The Legal Cheek View
Osborne Clarke “may be possibly the nicest and most down to earth law firm ever,” one insider tells Legal Cheek, “but you still have to work hard”. That statement is a pithy summary of OC, which is currently on a journey from respected regional firm to international player. As it opens more offices – the latest were in San Francisco and Amsterdam – Osborne Clarke has so far managed to preserve the famously nice culture that prevails within it.
The firm scores a whopping four A*s in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, with top marks for training, quality of work, peer support and partner approachability.
Trainees – who socialise between the offices in firm-organised meet-ups – describe each other as “lovely”, while they reckon partners are about as nice as they come for people burdened by the demands of running a £200 million business. As one Osborne Clarke rookie tells us: “I can be honest with them and most importantly, make fun of them!”
What’s more, with the firm habitually clocking up strong retention rates, even the aforementioned joker is likely to end up with a full-time job at the end of the training process.
Money varies (see below) between the trio of UK offices in London, Reading and Bristol. The lower newly qualified solicitor pay outside the capital is made up for by the “brand new and awesome” building in Reading, while OC Bristolians console themselves with the fact that they live in delightful Bristol.
Added glitz is provided by the firm’s media practice, which augments the much larger corporate and litigation teams, and represents, among others, Facebook and Amazon. Perks, meanwhile, range from the usual package of subsidised gym membership and private health insurance to, er, green tea. “We finally got green tea about a year ago in the office kitchens. That was the greatest triumph,” reveals an OC tipster. However, international secondment opportunities are rather disappointing, with less than 4% of trainees doing one, which is fairly common for firms with relatively new overseas presences.
Still, few firms offer a more delightful incubation to one’s career, and if having things like designated ‘training and know-how lawyers’ for each department is higher in your order of priorities than on-site swimming pools, OC is worth a look.