The Legal Cheek View
Over the last decade Clyde & Co has transformed itself from a respected but relatively niche shipping and insurance law practice into a global full service megafirm. In the UK alone, Clydes now has ten offices, with a further 36 internationally, including a substantial presence in the US, Asia and the Middle East.
Such growth can be turbulent, but Clydes is seen as having handled its enlargement – which included the 2011 takeover of Barlow Lyde & Gilbert and, most recently, the gobbling up of Scottish firm Simpson & Marwick – pretty well under the stewardship of highly-rated outgoing senior partner James Burns.
With its 50 training contract places annually, Clydes is now among the biggest trainers of solicitors in the country – and the results of the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey suggest that these rookies are pretty content.
The firm scores impressively for culture, with a "tightly knit" trainee cohort apparently "sticking together well", and partners seen to be generally pretty nice. Explains one tipster:
"Closed door partners are really the exception rather than the rule. Some of the partners can be a bit distant but that is because they're busy, not because they don't want to talk to you – I've always been able to walk into offices unannounced and not be turned away."
And while the work for juniors has its fair share of document review and bundling tasks, there is a sense that an effort is made to include a proportion of more interesting assignments, like more advanced drafting tasks and advocacy. Apparently, "quality work is there if you're up to the task."
Like all firms with multiple UK offices, there is some tension between the regions and the mothership. In Clydes' case this is exacerbated somewhat by its glamorous blue glass London home in the St Botolph Building, which apparently boasts a "fantastic" canteen with a lovely view and standout brownies, porridge and Chicken Shawarma. Come the evening, it morphs into a bar where the first beer every other Thursday is free and a cleverly named Clyde & Cocktails social is held every month.
"London is nice, Guildford not so much," suggests one rookie.
Still, not everyone in the capital is happy, with grumbles about "the large number of offices facing into an internal atrium". #CityLawyerProblems. At least the work-life balance is good – Clydes is a strong scorer in this area, with most lawyers clocking off by 7pm outside very busy periods. "There have been late nights, but not as many as I'd feared," one relieved rookie tells us.