Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Roythornes Limited

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Roythornes Limited

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I attended the welcoming open evening and the staff I met were so friendly’; ‘the firm’s location and reputation’; ‘I knew I would be exposed to high-level clients and be involved in complex and high-profile cases’; ‘focus on commerciality’; ‘the office’; ‘the firm is growing, and the atmosphere amongst the staff is positive, warm and inclusive’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The outstanding reputation built up over the years’; ‘my supervisor gives me a level of support and encouragement that I had never anticipated as a trainee’; ‘everyone is so helpful it has really built my confidence and enhanced my learning’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The internal politics in some departments’; ‘the uncertainty over your next seat and being kept on after qualification’; ‘the lack of opportunity to work at other offices in bigger cities’; ‘having to move houses because of the office location’

Best moment? ‘Being trusted to represent the firm at social events’; ‘finding the department I feel most suited to and most enjoyable’; ‘running my own files’; ‘the opportunity to see a matter through from enquiry to completion with a successful result and a happy client’; ‘working on high-value transactions’; ‘leading a client meeting on my own’

Worst moment? ‘Missing a deadline’; ‘making thoughtless errors’; ‘being stuck in a seat for six months when I knew that I didn’t want to be there’; ‘when colleagues are off sick and I have had to deal with issues I have no experience in’; ‘feeling overwhelmed when juggling a busy workload’

The Lex 100 verdict on Roythornes Limited

The firm: “Roythornes is a one-stop shop for expert legal advice. After having had their business matters dealt with by the firm, many of our clients often go on to have their personal affairs attended to by other departments. We are motivated by making a difference to our clients’ lives; we embrace the individual talents of our solicitors to ensure everyone is dealt with by a recognised expert.”

The deals: Advised the UK subsidiary of TGW Logistics Group on a framework agreement with a major international retailer; assisted ParentMail with its sale of a software company to Iris Software Group; advised a client who had sustained severe injuries as a consequence of a failed diagnosis of a cancerous cyst; advised a client on a phased disposal of a substantial agricultural and equestrian estate, involving among other things issues with the Rural Payments Agency.

The clients: Miebach Consulting; MSF Technologies; Point74.

The star performers:
(Top-ranking departments according to The Legal 500 – see legal500.com for more details) Agriculture and estates; Corporate and commercial; Personal injury and clinical negligence: claimant

The verdict

At Roythornes Limited there is a real ‘opportunity to learn’ from ‘approachable supervisors’ who give trainees ‘a level of support and encouragement’ they ‘never anticipated’. This has ‘really built confidence’ among new recruits, who appreciate that ‘partners are keen to share their expert knowledge’. Moreover, Roythornes maintains a ‘fantastic reputation’ as a ‘leading agricultural law firm’, which impressed applicants. As a regional firm, the location both attracted and frustrated recruits. Although respondents understand that the positioning is ‘central to our farming clients’, others were less impressed with having to relocate for work. Despite this, it was acknowledged that as the firm continues to grow there should be more opportunities to work in the Nottingham office post-qualification. Other grumbles were ‘being stuck in a seat for six months not wanting to be there’. However, many were pleased by the culture at the firm which is ‘positive, warm, and inclusive’. Trainees also have a good work/life balance, hence Roythornes achieving a Lex 100 Winner medal in this category. ‘Attending networking events’ as well as ‘seminars and development courses’ were also opportunities greatly appreciated by newbies. This goes some way in explaining why the firm has earned a Lex 100 Winner medal for confidence in being kept on, as trainees ‘feel like valued members of the team’. Being ‘involved in matters on a personal scale with a great deal of client contact’ leading to ‘knowing that you’ve done the job well and that your client is happy’, makes the job really rewarding. If a firm where the ‘partners are accessible’ and ‘you rarely leave the office past 6.30pm’ sounds like the right fit, take a closer look at Roythornes.

