Blake Morgan is a real smorgasbord of a law firm, with a frankly dizzying list of interests ranging from asbestos claims to Welsh public law. Sprawling across south-east England and south Wales, with offices in Cardiff, London, Oxford, Portsmouth, Reading and Southampton, the firm offers a broad mix of practice areas and a client base spanning businesses, charities, public sector bodies and private individuals. Blake Morgan also prides itself on its community spirit, which lawyers have time to pitch in with thanks to manageable working hours.
New recruits at Blake Morgan can look forward to “excellent supervision and great exposure to a variety of work”. Although some foot soldiers are entertainingly disgruntled, articulating the usual trainee grumbles about the seat allocation process.
The same correspondent goes on to tell us that “my seat supervisors have all been great and very responsive”. Of the firm’s 130 partners, “the majority are extremely approachable and inclusive”. Another insider reports that there are “some standard admin trainee tasks but in general the work is varied and interesting”. We hear particularly good things about the quality of work in the construction team, although the trade-off is that it’s one of the few seats to occasionally require long hours. On the whole, though, this is as close to a 9-5 as you’ll hope to get in the legal biz.
As one trainee tells us: “I stayed in the office until 20:30 once, because I had been at a meeting in London and needed to write up a report when I got back. There are occasions where you may stay until 19:00 or 19:30 if your team is particularly busy, but it is not regular. Other than that, I’m pretty much always out of the door before 18:00 and have never ever been expected to work over a weekend.”
Law grads all too well acquainted with the stimulant effects of caffeine may be interested in Blake Morgan’s work advising Costa on franchising. Other clients include RSPCA, HSBC, and the government of the Isle of Man — this really is the epitome of a “full service” outfit. The firm also boasts “the largest professional regulatory team in England and Wales”, representing the likes of the Solicitors Regulatory Authority and Bar Standards Board.
Recruitment is regional, so trainees can apply to any of Blake Morgan’s six offices for the 15 places available, but are well advised to check that they’ll be able to do a particular seat at a given office: not every training opportunity is necessarily available in each location and the firm admits that “first-year trainee seats are often selected through business need”. We’re told that secondments are only available to those based in London, which along with Southampton and Cardiff takes the most new grads. The capital city base is in the City, off Fetter Lane, and the Welsh office in the aptly named Central Square, but the Southampton premises are really in Eastleigh.
Given this variety, it’s hard to read to much into the trainee ratings on the likes of canteen, office facilities and social life — that’ll vary depending on where trainees land up. But Blake Morganites seem to get on fine irrespective of location: eight out of nine newly qualified lawyers were kept on last year.
Perks are mostly standard, including Bupa health insurance — the most interesting is that trainees get their birthday off as annual leave. Hard luck for anyone born on 25 December, of course. There are, reportedly, some frustrations with the technology but “improvements are being made” and it’s “an average law firm in this regard”.