The Legal Cheek View
Jones Day is probably best known among students for a culture that sees its young lawyers given plenty of responsibility. A quirky training contract system sees trainees float between departments, with the onus on them to approach partners to ask for work. Some love it, others find it too much.
Many of the Jones Day rookies who responded to the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey don’t rate the set up: hence the firm's disappointing 'C' grade for training. A few, though, relish the model, with one telling us: “The non-rotational system allows you to get more well-rounded training than you would receive in a seat system. For example, CP checklists on a real estate finance transaction are far easier if you have done property work before (which you inevitably will have done).”
In other areas, such as peer support and partner approachability, the firm scores well. It also does respectably for international opportunities – despite offering relatively few trainee secondments. This is largely down to the week-long ‘New Lawyers’ training academy in Washington DC that Jones Day puts all its rookies through.
Back in London – where the firm has a substantial presence which dates back to English legacy firm Gouldens, gobbled up by the American giant in 2003 – the perks are good. The stand out freebie is the on-site gym. The canteen is also well-regarded, with "breakfast and lunches always of a high standard and the cafe staff are always friendly”. Meanwhile, the social life is positively bouncing; firm socials are apparently “always well-attended”.
Despite all this, Jones Day consistently comes in for some of the harshest criticism meted out to any leading outfit in the Legal Cheek comments. Of course, how much weight it’s wise to give anonymous comments is another matter.
It is hoped that a recent run of poor retention rates will be improved by a summer 2016 NQ pay rise above the £80,000 mark.