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? ‘High-quality work with a work/life balance’, ‘healthy working environment compared to other firms I interned with in the past’, ‘top tier in Manchester, where I wanted to be’, ‘collaborative culture which really came through in the vacation scheme’, ‘tech focus and friendly culture’, ‘full-service, corporate and commercial firm’, ‘London work with work/life balance and solid pay’, ‘reputation in the northwest and a great culture and character’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Senior people tend to be helpful and friendly’, ‘approachable staff and welcoming/inclusive environment’, ‘trainees have the opportunity to get involved in complex deals and partake in a wide variety of work’, ‘it definitely feels like everyone is on your side’, ‘relaxed and approachable atmosphere’, ‘very good approach to flexible working’, ‘good social side’, ‘inclusiveness’, ‘colleagues are always approachable, friendly and knowledgeable’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘In some seats the work can be a bit admin based’, ‘the opaque processes relating to seat allocation, qualification and bonuses’, ‘there aren’t enough fee earners in my current team for the amount of work we have on, so everyone is stressed’, ‘the lack of engagement in diversity and inclusion initiatives from certain people’, ‘the slow return to office working’, ‘it still holds some old-fashioned attitudes which are characteristic of the legal profession’

Best moment? ‘Taking on my own transaction, completing and running it’, ‘getting offered an international secondment to Oman’, ‘when the head partner of the team commended an idea that I came up with and sought to action it’, ‘working on the Manchester Arena terrorist attack’, ‘being able to see how much I have progressed since I started’, ‘attending a case management conference’, getting a qualification job offer’

Worst moment? ‘Working on a weekend (not often but happened more than once in corporate)’, ‘last-minute completions with no warning and lack of organisation’, ‘dealing with a bounced court application’, ‘dealing with difficult characters’, ‘making silly errors in drafting’, ‘not getting on with a supervisor’, ‘forgetting that we had received key documents and sitting on them for a week’, ‘the Christmas rush was hard alongside studying for exams’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Addleshaw Goddard

‘Future-focused and tech-oriented’ Addleshaw Goddard is full of people who are ‘very smart and switched on but who don’t take themselves too seriously’. The international firm, which has training contract opportunities across the UK, is ‘supportive of trainees even before you start’, and those who took part in the vacation scheme ‘could tell it was a great place to work’ from the outset. The firm is a Future Lawyers Winner for international secondments, with secondments to Oman and Hong Kong among the highlights. Addleshaw Goddard trainees consider the firm to be ‘well balanced’, in the sense that ‘you are given high-quality work, but you don’t have to sell your soul to them’! The training ‘allows you to take on high-quality work and explore different practice areas, whilst still feeling supported to make mistakes and learn from them’, although some trainees ‘would like to see more hands-on training’ rather than just learning on the job. That ‘the hours can be long’ – at least in certain departments – was lamented, especially as some recruits feel that ‘the pay does not always reflect this’. Respondents also noted that the social scene has dwindled since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic: ‘there isn’t a very good social scene for trainees, meaning that those who joined in the past two years don’t know each other very well’. But there’s no denying that the work is stimulating and comes with high responsibility, as evidenced by best moments such as ‘having a complex advice note I drafted sent straight to the client with almost no amendments made by the partner’ and ‘working on a multi-billion-pound oil and gas deal’. Recruits were less enthused about ‘three all-nighters in a row’ and ‘spending days printing out emails as part of disclosure’. For a firm with an ‘extremely collaborative culture’ and a ‘wide variety of seats, making it easier to tailor your training contract’, consider Addleshaw Goddard.

A day in the life of... Louis Jani, trainee, Addleshaw Goddard

Louis Jani, Addleshaw Goddard

Departments to date: Social sustainable and green finance; Commercial; Commercial disputes

University: University of York University of Leeds

Degree: English BA (2:1), Law LLB (2:1)

It’s easy to say, but there really is no typical day as an AG trainee, and we are encouraged to get as involved as we can. The diversity of our clients and the spread of seat options make for a lot of variety to the work week.

Throughout my finance seat I was involved to a large degree with the day-to-day running of transactions, liaising with the other side and reporting back to our clients. The nature of the work meant that diarising was essential to keep on top of things and push things forward wherever possible. Seeing deals through from matter opening to completion, and then attending to post-completion, gave me good insight into the full cycle of a transaction, while AG’s position as market leader in advising lenders in the social housing sector gave me valuable experience of ESG mechanics.

As a commercial trainee, I was given many responsibilities including advising clients on discrete retainer matters as well as project management as part of the due diligence process on large corporate transactions. While the scope of work can vary hugely, typical tasks involved attending meetings and taking notes, tracking matter progress to update the client, and conducting research into novel and emergent areas of the law such as AI and post-Brexit regulation.

As a trainee at AG, you’re not just working with the fee-earners and paralegals to deliver client work, you are also a major driving force in the firm’s culture and commitment to social responsibility. I have supported graduate recruitment activities on the York campus while speaking to students from ethnically diverse backgrounds locally in Leeds. Trainees form a big part of the charity and pro bono committees in each of our offices so there are  always opportunities to add value to the business and our communities.

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: Charles Penney

Managing partner: John Joyce

UK offices: Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester.

