Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Kingsley Napley LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The broad practice areas’, ‘the culture is warmer’, ‘the culture, the approachability of all members of the various teams, the quality of work and the work/life balance’, ‘the key drivers in applying were the culture, the wide range of practice areas and the opportunity to take on responsibility early on’, ‘the firm really cares about their employees and their focus on D&I and wellbeing initiatives makes it a great place to work’, ‘reputation for criminal law and diversity and inclusion’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The hours and the people’, ‘the people and the atmosphere’, ‘the culture is really positive and collaborative and the work is interesting’, ‘the work’, ‘my experience to date has been that everyone is very interested to help and to get you involved as a trainee’, ‘the work/life balance’, ‘how approachable everybody is’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The remuneration’, ‘the salary’, ‘the hours and level of work do not correspond with the salary’, ‘there is some lack of clarity about the NQ process’, ‘the pay; a sentiment echoed across lawyers and trainees alike seems to be that the work we do does not align with the pay we receive (and some think that competitor firms are paid better)’

Best moment? ‘Writing blogs for the firm’, ‘attending trial’, ‘drafting an academic appeal that was successful’, ‘being the lead fee-earner on a case and obtaining a positive outcome for our client’, ‘carrying out an extensive piece of work on a matter, being able to present my findings to the client and receiving positive responses from both them and the partner’, ‘receiving positive feedback on a blog I wrote’

Worst moment? ‘Admin time due to note taking’, ‘making a mistake on a client matter’, ‘a few consecutive late-night finishes’, ‘dealing with difficult clients and supervisors’, ‘the current stress surrounding the extensive NQ applications’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Kingsley Napley LLP

Kinsgley Napley’s ‘breadth of work’ leads to a ‘unique variety of seat choices. Trainees were drawn to the London firm’s criminal litigation practice in particular. A small trainee intake means that recruits are ‘given the opportunity to make meaningful contributions to work from the outset’. As one respondent explained: ‘as a trainee in my first seat with no prior experience of this area of law, I have still been encouraged and enabled to take on varied work and lead communication with clients on transactions’. The firm is no stranger to collaboration: ‘departments work with each other on the same matter, which gives trainees experience outside of the current seat they are in’. Kingsley Napley has nabbed six Future Lawyers Winner medals this year for quality of work, client contact, social life, hybrid working, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. ‘The people’ are the best thing about the firm; there is an ‘abundance of excellent lawyers to learn from’, and the ‘training principal is amazing’. What’s more, ‘we get excellent quality work and are offered responsibility whilst still receiving an appropriate level of supervision’. A source of annoyance is that ‘trainee remuneration package doesn’t correspond with the firm’s aspirations – there is currently a lot of investment and talk of growth’. Some also think that ‘competitor firms are paid better’. Trainees did not enjoy ‘dealing with difficult clients and supervisors’ not ‘the current stress surrounding the extensive NQ applications’. But, on the plus side, ‘carrying out an extensive piece of work on a matter, presenting my findings to the client and receiving positive responses from both them and the partner’ was a moment of great pride.  For a firm that ‘values performance and high-quality work whilst maintaining a positive culture and work/life balance’, consider Kingsley Napley.

A day in the life of... Charlotte Jeanroy, trainee, Kingsley Napley

Departments to date: Real estate and construction; Clinical negligence and personal injury; Family and divorce

University: University of Durham

Degree: History & Modern Foreign Languages BA, 2(1)

As a third-seater, I can safely say there is no typical day in the life of a trainee. The work is varied and there is plenty of opportunity to get stuck in across the board. A key driver in my application to Kingsley Napley was the broad variety of practice ranges on offer, which I have taken full advantage of! I had the pleasure of developing a range of experience on both residential and commercial matters in my first seat, be it acting for a couple buying their new family home, developers selling plots or drafting the contract of commercial property subject to an occupational lease by an LPA receiver. In clinical negligence, I assisted on a range of multimillion-pound birth injury and spinal injury cases while also acting for a claimant against their former employer after suffering psychiatric injury as a result of voyeurism at work.

My daily life in the family and divorce team is no different – the work is varied, challenging and engaging. As a trainee at Kingsley Napley you are offered the opportunity to get as involved as you can to really experience the work of the team and develop your skills – all with excellent support from your team.

