Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Addleshaw Goddard

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Addleshaw Goddard

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘It felt more down-to-earth and offered good quality of work outside of London’, ‘its standing in Manchester/the north west region, and the breadth of work available’, ‘this was the only firm that I came across in my hunt for a training contract that I found credible; the rest seemed to just use buzzwords and shiny offers to catch your attention’, ‘innovative, type of clients, ranked as a top law firm, friendly, range of sectors and areas of law and high trainee retention rate’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The transactional real estate team (in Manchester)’, ‘the people and the quality of work’, ‘the opportunity to work across different offices’, ‘supervisors are picked really well’, ‘people are genuine and approachable, which means I am happy to be myself’, ‘flexibility, friendly colleagues, an abundance of opportunities, social life, work/life balance’, ‘the trainee cohorts are quite close’, ‘the lack of hierarchy – this is exemplified by the open-plan office space and the partner presence in the office (in Leeds)’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘In smaller teams it is difficult to ask lots of questions as the person immediately above you tends to be very senior and therefore quite busy’, ‘the discrepancy in supervision and quality of work between seats’, ‘not great for getting your top options for seats’, ‘the early careers team don’t really know enough about each seat, which sometimes results in poor seat allocation’, ‘the Manchester office is uninspiring’, ‘there wasn’t a Christmas party because the firm insists it can’t afford it (although profits suggest otherwise)’

Best moment? ‘Completing a very highly-publicised deal and circulating the announcement to the firm’, ‘the first time I met with a client on a one-to-one basis’, ‘when a client sent me a nice thank you email!’, ‘taking on lots of responsibility in a supportive environment’, ‘working on extremely large projects as part of the core team, including one which made the mainstream news’, ‘flying down to London for the first day of the induction to meet all the trainees from all UK offices’

Worst moment? ‘Trying to close three deals in one week’, ‘being put on a matter with a partner who offered little support, and who was then clearly annoyed when mistakes had been made’, ‘receiving strongly-worded communication from a legal adviser on the other side in a dispute’, ‘sitting on monotonous calls for hours and hours and retaining nothing for the first few weeks of the training contract’, ‘the somewhat unpredictable seat preference decision process’, ‘bundling – bundling is always the worst job’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Addleshaw Goddard

Addleshaw Goddard ‘strikes the perfect balance between the high-quality work and high-profile clients of a multinational firm, and the warmth and friendliness of a high-street firm’. Trainees feel that they are ‘well-remunerated, have an excellent work/life balance and are very close with all of our colleagues’. Also ‘one of the top firms in the north (of England)’, Addleshaw Goddard is the deserving winner of five Future Lawyers Winner medals, from job satisfaction to salary. The firm even tops the winner’s table when it comes to its legal technology offering. ‘The people’ were consistently cited as the best thing about Addleshaw Goddard: ‘you can tell that the firm looks for a certain type of person when hiring’, said trainees, ‘they really do seem to recruit, attract and look after good people who like to look after each other’. Colleagues ‘only want to see you learn, improve and succeed as much as possible’. For a firm with so many UK offices, it is perhaps not surprising that trainee opinions differ slightly from one city to the next. That ‘Scottish trainees are paid less than those in Manchester and Leeds’ was an issue raised more than once in the survey feedback, exacerbated by ‘Edinburgh’s status as one of the UK’s most expensive cities’. Another gripe is that ‘there is a lack of consistency across different teams regarding working expectations, hybrid working, hours and pay, which can be difficult when you are a trainee moving seat every six months’. On a more positive note, recruits loved ‘undertaking good work that has relevance to current affairs and the wider world’ and ‘receiving an ‘AG Excellence award’ for my involvement on a project’. Conversely, trainees did not enjoy ‘evenings where I have had to cancel plans to stay late’, nor ‘my first seat where the team didn’t attend the office much and I didn’t have much work delegated to me’. For a firm that ‘talks the talk and walks the walk’, which undertakes ‘commercial and corporate law in an innovative and creative space, alongside good people’, consider Addleshaw Goddard.

A day in the life of... Conor McDermott, trainee, Addleshaw Goddard

Conor McDermott, Addleshaw Goddard

Departments to date: Financial litigation; Social, sustainable and green finance

University: University of Nottingham

Degree: Law with South East Asian Law, LLB (2:1)

As clichéd as it sounds, there really is no typical ‘day in the life’ of a trainee at Addleshaw Goddard. From working with multiple fee-earners on different transactions, to being heavily involved in internal and external extra-work committees and events, the diversity of the trainee experience is one of the main advantages of training at AG.

