Who will come out on top in the ultimate food face-off?
For the life of a corporate lawyer slaving away for hours on end over complex trade deals, a nice meal can be the difference between a bad day and a good day at the office.
Luckily for aspiring lawyers, eight law firm canteens have been rated outstanding in Legal Cheek’s study of over 1,500 trainees and junior solicitors.
Participants in our exclusive survey of lawyers at nearly 60 of the country’s top corporate outfits were asked to rate their firm’s canteen on a 1-10 sliding scale, one defined as ‘Not even Oliver Twist would ask for more’ and ten ‘That third Michelin star is overdue’.
In no particular order, the firms which received A* grades are…
Watson Farley & Williams
Watson Farley & Williams is not only home to some of the country’s leading finance solicitors, it also has its own French chef. Yes, really.
If Phillipe — who is apparently famed through legal London — wasn’t enough to keep lawyers’ rumbling tummies at bay, the firm now offers its lawyers coffee made on-site by barristas. We’re already sold.
Though one commenter, an anonymous trainee or solicitor at the firm, did point out the price of food has gone up recently, this doesn’t seem to have deterred its lawyers from dishing out impressive survey scores. Dinner at Watson Farley & Williams next week anyone?
Watson Farley & Williams profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
There are few more prestigious places to begin a legal career than at magic circle giant Linklaters, and it seems its canteen isn’t all too shabby either.
Our survey respondents praised the firm for its “generally delicious” food offerings, which apparently run close to 24/7. One commenter told us there’s a “great range” of food and that it’s “easy to stay healthy” (unhealthy lawyers bill fewer hours, remember).
The main on-site dining area is a subsidised restaurant called Silks, which in particular received rave reviews from the respondents. One described Silks as the highlight of their training contract, another simply said “absolutely amazing”.
Though there were a few minor complaints — “very bizarre price scales” and “almost too much choice”, for example — overall the canteen received a firm thumbs up from Links’ lawyers.
Linklaters profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
The canteen at this newly named firm — the product of a merger between Wragge Lawrence Graham and Gowlings — is about as fancy as it gets.
Though trainee said the pricing is “completely random” and another that the food’s “a bit hit and miss”, ultimately the international giant’s eatery scored very highly.
And it’s easy to see why so many respondents scored the firm’s canteen well above the average when you read the types of food available. A far cry from just the standard offerings of sandwiches and salads, one commenter told us you can purchase “tuna steaks” and “freshly made salsas.” In fact, there’s sometimes even a BBQ outside on the law firm’s patio. Sounds great.
Gowling WLG profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
“Great fresh hot and cold food at good prices”, “subsidised” and “generally very good” are just some of the praiseworthy comments directed at Reed Smith’s canteen.
Located high up in the Broadgate Tower, Reed Smith has also been lauded for its “healthy options” and “excellent vegetarian offerings”.
Though one lawyer said the portions were a bit small for his or her liking, this doesn’t seem to have dampened too many spirits. Overall, the international firm scored very well for its canteen.
Reed Smith profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
It’s not just London-based law firms keeping their solicitors and trainees well fed. Over in Bristol, Burges Salmon lawyers have been singing the praises of on-site restaurant Glassworks.
According to the firm’s website, the restaurant “serves a range of very reasonably priced hot and cold food throughout the day”, something its lawyers seem to appreciate. Here are just a few of the comments respondents from Burges Salmon shared with us about the firm’s culinary delights: “genuinely excellent food every day”; “cheap, filling and generally of good quality”; “there is always a fantastic range”.
Food options include sandwiches, salads, jacket potatoes, soups and “good cakes”. There are even themed days. When can we come for dinner?
Burges Salmon profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
Allen & Overy
Magic in name, magic in nature, Allen & Overy offers its lawyers some of the best food in the City.
As if a gym and an on-site doctor wasn’t enough, the international giant also boasts a restaurant and bar called Lavanda.
On the firm’s website, trainees gush about the reasonably priced, “high-quality” staff canteen, and that has been very much reflected in our survey. Scoring a perfect A*, most respondents rated Allen & Overy an eight or above for its food. Maybe that third Michelin star really is overdue.
Allen & Overy profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
Also marked highly is international law firm Taylor Wessing.
Almost all the trainees and lawyers surveyed scored the canteen an eight out of ten or more, in large part — it seems from the comments — thanks to the delightful views across the City the Taylor Wessing dining experience has to offer. One rookie gushed that “the terrace is perfect in the summer!”
As for the food itself, one respondent told Legal Cheek it is delicious, cheap, varied and that it’s always possible to find a healthy option. High praise indeed.
Taylor Wessing profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
Mishcon de Reya
Also impressing with its food is Mishcon de Reya.
To enter the firm’s brand new London office, you pass through a kind of avant garde cocktail bar, where clients can apparently grab themselves sushi and martinis while they wait.
As for the on-site canteen, one respondent said the firm is “so creative and often makes things to order, which is pretty special.” Oh and, by the way, the coffee is served via an iPad.
Mishcon de Reya profile [Legal Cheek Most List]
Overall, the standard of food among the firms surveyed by Legal Cheek was very mixed.
Looking beyond the eight above which secured A*s, 13 got an A-grade, 21 received a B, eight a C and six a D.
You can access all of our law firm profiles through the Legal Cheek Most List.
If you would like to purchase a report containing a full breakdown of Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey results for your firm, benchmarked against the other participating firms and a custom selected group of peer firms, please contact Legal Cheek Research for more details.