Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Brabners LLP

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Brabners LLP

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Excellent reputation for being a great firm to work for. There is a real emphasis on a healthy work/life balance, encouraging trainees to get involved in social events, team drinks and Christmas parties’, ‘I wanted to work at a north west firm, rather than a regional office of a London firm’, ‘for the culture which showed during my interview and has been the same since I started’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Training partners and supervisors are approachable and welcoming and there is no sense of a hierarchy – everyone is equal’, ‘employee wellbeing is excellent and the standard of work is so high’, ‘employees are respected and trusted with managing their work flexibly’, ‘work/life balance and opportunities given to trainees’, ‘I feel trusted to get on with my work without being micromanaged’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The current Manchester offices are old-fashioned, but a move to new premises is imminent!’, ‘the trainee pay is competitive, but could be better’, ‘the relatively low remuneration compared to other firms’, ‘long hours in the corporate seat’, ‘the social events are limited but I think Covid has had an impact on this’

Best moment? ‘Going on secondment’, ‘being asked to do complex work, with supervision, and doing well at it’, ‘being trusted to take a meeting with a client by myself less than three months into my first seat’, ‘attending a judicial mediation with the employment tribunal’, ‘being selected as graduate of the year at the Made in Manchester Awards’

Worst moment? ‘The advocacy module on the Professional Skills Course – this was really difficult as I hate public speaking!’, ‘the impact of Covid on my training’, ‘preparing for an office move’, ‘my corporate seat’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Brabners LLP

At independent northern firm Brabners, the ‘quality of clients and work is high, but the culture is friendly and open, and work/life balance is seen as a priority’. Little wonder the firm has amassed four Future Lawyers Winner medals for job satisfaction, quality of work, work/life balance and social life. Brabners is ‘growing quickly and has a strong national reputation’ yet ‘maintains a family feel’. Trainees praise the ‘high-quality training’ but also appreciate being ‘trusted to get on with our work without being micromanaged’. The remote working arrangements are ‘great – the firm has a very good system in place’. In terms of social life, ‘you can tell that everyone genuinely wants to be there and enjoys spending time with each other. So as a trainee, when you do move seats, the chances are you will already have got to know some people in your next department which makes the move a lot less daunting!’. Some recruits complained that ‘seat options are limited’, and a few respondents referenced a frustrating ‘lack of transparency about the seat allocation and NQ qualification processes’. For one trainee who feared public speaking, ‘the advocacy module of the Professional Skills Course was daunting’. For another, a seat in the corporate department was the worst part of the training so far. On a more positive note, highlights included ‘being asked to do complex work, with supervision, and doing well at it’, ‘attending a mediation in London and settling the case for the client’, and ‘hosting the Big Idea – an annual event in which trainees try and raise as much money as possible for the Brabners Foundation’. If you’re looking for a firm which is ‘friendly and approachable, with no real hierarchy’, where high-quality work and clients are the norm, research Brabners.

Why Brabners LLP?

Brabners LLP has expanded rapidly in recent years, enabling us to provide a greater range of services and increased strength and depth. We recruit and retain a team of highly motivated and skilled professionals and support staff, committed to delivering effective, client-focused legal services. Our proactive approach is constructive, committed and down to earth, and we work closely with our clients to provide commercially realistic solutions to their legal problems.

Brabners LLP is one of the few law firms that holds ‘Investor in People’ status and we place great emphasis on the structure and progression of our training programme. The programme is continually re-appraised to ensure that it meets the requirements of each trainee solicitor.

Brabners LLP is consistently listed as an award winner in The Lex 100 student guide to the UK’s premier law firms.

As a firm we strongly believe that trainees have a place within our teams and encourage them to contribute to the work of their teams by allocating them responsibility from the outset. In each of your four seats you will spend time with a partner or senior lawyer, although you may also assist other fee-earners within the department. Your work will be closely monitored by your principal who will give support, guidance and assistance.

Trainees are encouraged to discuss with their principal any problems they encounter as part of our strong ‘open-door’ policy which encourages trainees to seek help whenever they need it. We recognise and encourage an eagerness to learn and consider a genuine ambition to succeed to be an attribute. We willingly devote the time required to ensure our trainees achieve their goals.

We strongly believe a wide range of disciplines should be experienced before a decision to specialise is made. Our comprehensive training and development programme includes all that is required by the SRA and also provides an induction course and ongoing in-house training and development.

Personal development appraisals are conducted at three- and six-monthly intervals to ensure that trainee progress is valuable and informed. Training and staff development in the firm is the responsibility of our training principal, Dr Tony Harvey, and the training programme is overseen by the firm’s trainee partners, Rupert Gill and Helen Brown (Liverpool), Ian Mylrea and Joanne Radcliff (Manchester), and Nicola Whittle (Preston).