My vastly different (but both excellent) experiences across my first two seats demonstrate this well. During my time in financial litigation, I worked closely with a number of lender clients to recover overdue payments and resolve complex financial disputes. I regularly contacted the other side of the dispute, updated clients, and drafted letters and court documents. I became very familiar with the pre-action and court processes and my work often contributed to positive results for our clients. I finished my time in the team by attending a hearing at the Court of Appeal, an unforgettable experience that will stay with me throughout my training contract and beyond.

As a trainee in the social, sustainable and green finance team, I worked on a number of property and finance transactions. The work I undertook varied greatly, from assisting on large multimillion-pound deals to running smaller, simpler transactions with limited supervision. Individual tasks included updating conditions precedent checklists, liaising with clients and the other side to push deals forward, and drafting a variety of legal documents. The team also has a heavy focus on ESG, and I was tasked with researching ESG concepts and initiatives on multiple occasions, deepening my understanding of the important ESG issues affecting both the firm and its clients.

Outside our legal work, trainees are also expected to play a role in shaping the firm’s culture and organising events. I am personally involved in the University of Nottingham campus team, assisting the early careers team in driving applications from the university, as well as AG Embrace, the firm’s ethnicity network, where I recently assisted in the organisation of the Leeds office South Asian Heritage Month event. I have also attended a number of networking events with a diverse array of attendees, including clients and junior in-house lawyers, which provided me with great opportunities to build my professional network at the start of my career.

About the firm

The firm: Addleshaw Goddard is a premium international law firm with an exceptional breadth of services. The firm is an FT Innovative Lawyers Award winner, which recognises its pioneering approach to legal services. The firm is a leading advisor to FTSE 100 companies and a market leader across its corporate, commercial, finance and projects, real estate and litigation business divisions; specialist fields such as private capital; and the energy, financial services, health and life sciences, real estate, retail and consumer, and transport sectors.

The deals: Advised Bruntwood SciTech, the UK’s leading property provider to the science and tech sector, on their successful bid to help deliver the £1.5bn ID Manchester innovation district; advised Southern Water on a first-of-its-kind partnership with Portsmouth Water to address climate-related water scarcity through construction of a new reservoir in Hampshire; advised Battersea Power Station Development Company on a number of high-value deals to support the financing and construction of a 42-acre regeneration scheme in central London, including the £1.6bn sale of the power station building itself and £600m development debt financing to create London’s newest high street; advised Terra Firma on the £110m acquisition of Kier Living from leading UK construction and infrastructure company Kier Group.

Senior partner: Aster Crawshaw

Managing partner: John Joyce

Locations: London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen

Overseas offices: Doha, Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Luxembourg, Munich, Muscat , Paris and Singapore. The firm also has a formal alliance with Tokyo-based Hashidate Law Office, and a worldwide network of strong relationships with chosen firms in North America, Europe and other emerging jurisdictions.

Who we are: The problems our clients bring us vary. But we solve them with the same single-minded focus. We always ask: ‘What’s the smartest route to the biggest impact?’ With over 1,500 lawyers based across the globe, we have a deep understanding of our markets and sectors. We have 17 offices worldwide, which we link together with a network of like-minded global partners. Where we don’t have offices, we work with firms well known to us to deliver an international capability.

Each year, over 2,500 leading companies and finance players around the world trust us to deliver. We help them in multiple industries and in over 100 countries. Not just once, but again and again. Many of our 48 FTSE100 clients have been with us for more than 20 years: one for 150. Tomorrow’s problems won’t be solved with yesterday’s answers. And we believe that good business demands good legal advice. Which, ultimately, comes down to just four words. Yes. No. Stop. Go. Join us if you want to be part of a team that delivers that clarity, imagination and impact.

What we do: We act for clients whatever the scale of their requirements. We have been instructed by over 48 FTSE 100 companies in the last two years, including Associated British Foods, SSE, GlaxoSmithKline, HSBC and British Land. Our business is about strong client relationships built on successful delivery across national and international markets. Equally important is strong loyalty, which is proven through the 75% of our clients who have been with us for more than ten years.

The range and scale of our work is compelling, and encompasses high-value strategic advice to the everyday. It means we are able to attract talented, like-minded individuals who love what they do, are committed to our clients’ success, and strive to build valued partnerships through our collective energy and expertise.

Work placements: We offer week-long Easter work placements in Edinburgh and London, and two-week summer work placements in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London and Manchester. And because everyone is an individual, we make sure each placement is a valuable experience for each individual student.

While you are here, you will get to know the everyday life of an Addleshaw Goddard trainee. You will be allocated a department to sit in and, if you are part of the summer scheme, will swap into a new department in your second week. You will be supervised by an experienced solicitor, who will welcome you to the department and allocate work. A trainee buddy will be on hand to help throughout your placement.

