Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Reed Smith LLP

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

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘The firm is highly ranked in my preferred practice areas and offers a good work/life balance’, the friendly lawyers I met on the vacation scheme’, ‘the ‘small trainee intake’, ‘The remuneration at associate level. It also had great D&I and pro bono opportunities’, ‘the events I attended with the firm whilst an undergraduate were unique and the atmosphere when visiting the firm never felt uncomfortable which stood out for a person of colour/ethnic minority’

Best thing about the firm? ‘Approachability of supervisors and fee-earners. Work/life balance is also very good’, ‘the variety of work’, ‘the people – on the whole I’d say employees here are kind and supportive’, ‘the culture’, ‘approachability and friendliness’, ‘the pro bono practice’, ‘the quality of the clients and the training’, ‘supportiveness of peers’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘There should be more practice area-specific training sessions’, ‘a few bad apples who spoil the lot’, ‘sometimes tight deadlines require long hours’, ‘there are some real Americanisations which can be frustrating’, ‘it can be hard to interact with other people on other floors’, ‘it can be quiet at times (lack of work given to trainees)’, ‘you don’t get much input over your seats – it’s a bit of a lottery!’

Best moment? ‘Receiving an award for a piece of work I completed’, ‘having a client say they didn’t realise I was a trainee because my work was done to such a high standard’, ‘getting to do a client interview two weeks into my training contract’, ‘the amount of client interaction I’ve already had’, ‘getting my training offer and spending time with my cohort’

Worst moment? ‘Hearing other trainees talk about the terrible experience they had with some of their supervisors’, ‘a day of back-to-back in-person training’, ‘being ill on my first day’, ‘being asked to do work late at night only for it to be done by my supervisor without me being told’, ‘late nights when all tasks were marked as ‘urgent’’, ‘starting my first seat was a bit daunting’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Reed Smith LLP

Reed Smith ‘offers the opportunity to practise different types of law not traditionally provided at other firms, such as media and shipping law’. The international firm ‘places a lot of focus on pro bono’, which was ‘really appealing’ to trainees when deciding where to apply. Several respondents also mentioned the ‘enjoyable interview process’ where they ‘felt respected by the interviewers’. Trainees enjoy ‘lots of responsibility’, as well as plenty of opportunities to ‘interact with clients and opposing firms’. Respondents love that ‘everyone is incredibly approachable and supportive and make you feel involved in all the work’. In fact, trainees feel involved in all aspects of life at Reed Smith thanks to a very inclusive work environment. Another plus point is that trainees feel ‘generally under less pressure than at Magic Circle firms’ thanks to a ‘very good work/life balance’. One downside is that ‘the seat options are quite a bit more limited’ than at larger firms. Another complaint is that ‘trainees have very limited say in which department they will be seated’, which ‘makes it feel as though you have very little control over where you will be placed during your training contract’. Some recruits would also like to see ‘more check ins with trainees’ about their development. ‘Being publicly shamed for not staying late enough’, ‘anxiety when it comes seat allocation’ and a ‘slight lull even after being proactive to ask for work’ were low points. Thankfully, ‘attending a mediation with clients in my first month’, ‘working on the Disability Benefits Advocacy Project’, and ‘assisting with a ship sale closing and being praised for my assistance’ made up for hard times, and more. For a ‘very well-respected firm with good clients and interesting practice areas’, where the culture is ‘kind and supportive’, research Reed Smith.

About the firm

The firm: At Reed Smith, we believe that the practice of law has the power to drive progress. We know your time is valuable and your matters are important. We are focused on outcomes, are highly collaborative, and have deep industry insight that, when coupled with our local market knowledge, allows us to anticipate and address your needs. You deserve purposeful, highly engaged client service that drives progress for your business.

Global managing partner: Casey Ryan

Managing partner EMEA: Gregor Pryor

Managing partner London: Andrew Jenkinson

Other offices: Beijing; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Singapore; Abu Dhabi; Astana; Athens; Brussels; Dubai; Frankfurt; London; Munich; Paris; Austin; Century City; Chicago; Dallas; Houston; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; Orange County; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Princeton; Richmond; San Francisco; Silicon Valley; Tysons; Washington DC.

Who we are: Reed Smith is a dynamic international law firm dedicated to helping clients move their businesses forward. With an inclusive culture and innovative mindset, we deliver smarter, more creative legal services that drive better outcomes for our clients. Our deep industry knowledge, long-standing relationships and collaborative structure make us the go-to partner for complex disputes, transactions and regulatory matters.

Our team of 3,000 people (including more than 1,700 lawyers) across 31 offices in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, operate as one global partnership to drive progress for our clients, for ourselves and for our communities.

What we’re looking for: We are looking for candidates who are on target for or have achieved a 2.1 or above at degree level (or the equivalent) in any discipline. We are mindful that circumstances can sometimes prevent individuals from meeting their true potential and so we would encourage you to email us directly if you have mitigating circumstances. We are also looking for you to demonstrate that you have the skills and behaviours which we would expect from our trainees and these are as follows:

Legal skills: Practice skills and knowledge – learns the basics; research and analysis – approaches research and analysis logically; written and oral communication skills – communicates clearly and concisely; is a good listener.

Citizenship: Developing self and others – actively makes use of opportunities to further own development; teamwork and collaboration – works co-operatively with colleagues.

Business skills: Leadership – understands Reed Smith’s strategy, values and policies; matter and financial management – manages own time commercially.

Clients: Client relationships – seeks to understand and meet client needs; business development – builds knowledge of the firm’s capabilities and establishes relationships.

What you’ll do: Your trainee induction: your training and induction programme will start when you join us when studying for the SQE; this will mean that when you start your qualifying work experience you will be ready to hit the ground running.

Your peers: the first relationships you’ll form at Reed Smith will be with your fellow trainees, who will help you develop and prosper throughout your training contract. As part of the process, you’ll also link up with a ‘buddy’ – a more experienced solicitor who will provide guidance and support to help you through your first six months (and often beyond). In addition, for those conversations about qualification or more advanced topics, we offer mentoring support in each practice group from a junior associate.

Cornerstone trainee development programme: in addition to training to introduce you to our practice areas, you will attend ongoing training on updates and developments with the partners and associates. We are also keen to allow you to develop your own coaching and mentoring skills, so we encourage our trainee cohorts to mentor those more junior to them.

Qualifying work experience: while classroom learning is important, your practical legal training and experience is where you really learn how to be a lawyer. During each seat, you will get regular feedback from your supervisor to help you gauge your progress, including a mid-seat and end-of-seat appraisal.

Perks: Benefits package includes: 25 days’ annual holiday; permanent health insurance; life insurance; contributory pension scheme; season ticket loan; staff introduction bonus; conveyance fees reimbursed for domestic conveyance.

A flexible benefits package which includes: critical illness; dental insurance; private medical insurance; health screening; travel insurance; personal training; cycle to work scheme; discounted gym membership; restaurant card; give as you earn (GAYE).

Sponsorship: We will pay your full course fees for both the GDL and SQE, plus maintenance grants at £10,000 during your GDL study year and £11,500 through your SQE study year. In addition, while studying the SQE, you will also be paid the London Living Wage while working two days a week for us.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are central to our business. The talent pool is changing rapidly, and we are determined to attract candidates from the widest pool possible, to continue to be competitive and to ensure the very best service for our clients. We see differences as a strength, and we work hard to ensure a fair and inclusive environment for all, where the unique insights, perspectives and backgrounds of individuals are valued.

We run a number of programmes focused on all aspects of diversity and inclusion, including: race and ethnicity, disability, social mobility, gender equality and the LGBTQ+ community.