Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Lester Aldridge LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Lester Aldridge LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I was already an employee at the firm and was really impressed with the level of supervision from senior partners’; ‘the firm has good clients, a good work/life balance and varied sector expertise’; ‘no question is too silly to ask’; ‘vacation scheme experience’; ‘the location of the offices’; ‘range of work available’; ‘the ethos of the firm’

Best thing about the firm? ‘How approachable senior partnership is’; ‘friendly people’; ‘wide range of departments’; ‘if you are willing to work hard and show interest, the partners and other members of the team will go above and beyond to help you learn’; ‘its involvement in a diverse range of events’; ‘the size of the firm’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘Limited support for charity work and incentive schemes to help the environment’; ‘insufficient parking’; ‘trainees salaries are low’; ‘inflexibility in relation to working hours’; ‘office politics’; ‘sometimes there is a lack of communication’; ‘the transparency of the seat allocation process’

Best moment? ‘Receiving positive feedback for work I have done’; ‘attending court with counsel’; ‘having lots of responsibility is a real confidence boost’; ‘getting my first choices for my first and second seat’; ‘client interactions’; ‘taking part in the international intern project, and being able to work alongside legal professionals from Germany’

Worst moment? ‘Spilling coffee on myself on the day I was meeting a client for the first time’; ‘the first week of my second seat’; ‘the seat allocation process’; ‘feeling nervous’; ‘the meet and greet on the first day was terrifying’; ‘unexpected seat changes’

The Lex 100 verdict on Lester Aldridge LLP

The firm: “Our Core Values define who we are, how we behave and how we make decisions in Lester Aldridge. We value: 1. Our Clients: Our clients are at the centre of everything we do. 2. Our People: Our people are key to the success of our business. 3. Teamwork: We recognise the importance of a collaborative approach to our work so that we achieve successful results. 4. Ownership: We want everyone to strive to deliver optimal results.”

The deals: Assisting Monzo Bank to secure the lease of new 40,000 sq. ft. head office premises in Finsbury Square, London; advised on the prosecution of Synergy Housing Limited, Aster Property Limited and Orona Limited on behalf of the Health & Safety Executive; advising Marina Developments Limited on a wide number of matters, including contentious tenant management issues; advised Moore Stephens in their capacity as joint administrators of Pinnacle (Angelgate) Limited; represented a family-run company which operates one care home in defending enforcement action by the Care Quality Commission to cancel the provider’s registration due to non-compliance with the relevant regulations.

The clients: Bargate Homes; Ceuta Holdings; CHG Holdings; C&G Properties; FRP Advisory; HC-One Ltd; Lloyds Bank; Marina Developments; Monzo Bank; Moore Stephens.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Debt recovery; Employment; Family; Health; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Professional negligence; Property litigation; Shipping

The verdict

Lester Aldridge boasts offices in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. Trainees were drawn to the firm’s reputation as ‘the best in the area’ and for its sizeable presence in Dorset. Some of the trainees had previously worked for the firm, and had witnessed first-hand ‘how approachable partners are’ who ‘really set the bar high’. Many agree that ‘the culture at the firm is fantastic’ as ‘there is a real lack of hierarchy’ and ‘people always make time for you’. The ‘hands-on’ training at Lester Aldridge is appreciated by all, affording new recruits ‘direct contact with clients’ from the very first week. As a result, respondents feel ‘fully involved in matters’ and able to ‘assist at all levels’. Trainees were happy about the ‘local sandwich delivery at lunch’ and rated the ‘exposure to different areas of law due to the size of the firm’ as one of the best things about Lester Aldridge. Less favourable comments related to the seat allocation process, as for one trainee this ‘got changed at the last minute without any consultation’. Others complained about remuneration and benefits, claiming ‘the salary could be better’. Understandably, worst moments included ‘being nervous on the first day’ but this was soon overcome by the help of ‘friendly people’. ‘Leading a client meeting’ and ‘attending court and mediations’ were notable highlights, with newbies appreciating the level of responsibility and trust given to them early on. If you want to ‘be involved with real work from the start of your training contract’, then take a closer look at Lester Aldridge.

