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UK Regional Firms

Wragge & Co (Birmingham)

Our view....

Wragges has 121 partners and 572 other fee earners operating from its head office in Birmingham and other offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Guangzhou, and Munich, plus affiliated offices in the United Arab Emirates.  

The firm did well in the boom, regularly posting double digit rises in turnover which stood at £125 million for 2007/2008. But the downturn had its inevitable effect on a firm with such a focus on property (28% of its work is real estate). Revenue dropped by 18% in 2008/9 and then again by 7% to £96.2m in 2009/10. And headcount took a nosedive after 32 redundancies were made in 2010. Headcount further reduced this year, when 30 PA jobs were at risk of redundancy in London and Birmingham.

Recently things do seem to be on the up for the firm, which posted an impressive 17% hike in revenue to £113m in 2010/11. And the riches have spread to partnership with profits per partner jumping from £276k to £329k in the same period (although still way down on the £470k PEP of 2008). Still, as one of the few proper partnerships left in the regions (every partner has a stake in the equity), this is good news for aspiring assistants. It's also good news for trainees - the firm's trainee retention rate is traditionally very high.

Wragges has been slowly expanding its international footprint, adding a Munich office and two China offices in 2009. More recently, the firm launched a Paris office in 2010. And after eyeing up the Middle East for a few years, it has entered into affiliations with two firms in the UAE (one in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi). It's now in merger talks with Lawrence Graham - a firm that has had its fair share of failed merger talks. Earlier this year it ended merger talks with our Golden Turd winner Irwin Mitcell and failed to merge with Field Fisher Waterhouse. 

Merger or no merger, the test for Wragges is now ensuring that the firm increases the quality as well as quantity of its work. The signs are promising. The firm's client base includes more than 30 FTSE 100 companies including the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, BP, BT, HSBC and 3i. The firm's work areas are corporate, human resources, dispute resolution, finance projects, technology and real estate.

Wragges remains a solid firm with an excellent reputation. Lawyers at the firm praise the "supportive culture", "excellent training" and, more importantly, "lots of boozing". The firm received high praise for its catering, "mars bar cakes ares still amazing" though one insider comments "They have invested in branded three tier cake stands for the afternoon tea, whilst pay rises have been dismal for the past four years".

Bear in mind that the sort of work the firm undertakes for big-hitting clients necessitates long hours, and there are grumbles about the "regional salary, but City hours".  But that must be a concern of any regional firm doing first rate work, and at least - according to our readers, it has the best biscuits and cakes of any firm in the country. In our view, the pick of Birmingham.


Salary (1st seat trainee): £26,250
Salary (NQ): £38,000
Salary (1PQE):
Salary (2PQE):
Salary (3PQE):
Salary (Salaried partner):

Bonus Scheme

Bonus scheme: No
Typical bonus as % of salary
- NQ: %
- 1PQE: %
- 2PQE: %
- 3PQE: %
- 4PQE: %
- 5PQE: %
- Partner: %


Grant for GDL:
Grant for LPC:
Training places per year: 20
% of trainees retained: %

RollOnFriday Firm of the Year Scores

Salary: 44%
Development: 63%
Work/Life: 55%
Openness: 63%
Biscuits: 89%
Toilets: 64%
Social: 67%
Firm of the year overall score: 60%


Holiday allowance:
Flexi holiday: No
Healthcare: No
Maternity policy:
Target hours:
Childcare vouchers: No
24 hour photocopying support: No
24 hour secretarial support: No


News Stories

Wragges puts 30 jobs at risk
And turns its secretaries' world on its head ... read more > (3 comments)
Exclusive: Watson Farley Williams offers trainees £5k to defer
Disputes rumours current intake are doing squat ... read more >
Exclusive: Wragges trainees reject £5k offer to defer for a year
Work at Wragges apparently better than a year's holiday ... read more > (5 comments)
An entrepreneurial Wragges lawyer - and other stories
Maternity pay, caricatures, impoverished barristers, flamethrowers, elegant offices, roadkill and a charitable Lathams lawyer ... read more >
Wragges to open Paris office
Birmingham firm confirms new office despite massive lay-offs last year ... read more >
Firm of the Year final round up: biscuits, loos and parties
Tuck in at Wragges, cross your legs at Trowers ... read more >
$40m case ends as document is revealed to be a draft - and other stories
Inhumane stained pants, fishy goings on at Matrix, Northern Irish partner gets personal, job vacancy advertised for peanuts, and a snazzy German law firm ... read more >
Latham and Watkins deluged with nutter phone calls - and other stories
A flexible law firm, the taches grow, 24/7 at Wragges, a $400bn claim is living on a prayer, a barrister turned author, a Serbian firm, and a mountain to climb for charity ... read more >
Wragges staff in line for shabby second round redundancy package
85 more jobs are at risk at the firm, as partners warn staff that they'll be offered a tight-arsed settlement... ... read more >

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