counsel.
4.30pm: I call one of my colleagues in private client (my first seat) to ask her about an issue that has arisen in the case relating to next of kin and lasting powers of attorney. One of the many great things about KN is their strong cross-practice approach and as a trainee working across lots of different departments you really experience this first hand. I type up her advice, forward it to my supervisor and the matter partner, and draft a detailed email to the client setting out what she has said and what his options are. The partner approves my draft and I send it on to the client. KN really supports trainees in having client contact and it’s great to have exposure to such a wide range of clients and matters (I have been fortunate to see this case all the way through to the final hearing, and am working on others which have exposed me to different matter types and helped me in learning new skills – for example, children proceedings).
5.00pm: I join my colleagues from several other departments on a Skype meeting to plan our latest charity event, which is a ‘virtual fair’ taking place on Zoom across a week. We will have a new competition every day, from the traditional ‘guess how many sweets in the jar’ to the more niche ‘bake a cake that represents KN’ competition. KN’s charities and communities committee supports two charities in two-year cycles and we are currently supporting The Maytree Suicide Respite Centre and DOTS (Dogs On The Streets). The money raised from the KN virtual fair will be split equally between the two charities.
5.30pm: After checking with my supervisor that I’ve done all the tasks she needs me to do, I submit my time-recording entries (I use timers that I start and pause throughout the day to ensure accuracy) and join my colleagues for one of several weekly free yoga sessions that KN offers. During lockdown, these are being run on Zoom or Skype and reflect KN’s commitment to ensuring the wellbeing of their employees (I certainly needed a stretch after a long day in front of my screen!)
6.30pm: The yoga session finishes and I have one last check of my emails to see if anything needs to be done (it doesn’t) and log off for the day.
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.