UK lawyers have revealed which firms are nurturing their talent with the most care in RollOnFriday's huge Firm of the Year 2017 survey.

Osborne Clarke came top in the career development category, where, it "feels like our training and development is based around a long-term career at the firm". Other lawyers who contributed to the firm's 81% score said the firm provided "excellent quality of work without having to commute into London every day". It boasted partners who were "very willing to support (and often even encourage) BD initiatives of juniors (particularly in the tech space)", and gave staff the "feeling that you are a person rather than just a 'resource'".

Mishcon de Reya, Linklaters and Shearman & Sterling shared second place with 79%. At "very entrepreneurial" Mishcon, the "diversity of work is excellent and the client base is pretty glamorous". Touchingly, there was also "the genuine sense that the partners are holding the firm on trust for the next generation".  

Recognition and respect was the recurrent theme from Shearman & Sterling lawyers, who said senior solicitors "encouraged juniors to ask questions", while partners "regularly give out praise and are openly thankful for the work we do". Associates and trainees were "given credit, internally and publicly ,for work done and articles (co-)authored". And while there were "high expectations which sometimes present a challenge", lawyers got "good client exposure" thanks to the small teams, meaning "you are heavily involved in any matter".

Linklaters' training was "the best in the city", said a trainee currently experiencing it, thanks to "a top-class base level of training". Seat choices, said another, were accommodated "in circa 95% of cases". The Magic Circle firm had "tip top" work, with high performers "given great opportunities for international and client secondments". A lawyer poo-pooed the chances of actually becoming a partner, but said that the "good name" put anyone leaving in an enviable position.     

Bird & Bird scored 78%. A job in the firm's key IP practices, said a Bird, meant working "on some of the biggest and most groundbreaking cases" alongside "some of the best (and smartest) practitioners in IP law". A trainee said, "I've had a great balance of responsibility and support - I feel I've grown as a trainee and been encouraged to do as much as I feel comfortable doing, but at no point been overwhelmed". 

Firm of the Year 2017 Burges Salmon also placed excellently, level with high new entry Mills & Reeve, "For me", said a Burges Salmon junior lawyer, "my supervisors get the balance of providing support and giving me the freedom to work independently absolutely right". The firm, said another junior, really "invests in staff", providing "excellent" training and development opportunities. "I have had almost a month off this year (paid)", said one lawyer, "to undertake a professional qualification".  It is a "genuinely great" place to work, said several, including a junior lawyer, saying, "you feel that the whole firm (from partners to HR) are supportive and helping you progress in your career".  

TLT, CMS and Latham & Watkins all hit an impressive 75%. At TLT, trainees vouched for a "good amount of client contact" and "genuine interest" in giving them a "great training contract", with the firm providing "positive encouragement" and both giving and requesting a "good level of grounded feedback". Meanwhile,  CMS was praised for the "regular nominations" to attend the "CMS Academy", at which associates from across the firm's global network gather "for a number of days' training on general skills expected of a CMS lawyer". Enthusiasm may have been influenced by the fact that it was held in Milan.

  Her career was going wonderfully! It had to be! Because she just spent €1900 on a scarf.

BLP was praised for its "willingness to cultivate talent". Weil matched its 74% thanks to"good prospects" in the London office.  People were, agreed a colleague, "very positive in general about their partnership prospects" thanks to a "huge push to grow internally". Macfarlanes shared the 74% plinth, with staff praising "quality work" and "excellent" training. There was "a lot of early responsibility", said trainees, but also "lots of oversight of the training contract process - you feel very looked after" but, said a colleague. "I don't feel like I'm being spoon-fed". If you are good, said another, "you will be given the opportunities to thrive".

A handful of other firms scored 70% or over, and their staff explain why here. For a look at the firms which scored under 60%, and why, click here.
Tip Off ROF


Anonymous 17 February 17 09:21

"Linklaters has the best training in the City" says Linklaters trainee who's only ever experienced training at Linklaters.

Anonymous 17 February 17 09:52

Jones Day and Career Development?

Lol, nice one.

Anonymous 17 February 17 10:40

No progression in DWF unless you get 'merged into' the firm.

Anonymous 17 February 17 13:14

Mills & Reeve career development may well be high for the few trainees they manage to retain each year!

Anonymous 17 February 17 21:15


Linklaters offers some of the best training on the planet, not just the City. There are a raft of technically outstanding PSLs, including partner PSLs, whose focus includes the development, delivery and co-ordination of internal training which is at the forefront of latest market trends and knowledge because Links acts on a lot of the market leading transactions. You can try, but cannot truly say that of the MC as a whole. Generally speaking, CC's market knowledge is impressive, but focused more on externally facing output rather than internal. Links focuses its core development towards its own lawyers, who actually do the work. You can have an impressive shop window, but they guys in the back do the work and make the product.

Anonymous 20 February 17 10:37

@21.15 I think I just threw up a little bit.

Anonymous 22 February 17 12:03

@linklaters fan boy...get a life.