A day in the life of… Emma Robinson, second-year trainee, Lester Aldridge LLP

Emma Robinson, Lester Aldridge LLP

Departments to date: Care (corporate), property litigation

University: University of Warwick

Degree: Law, 2(1)

8.30am: I’ll be on my way to work, usually arriving at about 8.45am with my morning Starbucks – my Friday treat!

9.00am: First thing on my to-do list is always to check my emails. I’ll often have a few from overnight. I will diarise any deadlines and update my task list. I check the team calendars for any meetings or deadlines. As a trainee, most of my work will be checked before it gets sent out, so I need to factor the availability of my supervisors into my schedule.

9.30am: I know the team has a 4.00pm deadline today for filing a statement of costs. One of the emails I received overnight asked me to prepare this. I also have a couple of short letters to draft, and a file note to prepare for a new matter.

10.00am: I start on the statement of costs. I have done a couple of these before but I review the Civil Procedure Rules again (preferably in the White Book). Trainees are expected to do their homework! At 10.30am I take a new telephone enquiry, and following initial discussions arrange a further telephone call later that day. I update my calendar with this new appointment and continue to work on the costs schedule.

11.00am: Although I mainly work in the property litigation team, I occasionally assist the wider dispute resolution teams, which gives a great breadth of experience. A partner from contentious probate asks if I want to attend a conference with counsel with her at 3.00pm. This will lead on to further involvement in the case and, subject to client approval, I will be supporting counsel at the hearing next week. We have a brief run-down of the case and I make a note to review the file before the meeting.

12.00pm: I finish the statement of costs, email this to the partner and leave a paper copy on her desk with an explanatory note for when she gets back from her meeting. With the 4.00pm deadline and the conference at 3.00pm, I took the initiative to draft the required cover letters and have left these with the statement for signature. I have 20 minutes before lunch so I review the file for the meeting at 3.00pm.

12.45pm: It’s amazing weather so I meet up with the other trainees, grab some food and head down to the beach.

1.30pm: I continue reviewing the file for the meeting at 3.00pm and note that the case will be heard by the Chancery Masters at The Rolls Building. I have already been lucky enough to represent LA at a judicial review hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice (sat behind Queen’s Counsel). I chase up the schedule of costs and cover letters; the partner approves these and I file them before calling back the potential client at 2.30pm.

3.00pm: I attend the conference with counsel feeling prepared, and confident that I understand the issues to be discussed. As a trainee, it is always my job to take a detailed note of meetings.

4.00pm: The meeting ends at 4.30pm – I was right to ensure that the statement of costs was filed prior to the conference! The partner takes half an hour to run over what was said in the meeting, to make sure I have a good understanding of the case and to prepare me for the hearing next week. I really appreciate the time taken to support my learning.

5.00pm: I get back to my desk and type up the attendance note. I have a couple of emails to fire off and take 15 minutes to ensure my time recording for the day is accurate and my timesheet is submitted. I will update my training contract diary on Monday. I leave the office at 6.30pm, which is slightly later than our standard hours of 9.00am to 5.30pm, but I’ve had some great trainee experience today making the extra time invaluable!

About the firm

Managing partner: Matthew Barrow

Other offices: London, Southampton

Who we are: Lester Aldridge is based in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. We advise businesses and individuals on a regional, national and international scale.

What we do: Our core areas are litigation and recoveries, dispute resolution, commercial services, private client and real estate, which we deliver nationally and internationally.

What we’re looking for: We expect you to have academic qualifications, but you are also resourceful and know how to get on with people.

What you’ll do: Training consists of four six-month seats in contentious and non-contentious teams. You will have meetings and appraisals with your training principal.

Perks: We offer a range of flexible benefits, training schemes and great facilities that allow our people to work happily and productively. Our benefits package gives staff the freedom to match benefits to their own circumstances and lifestyles including pension scheme, private healthcare options, professional subscriptions and up to 25 days’ holiday, plus a day off for your birthday if that falls on a working day, and access to Perkbox and Perkbox Medical.