A day in the life of… Naomi McFadden, first-year trainee, Roythornes

Naomi McFadden, Roythornes Limited

Departments to date: Commercial property, planning

University: University of Liverpool; Nottingham Trent University

Degree: Law LLB (Hons) 2(1); LPC – Commendation

8.40am: I arrive ready to start my day. As a trainee, it is useful for me to keep track of how matters are progressing within my team in order to support all of the fee-earners. I notice that we have finally received some agreements which urgently need to be forwarded on to our client, and I action this first thing by drafting a letter to the client and forwarding this to the fee-earner for approval. I create my to-do list for the day to help me prioritise any tasks that need to be progressed urgently this week.

9.30am: Our team have a brief catch up meeting in which we discuss a networking event from the night before. I attended the event with various Roythornes staff members and we share interesting connections and contacts that we met during the event. Roythornes see it’s trainees as future partners, and the exposure to networking events as a trainee is a great opportunity for me to develop my networking skills at an early stage in my career. In the meeting, my supervisor assigns me tasks for the next few days, such as preparing a bundle for a client conference with counsel which we will attend later this week.

10.30am: I am reviewing my to-do list for the day when my supervisor informs me that a long-standing client has instructed us to urgently progress a section 106 agreement on their behalf. I am asked to locate and review the Land Registry Official Copies to the site and prepare a brief report on the main obligations in the section 106 agreement and to highlight the land ownership position to the site. I use knowledge learnt in my first seat in commercial property to review the title and highlight any points of concern or interest for my supervisor.

11.00am: I have a catch-up with my supervisor to review the draft report to discuss the strategy that will be employed for reviewing and amending the agreement. Planning is a fast-paced environment, but my team always ensure that my work is supervised so that only the best work is sent to the client.

12.00pm: A developer client calls and asks for an update on the various infrastructure agreements that we are progressing on their behalf. After speaking with the relevant fee-earner, I inform the client of any urgent matters over the phone and confirm that we will send a full review of the current status of the agreements by email later today. I have learnt that all client queries should be prioritised to be answered on the same day, so I urgently prepare a report on the various agreements and send it to the client.

1.00pm: For lunch today I have a meeting with the events team. We plan our year-round events calendar while eating lunch and catching up with each other.

2.00pm: Back at my desk, the letter which I sent to my colleague for approval this morning has returned with some suggested amendments, and my colleague kindly sits with me to explain the amendments.

3.00pm: Now that most of my urgent jobs have been completed, I take the time to research a point of law for the section 106 agreement that we are progressing to better my understanding.

4.00pm: I telephone our client, and counsel, to confirm details of this week’s conference. In readiness, I pack up my note pad so that I am prepared to take detailed notes in tomorrow’s conference, and I ensure that our case bundles are prepared and can be easily followed in the meeting.

5.40pm: At the end of the day, we head to a local young professionals pizza and quiz night which Roythornes are sponsoring.

About the firm

Senior partner: Paul Osborne

Managing partner: Vember Mortlock

Other offices: Nottingham, Peterborough and Alconbury.

Who we are: We’re a multi-disciplined practice based in the East Midlands. We pride ourselves on being trusted advisors and we put our clients at the heart of everything we do.

What we do: Our key sectors include agriculture, food and drinks, energy and waste, property and more. Our clients range from blue-chip firms to start-ups, each of them benefiting from support from our trusted advisors.

What we’re looking for: We are looking for bright individuals who want a great career in law with Roythornes, who want to do exceptional work rather than just the everyday. They need to have the ambition and drive to make it happen. We are looking for trainees who will care about our clients and want to make long-term relationships, growing their work through referrals.

What you’ll do: We are a partner-led firm and the trainees will have exceptional learning and development and supervision. Working alongside some of the leading experts in their fields the trainees will be exposed to complex, challenging work that will help them grow into the best they can be. We have our own Agri-academy and business development academy, regular lunch and learns, at home withs… alongside many externally run training schemes, including a leadership programme. We are fully committed to the blended learning approach.

Perks: Competitive holiday entitlement with additional opportunity to buy and sell holidays, qualified massage and reflexologist on-site weekly in Spalding, discount gym membership with two of our offices having gyms within their complex, great pension, along with access to a financial advisor who visits weekly, income protection, death in service and private medical cover

Sponsorship: We pay up to £10,000 towards the LPC