This is a scheme as unique as you are. As well as informative sessions, group exercises, assessed work and plenty of time at your desk, you will attend social events with a range of people across the office. It’s a real chance to get to know our people and our culture. We offer training contracts to successful placement scheme students, so we’d encourage you to apply.

Vacation scheme applications open on 1 October 2023 and close on 4 January 2024.

What we’re looking for: We require a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent). But what will really open doors to an outstanding career here is the real you. At Addleshaw Goddard, we’re looking for original minds and collaborative spirits alongside motivation, drive and commercial awareness. We’re constantly delighted by the diverse backgrounds of our best lawyers, and we’re open to law and non-law graduates alike, as well as those looking to change career.

What you’ll do: We are more than just exceptional lawyers here. We attract sparkling people from all backgrounds, who bring their own unique qualities, along with a collaborative approach, professional drive and a commitment to every client’s success. This is just one of the reasons we’re sure you will enjoy working with us.

As a trainee, important cases will come your way from the get-go. You will work on everything from multimillion-pound deals to high-profile fraud cases, employment disputes to complex technology contracts. Our success is intrinsically linked to yours, so we’ll always have your back and help you realise your potential.

Training contracts are four seats long, with opportunities to spend time in another of our offices as well as on secondment with clients. A range of seats are available across our four divisions of corporate and commercial, finance and projects, dispute resolution, and real estate.

During each six-month seat, you will have regular two-way performance reviews with your supervising partner or solicitor. They will help you develop the skills you need to deal with the demanding work you will come across every day.

As well as learning on the job, you will also have access to high-quality in-house and external training, a buddy scheme in your first seat, and a mentor throughout your training contract and beyond.

The best advocates of our graduate careers are the trainees themselves. See what some of them have to say about life at Addleshaw Goddard.

Training contract applications open on 1 April 2024 and close on 31 July 2024.

Sponsorship: Fees paid for law foundations and SQE, plus maintenance of £8,000 in London or £5,000 in other UK locations.

Legal apprenticeship scheme: There’s no blueprint for bright. In fact, the opposite is true. That’s why we offer an alternative path into law for those who do not wish to go down the traditional university route.

Our legal apprenticeship scheme, developed in Manchester and Leeds, is at the forefront of apprenticeships in the legal profession.

We have been recognised by the AllAboutGroup as a Top 100 Employer for School Leavers.

For more information and application details please visit our website.

SQE and graduate solicitor apprenticeships: The changes brought in by the SQE have meant that there is more flexibility around the way trainees can qualify as solicitors and we are now able to offer more than one route to qualification. From 2025, our trainees can opt to qualify via the graduate solicitor apprenticeship or via the traditional training contract.

Training contract route: The training contract will continue in its current structure. There will be four seats each for a duration of six months and our March and September intakes will remain. Our first SQE intake of trainees will commence in September 2024. Any future trainees who have the LPC will not be required to undertake the SQE. For those needing the SQE, we will require them to pass SQE 1 and 2 assessments prior to commencing their training contract. This will be undertaken at BPP in the year prior to starting their training contract (eg September 2024 for September 2025 training contract start). It will be funded by AG and future trainees will be given maintenance grants during their year of study.

Those who have qualifying work experience are able to use this to shorten the length of their training contract, though the maximum time we permit a training contract to be shortened by is 12 months.

Graduate solicitor apprenticeship route: The duration of the apprenticeship will be 36 months. In year 1 apprentices will study and in years 2 and 3 will undertake their training contract. Apprentices will be employed by the firm from day 1 of their apprenticeship. The firm will sponsor apprentices through the SQE and they will be paid a salary during their period of study. During the training contract apprentices will undertake four seats each for a duration of six months, the same as our trainees. Apprentices will qualify at the same time as their cohort who will be on the training contract route.

Diversity and inclusion

We have created a high-performance culture that is inclusive, supportive and which thrives on individuality, personality and team spirit. We expect the best of each other and we want everyone to succeed, regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability, religious practice or any other perceived difference.

Our diversity programme is represented at the most senior level of our business by our board sponsors. It is run by a dedicated inclusion team, inclusion partners, inclusion network leads, divisional and department champions, and volunteers from across the business. We have organised our approach around five key strands of diversity focusing on: disability, ethnicity, gender, LGBTQ+ and social mobility, and we also provide comprehensive support for parents and carers and run ongoing mental health and wellbeing awareness campaigns. In addition, we also have our people networks that not only support and help inform our inclusion strategy but also provide an opportunity for people to learn more about specific subject matter, network and share their lived experience.