Life as a trainee with us is not all work and we encourage a positive work/life balance. Our offices maintain a friendly and social environment, something envied by many larger firms. Brabners LLP’s social life will play a great part in your life as a trainee and our trainees are encouraged to organise regular social events, including the annual staff conference, and our annual pro bono activities frequently raise in excess of £30,000 for the charity chosen by our staff. Brabners LLP colleagues regularly socialise after office hours, with Liverpool and Manchester having vibrant young professional scenes in which trainees soon become involved. We are active participants in a football league and regularly engage in other sports with other professionals. Officers of the regional JLDs are frequently Brabners LLP trainees.

It is our practice to select seven trainees each year, three based in Liverpool, three in Manchester and one in Preston. We seek to recruit people who have great potential to succeed. We are not looking for clones, but individuals with varying personalities, who offer and receive a great deal of benefit from their time with us. You should be able to demonstrate intelligence, intuition, humour, approachability and commitment and have some connection with, or interest in, the North West. We prefer candidates to have achieved, or to be forecast to achieve, a good 2(1) degree but, ultimately, our assessment of you is based on our belief in your ability.

About the firm

The firm: One of the top North West independent legal practices, Brabners LLP has offices in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Lancashire. The firm has more than 400 employees with nationally recognised experts in key practice areas such as corporate, commercial, property, employment and pensions, litigation, sports, social housing, charity, family and private client law. The firm has a broad client base that includes plcs, public sector bodies, banks, other commercial, corporate and professional businesses and high-net-worth individuals.

It was rated as the third best law firm to work for in the UK by workplace engagement specialists Best Companies in 2021. It was also placed 34th in the ‘North West’s Best Companies to Work For’ category, an improvement of 28 places from last year’s result, and 47th in ‘The UK’s 100 Best Large Companies to Work For’, another improvement on last year as it climbed an impressive 23 places. It was also named as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Champions of the Year at the Manchester Legal Awards 2022.

These results, which are based partly on colleague feedback, demonstrate the firm’s ongoing commitment to its people and culture.

The clients: Panasonic; Associated British Foods; AXA; Booking.com; James Hall & Co; JD Wetherspoon; Lawn Tennis Association; Liverpool Football Club; Peel Ports; Primark; The Very Group; Yodel.

The deals: Advising Peel L&P in respect of the new Everton FC stadium development which started onsite at Bramley Moore Dock in Liverpool during 2021 – the stadium’s construction will be a huge game changer for north Liverpool and the city/region as a whole; acting for technology client Open Media (which has continued to grow large-format digital out-of-home advertising screens in city shopping centres, stadiums and on high-traffic road networks), advising on contract documentation placing digital advertising screens and advertising banners in London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Coventry, Newcastle and Cardiff; supporting the HR and senior leadership team of Walsingham Support, a charity that has been supporting people with learning disabilities, autism, brain injuries and complex needs across England and Wales since 1986, as the organisation continues to grow and expand its services through a time of change – during 2021 the client had to implement the vaccination as a condition of deployment requirements for its residential care services.

Managing partner: Nik White

Other offices: Liverpool, Manchester, Lancashire and Leeds

Who we are: The firm carries out a wide range of specialist legal services in a number of core sectors including real estate, business services, healthcare, media, technology, retail, sport and charity.

What we do: Our mission to make the difference guides everything we do, pushing us to go the extra mile for our clients and empowering our people to do what they do best.

We specialise in enabling public and third sector organisations and private individuals to achieve their goals. We provide a full-service legal offering to large and mid-sized businesses, SMEs, public sector bodies, charities, business owners, entrepreneurs and high-net-worth individuals.

Our independence gives us the freedom to shape our own definition of success that is fit for the modern world and not driven by financial metrics alone. Our open and inclusive culture leads to great outcomes for clients – innovation, quality and trust.

What we’re looking for in a trainee: Graduates and those undertaking the GDL or LPC who can demonstrate intelligence, intuition, humour, approachability and commitment.

What you’ll do: Our belief is that a wide range of legal disciplines should be experienced before a decision to specialise is made. Because we advise some of the region’s most successful businesses, across numerous industry sectors, our trainees have many opportunities to experience different specialisms of law, to deal directly with clients and to assist on complex transactions with close partner support.

Perks: 25 days’ holiday, travel loan, fresh fruit delivered to the office, charity and social events, payroll giving, colleague recognition, smart agile working practices, buy and sell holidays, pension scheme, subsidised discounts in retail stores, cycle to work and Medicash.

Sponsorship details: Full LPC fees paid.

Equality, diversity and inclusion