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TC dilemma
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Posted - 22 May 2015 00:30
TL,DR at bottom.

Hi all,

I am lucky enough to have been offered training contracts at two brilliant firms and I simply cannot choose between them.

(Btw, for context: this is my third year of applications and I’ve probably made between 25-30 over that period. While something has undoubtedly clicked during this cycle, I must say that I feel incredibly lucky to be in this position. So, if a TC is what you really want then please don't let rejection after rejection get you down. You'll get there).

Anyway, while I don’t think it would be wise to name the firms, I understand that some information is needed. My offers are from one of the smaller SC firms (i.e. Ashurst or Travers) and a large international firm (think CMS / Hogan Lovells / Simmons). I have four weeks to decide and due to my schedule I won’t be able to spend any time at either firm.

Since I’ve applied directly for a TC at both I have spent a maximum of about three hours in each firm. Beyond reception, a couple of client meeting rooms and the toilets I don’t even know what the firms actually look like!

I’ve drawn some preliminary conclusions on the stats available (retention rate / salary etc) but neither stands out on these criteria alone.

So, I’m essentially asking the following:

1. Does anyone have experience of both a large international firm and a smaller SC firm? If so, any experiences / thoughts / input would be much appreciated.

2. In terms of reputation, would there be a significant difference between them in terms of mobility between firms and potential in-house roles?

I’m aware that withholding the names of the firms makes answering these questions considerably harder, but I cannot be persuaded on this.

Any thoughts, experiences or opinions would be valued and gratefully received.


TL,DR: I'm seeking the opinions of anyone with experience of both the SC firms and large international firms.
Posted - 22 May 2015 16:11
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Firstly congratulations on both your offers.

Obviously without knowing the firms it is difficult to help but here are some general points which helped me in the past.

1) What is your work/life balance going to be like and how much is this going to affect you?
2) Are there differences in the culture/styles of the firms and does either appeal to you?
3) Ultimately where do you think you will enjoy working more? (Obviously difficult for you to say without being there but you may have an idea)?

Take these on board as you will but they helped me in my decision. Personally (and I know many will disagree) I wanted to be somewhere I would enjoy more and be happy to be going to each morning but that's just me. Either way best of luck with your decision.
Mr Hargreaves
Posted - 22 May 2015 16:26
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if you're not prepared to name its difficult to help, not all firms of a similar type or size are the same to work at.
Posted - 26 May 2015 17:22
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<--- Current recruitment consultant, former lawyer.

If you've named your firms amongst the ones you mentioned above:

1) Travers is small and non-international, but does have good work.
2) Ashurst isn't that small and is international - also good work.
3) CMS - meh.
4) Hogan Lovells - I liked working there before it merged. I think they're going in the right direction.
5) Simmons - good firm, also now can do 1 day a week from home without having to ask permission.

I'd rank those:

Top - Hogan Lovells
Next by a whisker - Simmons
Next by another whisker Ashurst
Next by another whisker Travers
Last by a fairly long way, CMS.

Posted - 26 May 2015 17:43
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@Beermonster I think most people would rank Ashurst above Simmons. Other than that the list seems right.
Posted - 26 May 2015 18:14
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I'm ranking Simmons above Ashurst because of the work 1 day a work from home and generally feeling a bit nicer/more with it than Ashurst these days...