Revealed: The best law firms for peer support and partner approachability 2020-21

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By Sophie Cheng on

Legal Cheek’s exclusive survey identifies firms with best culture

In these uncertain times, working with supportive peers and approachable partners can make all the difference. For the many trainees and junior lawyers working from home this has never been more true.

As part of Legal Cheek’s annual Trainee and Junior lawyer survey, we asked 2,000 rookies from nearly 100 firms across the UK to rank their firm’s peer supportiveness on a sliding scale from one to ten, with one being ‘not at all supportive’ and ten defined as ‘very supportive’. Respondents were then asked to score the partners they work with for their approachability — with one classed as ‘not at all approachable’ and ten as ‘very approachable’.

We’ve produced a shortlist featuring the firms that scored A*s for peer support and partner approachability. Just four firms made the cut in both categories: Bristows, Mills & Reeve, Squire Patton Boggs and Womble Bond Dickinson. Below are the results listed alphabetically:

Best law firms for peer support 2020-21

Addleshaw Goddard
Baker McKenzie
Bird & Bird
Burges Salmon
Herbert Smith Freehills
Hogan Lovells
Mills & Reeve
Squire Patton Boggs
Taylor Wessing
Travers Smith
Womble Bond Dickinson

The 2021 Firms Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

Best law firms for partner approachability 2020-21

Clyde & Co
Eversheds Sutherland
Gowling WLG
Hill Dickinson
Mills & Reeve
Pinsent Masons
Reed Smith
Squire Patton Boggs
Vinson & Elkins
Womble Bond Dickinson

As part of the survey, we give trainees and junior lawyers the opportunity to expand on their scores and comment (anonymously) on the supportiveness of their peers and approachability of their superiors. Here are a select few comments from some of the firms listed above:

How supportive are your peers?

“They seem to hire genuinely nice trainees – there’s no competition or infighting.”

“Everyone around you genuinely cares about you and would champion you and your voice if you ever felt unable to.”

“Small intakes means that there’s a very tight community of trainees – almost everyone knows everyone. Plenty of social events to build your internal network.”

“Peers within the team, the trainee cohort, the broader department and business services are all very supportive. They understand what it’s like to be a trainee and are very helpful in giving instructions, assisting and providing feedback.”

“The trainee cohort are all quite tight which reduces the competitive attitude between each other. NQ’s and junior associates are keen to see you succeed if you are putting in the effort. For example, if you have been a particular help to a junior, they are likely to tell the partner this rather than take all of the credit.”

How approachable are your superiors?

“All very approachable, friendly and understanding if you find yourself taking more time to do something that you had planned and needed a bit of an extension! Keen to get you involved in interesting matters and talk to you about the history of a file rather than just asking you to read it.”

“I have found that all my superiors are approachable and will try to make time for you as much as they can, irrelevant of their status at the firm or how busy they are with other matters. I have genuinely enjoyed working with my supervisors on a personal level and I have never felt that a question is silly to ask.”

“Open-door policy that partners adhere to make it easy to approach them and a build a rapport with them, which has continued whilst working from home (via telephone calls).”

“I work with some of the best partners in the firm – top of their game, exceptionally intelligent, but also very down-to-earth. It makes working for them a delight.”

The winning law firm in each category will be announced at The Legal Cheek Awards 2021, sponsored by BARBRI, on Thursday 25 March 2021.

The 2021 Firms Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

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