Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Osborne Clarke LLP
The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Osborne Clarke LLP
Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The culture, everyone was extremely kind and supportive of one another’; ‘everyone at OC has a unique personality which makes it a really exciting and fun place to work’; ‘from PA to partner, everyone is spoken to with respect’; ‘good work/life balance’; ‘the friendly culture and the opportunity to do international work in a Bristol location’
Best thing about the firm? ‘There’s a real team outlook and everyone is happy to spend a few minutes catching up, be it in respect of work or life generally, even the partners’; ‘everyone has each other’s backs’; ‘it’s really nice to wake up on Monday morning and not dread having to go to work’; ‘completely non-hierarchical’; ‘support can be found in every corner of the firm’
Worst thing about the firm? ‘The Reading office could do with more social events’; ‘sometimes I feel like I’m working London hours for London clients without the financial remuneration or the extra time to socialise’; ‘slow and non-transparent seat rotations’; ‘the Bristol office is a little old now and could do with some upgrades’; ‘the salaries for Reading and London trainees are not amazing’
Best moment? ‘When my supervisors from my past seats continue to call in and catch up with me every three months to see how I’m getting on’; ‘leading on a transaction’; ‘being heavily involved in a huge worldwide litigation battle’; ‘completing a difficult, technically complex piece of work for a partner and receiving positive feedback’; ‘working closely one-on-one with a client’
Worst moment? ‘Thinking I’d lost an original when it turns out the client had it the entire time!’; ‘long hours in transactional seats’; ‘poor communication of how seat rotation decisions are made’; ‘the trainee bake off competition – the most stressful moment to date!’; ‘staying until 4am doing a post-completion bundle in my first seat!’
The Lex 100 verdict on Osborne Clarke LLP
At Osborne Clarke ‘there is a genuine feeling that it is a smaller, family firm despite doing high-quality national and international work’. This enticed trainees who ‘wanted to work with household names’ without compromising on a friendly atmosphere and a degree of work/life balance’. The culture speaks for itself – ‘everyone is focused on making OC a great place to work’ and the firm has nabbed a remarkable eight Lex 100 Winner awards as a result. The Bristol-headquartered firm ‘is an encouraging place to work and I do not feel afraid to ask any questions’. Teams were praised for being ‘really good at getting trainees involved’. A ‘fairly small intake’ sees recruits receive ‘more individual attention’ and the open-plan office allows trainees to ‘work with a larger variety of people, which is great because you can really tailor your training contract to what you are interested in’. Many respondents expressed disappointment at the lack of international secondments on offer, but at least there are ‘plenty of client secondment opportunities’. Others feel that the culture of the firm is gradually changing and that ‘OC needs to strike a careful balance between winning more and more high-quality work without those outside London losing their work/life balance’. Nevertheless, there were plenty of highlights, such as ‘completing an urgent corporate/banking transaction one-on-one with a partner with efforts subsequently recognised’ and ‘eating at ‘Dinner by Heston’ (a two-star Michelin restaurant) with a client’. More stressful moments were ‘back-to-back late nights on a transaction in the run up to Christmas’ and ‘getting my cake stuck in the tin during the trainee bake off’! For ‘international work in a regional firm’, consider Osborne Clarke.
A day in the life of… Emma Hands, associate, Osborne Clarke LLP
Departments to date: Corporate, commercial disputes, real estate, property disputes
University: University of Exeter
9.00am: I arrive at the office and log on. Before I start work, I check the OC intranet, the FT and LinkedIn – sharing and engaging with news about clients, events or ongoing matters on our intranet site is a good way to build connections with colleagues in other locations and live out our sector focus. Once I’m up to date, I check my calendar to confirm what the day has in store, and have a quick chat with my team about any developments that have happened overnight.
9.30am: My supervisor asks me to look into what amounts to unfair prejudice under the Companies Act 2006. We are unsure if our client’s circumstances would meet the threshold, so I look into recent cases and draft a research note.
11.00am: A client has asked if we can help them deal with two misbehaving directors. I check that we do not have any conflicts of interest, find the relevant information on Companies House and then contact colleagues in other teams to obtain press searches and bankruptcy searches on the parties involved.
12.00pm: We have a case management conference in a few weeks, so I telephone Central London County Court to check what is required. I write up an attendance note of what was discussed and sense-check the clerk’s comments with our know-how lawyer.
12.30pm: I normally have at least one training session a week. Today, we have a cross-office commercial disputes meeting with a guest speaker from the commercial team. We speak about AI, the types of work that other teams are doing for AI clients, and the opportunities that this might generate for the commercial disputes team.
1.00pm: I often go outside to get some fresh air at lunchtime. We’re lucky to have a food market just around the corner, and I regularly go there with others from the office.
1.30pm: I am one of the chairs of our office charity committee, so grab a coffee with the other chairs to chat through our agenda for the first charity meeting of the new financial year. We had a lot of success with an office-based Easter egg hunt, so discuss how we could adapt this for a Wimbledon-themed event (maybe a tennis ball hunt?).
2.00pm: I am asked to flesh out a basic draft of a particulars of claim about defective works. I review the file to ensure I understand the background of the claim and have sense of the technical language involved. I then track down examples from similar matters that the team has worked on, and make a start. I take my laptop to a sound-proof pod so that I can work through the task – the change of space can help to ‘refresh’ my brain, and the office has an abundance of spaces where you can work or talk away from your desk.
6.00pm: I check online to see if any interesting judgments have been handed down that we may want to write client updates on. I maintain a database of recent contract law cases which we use for client training seminars, so update this if needed with the key points of a case.
6.30pm: I shut down my laptop and head over to my gym class.
About the firm
Senior partner: Andrew Saul
Managing partner: Ray Berg
Other offices: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Brescia, Bristol, Brussels, Busto Arsizio, Cologne, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Munich, New York, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Thames Valley, Zaragoza.
Who we are: Osborne Clarke is an award-winning multinational legal practice. We’ve grown rapidly, and with 26 global offices we’re proud to say that our influence and impact can now be applied almost anywhere.
What we do: We think sector first, organising ourselves around the current affairs and future challenges of the industries we serve, rather than traditional legal practice areas. It helps keep us one step ahead. Our core services all thrive on innovation: digital business, energy, financial services, life sciences, real estate, recruitment and transport.
What we’re looking for: Candidates who can: comunicate effectively; think commercially and practically; solve problems creatively; build effective relationships; and demonstrate initiative. Foreign language skills are also an advantage.
What you’ll do: Trainees complete four six-month seats, typically in corporate or banking, real estate, litigation and one other area.
Perks: 25 days’ holiday (plus a Christmas shopping day), pension, permanent health insurance, private medical insurance, life assurance and season ticket loan.
Sponsorship: We pay candidates’ GDL and LPC tuition fees, provided that they are no more than half way through either course when they are recruited, along with a maintenance grant.