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Revealed: The best law firms for training and quality of work 2020-21

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The results are in! Legal Cheek’s exclusive survey can reveal the law firms with the highest scores for training and quality of work

Legal Cheek asked trainees and junior lawyers from nearly 100 of the nation’s leading law firms to share their experiences. A handful of firms stood out from the crowd, scoring an A* for training and quality of work in our annual Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey.

Respondents could score the training they’ve received on a scale of one to ten — with one being very poor and ten being excellent. Similarly, respondents could rate the quality of work — with work classed from not at all stimulating to highly stimulating.

A total of three law firms feature in the shortlist for both categories: Clifford Chance, Debevoise & Plimpton and Osborne Clarke. Below are the results listed alphabetically:

Best law firms for training 2020-21

Allen & Overy
Bristows
CMS
Clifford Chance
Debevoise & Plimpton
Fieldfisher
Forsters
Linklaters
Macfarlanes
Mayer Brown
Osborne Clarke
Slaughter and May
TLT
Travers Smith
Vinson & Elkins

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

Best law firms for quality of work 2020-21

Accutrainee
Akin Gump
Baker McKenzie
Bird & Bird
Clifford Chance
Debevoise & Plimpton
Irwin Mitchell
Kirkland & Ellis
Latham & Watkins
Osborne Clarke
Ropes & Gray
Shearman & Sterling
Skadden
Taylor Wessing
Weil Gotshal & Manges
Wiggin
Willkie Farr & Gallagher

As part of the survey each year we give trainees and junior lawyers the opportunity to expand on their scores and give greater insight into life at their firm by submitting anonymous comments. Here are a select few comments from some of the firms listed above:

How would you describe the training you have received?

“One of the best things about the firm — high quality, freshly updated and relevant training across all practice areas is available to all.”

“Honestly impressed with the training I received. People take time to explain tasks and are generally interested in trainee development. Having worked on some of the biggest deals out there, I now feel ready to tackle anything!”

“Outside of formal training sessions — the amount of time that seniors will set aside to explain concepts and walk-through examples is rather impressive.”

“There is lots of ongoing training within each seat on top of the introductory training, usually within the first week of each seat. Most associates and even partners are willing to take the time to explain a transaction or case and to answer questions, particularly related to jargon.”

“The firm has brilliantly structured training which is formal at the start, and more informal on an ongoing basis, and lots of practice area-specific resources that you can tap into throughout your seat.”

How stimulating is the work you are given?

“I’ve already worked on some high-profile matters and felt as though I can really add value through my contribution.”

“Although not all our deals will be making the headlines on the FT, there are constant drafting and research opportunities which give trainees an important role in a certain transaction — for example, preparing first drafts of a base prospectus or a dealer agreement.”

“I have always found that I’ve been given a lot of responsibility at an early stage, making the work significantly more interesting and encouraging a real sense of ownership over the work I do.”

“We work for the top clients in our practice areas/industries — the work is interesting and challenging and you are always trusted and supported to push yourself to develop and take on new and more advanced work.”

“I feel that I have been given challenging and important work from an early stage, which is both a bit stressful but also an incredible opportunity. Because the team is so small, you are expected to hit the ground running and get involved immediately, without feeling like you are on the peripheries while the associates are doing the important tasks.”

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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