The Legal Cheek View

Most of the City of London’s mega law firms have offices spanning the globe, but Macfarlanes gets by with just one. And without all those costly overheads, it reaps a profit that is significantly higher than most. Profit per equity (PEP) stands at well over a million, with this year’s £1.38 million up 8% on last year following a 4% rise in revenue from £161.03 million to £167.6 million. Newly qualified pay is on the rise too, with a new bonus-linked package under which rookies can expect to earn at least £81,300, representing a 15% increase on the previous £71k figure.

Magic circle-levels of profitability are matched by the training, for which Macfarlanes’ scores are among the highest recorded in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey 2017-18. First-rate instruction is combined with plentiful seminars from internal and external speakers to deliver a grounding in corporate law matched by few firms. One trainee describes it like this: “As well as having a lot official training each time you join a department, the amount of individual attention that each trainee gets is really impressive, especially for a pretty big firm.”

Another says: “Training is taking very seriously. Most fee-earners take the time to explain comments to you rather than just handing back mark-ups. There's a lot of emphasis on becoming a technically excellent lawyer at the start of your career.”

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Key Info

Training contracts 30
Latest trainee retention rate 92%
Offices 1
Countries 1
Minimum A-level requirement No minimum
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 8:56am
Average leave time 7:49pm
Annual target hours No targets
Annual leave 26 days


First year trainee salary £44,000
Second year trainee salary £49,000
Newly qualified salary £75,000
Profit per equity partner £1,380,000
GDL grant £7,000
LPC grant £7,000


UK female associates 48%
UK female partners 8%
UK BME associates 12%
UK BME partners 1%

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words