Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Devonshires Solicitors LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I worked here as a paralegal and enjoyed it’, ‘the culture seemed to fit me very well’, ‘the opportunities it offered, being a relatively new firm in the Leeds area’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Culture’, ‘the level of responsibility ‘, ‘a good work culture’, ‘the friendly nature and quality of people working there’, ‘the people and the work’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The pay’, ‘salary’, ‘the areas of work can feel relatively limited’, ‘the remuneration could be better, especially in comparison with other City firms’

Best moment? ‘Handling my own matter’, ‘working on big project’, ‘settling a high-value case’, ‘attending court and putting a lot of what I have learned into practice’, ‘getting the seat that I really wanted’

Worst moment? ‘Forgetting to do something’, ‘the stress of living up to client expectations’, ‘occasional slow pace of work’, ‘almost missing a hearing deadline’, ‘the pandemic!’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Devonshires Solicitors LLP

A day in the life of... a trainee in banking, Devonshires Solicitors LLP

8.30am: Post duty: as per Devonshire’s tradition, the trainees are responsible for opening and distributing the post. I am on the rota this week, which is a good opportunity for a weekend catch-up.

9.15am: To-do list: arriving at my desk, I check my emails and compile a to-do list for the day. I work on various files for several fee-earners, so it is important to manage my workload effectively and prioritise certain tasks.

9.30am: Research task: my first task of the day is to produce a research note on directors’ duties for my supervisor. Research tasks are very common in this seat and it provides a useful way of building on legal knowledge of the sector.

11.00am: Report: approaching completion on a joint venture, I have been asked to produce a report on the agreements being entered into. You are given a great deal of responsibility as a trainee and documents which you have substantially drafted will often be sent to clients.

1.00pm: Lunch: today we have a talk on regulating anxiety, facilitated by Mindfulness in the Workplace – a great insight into how to deal with this on a daily basis and the sandwich spread is a bonus!

2.00pm: Drafting: we have been instructed to set up a new company. I draft the necessary forms and proceed to hand-deliver the documents at Companies House in Westminster, as the client has requested a
same-day incorporation.

4.30pm: Company searches: I have been asked to do a search on a company. This involves producing a report detailing their registered office, directors and shareholdings, in addition to retrieving their latest accounts and articles of association.

6.00pm: Five-a-side: the firm has recently entered a five-a-side league, with matches every Monday. I meet the rest of the team in reception and we walk over to the pitches together. This is a great opportunity to meet people from different departments, while keeping fit.

About the firm

The firm: Devonshires is an organisation with values that are represented by the clients that we act for and the people that make up our team. We are committed to delivering excellent advice and service to our clients, and to being transparent and consistent in all of our dealings with you.

The basis of our success and quality of service is the people that work at Devonshires. With outstanding people at all levels of contact, we are dedicated to providing you with efficient, ethical and effective solutions. Many of our lawyers have a dual background, experienced in providing private commercial advice and public authority expertise that makes them and Devonshires stand out from the crowd.

The clients: We are proud to represent some of the leading organisations in the fields in which we have relevant expertise. The list to a large extent speaks for itself and includes London & Quadrant Housing Trust, Notting Hill Genesis, Sodexo PLC, and Southern Housing Group.

Training principal: Chris Drabble, partner – securitisation: ‘We take great pride in seeing our trainees flourish and develop into highly skilled, successful solicitors. It is testament to the meticulous training and support provided within Devonshires that many of the current partners started their career with us as trainees.

Our trainees are valued, integral to the teams that they are embedded with and are given the opportunity to realise their full potential from day one. They have real exposure to clients and are given a high level of responsibility on transactions, enabling them to forge business relationships that will stand them in good stead for their career at Devonshires.’

Other offices: London, Birmingham, Colchester, Leeds.

Who we are: From our offices in the City of London, Leeds, Birmingham and Colchester, we house all our 287 partners, solicitors and support staff in one ‘hub of expertise’, enabling us to create teams, collaborate with others and deliver high-quality, practical advice using up-to-date technology.

