The Legal Cheek View

Based in the southeast with offices in Tunbridge Wells and London, Cripps is on a path of expansion. After a previous merger with Pemberton Greenish in 2019, the outfit is now on the cusp of a further tie-up with PDT Solicitors, another southeast firm. This will result in a combined firm of over 500 staff across Cripps’ two offices, and an additional base in Horsham. The deal will also add further strength to the firm’s corporate, insolvency, real estate, and dispute resolution practices. Along with these, the firm thrives in the private client, and ESG and sustainability fields.

From the off, recruits can look forward to high quality training with “a lot of responsibility”, our sources tell us. “Training has been very detailed at Cripps’, with regular knowledge development sessions alongside internal team training”, says one rookie, noting that “there is always the opportunity to sign up to external training sessions, and this is really accommodated and supported by the teams.” Another newbie raves about a “two-week intensive training at the beginning of the TC and then ongoing training within the seats”. “I always have responsibility, always felt trusted and guided when needed,” says another, talking further about “great client contact”. What more could a budding solicitor want?

It’s a good job the training is such high quality when you hear some of the work that fresh associates are getting up to. “I have been provided the opportunity to lead matters with guidance and to get involved in large transactions which has been exciting”, another insider tells us. “This has been stimulating because it makes the work I am contributing feel purposeful and client’s recognise my involvement as being part of the team even as a trainee.” Not bad for a rookie! As for the admin that typically comes along with trainee or junior status, fear not. “We are involved in the matter, often leading or being the client’s main point of contact. Admin based tasks are completed by support staff and therefore first drafts of all documents are usually prepared by trainees.”

Continue reading

We’re told, however, that even if this may be a little daunting for a new starter – Cripps rookies are never alone. With 10 trainees per cohort, one spy says “being a part of a smaller intake is great as it creates a more collaborative and supportive environment. Most of my peers are friendly and it’s been great to get to know them on a social and professional level.” Another rookie tells us how “the trainees are all friendly and we are encouraged to have regular socials”, with a further newbie enjoying a “great social life with lots of events, even from before the TC started which was nice”.

It’s not just the peers who offer a helping hand; partners, supervisors, and all other lawyers are just as supportive according to our insiders. “Everyone in my team at all levels are very approachable, the meaning that there is ‘no silly question’ really is applicable and provided you have carried out work to the best of your ability, I have found all my superiors from associate to partner level have been more than willing to assist and provide the time to give guidance,” one trainee explains. “Also,” they add, “when supporting superiors with their workflows, I have found that they always provide detailed feedback and give time in developing my knowledge of the matter which has been great for my personal development.”

The environment and structure of the firm also lend a hand in this department. “As the office is open plan and we hot desk one day you may be sat next to a partner and another day you could be with another trainee. Working is very collaborative.” As for other office perks, highlights include “free tea and coffee, plus a complimentary fruit bowl has made a post covid return”. For those heading for Tunbridge Wells, you can look forward to a “modern” space, with a “nice sky lounge which is great for social events”. Another thing that rookies can’t seem to get enough of are “bees in our Tunbridge Wells office which create our own supply of honey”.

Trainees are generally office based but there is flexibility to work from home when needed. At home support includes the provision of “laptops and support items (mouse, monitor, chair, wrist support, laptop prop up devices)”, along with a “desk, and large screens”.

It may be this flexible working and additional support that helps Cripps recruits keep up their great work/life balance. “Work/life balance has been perfect at Cripps and having a life outside work is very much encouraged by the teams I have worked within, which really reflects the fact Cripps’ culture is about nurturing our individuality.” In a statement that would horrify many City trainees, “I am comfortably able to make plans with my friends and family outside of work, provided I get the work I am assigned complete, I am able to leave the office most days at 5:30.” Whilst this isn’t true all the time, and “there are some late nights”, the balance is nonetheless “very good for the work we do”.

Added onto the decent hours come a number of other standard perks. “Hybrid working and good holiday package” are mentioned by several recruits, as are the days off to carry out charity work provided for every lawyer. Other highlights include “food vouchers if we stay at the office after 8:00pm” and “discounts for shops within the local vicinity”. This comes on top of private medical cover and subsidised gym memberships.

There are, however, some slight grumbles. Legal tech, for example, receives mixed reviews, with a general consensus that the tech on offer could be better, although is generally “as expected for a medium size firm”. Given the UK focus of the outfit’s offices, there are also no international secondment opportunities, with client secondments being limited to one each year, we’re told. Being on the smaller size and with good work-life balance, the salaries on offer for new associates are also on the lower side, with regional recruits taking home £58,000, and their London counterparts bringing in £70,000.

Insider Scorecard

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

Insider Scorecard grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2023–24 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


First year trainee salary £30,000
Second year trainee salary £32,000
Newly qualified salary £58,000
Profit per equity partner £358,000
PGDL grant N/A
SQE grant N/A

The above NQ figure is for Tunbridge Wells associates. NQs in London will receive £70,000. Cripps cover the full cost of the BPP PGDL, BPP SQE prep courses, and the SRA SQE assessment costs.


Average start work time 08:55
Average finish time 17:55
Annual target hours 673
Annual leave 25

Annual target hours is an average of first and second year trainee targets. Average arrive and leave times are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2023-24 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


Chances of secondment abroad 0%
Chances of client secondment 5%

Secondment probabilities are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2023–24 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK. Cripps currently offer one client secondment to second year trainees.

General Info

Training contracts 10
Latest trainee retention rate 80%
Offices 2
Countries 1
Minimum A-level requirement No minimum
Minimum degree requirement No minimum


UK female associates 73%
UK female partners 46%
UK BME associates Undisclosed
UK BME partners Undisclosed

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words