The Legal Cheek View

Housed in a substantial portion of a Georgian terrace in Mayfair, private client and real estate outfit Forsters feels more like an upmarket boutique hotel than a commercial law firm. A small annual trainee intake of just ten adds to the intimate vibe. “Mayfair is a great place to work, and I always look forward to coming to work in our offices,” one tells us. Another reckons that working in a listed building with rooms featuring ceiling frescos is delightful but notes that the building is “getting a bit short of space”.

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 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.”

Forsters’ lawyers have been busy of late, with a growth in the high net worth individual market seeing solid revenue growth following the financial crisis. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016 that growth has slowed to single figures, but the firm is still expanding. In Forsters’ most recently disclosed financial results – released in April 2019 – Forsters’ revenue had grown to £56.8 million and profit per equity partner (PEP) had reached £381,000.

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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.

Alongside private clients, the firm is also big in real estate, and has expanding corporate and banking teams as well. The working culture remains one where reasonable hours are the norm. According to this year’s Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey the average time to start work is around 9am and the average time to leave before 6:30pm. “I would have given it a 10 out of 10 [for work/life balance] but had to cancel a couple of dinners — in three years, so that’s still a good percentage!” one junior associate tells us. Another says that they are “actively encouraged to pursue extra-curricular weekday activities”.

In return, there are no MoneyLaw salaries, but the £61,000 newly qualified rate works out pretty well on a per hour basis. Nor are there the sort of perks you find in the Magic Circle, or even any qualification leave for trainees at the end of their training contracts (which has been a major gripe among the firm’s rookies in recent years). 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 West London will no doubt override such considerations.

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 2020-21 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK.


First year trainee salary £41,000
Second year trainee salary £43,000
Newly qualified salary £61,000
Profit per equity partner £381,000
GDL grant £6,000
LPC grant £6,000


Average arrival time 08:52
Average leave time 18:22
Annual target hours N/A
Annual leave 25 days

Average arrive and leave times are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2020–21 of over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the leading law firms in the UK. Trainee target hours are 1,200.


Chances of secondment abroad 8%
Chances of client secondment 0%

Secondment probabilities are derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2020–21 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


UK female associates 63%
UK female partners 49%
UK BME associates 12%
UK BME partners 3%

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words

Expect More from Graduate Recruitment with Forsters LLP

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Posted by Forsters LLP on Friday, 26 July 2019