Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Hill Dickinson LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I was a paralegal with the firm beforehand. I really loved the culture of the firm, everyone is so friendly and they were very supportive throughout my application’, ‘marine-specific training contract and friendly environment’, ‘they are specialists in health law and have a very good reputation in that market’, ‘the firm is known for its great training programme and training principal’, ‘it is a reputable, full-service commercial law firm that has ties within Liverpool and engages a lot with the local community’, ‘the culture and work/life balance’

Best thing about the firm? ‘For me, it’s the internal relationships and how much easier your job is when you have developed those relationships. The relationships then go external with our clients and some of those relationships have been fostered for years’, ‘the people are so helpful and supportive’, ‘100% the people’, ‘work/life balance’, ‘the support offered by the trainee committee’, ‘everybody is approachable and willing to help, no matter what their level or position’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘I think they could improve on technology, e.g. targets/billing/time recording technology’, ‘no international opportunities’, ‘the pay is lower than other firms/offices within the northern region. Being a single person covering all bills yourself, living in a city centre on £28,000 is tough’, ‘some of the offices are dated’, ‘salaries are not that competitive’, ‘the perks’

Best moment? ‘The trainee events and the social responsibility side, helping charities and supporting local organisations’, ‘I drafted a cohabitation agreement in my first week; it was the first time I felt I was using my legal skills to have an important impact on someone’s life’, ‘attending a joint settlement meeting’, ‘being involved in external business development opportunities such as careers day and outreach programmes’, ‘getting to visit the construction site of a development I was assisting with’

Worst moment? ‘Making mistakes, but it happens’, ‘my secondment – travelling to the location was hard’, ‘different teams work differently so it can sometimes be hard to adjust to the specific ways your team works’, ‘I was late on my first day to the office!’, ‘when a client sent us his statement of truth too late so we filed a late submission’, ‘misunderstanding the details of the task I had been set, spending three days on it and then having to start from scratch’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Hill Dickinson LLP

Hill Dickinson offers a ‘sector-specific training contract, allowing trainees to gain focused experience in a particular industry, such as maritime, business or healthcare’. The firm has offices across the north of England, as well as London, although trainees consider ‘having the HQ in the north is a big pull, as you know you won’t just be a satellite office’. When it comes to the people, ‘from top to bottom, everyone is friendly’, there is an ‘open-door policy’ and ‘senior management are approachable, which allows us to be involved in the larger projects the team is working on’. Trainees appreciate that ‘senior staff members trust you to work hard and meet targets’ which makes them feel as though they are ‘working somewhere that invests in our long-term professional development’. Hill Dickinson is a Future Lawyers Winner for job satisfaction, work/life balance, social life, diversity and approachability of supervisors. Complaints were few and far between, but some recruits feel that ‘the overall benefits package could be more generous’ and that ‘there is room for some improvement when it comes to salaries’. That the ‘Manchester office is a bit outdated’ was also mentioned. Recruits talked about some great work highlights, including ‘attending a mediation alone’, ‘drafting witness statements during the first month of my training contract’, and ‘attending a clinical negligence trial’. Low points were ‘sending an email out to the wrong person’, ‘having to work long hours on occasion due to urgent applications’, and ‘IT issues taking a long time to be resolved’. For a ‘leading firm in the healthcare sector’, a ‘broad range of practice areas’ and the opportunity to ‘learn from the very best daily’, research Hill Dickinson.

About the firm

The firm: At Hill Dickinson we understand that our people, our clients and our communities are at the heart of everything we do. We are an internationally recognised law firm that delivers advice and strategic guidance spanning the full legal spectrum across the UK, Europe and Asia.

CEO: Peter Jackson

COO: Tas Quayum

Chair: Jonathan Brown

Other offices: Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, London (City and St James’s), Piraeus, Singapore, Monaco, Hong Kong.

Who we are: Established in 1810, originally specialising in maritime law, at Hill Dickinson we have been providing expert legal advice for centuries, and we’re still going from strength to strength.

We’re a leading commercial law firm with more than 950 people, including over 200 partners and legal directors, spanning offices in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Piraeus, Singapore, Monaco and Hong Kong.

We support clients throughout the lifecyle of their business, are a longstanding provider of legal services to the health sector, and home to one of the legal world’s largest and most respected maritime and shipping practices.

