Addleshaw Goddard has impressed the market with another strong year that saw further double digit rises in revenue (14%) and profit per equity partner (PEP) (12%) to, respectively, £275.4 million and £727,000. The cumulative results of this growth mean that since John Joyce became Addleshaw Goddard’s managing partner in 2014 the firm has grown revenue by 60% and PEP by 89%.
No wonder the mood is so happy internally, with Addleshaw scoring another strong performance in this year’s Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey.
Alongside the rosy financial results, an open plan office regime introduced over the course of 2018 and 2019 is said to be a major factor in the positive vibes. Apparently it has “helped a lot” in breaking down barriers. As one rookie tells us: “It’s an open plan office so I’m constantly talking with associate and partners around me. If you have a question it’s very easy to ask if someone has a
minute and sit down and go over things.”
Another adds: “Relatively low number of crazy partners. People are generally very approachable and happy to help.”
The new open plan offices are part of a major refurbishment of Addleshaw’s Manchester and Leeds bases which have elicited rave reviews. “The new offices in the North are great places to work,” one trainee tells us, while of Manchester in particular we’re told “it is a lovely office and gives a premium feel to a so-called ‘premium firm’”. Watch out, Addleshaw management, the firm’s London lawyers are taking notice, with one complaining that the firm’s headquarters in the capital is “beginning to look dated” in comparison.
Meanwhile, the new canteens sound delightful. “The food is amazing,” enthuses one trainee, while another gushes: “Shawarma Thursday is the best day of the week (it’s infamous and brings all trainees together on a Thursday)”. Did they mean “famous”? Anyway, you get the picture. There is a daily vegetarian option, themed days (Mexican is a particular favourite) and every Thursday in Manchester is pancake day for breakfast. However, Addleshaw’s Scottish offices are canteen-less.
The culinary positives come amid the firm’s consistently good scores for quality of work and peer support. Although it apparently comes with a bit of a “thrown in at the deep end” ethos, the work often carries high levels of responsibility. “I have consistently been given NQ+ level work, and my commercial judgement is trusted by more senior members of the team,” reports one rookie. The vibe among the “amazing bunch of trainees”, meanwhile, is nice and friendly — and mutual support makes up for the perceived slight lack of formal training.
This is the sort of challenging yet rewarding culture of elite firms. And the salaries are starting to match. Having risen from £65,000 to £70,000 in London last year, NQ pay went up again in September 2019 to £75,000.
The firm’s wider perks regime seems to have improved too. While they “could be better”, there is a gym subsidy, private health care, a good pension, after hours taxi travel, a late-working food allowance, and things like employee discounts for events and a ‘dress for your day’ policy which lets lawyers wear what they want when not in meetings.
Secondment opportunities are also on the rise — around 15% of rookies did an international placement this year while approximately a quarter did a client placement. The firm’s Middle East offices are the main location for the former, while destinations for the latter include British Airways, Barclays and Ted Baker.
Work/life balance is reasonable: the average arrive time across the firm is just before 9am and the average leave time is 7pm. But those figures disguise the sort of sharp variation found at most firms. One insider tells us:
“Depends on the department, time of year, type of work etc, but overall [work/life balance is] not that bad. Could be room for improvement as many departments seem under resourced at the junior level. There are definitely seats which are notorious for terrible hours, so you may as well accept that you won’t see sunlight for a while there. But there are others which are nowhere near as bad. People encourage you to do social things with the trainees in the firm, and I have had partners and managing associates tell me to go home sometimes when it’s been a particularly bad period. The firm are also very on board with flexi-working.”
The positive attitude to flexi-working is part of a wider pro-tech mindset. Indeed, there’s real excitement internally at Addleshaw’s investment in new technology, which extends to a legal tech seat that trainees can take as an option. A recent IT upgrade has apparently “made a huge difference”, while Addleshaw’s deal volume arm are “using all sorts of AI and data platforms to streamline work
processes” as part of the firm’s AG Intelligent Delivery project. Trainees are also encouraged by the firm’s impressive roster of “specialists in fintech, payments, outsourcing and general techie areas”. What’s more “the horrendous Windows phones” given to employees are being replaced with iPhones!