Osborne Clarke

The Legal Cheek View

Osborne Clarke “may be possibly the nicest and most down to earth law firm ever,” one insider tells Legal Cheek, “but you still have to work hard”. That statement is a pithy summary of OC, which is currently on a journey from respected regional firm to international player. As it opens more offices – the latest were in San Francisco and Amsterdam – Osborne Clarke has so far managed to preserve the famously nice culture that prevails within it.

The firm scores a whopping four A*s in the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey, with top marks for training, quality of work, peer support and partner approachability.

Trainees – who socialise between the offices in firm-organised meet-ups – describe each other as “lovely”, while they reckon partners are about as nice as they come for people burdened by the demands of running a £200 million business. As one Osborne Clarke rookie tells us: “I can be honest with them and most importantly, make fun of them!”

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Vacation Scheme

Summer 2017

Applications open: 1 October 2016
Applications close: Closed

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Training Contract

To commence 2019

Applications open: 1 October 2016
Applications close: Closed

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Key Info

Training contracts 20
Latest trainee retention rate 92%
Offices 17
Countries 9
Minimum A-level requirement ABB
Minimum degree requirement 2:1

Insider Scorecard

Quality of work
Peer support
Partner approach-ability
Work/life balance
Social life
Chances of secondment abroad

Grades derived from the Legal Cheek Trainee and Junior Lawyer Survey of over 1,500 trainees and junior associates at the leading City of London law firms.


Average arrival time 8:53am
Average leave time 6:51pm
Annual target hours 1,350
Annual leave 26 days


First year trainee salary £40,000
Second year trainee salary £42,000
Newly qualified salary £65,000
Profit per equity partner Undisclosed
GDL grant £6,500
LPC grant £6,500

The above figures are for London, where trainee pay matches that in Reading. First year trainees in Bristol receive £34,750, second years receive £36,750. Newly qualified solicitors in Bristol earn £48,000, while they receive £51,000 in Reading. The firm covers the cost of future trainees’ Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees, plus provides a grant of £6,500 for the GDL and £6,500 for the LPC.


UK female associates 62%
UK female partners 20%
UK BME associates 15%
UK BME partners 6%

Universities Current Trainees Attended

The Firm In Its Own Words