National firm Thrings has roots going back 300 years. In 2000, Swindon-based Townsends merged with Thrings & Long. Then in 2007, the firm merged with Lee & Pembertons to form Thring Townsend Lee & Pembertons. In 2011 there was a rebrand and ‘Thrings’ officially came onto the scene.
Thrings has offices in Bath, Bristol, Romsey and London but is headquartered in Swindon – it only recently opened its London outpost so its focus is very much in the South West. The firm is a big agricultural player with the largest specialist agricultural legal team in the UK. With revenue at £27.5 million and a profit per equity partner of £180,000 in its most recently disclosed financial results, it just makes the top 100 UK law firms by revenue, sitting at 99th place.
The firm made two big expansions in recent years. In 2018 it opened a new office in Romsey, Hampshire, to capitalise on agriculture work that Brexit has thrown up. The same year it moved into a new “state of the art” office in London with the hope of generating more international work, particularly in real estate. These bold moves were made as part of the firm’s attempt to grow organically.
The firm does not run any vacation schemes and its ideal candidate for training contracts will have already completed the LPC or SQE (or have begun it), so unfortunately there is no sponsorship on offer.
However, once you are in the door, the level of training is solid with a good level of responsibility, client contact and a “challenging mix of work”. Niche seats include agriculture and personal injury, but there is also the standard corporate and commercial litigation. Legal Cheek understands that at the time of writing there are no client or international secondments on offer.
Significant clients of Thrings include Grant Thornton, HSBC, United Overseas Bank (UOB), Matchesfashion.com, House of Fraser and Arkell’s Brewery.
You won’t be chained to your desk here, as the work/life balance is “really great” with “no rigid hours”, one insider tells us. “I do not feel pressured to log-on or be in work before 9am or to stay any later than 5pm.”. Another trainee championed the firm’s social life, vouching that “as top 100 firms go, Thrings no doubt has one of, if not the best, work life balance”. The general feeling was that the healthy work/life balance “feeds into the firm’s culture” with lawyers told “there’s no reason to work late” if they get their work done during the day.
This culture was a standout feature of the firm: “everyone is very supportive at Thrings” and this goes “right up to the managing partner”. According to one rookie, “each fee earner shows genuine interest in getting to know you and is invested in our experience and development at the firm”. We’re told that supervisors even make the effort to attend trainee social events, which is “helpful when moving into a new seat, as you have already met them in a less daunting context”.
The firm has moved away from individual fee-earning targets and replaced them with new team targets, which may have helped to create “a good team atmosphere”.
One trainee was keen to emphasise the “non-hierarchical feel to the firm” which they put down to the partners, who are “approachable and encourage you to ask questions and are happy to give feedback”.
The social life received mixed reviews – although that’s probably to be expected in light of the pandemic. There was general agreement that it was “fairly good” but varies “depending on office location”. If you’re wondering which of the five, one trainee was confident that the “Bristol office is the place to be”. Trainees can also expect to spend time with their “close knit” cohort beyond office hours. “We are all close friends outside of the training contract and work which is such a lovely thing, especially as some of us have moved to a new city not knowing anyone to start the TC,” said one trainee.
Thrings may be without a canteen but the firm does have a range of perks on offer. Lawyers can choose up to three benefits each year, ranging from private medical insurance, dental care packages and holiday exchange. Each member of staff also gets the day off on their birthday and wedding day.
While there is “no bonus scheme”, one trainee reported that “our team achieved our billing target and were given an extra half-day’s holiday” which was one of a few “frequent little rewards throughout the year”.
The firm apparently adjusted well to Covid-19, especially as it had already embraced working from home before the lockdown. But one respondent complained that the firm “hasn’t helped with providing everyone with laptops or additional screens unless we don’t have a personal laptop”.
Some of the more interesting work Thrings has been involved in includes advising Matches Fashion on a lease of two floors of the Shard; advising Kathryn Sargent (the first female tailor on Savile Row) on setting up a store; advising on the acquisition of Wild & Wolf, the manufacturer for fashion brands Ted Baker and Orla Kiely, as well as toy products Scrabble, Mr Men and The Gruffalo; acting for one of the UK’s largest soft fruit suppliers to supermarkets, including Waitrose, Co-op and Asda; and advising on the crowdfunded purchase of an Exeter-based student property.