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UK Regional Firms

Burges Salmon (Bristol)


Our view....

Burges Salmon and Osborne Clarke are the firms that dominate the Bristol legal scene and it's fair to say that the former has been in the ascendant. It has stuck to a policy of steady organic growth, as befits a firm with a reputation as a restrained, stately sort of place with a conservative attitude to life which has allowed it to weather recent economic ups and downs successfully. And it's widely seen as being the top firm outside the capital and is top of the heap in Bristol for pretty much every practice.

It’s now grown to 77 partners and 347 other fee earners and though its head office is in Bristol, its work reaches global heights.  It boasts a client list featuring the likes of Eurostar, The Co-Operative Group, FirstGroup and The Crown Estate. Notable deals include advising the Greater London Authority on the regeneration of Royal Albert Docks and advising FirstGroup on its bid for the InterCity West Coast franchise. Recently relocating its London office to an award-winning development at New Street Square, the firm is keen to move away from its image as being a ‘regional firm’.

Burges Salmon has got a good name for banking, insolvency and corporate work and recently made moves to bolster its competition practice too. Notable successes included a £31m AIM flotation of new client Bristol & London, securing a place on the panel of the multinational aviation service BBA group, and nabbing its largest ever securitisation deal from under the noses of numerous Magic Circle candidates.

The firm's associates seem to have few complaints at all: they voted Burges Salmon RollOnFriday's Firm of the Year 2006. And it came second in both 2007 and 2008. And whilst it may have slipped more recently, the firm came 7th in 2013's survey, lawyers still sung its praises for having "approachable and supportive partners” and "Excellent work, good client contact, fantastic training." Much praise too for the array of social events. As one respondent says “Great Social Life - lots of charity events and staff socials, which get everyone at all levels involved.”

Of course it's not all rainbows; there were some grumbles. Staff complained about the lack of career development and even though “BS is a highly profitable top 50 national firm… pay at Associate level does not reflect this”. Overall, however the positives outweigh the negatives, especially when the only negative comment from one lawyer are that the "sandwiches at lunch-time training can get a bit repetitive". The horror.

The general consensus seems to be of a happy, supportive ship full of "nice and normal people". One respondent sums up nicely “Overall a nice place to work, but starting to feel a bit more like a London firm in Bristol, rather than the 'Bristol firm' it was”.

For more information on recruitment at Burges Salmon click here.
For more information on Burges Salmon click here

Salary

Salary (1st seat trainee): £33,000
Salary (NQ): £42,000
Salary (1PQE): £45,000
Salary (2PQE): £47,500
Salary (3PQE): £48,500
Salary (Salaried partner):

Bonus Scheme

Bonus scheme: Yes
Typical bonus as % of salary
- NQ: %
- 1PQE: %
- 2PQE: %
- 3PQE: %
- 4PQE: %
- 5PQE: %
- Partner: %

Training

Grant for GDL: £7,000
Grant for LPC: £7,000
Training places per year: 25
% of trainees retained: 100%

RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Scores

Salary: 76%
Development: 73%
Work/Life: 70%
Openness: 68%
Biscuits: 75%
Toilets: 89%
Social: 84%
Firm of the year overall score: 75%

Benefits

Holiday allowance: 25 days with an additional day after 3, 6 and 10 years service
Flexi holiday: No
Pension: Membership of a group personal pension plan with matching contribution from firm of up to 5% of salary.
Healthcare: Yes
Maternity policy: Enhanced maternity, paternity and adoption pay
Target hours: 1,450 Solicitors, 700 trainees
Childcare vouchers: Yes
Gym: Off site, discounted membership
Restaurant: Yes
24 hour photocopying support: No
24 hour secretarial support: No
Other: Private medical insurance, life assurance (4xsalary), permanent health insurance, free BUPA assessment every two years. Professional subscriptions paid, interest-free season ticket loans, generous relocation allowances, sports and social club. Free car parking / £2,000 p.a. cash alternative for associates.

  

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