Charles Russell Speechlys

The Legal Cheek View

Formed from the 2014 merger of Charles Russell and Speechly Bircham, Charles Russell Speechlys is now one of the biggest private client firms in Britain with offices in London, Guildford and Cheltenham. The firm also has a presence in high net worth individual hubs such as Geneva, Zurich, Luxembourg, Paris, Doha and Manama. For law students who fancy a career brushing shoulders with the global elite, this is a good place to start.

Charles Russell Speechlys (or CRS for short) scores well in the ‘training’ category in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18, with insiders reporting that the grounding they receive is very good. Alongside private client work, trainees also often get to sample the firm’s specialisms in media law, technology law and general commercial work. One current trainee tells us that their supervisors were “engaged and willing to spend time on my professional and personal development”. Another notes that, while generally of a high standard, training differs by department, explaining: “In some, you're thrown in and given a lot of client contact and real fee earning work (e.g. construction & engineering, commercial dispute resolution, real estate). In others, it's six months of bundling, admin and if you are really lucky you might get to send an email saying 'please see attached' (e.g. family, corporate, employment)."

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Key Info

Training contracts 23
Latest trainee retention rate 71%
Offices 11
Countries 8
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 9:11am
Average leave time 6:57pm
Annual target hours 856
Annual leave 25 days


First year trainee salary £38,000
Second year trainee salary £40,000
Newly qualified salary £64,000
Profit per equity partner £426,000
GDL grant £6,000
LPC grant £6,000

The figures above are for London. Charles Russell Speechlys pays first year trainees £32,000 in Guildford and £28,500 in Cheltenham. Second year trainees receive £33,000 in Guildford and £29,500 in Cheltenham. Newly qualified solicitors are paid £49,000 in Guildford and £41,000 in Cheltenham.


UK female associates 60%
UK female partners 26%
UK BME associates 14%
UK BME partners 8%

Universities Current Trainees Attended