Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Kennedys Law LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘Culture and employee care’, ‘culture, diversity and inclusion, and development opportunities’, ‘renowned experience and expertise in litigation’, ‘the work/life balance paired with the high-quality work is something other firms do not offer’, ‘I found the global platform attractive to provide exposure to greater opportunities’, ‘the core values of the firm aligned with mine, particularly the friendly and approachable nature which is definitely what my experience has shown so far’, ‘the international reach of the firm’, ‘I wanted to work at a firm with a focus on insurance law and Kennedys has a really good reputation for this’

What is the best thing about the firm? ‘The people’, ‘there is a culture of sharing of knowledge in which people of all levels are encouraged to work together. You never feel like you can’t approach someone with a question’, ‘its culture and the open-door policy at every level in not just your team but others too’, ‘approachable people in the office, loads of juniors, hours are great’, ‘the work/life balance’, ‘the diverse and challenging work, whilst working alongside colleagues that desire your learning and development’, ‘a really good environment to learn in’, ‘you really feel like everyone wants you to succeed’

What is the worst thing about the firm? ‘The approachability of senior fee earners’, ‘seat changes can be quite last minute and opportunities seem to vary depending on the office’, ‘business needs can affect your training contract more than your own wishes, e.g. being placed on secondment without having requested one, or going into a department you didn’t request because they need the support’, ‘at particularly busy times the workload can be overwhelming and when everyone is busy it can be hard to find support’, ‘there could be better remuneration and perks’, ‘pay is less compared to competitors’, ‘the legal technology can be fiddly’

What has been the best moment of your training to date?  ‘Working on a defamation matter’, ‘preparing for, attending and contributing at a mediation’, ‘attending a conference with counsel regarding an upcoming trial’, ‘being part of a challenging adjudication and winning’, ‘a large loss litigation and managing to settle in good terms for our clients’, ‘working directly with a partner on a new insurance coverage review, correctly completing the coverage analysis and the partner using my coverage analysis on our first call with the broker and the insured’

What has been the worst moment of your training to date? ‘Making mistakes on an important piece of correspondence’, ‘limited work during one seat’, ‘nothing that is out of the ordinary for law firms. The usual imposter syndrome feelings and worrying about whether you will get a seat in your favourite area of law’, ‘misfiling a Precedent H with the court (only filed the main page without the breakdown)’, ‘when the majority of people in my team were working from home, I was fairly quiet with work for an extended period of time and had to continuously ask for work, which was fairly demoralising as I wanted to be able to learn as much as possible’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Kennedys Law LLP

Kennedys’ ‘renowned experience and expertise in litigation’ in conjunction with its emphasis on ‘culture and employee care’ are what make the firm stand out. Before even joining, recruits found the ‘interview and application process the most enjoyable,’ largely due to the ‘approachability of the people’ who conducted the interviews. Trainees praised the friendliness of their colleagues and the ‘opendoor’ policy which creates a supportive working environment. That being said, some individuals felt frustrated at Kennedys’ perceived ‘give it a go and I’ll tell you what you’ve done wrong’ style of training. This caused a few recruits to find the first few months ‘incredibly difficult’ and ‘overwhelming, despite support from their team. While the responsibility given to trainees did prove challenging at times, it also provided opportunities ‘to attend multiple mediations’ and work on ‘complex and interesting matters’. One recruit reminisced about their chance to run files on their own with oversight from a supervisor, which gave them ‘exposure to the full lifecycle of a claim: from pre-action to proceedings to settlement or trial.’ Kennedys also encourages great work/life balance’. There were some complaints regarding the seat rotation process, with some stating that ‘seat changes can be quite last minute’, or that you may not ‘always get your seat option’. Even so, recruits across the board find the work ‘diverse and challenging. If you feel that working alongside colleagues that desire your continued learning and development’ at a firm with an innovative approach to law, then consider Kennedys.  

Q&A – the SQE programme Phillipa Tizard, trainee, Kennedys Law LLP

Phillipa Tizard, Kennedys Law LLP

What team are you a part of at Kennedys?
I work as part of the travel team in the London office, currently undertaking the SQE programme at Kennedys. The SQE programme is a 30-month training programme where I will remain in the travel team for the duration. It involves working at Kennedys four days a week and going one day a week to study at BPP.

How did you start your career?
I began my career at Kennedys working in the marketing team within business development (BD). In BD you are exposed to a variety of work, but I mainly worked on thought leadership.

I worked on the fourth edition of the firm’s coveted Claims Handling Guide, liaising with around 80 lawyers who had authored various chapters on their specialisms. Working with the content gave me a greater understanding of the plethora of work the firm covers and made me start reconsidering a legal career. Prior to Kennedys I had worked in retail, recruitment, media and au paired a few times.

What do you like most about the SQE programme?
The SQE programme makes becoming a solicitor far more financially viable and accessible. Kennedys was one of the first law firms to implement this programme as part of their training offerings. It was the first time post studying law at university I had seen a training programme that appealed to me. I like that I am studying at the same time as working and that I have a salary. It does present its own challenges too – good time management is essential!

What are your biggest achievements so far?
Being accepted onto the SQE programme was a big achievement in itself for me. The application process can be quite lengthy and a lot of personal time is invested, so it was incredibly rewarding to be successful.

