Womble Bond Dickinson
From humble beginnings in Plymouth, Bond Dickinson (formerly Bond Pearce until its merger with Dickinson Dees on 1st May 2013) has grown to become a serious commercial contender. The Bristol office in particular went from strength to strength since its launch in 1998. Originally set up as a local base for the employment and insurance teams working with the Post Office, the office grew incrementally through a series of small mergers and lateral hires. It took over Eversheds' entire Bristol property team and Cartwright's 11-partner corporate department in 2001, as well as setting up a clinical negligence team in 2004. Now the firm boasts offices in Bristol, Southampton, London, Plymouth and Aberdeen.
Back in March 2012, Bond Pearce threw in the towel after a months-long, abortive attempt to merge with Maclay Murray & Spens. But they succeeded with regional peer and Golden Turd recipient Dickinson Dees. Then, in 2017, the firm tied up with US firm Womble Carlyle, and as a result is now the only firm with offices in both Plymouth and Silicon Valley.
Pay wise, there are a few grumbles with some lawyers complaining that the money is "abysmal". But whilst salaries may be a little lower than its main rivals, this may reflect the very decent 9:00am-5:30pm working culture. The firm has tried to improve things - at least for partners anyway.
Prior to the merger, assistants told us there was a "relaxed, friendly atmosphere" at the firm and praised it for being "a great place to work with a huge focus on the personal and career development of its juniors," although there was a sense that it "wants to be national but can't break its mentality away from regional southwest."
NB stated salaries are for London. In the regions, first year trainees receive £22-28,000, second years £27-30,000, and NQs £37,500-42,000.