9.00am: A ‘typical’ day (of course, there is no such thing) would see me grabbing a quick breakfast and coffee to sit at my desk to check my emails and prioritise for the day – but today, I am off to mediation with a partner for a couple who are seeking to separate. This is an excellent insight into the different options available to couples outside the litigation process; the team has fee-earners trained as mediators and in the collaborative law approach. In our meeting, we discuss the clients’ priorities and review the financial disclosure provided. As the couple have assets outside the jurisdiction, we discuss the tax implications they might need to consider in order to inform any settlement.

11.30am: I arrive back to the office and tackle my to-do list. Today, I need to draft a statement to the court in support of an urgent non-molestation order and prepare the application for filing with the court.

1.00pm: Try as I may, I simply cannot stay away from our excellent restaurant, Lennie’s. I head up to catch up with other trainees for some delicious food in the hope that the sun is shining on the balcony.

2.00pm: In the afternoon, I join a call with a French client who is seeking advice on child relocation and finances in light of his move back to Paris. Our team is known for its specialist expertise in Anglo-French separations, and it is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the jurisdictional issues at play.

4.00pm: I am encouraged to take the lead in then liaising with a client for the further disclosure we require from them and need to request from her ex-partner, to enable us to advise on open proposals. This involves reviewing disclosure prepared by the parties, advising the client on next steps and preparing an updated asset schedule to discuss with my supervisor. I then meet with my supervisor to review the work. This is a good opportunity to also check in on my case load, prioritise for the week and discuss any particular work I would like to get more exposure to. I have found it invaluable to work with such approachable fee-earners who take an interest in your development; they take the time to provide insightful, timely feedback and put a focus on ensuring you are obtaining a broad range of experience during your seat.

5.30pm: At the end of the day, I have a call with a pro bono client that I am assisting on her benefits appeal as part of our work with the charity Zaccheus200Trust. This is just one of the excellent pro bono initiatives that trainees are encouraged to get involved in as part of our responsible business initiative. It is exceptionally rewarding achieving results for your clients, and an excellent way to develop your skills through interviewing clients, drafting submissions and advocating at tribunal.

6.00pm: We are really fortunate to be invited to a range of networking events, whether they be team socials playing shuffleboard, chambers summer garden parties or our firm-wide summer party. Tonight, I head to our family team’s annual junior family law debate which sees a spirited debate of ‘Rise of the Machines? This house believes that the future of a fair financial remedies systems lies in AI’ between junior counsel, followed by drinks and canapes.

About the firm

The firm: Kingsley Napley is an internationally recognised, UK-based law firm providing expertise for our clients’ business and private lives, when it matters most. The firm is highly regarded – and often recommended – by other lawyers and it enjoys a reputation for being innovative, creative and sensitive in its approach to complex legal issues. Over the years the firm has played a central role in many cases which have had a profound impact on our legal system.

The clients: Clients include regulatory bodies, local authorities and government bodies, as well as large public companies, owner-managed businesses and individuals, many of whom are in the public eye.

Senior partner: James Fulforth

Managing partner: Linda Woolley

What we do: The firm has expertise in employment law, private client advisory and deputyships, public law, criminal defence litigation, corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, family law, medical negligence and personal injury, regulatory and professional discipline, real estate, construction and immigration.

What we’re looking for: Our trainees are a top priority for the future of the firm. We look for candidates who are motivated, have enthusiasm and commercial awareness, and a passion for the areas of law we practise in. We want our trainees to be able to bring something to the table and to be creative and practical problem solvers.

What you’ll do: As a trainee at KN you’ll be working with a range of highly experienced, exceptional lawyers in each practice across a variety of matters. We like our trainees to progress quickly, so once they’ve learnt the ropes they are given more responsibility and offered the chance to meet clients, be responsible for their own work, and to take part in marketing and client development activities.

Perks: Core benefits: life assurance, PHI, pension, private medical insurance and cash plan benefit.

Flexible benefits: cycle to work scheme, dental insurance, give as you earn, Tastecard, health screenings, holiday buy/sell/bank, retail and technology vouchers, will writing, GymFlex discounted gym rates, 24/7 available employee assistance and therapy programme, available through Lifeworks.

Other benefits: discretionary performance award, wellness subsidy for use towards a wellbeing activity of your choice, conveyancing contribution, gym loan, holiday accrual with length of service, free independent mortgage advice, long service awards, season ticket loan, time off for good causes, wellbeing events – Pilates, HIIT and yoga.

Diversity and inclusion

Percentage of female associates: 75%

Percentage of female partners: 52%