Burges Salmon (Bristol)
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 79 partners, 80 assistant solicitors and 183 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 8th in 2014's survey, lawyers still sung its praises for having "approachable and supportive partners”
and "excellent work, good client contact, fantastic training."
One senior associate sums it up by saying, "I could see myself as one of the partners here, whereas at my previous (magic circle) firm I shrank in horror at the idea of becoming one of them.
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.”
Lawyers praise the clients: "great clients that any firm would be proud off"
and the cake trolley on Friday afternoons is "magnificent".
And they even have a Gromit statue.
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