Gateley defends awarding training contract to top partner’s niece

Avatar photo

By Legal Cheek on


She looks like a decent candidate, but in giving her a TC the firm has exposed the first class graduate to a public backlash

Leading listed law firm Gateley is under fire for awarding a TC to the niece of one of its top partners.

The story emerged earlier today on lawyer message board and website RollOnFriday, which reports that the niece has a first class degree from Nottingham Trent University and has spent the last couple of years as a paralegal at a smaller firm.

The future trainee’s aunt is Victoria Garrad, Gateley’s chief operating officer and an employment law partner. Previously Garrad was the firm’s HR director.

The firm has issued this comment on the matter:

“The candidate is a relation but with regards to the selection process, she came through the application and interview process in the same way as all of our graduate applicants and Victoria was not, at any stage, involved in the reviewing, interviewing or selection process and this was undertaken in the usual way by an independent panel.”

Legal Cheek understands that the candidate exceeded Gateley’s baseline entry requirements, was assessed against the same competencies as all the other external candidates and was then selected entirely on her own merits.

The 2023 Legal Cheek Firms Most List

This isn’t the first time this sort of thing has happened. In recent years Mishcon de Reya and Vardags have both hit the headlines for hiring sons and daughters of top partners.

The offspring all tend to have good CVs and would surely obtain training contracts at firms that they don’t have links to. So you do wonder about the wisdom of them being allowed to go through the recruitment process at firms where members of their family hold senior roles — not least because it carries a high risk of exposing them to a public backlash, as has happened here.

Related Stories

Daughter of Mishcon de Reya chief operating officer starts training contract at Mishcon de Reya

It is understood that she has gone through the same recruitment process as other trainees

Oct 19 2018 12:33pm

Law firms, please start rejecting applicants that gain work experience from daddy’s contacts

Then you'll have hard-working trainees who aren’t used to receiving everything on a plate

Jun 6 2016 9:00am

‘Should I work as a paralegal at the firm I’ve secured a training contract with?’

I planned to fill the gap with legal work but the job market is flat so options are limited, writes one Legal Cheek reader

Jun 19 2020 10:10am