What we do: As a full-service law firm, we offer the full range of commercial legal services, from employment, property and construction, to corporate, commercial and dispute resolution. We have strength, experience and presence in a number of market sectors, including marine, transportation and logistics, retail, public and private health (including life sciences), international trade, education, banking and financial services. For ease, we arrange all sectors under three broad business groups: marine, health and business services.

Our clients include multinational companies, major corporations, the NHS, UK plcs, UK and foreign banks, financial institutions, public sector bodies, investors, educational establishments, institutions, private individuals and professional bodies.

What we’re looking for: We offer training contracts tailored to each of our sectors – business services, health and marine – which you can apply for from the outset in your chosen location and pathway: insight scheme and training contract, or direct training contract.

Our specialised training contracts mean that you can focus on your sector of interest while still benefiting from the variety of seats within each business group. So, if you have a passion for a particular area of law, and have the motivation and desire to learn and succeed in that sector, then we are the firm for you!

As a leading commercial law firm, we need our trainees to know what is expected of us and have the insight and awareness to understand the demands of our clients.

Our future trainees should be able to demonstrate excellent communication skills, the ability to manage projects and a keenness for analysing information to deliver innovative advice and solutions for our clients. We are looking for commercially minded people, who enjoy building trusting relationships.

There is no typical Hill Dickinson trainee, so if any of the above applies to you, and you think Hill Dickinson is the place where you can build a longstanding career, then we’d like to hear from you!

When it comes to academics, we understand that not all achievements look the same on paper, so instead of having minimum academic requirements, we are proud to use the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) to consider your achievements in the context in which they were gained.

We recognise the value of having a diverse workforce and want to recruit the best people from every background. Our graduate recruitment team therefore read and consider every application in full, before making a decision.

We are also proud to be working with Aspiring Solicitors, who are committed to advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within the legal profession, nurturing exceptional talent regardless of differences. Their talent development programmes and partnerships empower diverse aspiring solicitors to succeed.

Equality, diversity and inclusion is integral to our values and culture that we live by every day, so we take steps to ensure that each stage of our process is free from bias and that decisions are made on merit alone.

What you’ll do: Our training contracts offer tailored, focused routes, allowing you to train in the area of law that you want to progress in. You will do four six-month seats throughout your two-year training contract in your chosen sector – business services, health or marine.

Our small intake ensures that each trainee has our full attention and means we have the resources to give you as much support as you need when beginning your career. You will be given immediate responsibilities and challenging tasks as you become a valued member of our team.

Throughout the two years you will be supported not only by your supervisor and peers, but a dedicated trainee committee of partners, legal directors and senior associates that represent our locations and business groups.

Alongside your technical, legal training you will also have the opportunity to attend a programme designed for our trainees to enhance your business skills and personal effectiveness, ensuring you have the foundations you need to continue to grow in your career.

Finally, being part of Hill Dickinson is about more than the work you do in each of your seats, and our trainees are actively involved in our corporate responsibility agenda, social committees, and diversity and inclusion networking groups. By continually working with and listening to our people, we can make Hill Dickinson a supportive and inclusive workplace for everyone.

Perks: We offer an extensive range of benefits designed to help meet your personal needs and promote a healthy work-life balance, such as: birthday privilege day; Christmas shutdown; holiday buy, sell and carryover scheme; two charity volunteering or pro bono days; flexible, agile and home working; BUPA; permanent health insurance; flexible pension scheme; Medicash; enhanced family leave policies; life assurance; annual travel season ticket loan; dress for your day policy; training and development opportunities; financial contribution towards home working equipment.

Sponsorship: We have adopted the SQE route via a graduate apprenticeship for all future trainees, meaning we will cover the cost of your programme and exam fees and you will receive an apprentice salary while you study.

We are pleased to be working with the University of Law to deliver a tailored SQE programme, ensuring that you get the best start to your legal career and are ready to deal with high levels of responsibility from the moment you start.

The programme is focused on equipping our trainees with the skills they need to be successful lawyers of the future, with modules tailored to your sector, as well as on project management and innovation.

If you are successful in receiving a training contract offer from the firm and have yet to complete an LPC, you will now follow the SQE route via a graduate apprenticeship.

For those who already have or are in the process of completing the LPC, we will continue to accept your application and you will follow the current route. Please note that you will not be required to take the SQE in addition to your LPC. If you are part way through your SQE studies, we can discuss how we can support you with this should you be successful in securing an offer.

Diversity and inclusion

Percentage of female associates: 69%

Percentage of female partners: 30%

Percentage of BAME associates: 12%

Percentage of BAME partners: 6%