Trowers & Hamlins

The Legal Cheek View

Big in the Middle East (where it has five offices) and expanding in the English regions (specifically in Manchester, Birmingham and Exeter), Trowers & Hamlins is a slightly quirky firm whose twin specialities are, rather contrastingly, local government work and international M&A. It’s a mix that seems to be working, with London-headquartered Trowers performing respectably financially and scoring well in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18.

Revenue is up 12% this year to £97 million from £85.6 million, while profit per equity partner has risen marginally to £312,000. Perhaps most interesting of all is the growth in lawyer headcount, which has seen a sharp 22% increase, meaning the firm now has over 400 solicitors. There remain 23 training contract places up for grabs this year.

Trowers’ biggest strength is its culture – and this is evident again in this year’s Legal Cheek Survey. For peer support, there are few better places. A trainee paints a picture of what it’s like: “Everyone is extremely helpful and offers to help out whenever they have capacity. Everyone on my floor checks in with each other before leaving to lend a hand so no one is in too late.” Similarly, the firm is hard to match the firm for partner approachability. The best supervisors “a source of constant support in both work and general life matters” and hierarchies are minimal.

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Why Trowers’ lawyers are so nice can be attributed to all sorts of factors, but the excellent work/life balance surely must play a significant part in morale. The firm’s lawyers put in a daily average of less than ten hours, arriving in the office on average at 8:46am and leaving at 6:31pm. Admittedly, those times are lowered by the firm’s regional offices. London lawyers usually work a bit longer (although they do tend to start later). Apparently, “everywhere but corporate is a good work/life balance (for a City law firm)”. Outside the capital and life is really pretty good. “The combination of living in Exeter but working for first-rate clients both in London and in the south west on highly stimulating matters cannot be matched,” reports one rookie. Needless to say, pay is significantly higher in London than outside (see below), with the newly qualified solicitor rate across the firm ranging from £40,000 to £62,000.

Trowers’ international secondments are another draw for prospective new recruits. Over a third of trainees do one, with all given the option to spend time abroad if they wish. In almost all cases the destinations are either Abu Dhabi, Bahrain or Dubai. Apparently the experience is a highly recommended addition to the training in London, where trainees receive “a large amount of seminars, tutorial training sessions, one-on-one training” and are “given a great deal of genuine responsibility”, including “managing our own caseloads and good client contact”.

And finally, perks. Trowers pops up with an A* in a category largely dominated by the magic circle and US firms. Freebies include free breakfast before 8.30am (a real favourite with the firm’s youngsters), discounts on hotels, gym membership and Eurostar travel, and gratis Haribos. The offices are mostly nice, with the new Manchester gaff said to rival the London office (which upstages neighbour Slaughter and May with its glass-fronted split level reception) for style, however Birmingham “could do with an update”. Meanwhile, the social life is some of the best in corporate law. “You will always find someone to have a drink with,” one trainee tells us.

Insider Scorecard

A
Training
A
Quality of work
A*
Peer support
A*
Partner approach-ability
A*
Work/life balance
B
Tech
A*
Perks
A
Office
A
Canteen
A*
Social life

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.

Money

First year trainee salary £37,000
Second year trainee salary £40,000
Newly qualified salary £62,000
Profit per equity partner £312,000
GDL grant 6,500
LPC grant 6,500

First year reigonal trainees receive £28,000, while second years get £30,000 and newly qualified solicitors in the regions are paid £40,000. The firm covers the cost of future trainees’ Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees and the grant is reduced to £6,000 where students are outside London

Hours

Average arrival time 8:46am
Average leave time 6:31pm
Annual target hours No targets
Annual leave 25 days

Secondments

Chances of secondment abroad 36%
Chances of client secondment 4%

General Info

Training contracts 23
Latest trainee retention rate 93%
Offices 9
Countries 5
Minimum A-level requirement ABB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Diversity

UK female associates 59%
UK female partners 40%
UK BME associates 11%
UK BME partners 4%

Universities Current Trainees Attended