Berwin Leighton Paisner

The Legal Cheek View

It’s been a decent year for Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP). Revenue is up 7% to £272 million, some glamour instructions – such as advising on the sale of the Walkie Talkie Building – have come through the door, and, to top it all off, a show written by one of the firm’s partners, Brexit the Musical, has been a hit at the Edinburgh Festival.

The BLP powers that be will be pleasantly surprised, having shown nerves in the wake of the 2016 EU referendum with their decision to freeze junior lawyer pay amid fears that the firm’s core practice area – high end commercial property – could be affected. In reality, the market has held up reasonably well, with BLP recognising this by since reversing that pay freeze to increase newly qualified solicitor pay to a substantial £70,000. Chatter about a merger with a US firm – fuelled by the collapse the collapse of merger talks with US giant Greenberg Traurig in 2016 – has abated for now.

Instead, the big news this year is the rather less headline-grabbing move by BLP to make its iconic 1920s Grade II listed Adelaide House office open plan. Views on the wisdom of this vary widely. One insider complains that “the move has been less successful than Theresa May's election campaign”, however another counters that “our new open plan floors are aesthetically appealing”. What everyone seems to agree upon is the office’s location across the river from London Bridge Station is pretty good. “View over the River Thames = a glorious delight,” a further trainee comments.

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Key Info

Training contracts 40
Latest trainee retention rate 67%
Offices 14
Countries 10
Minimum A-level requirement AAB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Average arrival time 9:09am
Average leave time 7:44pm
Annual target hours 1,500
Annual leave 25 days


First year trainee salary £40,000
Second year trainee salary £45,000
Newly qualified salary £70,000
Profit per equity partner £630,000
GDL grant £7,200
LPC grant £7,200


UK female associates 57%
UK female partners 27%
UK BME associates 14%
UK BME partners 16%

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words