The Legal Cheek View
With offices in Milton Keynes rather than Manhattan, Southampton rather than Singapore and Basingstoke rather than Barcelona, Shoosmiths is sometimes overlooked by students when it perhaps deserves more consideration. This is no global megafirm (although it does have occasional client secondments abroad), but it knows who it is. And unlike some sprawling law behemoths which have been struggling to make their model pay, Shoosmiths has been doing rather well lately, led by its real estate and personal injury staples.
A huge 40% jump in profits last year has been followed by another decent 12 months in which revenue and profits ticked up another 4%. Profit per equity partner now stands at well over £400,000. So trainees and associates that can accept the lack of international glamour and relatively low pay, and instead concentrate on climbing the ranks, can hope to be healthily rewarded one day if they play their cards right.
In the meantime, they will receive decent training, with Shoosmiths scoring well in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey for quality and variety of work. Trainees are said to get "a good degree of responsibility" which rises as they win the trust of their superiors. In this, the firm's "unstuffy vibe" seems to be very much a contributory factor, with a "non-hierarchical, friendly structure" engendering "lots of banter with the partners".
The work-life balance is top notch, with Shoosmiths' lawyers mainly making it out of the door by 6:30pm, while the perks are said to have improved substantially, with nice touches like free fruit and a day off on your birthday. Plus a host of major refurbishments are currently underway across some of the firm's ten offices which currently lack facilities like canteens. Birmingham and Manchester are already said to be fairly "snazzy".
Where Shoosmiths probably falls down most, though, is on the lack of London experience it gives to rookies, with no trainee places available at a new office in the iconic Tower 42 in the City. The reality is that this is where many law graduates want to be when they're in their 20s, and although Shoosmiths has a decent social scene, one insider admits that it is "harder on the business parks as everyone drives from different places meaning you are quite spread out for arranging social events." Still, summer and Christmas parties are reportedly "a blast".