What we do: We are well regarded within both the public and private sectors and we have a strong foothold in the social housing arena. In order to provide excellent legal advice and market-leading solutions, we continually update our knowledge and expertise. This includes a comprehensive training and education programme for all of our staff, from senior partner through to support staff. Likewise we understand our clients’ thirst for knowledge and excellence, and to cater for this we provide a programme of regular webinars, briefings and eBulletins across a range of subjects.

What we’re looking for: We look for trainees who not only have keen commercial and technical qualities but those who possess outstanding individual talents and who will also be great team members and future team leaders.

What you’ll do: From the moment you are offered a training contract with us you will be in regular contact with the HR manager. We will also invite you to any firm socials that are organised in this time. This is a great way to meet our current trainees and ask them about their experience, as well as other future colleagues.

Your first week at Devonshires will be spent on our trainee induction programme; this will give you an introduction to us and how we work. The purpose of this week is to make the start of your training contract and your start with Devonshires as smooth as possible.

You will meet a number of key people who will give presentations, talks, together with training sessions on our IT systems and other processes you will need to know. You will also spend some time during this week meeting your team and shadowing a current trainee, as well as having the opportunity to socialise with the trainees in a more informal setting.

You will undertake four six-month seats across our range of practice areas. Your first seat is allocated for you by the HR manager and training principal and for your three remaining seats you will have some input in areas you are interested in. When making decisions about seats we take into consideration your preferences along with the firm’s needs and SRA requirements. You will need to complete a litigation seat and property seat as part of your training contract.

We have a supportive and encouraging culture that focuses on training and developing our employees to be the best they can be. Throughout your career with us you will be provided with a strong and well-balanced support network.

  • Buddy – a first-year trainee solicitor will help you through your first few weeks. They will be there to answer those questions you dare not ask anyone else.
  • Training supervisor – for each six-month seat, you will be allocated a trainee supervisor who will delegate you work, monitor your progress and give you timely and constructive feedback. You will have a mid-seat review as well as a formal appraisal meeting at the end of your seat.
  • HR manager – working closely with you, the training principal, your training supervisors and your buddy, the HR manager will ensure you are well supported and encouraged throughout your time with us.
  • Training principal – Chris Drabble, partner, will act as your mentor throughout your training contract and will take a keen interest in your development. The training principal and HR manager will liaise with your training supervisor in organising the seat rotations.

By working closely with your trainee supervisor in each seat you will receive on-the-job training; this will include – where possible – client contact and early responsibility, which will assist you in developing the necessary skills to become a well-rounded lawyer. As well as completing the necessary training on the Professional Skills course, which we will fund via an external provider, you will attend training sessions organised by the teams and firm during each seat.

Perks: Life assurance, group income protection, private medical insurance, dentistry treatment scheme, group personal pension, interest-free season ticket loan, gym joining fee contribution.

Sponsorship: All applicants must have completed their LPC or SQE1 prior to the start of their training contract – we have an April and September 2024 intake planned. We do not offer financial assistance for the GDL, LPC or SQE1.

Diversity and inclusion

At Devonshires, we are committed to providing equal opportunities in employment and to providing a workplace that fosters the development of our people, is free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying, and where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.


Our EDI objectives stem from our core values regarding our people, our clients and our community.

Our clients – to add value to our relationships, we seek to better understand our clients’ cultures and aspirations through collaboration and our diverse staff.

Our people – to be a successful organisation we strive to encourage diversity, provide an inclusive environment where people want to work, and ensure that they are treated fairly.

Our community – fostering partnerships with socially minded organisations to help the disadvantaged and champion causes that we are passionate about.


Our EDI programme is led by senior partners within our firm who meet regularly throughout the year to plan how we can better promote EDI and keep track as to whether we are meeting our objectives.

While our senior partners, supported by our compliance and HR teams, drive diversity within the firm, we require everyone’s commitment and co-operation to ensure it continues to be successful.