Forsters

The Legal Cheek View

Housed in “a stunning building in the heart of Mayfair with all the top tier local amenities you would expect”, working for the private client and real estate outfit Forsters feels “more like working in a grand palatial country house than an office”. Although “probably the nicest office of any prominent law firm in London”, staff are apparently split up across three buildings which can cause rookies some annoyance. Another gripe is the priciness of the area: “I just wish I didn’t have to pay £6.75 for a pint!”. And don’t expect that to change much when the firm moves to a new headquarters at 22 Baker Street in the heart of Marylebone in late 2023.

Forsters partners and trainees all seem pretty close: “as a trainee, I have personally formed close working relationships with lawyers of all ages and positions within the firm”. Trainees really appreciate how partners take the time to provide feedback and to get to know everyone. “From partner-level downwards everyone is very friendly and happy to chat and takes a keen interest in your development,” says one insider.

The people are “lovely” and trainee cohorts are especially fond of each other: “Everyone is keen to support one another to succeed and the trainees all help each other rather than trying to compete. Most days we all have lunch together as a trainee intake and there are monthly junior drinks (set up by a Trainee and associate) which means that we all come together socially”. In short, Forsters’ culture and community is one of its strongest assets.

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Training here means lots of exposure to quality work at an early stage. As one Forsters’ rookie reports: “The amount of responsibility we are given is incredible — we are able to run our own (albeit small fry) files and are given plenty of client contact. Thorough feedback is provided at regular intervals”. Another adds: “I feel I am constantly involved in work outside of my comfort zone, but it is very stimulating as a result”. Rookies also get the opportunity to do six, four-month seats, meaning they get to sample a broader range of the firm’s practice areas. Trainees receive formal training sessions with members of the team or knowledge development lawyer specialists as well as more ‘informal’ at desk overviews.

The firm certainly has come a long way since it was founded in 1998 by ten partners as a breakaway from one of the UK’s oldest law firms, Frere Cholmeley Bischoff, after it opted for a merger with Eversheds. Forsters takes its name from John Forster, one of the founding partners of what was to become Frere Cholmeley Bischoff in 1770. Natasha Rees has recently been elected to senior partner as one of the firm’s founding partners, Smita Edwards, steps down from the post after a strong innings.

Edwards has overseen a growth in the high-net worth individual market and solid revenue growth following the financial crisis. In Forsters’ most recently available financial results revenue had grown 3.6% from £58 million to £60.09 million, whilst profit per equity partner (PEP) rose by 7.1% from £405,000 to £434,000. Alongside private clients, the firm is also big in real estate, and has been expanding its corporate and banking teams as well.

Despite all this growth, the working culture remains one where reasonable hours are the norm. With no expectation to hang around in the office, just in case, once you have finished your tasks for the day and partners being “very hot on wellbeing”, work/life balance has exceeded many trainees’ expectations. “I’ve never had to work beyond 7/8pm across 3 seats so far and only logged on late occasionally for a quick start. There is certainly no presenteeism culture and it’s not unknown for me to be the last in the office at 5:30pm mid-week,” one spy tells Legal Cheek.

Another details: “Holidays, CSR days, external interests and down time are all encouraged. It is clear that many of the lawyers here have come to Forsters looking for excellent work/life balance. Longer days are rare and, in my experience, arise only when a team is working towards a deadline; there is a sense of groups of colleagues putting in the hours together rather than certain unlucky individuals having to stay late”.

There’s not much in the way of gadgets and gizmos to help trainees with their workloads however, as newbies describe the tech as being “pretty standard”. Nor are there the MoneyLaw salaries, but the first and second year rates of £43,500 and £45,500 respectively and £70,000 newly qualified pay package works out pretty well on a per hour basis. International secondments, meanwhile, are not a thing — having said that, it is relatively common to take trainees on business trips. But to some the upsides of ploughing a different furrow across town in the West End will no doubt override such considerations.

Deadlines

Summer Vacation Scheme

26 June - 7 July, 10 July - 21 July 2023
Applications open 03/10/2022
Applications close 13/01/2023

Training Contract 2025

To commence September 2025
Applications open 03/10/2022
Applications close 01/06/2023

Open Day 2

15 December 2022
Applications open 17/10/2022
Applications close 02/12/2022

Open Day 3

24 April 2023
Applications open 02/01/2023
Applications close 13/04/2023

Insider Scorecard

A
Training
A*
Quality of work
A*
Peer support
A
Partner approach-ability
A*
Work/life balance
D
Legal tech
B
Perks
A
Office
B
WFH
A
Eco-friendliness

Insider Scorecard Grades range from A* to D and are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2022-23 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.

Money

First year trainee salary £43,500
Second year trainee salary £45,500
Newly qualified salary £70,000
Profit per equity partner £434,000
GDL grant £6,000
LPC grant £6,000

Please note that Forsters is currently moving over to the PGDL and SQE (which will replace the GDL and LPC).

Hours

Average start work time 09:07
Average finish time 18:19
Annual target hours 1,300
Annual leave 27 days

Average arrive and leave times are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2022–23 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.

Secondments

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

Secondment probabilities are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2022–23 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK. Please note that due to Covid-19 secondment probabilities are lower than in usual years.

General Info

Training contracts 10
Latest trainee retention rate 88%
Offices 1
Countries 1
Minimum A-level requirement ABB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Diversity

UK female associates 65%
UK female partners 51%
UK BME associates 13%
UK BME partners 5%

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words

Expect More from Graduate Recruitment with Forsters LLP

Looking for something a little different? You just found it. #ExpectMore from #GraduateRecruitment with Forsters LLP. + More seats + More opportunity + More responsibility + More support + More teamwork + More development + More you! Apply today: https://www.forsters.co.uk/careers/graduates

Posted by Forsters LLP on Friday, 26 July 2019