Revealed: The best law firms for training and quality of work 2023

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By Rebecca Hewitt on

From top career development to big ticket deals — which outfits do it best?

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

The Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2022-23 questioned over 2,000 trainees and junior associates on what life is like at the UK’s leading law firms, with a handful of firms scoring an A* in the training and quality of work categories.

Respondents rated the training they’ve received on a scale of 1 to 10 — with 1 being ‘very poor’ and 10 being ‘excellent’. Similarly, respondents rated the quality of work from ‘not at all stimulating’ to ‘highly stimulating’. Firms are then scored from A* to D on the Legal Cheek Insider Scorecard for each category.

With these two categories being the centrepiece of a training contract, achieving the highest possible grade is a sure-fire way to attract the attention of training contract seekers.

A total of six law firms scored A*s and feature in the shortlist for both categories: Burges Salmon, CMS, Farrer & Co, Mills & Reeve, Osborne Clarke and Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Below are the results listed alphabetically:

Best law firms for training 2023

Addleshaw Goddard, Allen & Overy, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner, Burges Salmon, CMS, Clifford Chance, Dentons, Farrer & Co, Freshfields, Herbert Smith Freehills, Linklaters, Macfarlanes, Mayer Brown, Mills & Reeve, Osborne Clarke, Pinsent Masons, RPC, Shoosmiths, Slaughter and May, TLT, Travers Smith and Willkie Farr & Gallagher

The 2023 Firms Most List -- featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

Best law firms for quality of work 2023

Akin Gump, Burges Salmon, CMS, Farrer & Co, Forsters, Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins, Lewis Silkin, Mills & Reeve, Mishcon de Reya, Osborne Clarke, Ropes & Gray, Shakespeare Martineau, Shearman & Sterling, White & Case and Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Through submitting anonymous comments in the survey, respondents could expand on their scores to give further insight into their experiences at their firm. Here is a selection of comments from some of the above firms:

How would you describe the training you have received?

“People are interested in your day to day development as well as the broader picture of how you develop key skills as a junior lawyer. There is an active effort to keep you from doing too much of the same thing. Everyone has so much time for trainees and you can tell they take real enjoyment and supervision and teaching.”

“Training is consistent, well planned and practical.”

“The continued support and guidance has really helped my ability to move between different departments smoothy, understand the areas of law I’d like to work in and provide career guidance for the next steps to qualification.”

“Very high end. I’ve been working directly with very senior people since I started. I’m allowed to make tasks my own and take ownership of them which I’m very pleased about. I’ve developed hugely in a short period of time.”

“Supervisors and the wider teams are genuinely invested in the provision and quality of training (largely because we are seen as the future of the firm).”

How stimulating is the work you are given?

“Throughout my training contract there has been a recognition of when I’ve been reaching my comfort zone and a constant effort to keep pushing me further whilst supporting me at the same time. I have been able to run my own matters and take real ownership over pieces of work.”

“Trainees get involved in top work from day one. No photocopying or printing!”

“As a trainee I have received a broad range of work from the more classic “trainee” tasks to leading workstreams, drafting contracts and leading on client calls.”

“I’ve been given a broad range of contentious and non-contentious work. The breadth of work includes drafting documents, assisting on the signing process for large scale transactions and preparing documents for court hearings.”

“The work is overall of great quality and there is lots of trust from the team.”

The winning law firm in each category will be announced at The Legal Cheek Awards 2023, sponsored by BARBRI and BPP University Law School, on Tuesday 14 March.

The 2023 Firms Most List -- featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

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