From massages to music rooms: the myriad reasons to become a City lawyer
What would a corporate legal career be without its lavish perks? They certainly ease the pain of sometimes gruelling City law hours.
We asked over 2,000 trainees and junior lawyers at the 60 leading UK-based corporate law firms for their thoughts on their employers’ top treats and freebies. For all wannabe solicitors, we bring you things to dream about.
In alphabetical order, the firms that scooped A* grades for perks in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 are…
Allen & Overy
Allen & Overy rookies are certainly basking in perk sunshine at a firm that also has one of the most generous pensions schemes in the City. “We’re spoilt, but too often forget it,” an insider tells us.
Complete with all the magic circle essentials, the office is “fantastic”. A&O lawyers enjoy a 24 hour gym, fitness classes, a dance hall and even music rooms. There’s a bike loan up for grabs, and at the firm bar you’ll find “great subsidised drinks”. Sold already?
“How ‘bout that roof terrace?”, says a trainee. In fact, A&O has two garden-esque terraces where its lawyers are treated to BBQs in the summer months.
And you won’t be calling off sick in the winter, thanks to the firm’s legendary flu jabs, in-house doctor and physiotherapist. An onsite dentist and beautician ensure rookies look and feel on top of their game.
Read Allen & Overy’s full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Clifford Chancers say they “couldn’t imagine better” perks.
Picture “dry cleaners, taxis, 24-hour print room, sleeping pods, food on demand overnight and on weekends… the list goes on,” a trainee says. In fact, after 9pm food is delivered to your desk “hotel room service style” if you so wish. The freshly baked cookies are “out of this world”.
The facilities in particular are “incredible”: “SO MANY THINGS!!!” gushes one trainee. Expect an in-house gym, pilates classes, “and a place to do your nails and go for a massage in the office!” There’s also a team of hairdressers in the building to help trainees maintain the magic circle look.
As if that wasn’t enough, Clifford Chance lawyers are also treated to discounts for a range of activities and attractions such as art exhibitions, 02 and theatre tickets: “Guess the in-house squash court, steak dinner and box seats at the Emirates aren’t too bad,” shrugs one rookie. Another says “we recently discovered we have a specific person we can call to hang up our art of our choice on the walls of our offices. Sweet”.
But nothing beats the firm’s signature perk overlooking Canary Wharf — the swimming pool.
Read Clifford Chance’s full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Is it really a magic circle firm if it doesn’t have a pro sushi chef? Freshfields rookies get their sashimi fix on a Tuesday and Thursday when the beloved cook graces the canteen.
With fitness classes to go with it, the free on-site gym has got the health nuts covered. The elite law firm also has a “very well funded sports team” and sets “quite generous” budgets for its socials and summer parties. Not bad considering it hasn’t done quite as well as other magic circlers in the revenue growth league this year.
Still, trainees cheer on “the very high salary” as well as the ample secondment opportunities that treat them to free accommodation. Healthcare and benefits packages top up the list of “brilliant perks”, and the on-site masseuse is the icing on the already very rich cake.
Read Freshfields’ full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Jones Day also has a neat list of perks to write home about: “Best one for me is the gym”, an insider tells us. Although it could be bigger, “the fact it exists at all is a massive boon”.
The luxurious offices as a whole are appreciated. They are “well designed” with plenty of natural light keeping its rookies awake. The canteen has its loyal fans, with “breakfast and lunches always of a high standard and the cafe staff are always friendly”. Our perk-o-meter shows thumbs up all round.
Read Jones Day’s full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Kirkland & Ellis
The rich kids of Kirkland & Ellis have got it all. Well, except maybe a PA.
Trainees tell us they “can’t complain” about the perks department, which one has described as being “baller”. Not that they need any freebies with the salary that they’re on.
Still, life behind the Gherkin’s diamond-shaped panes is as glamorous as it gets. That’s just as well — trainees need some sort of respite from the intense deal-driven schedule.
The jewel in the crown is Searcy’s bar atop the glass tower, where rookies feast their eyes on the City and forget about work for a while.
Read Kirkland & Ellis’ full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Ranging from prized international secondments to free massages and top biscuits, Links lawyers enjoy some of the best perks in town.
In the battle of the corporate gyms, Linklaters have gone all out with a full fitness centre complete with fancy shampoo.
Drinks trolleys, Deliveroo allowance, cabs and “great coffee” are each a godsend when you’re working late in the City. Links likes to ensure that its rookies have “nothing to really complain about”.
As with any magic circe firm, the work can be full-on. But trainees do rejoice that 28 days of holiday is “brilliant”, medical and travel insurance, private healthcare as well as a dentist and physio, complete a “decent package” at Linklaters. Some would say its prestige is a perk alone.
Read Linklaters’ full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Ropes & Gray
Ropes & Gray is not without its own attractions.
“Excellent pay” is a notable perk at this US outfit. Its unusually high 30 days of holiday allowance also gets rave reviews from its junior lawyers. They “can’t knock the free medical and dental cover” either. The gym allowance is an expected but welcome perk while the £25 allowance for Deliveroo orders makes up for the lack of canteen.
The international secondment opportunities are the cherries on the icing on the cake. About a quarter of trainees get to do one, with Hong Kong being a rookie favourite. But perks are flowing at home too, with a “nice reception team (!!)” brightening each morning.
Read Ropes & Gray’s full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Shearman & Sterling
Shearman & Sterling’s lawyers are also pretty perked up.
The pay is of course, “very good” says one trainee. What the firm lacks in a canteen it generously makes up for with a £30 food allowance for those busy bees working after 8pm and at the weekends.
To burn off all those late night feasts, rookies can make use of the US firm’s liberal subsidy for Virgin Active membership, which chips away about two-thirds of the cost. Can’t say they’re stingy.
Bored of the office? Shearman is located on the City/Shoreditch borders. The smell of artisan coffee lures many a trainee to this part of town.
Read Shearman & Sterling’s full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
Trowers & Hamlins
In a category heavily dominated by the US and magic circle giants, Trowers & Hamlins has scored pretty well. Despite fewer resources than the elites, its “really good perks” have gone a long way.
Early risers savour free breakfast if they get to the office before 8.30am. If they’re still feeling peckish, they can pinch the Haribos and fizzy drinks from the client meeting rooms. Standard.
There’s more: “tea bags and free-flowing milk in every kitchen”. What else could you possibly need? Discounts on hotels, gym membership and Eurostar travel also join the impressive list of perks at Trowers.
Read Trowers & Hamlins’ full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
White & Case
Known for its on-site massages, pull up to the White & Case perk station, which is up there with the magic circle firms.
Healthcare hasn’t gone amiss at the international giant; treats include subsidised yoga, weekly therapist sessions and a health allowance and rewards programme called ‘Wellness Works for Me’, which rookies rave about.
Free meals and taxis for late-nighters keep spirits high. The regular “street food pop-ups” and more exotic menus at the firm “all help ease the pain when the going gets tough.”
Read White & Case full firm profile, including The Legal Cheek View and Insider Scorecard.
For all the key info about the leading firms, including their Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey Scorecards, check out the Firms Most List.