What is the environment like at Kennedys?
You will often hear people say that it’s the people that make Kennedys stand out, and it’s true, colleagues look out for one another. My marketing colleagues were immensely supportive when I first informed them that I was looking to apply to the SQE programme and very encouraging of me pursuing my goal.

Within the travel team I am well supported. My supervisors recognise when there are opportunities for me to attend remote trials and help on larger, more complex files, to continue to build on my understanding of the legal issues faced by the travel sector. It’s encouraging to see team members progress through their careers at the firm and that there’s a clear pathway.

What advice would you give to someone looking to start the SQE programme?
The SQE programme at Kennedys provides a unique opportunity to become more specialised in a particular area, so I would recommend taking a look at the typical work you’ll be exposed to on the Kennedys website.

It’s important to see value in whatever path has led you to this point; all experience can be relevant in different ways. You will be amazed and intrigued by the backgrounds of your trainee cohort and it definitely is never too late to go for it.

About the firm

The firm: Kennedys is a global law firm with expertise in litigation, dispute resolution and advisory services. We handle contentious and non-contentious matters for many industries, and provide claims and coverage advice to insurers and self-insureds for all lines of business across the globe.

The clients: Aer Lingus; Brit; Chubb; Etihad Airways; Great Western Rail; Hilton Hotels; JD Wetherspoon; Ryanair; Travelers; TUI group.

The deals: Assisting Stagecoach South Western Trains with the employment elements of its move out of the South West Trains Rail franchise, including TUPE work and redundancy issues; acting for Protector Insurance, the property and liability insurer of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the RBKC Tenants Management Organisation (TMO) in relation to the Grenfell Tower tragedy; acted for AXA Insurance against Ted Baker in claims arising out of the theft of stock by an employee from its warehouse over a period of years; acting for British Airways and AIG on claims arising from the fire and evacuation of flight BA 2276 at Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport in 2015; represented Esure in a claim by an insurance customer for losses in connection with a motorcycle accident and consequent life-changing spinal cord injuries.

Senior partner: Nick Thomas

Managing partner: Suzanne Liversidge

Other offices: Auckland, Austin, Bangkok, Basking Ridge, Belfast, Bermuda, Birmingham, Bogotá, Bristol, Brisbane, Brussels, Buenos Aires, Cambridge, Chelmsford, Chicago, Copenhagen, Delaware, Dubai, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Hamilton, Hong Kong, Houston, Israel, Kerala, Leeds, Lima, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Manchester, Melbourne, Mexico City, Miami, Mumbai, Muscat, Moscow, Newcastle, New Delhi, New York, Oman, Paris, Perth, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Santiago, São Paulo, Sheffield, Singapore, Sydney, Taunton, Tel Aviv, Wilmington.

Who we are: Kennedys is a global law firm with expertise in litigation and dispute resolution, particularly in the insurance and liability industries. With over 2,500 people worldwide across 44 offices in the UK and Europe, the US, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America, we have some of the most respected legal minds in their fields.

We’re here to make a difference for our clients, and each other, every day. We empower our people to deliver the very best work and reach their full potential.

What we do: Kennedys’ lawyers handle both contentious and non-contentious matters, and provide a range of specialist legal services for many industry sectors, including: insurance and reinsurance, aviation, banking and finance, construction, healthcare, life sciences, public sector, rail, real estate, retail, shipping and international trade, sport and leisure, transport and logistics, and travel and tourism. Kennedys also has particular expertise in litigation and dispute resolution, especially in defending insurance and liability claims.

What we’re looking for: Kennedys aims to recruit the best trainee talent and encourage diversity and an environment built upon different skills and backgrounds, to represent our global firm. Kennedys has a vibrant and supportive working environment and is looking for sociable and enthusiastic team players with commercial awareness.

What you’ll do: Kennedys has both a two-year training contract and a 30-month SQE programme, which allows trainees to develop relevant experience and skills that set them up in their careers as an excellent solicitor.

During the training contract, trainees will complete four six-month seats across Kennedys’ core practice areas of insurance and reinsurance, liability, healthcare and commercial. Kennedys also offers exciting client and international secondment opportunities. In addition, trainees will be given the opportunity to attend in-house and external seminars, while having access to a large array of online training through Kennedys’ internal learning management system.

Kennedys’ SQE programme is an innovative training programme for graduates. The programme will prepare trainees for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) that came into effect from Autumn 2021.

The 30-month training programme takes the form of a graduate solicitor apprenticeship that allows trainees to start working and earning at Kennedys immediately after university while gaining qualifying legal work experience in one of their core practice areas before sitting the SQE1 and SQE2 exams to qualify as a solicitor. The programme will involve working at Kennedys four days a week and having one day off a week to study at BBP. In addition to a dedicated supervisor at Kennedys, trainees will have a tutor and skills coach at BPP, to ensure that they have all the support at work and with their studies.

Perks: Health screening, employee assistance fund, eye care, private medical insurance, childcare, dental, corporate GP, Headspace, employee assistance programme, Peppy, life insurance, pension, income protection, fitness subsidy, cycle to work, season ticket loan, wellbeing day, 25 days’ holiday (increasing to 27 after five years).

Sponsorship: LPC, SQE and PGDL/GDL sponsor.

Diversity and inclusion

Please visit for information.

Percentage of female associates: 65%

Percentage of female partners: 35%

Percentage of BAME associates: 12%

Percentage of BAME partners: 5%