Revealed: The best law firms for peer support and partner approachability 2019-20

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By Thomas Connelly on

Winner to be announced at the Legal Cheek Awards on 26 March 2020, alongside a host of other categories

From the eager to help trainee through to the accommodating senior partner, supportive colleagues can make all the difference when facing the rigours of corporate law life.

That’s one of the key takeaways from this year’s Legal Cheek survey of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in London and the UK.

As part of this exclusive survey, respondents were asked to rank their firm’s peer supportiveness on a one to ten sliding scale, with one being ‘dog eat dog’ and the top score of ten defined as, ‘vegan commune’. The respondents were then asked to score the partners they work with for their approachability — one defined as ‘White Walker’ and ten as ‘Davos Seaworth’.

Having crunched the numbers, we’ve produced two 15-strong shortlists featuring law firms which scored A*s for their peer support and partner approachability. A total of six particularly affable outfits made the cut in both categories: Bristows, Hogan Lovells, RPC, Shoosmiths, Travers Smith and Womble Bond Dickinson. Below are the results listed alphabetically:

Best law firms for peer support 2019-20

Eversheds Sutherland
Gowling WLG
Hogan Lovells
Mills & Reeve
Norton Rose Fulbright
Reed Smith
Taylor Wessing
Travers Smith
Womble Bond Dickinson

The 2020 Firms Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

Best law firms for partner approachability 2019-20

Addleshaw Goddard
Burges Salmon
Clyde & Co
Hill Dickinson
Hogan Lovells
Howard Kennedy
Osborne Clarke
Pinsent Masons
Squire Patton Boggs
Travers Smith
Trowers & Hamlins
Womble Bond Dickinson

Like in previous years, trainees and associates were also given the opportunity to expand on their scores and comment (anonymously) on the supportiveness of their co-workers. “Genuinely the most collaborative culture you could hope for”, trumpeted one City rookie, while another chimed in, “associates and senior associates tend to be very approachable”, but adding “it’s more hit and miss with partners”. Here are a select few from some of the firms listed above:

How supportive are your peers?

“My colleagues are very supportive. I had a good feeling about people in my firm when going through the selection process, and I still believe they are among the nicest people on the block. Some departments are very young, and there’s a strong camaraderie vibe which makes you feel better if you’re staying late.”

“Everyone is happy to help and supportive. People remember when they were a trainee so are happy to answer any questions.”

“I was lucky enough to join in a great trainee cohort. Real friends and all that cuteness, rainbows and butterflies.”

“Really supportive. There when I need a pastoral chat or second opinion on approach to take on a matter without going to a partner.”

“Very. We all have a big WhatsApp group and regularly go on weekend trips or spontaneous work drinks. Competition is actively not encouraged, and with no billable targets there is no rivalry or sense of needing to put your ambition first.”

How approachable are your superiors?

“Very approachable — we can even rant to them if necessary.”

“There is a great deal of partner approachability at the firm and a good open door policy that actually is an open door policy.”

“I have no qualms with approaching my superiors, it is very non-hierarchical and we are expected to be able to just ask questions or approach them whenever they are needed. We have an open plan, agile office so I’m quite often just sitting next to them anyway.”

“Extremely approachable even up to head of department partners, one of the best things about the firm.”

“Everyone is very approachable all the way up to partners — I can chat about weekend plans or recent football scores with any of them.”

“Not met an unapproachable partner yet and most encourage open and informal conversation with juniors, whether at the coffee machine or stategising on an urgent matter.”

The winning law firm in each category will be announced at the Legal Cheek Awards 2020, held at Sea Containers House, the swish riverside building located on London’s South Bank, on Thursday 26 March.

The 2020 Firms Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

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