Overseas: Dubai, Dublin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Luxembourg, Munich, Oman, Paris, Qatar 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: At Addleshaw Goddard, we are more than just exceptional lawyers: we are leaders in client investment and understanding. With over 1,400 lawyers based across the globe, we have a deep understanding of our markets and sectors. We act for our clients whatever the scale of their requirements, and have been instructed by over 48 FTSE 100 companies in the last two years. Our business is about strong client relationships built on successful delivery across national and international markets. 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.

Equally important is strong loyalty, which is proven through 75% of our clients who have been with us for more than ten years.​​​​​​​

Join us, and wherever you are based, you will work side-by-side with blue-chip clients in a supportive yet challenging environment. This is a structured training programme, and it is designed with your future success in mind.

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 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.

Training opportunities: 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. 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. Visit to find out what four of them have to say about life at Addleshaw Goddard.

Work placements: We offer week-long Easter work placements in Edinburgh and London, and two-week summer work placements in 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.

Requirements: 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.

Pro bono initiatives: Firm wide – we work on a wide range of pro bono matters from collaborative projects supporting climate change to standalone matters supporting charities and other not-for-profit organisations. We are constantly exploring new pro bono opportunities and many of these opportunities come directly via our people but we also take on matters through our pro bono facilitators LawWorks and TrustLaw as well as the Collaborative Plan.

We have regional pro bono champions who help drive local engagement, with some examples of ongoing regional pro bono work including:

  • Manchester – University of Manchester Legal Advice Centre, Young Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University Business Law Café
  • London – Springfield Clinic
  • Scotland – University of Edinburgh Legal Advice Centre

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 sponsor. It is run by a dedicated human resources (HR) team, partner sponsors 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 an 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. Our networks include:

  • AG Embrace – our race and ethnicity network
  • OpenAG – our LGBTQ+ network
  • The Disability Network – our disability and carers network
  • The Vine – our women’s network

We have been consistently recognised for our commitment to diversity over the years. In our sector’s recent awards season, our diversity programme has achieved the following external recognition:

  • The Times, Top 50 Employers for Women;
  • People in Law Awards, Excellence in Learning and Development (2022)
  • Legal Week Innovation Awards, Mindful Business Charter (recognition) and HR Innovation (winner 2019)

And we are also:

  • active members of Stonewall and the Business Disability Forum
  • signatories to the Valuable 500
  • founding members of PRIME
  • participants of the Disability Confident Scheme (and in 2021 we achieved “Employer” status)
  • partners with the Black Solicitor’s Network and Queer Lawyers of Tomorrow

Removing barriers so that talent can shine: A key focus for Addleshaw Goddard is diversifying our trainee talent. To do this we have partnered with an external organisation, Rare, to introduce contextual recruitment and accountability into our graduate hiring process.

Contextual recruitment looks at the context of academic achievement, and identifies students who have surpassed expectations or performed excellently in conditions of adversity.

We have also removed our minimum A-level requirement to allow a more diverse pool of candidates to apply for training contracts at Addleshaw Goddard.

Our external recruitment partner helps us to screen your application without personal information to ensure we do not allow bias of any kind to affect the process.

We are also increasing the training for everyone involved in the recruitment process to ensure that we select people based on their ability, potential and nothing else.

Diversity Access Schemes: We nurture strong links with reputable social mobility schemes and professional diversity networks such as the Aspiring Solicitors, Black Solicitors Network, Urban Lawyers, Lawyers in Schools, Pathways to Law, PRIME and AllAboutLaw Events and value their support and expertise when reaching out to untapped talent from non-traditional backgrounds.

We are signatories of the Social Mobility Business Compact: a government-led initiative which aims to reduce elitism and improve social mobility by encouraging businesses to open opportunities to everyone.

We have always invested and partnered with local communities, schools and networks who are keen to raise the aspirations of young people – and will continue to do so by offering young talent opportunities to take part in quality work experience programmes and internships.

PRIME: We are a founding member of PRIME, an initiative through which law firms provide quality work experience placements to underprivileged school-age students. We work with local primary and secondary schools across London, Leeds, Manchester and Edinburgh to inspire young people to fulfil their potential. Each year, around 40 students from years 12 and 13 take part in our Legal Access Week Programme.

Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP): We are a member of the SMBP in Manchester and Leeds, where we partner with our own clients and other businesses to meet our respective social mobility commitments. Through this partnership, our Legal Access Week students benefit from additional work experience with in-house legal teams at a number of well-known companies.

Sonia McMahon Award: This was established a few years ago and gives one student from our partner schools a financial contribution towards the cost of studying law at university, access to a mentor and a week of work experience.

Legal Access Scheme: Our award-winning Legal Access Scheme offers bright BPP University Law School students from unconventional or less privileged backgrounds a place on our summer placement programme. 24 students from this scheme have secured training contracts with us since its creation in 2007.

Lawscot Foundation: We have partnered with LawScot Foundation to enable the opportunity for students from unconventional or less privileged backgrounds a place on our Summer placement scheme.

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 All About Group as a Top 100 Employer for School Leavers.

City Solicitors Horizons: City Solicitors Horizons (CSH) is a social mobility initiative designed to improve access to the legal profession for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It was created by the City of London Solicitors’ Company, City Solicitors’ Educational Trust (CSET) and The Legal Education Foundation (TLEF), and is supported by the City of London Law Society (CLLS) and leading law firms – including Addleshaw Goddard.

Students attending universities across London and southeast England are selected to take part in this three-year social mobility programme, alongside their undergraduate degrees, connecting with law firms who provide access to mentoring lawyers and practical work experience.