Survey Results - Trainee feedback on Russell-Cooke

The lowdown - Trainees (in their own words) on Russell-Cooke

Why did you choose this firm over any others? ‘I wanted to train at a full-service firm so I could experience both contentious and non-contentious work’, ‘the broad range of practice areas and the excellent work/life balance’, ‘because of its industry-leading reputation’, ‘range of seat options, opportunity to do legal aid work while still receiving a good salary’, ‘it is a full-service law firm with a good variety of seats available’, ‘it practises in interesting areas of law and I had heard that the work/life balance was good’

Best thing about the firm? ‘The diversity of work on offer is something that really stands out. Everyone I’ve met has been extremely approachable, which has made my career transition considerably easier both in terms of training and socialising. The work/life balance and targets are also stellar as far as London firms go’, ‘we work in interesting areas of law that help people and aren’t just corporate/commercial’, ‘the work/life balance and the opportunities to get involved in meaningful tasks’

Worst thing about the firm? ‘The discrepancy between supervisors – I have had excellent training and supervision in some teams but very poor supervision in others’, ‘the firm could take steps to improve socio-economic diversity’, ‘poor delegation and low work levels in some departments means that you can sometimes be sitting around with little to do’, ‘remuneration is low, the LPC is only partially funded, and the IT needs a serious upgrade (which the firm is working on)’

Best moment? ‘Attending a very interesting trial with counsel’, ‘attending court independently with the client to undertake advocacy in front of the judge’, ‘attending trial at the Royal Courts of Justice’, ‘the opportunity to help prepare and then attend trials at the High Court’, ‘running matters by myself from start to finish with partner supervision’, ‘working with solicitors of all levels – from NQs, associates with several years PQE, senior associates to partners’

Worst moment? ‘General inefficiencies in the IT and information management’, ‘feeling out of my depth for the first few months of my TC. I felt like I was being given difficult tasks with very little support’, ‘chasing supervisors regularly for responses’, ‘being given a difficult task without supervision’, ‘the pressure of meeting deadlines’, ‘the slow start to some seats where there is not much work to do/available’

The Legal 500 Future Lawyers verdict on Russell-Cooke

Russell-Cooke has a ‘truly wide array of practice areas’, spanning both contentious and non-contentious work. This breadth of work and expertise appealed to trainees who ‘felt it would benefit our training’. ‘The approachability and genuineness of the interviewers’ and the size of the firm – ‘large enough to attract interesting work but not so large that it becomes difficult to know everyone’ – also encouraged trainees to apply. An ‘excellent work/life balance’ completes the package, and has earned the Southwest London firm a Future Lawyers Winner trophy. Russell-Cooke trainees receive high levels of responsibility from the get-go and appreciate being ‘given proper tasks which allow you to develop your skills and add value to the team’. Responses were littered with instances of attending trials; notable highlights were ‘going to several Crown Court trials during my seat in the crime department’ and ‘all of the client contact. I have been to numerous client meetings and hearings throughout my training contract’. When it comes to culture, respondents say that ‘the people on the whole are really friendly’, with one trainee even going so far as to say ‘I haven’t met a single person I’ve disliked’. Nonetheless, as with all firms, there are areas in which recruits believe Russell-Cooke could do a bit better. These include ‘the lack of transparency around qualification, in particular in relation to NQ salaries (which differ from department to department)’. There is also ‘still room for improvement when it comes to diversity, especially socio-economic diversity’. The legal technology could use an upgrade too. Worst moments were ‘being given administrative tasks in isolation without any context or introduction to a matter’ and ‘feeling totally out of my depth when running a case myself without enough support or guidance’. Yet for a ‘breadth of practice areas where trainees can experience personal and commercial work and decide which suits them best’, consider Russell-Cooke.

About the firm

The firm: Russell-Cooke is the London law firm with a more thoughtful approach. Clients range from individuals desperate for a legal remedy where the result could be life-changing to royal families, celebrities and other high-net-worth individuals, as well as businesses ranging from tech start-ups
to household-name retail outlets and charities.

The clients: Pret a Manger; Sky; Chelsea Football Club; The Law Society; British Heart Foundation; Lendlease; Matalan; Unicef; Lidl; World Wildlife Fund; part of the consortium representing victims and families of the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The deals: Acting for vegan entrepreneur Heather Mills in expansion of her property portfolio; securing a £2m settlement for a victim of a road traffic accident who suffered catastrophic injuries; advising ultra-urban developer Bloom on securing a £93m debt facility for its central London joint venture with a US private equity firm; representing families of the deceased at the Shoreham air crash inquest; succeeding in a Court of Appeal case overturning a child abduction decision on an important point of law; securing an injunction in a harassment case; successfully defending barristers’ chambers in protected belief discrimination claim; assisting clients in reaching settlement in Oxford Street right to light claim; continuing to represent victims and families of the Grenfell Tower fire at the inquiry.

Partner in charge: John Gould

Senior partners: Alison Regan and James Carroll

Other offices: Putney, Kingston

Who we are: We’re not driven by profit alone and we’re proud to offer a better work/life balance alongside high-level legal work.

What we do: We offer the most broad-based training contract in London, with seats ranging from crime and family to real estate and corporate.

What we’re looking for: A quick learner with strong academic results (AAB at A level and a 2(1)). You’re used to working – and thinking – independently.

What you’ll do: Four seats across three offices with two formal reviews during each seat and ongoing mentoring and supervision from dedicated supervisors.

Perks: Benefits include generous bonus scheme, pension, childcare vouchers, private medical insurance and cycle-to-work scheme. Plus free lunchtime yoga in Putney.

Sponsorship: Up to £10,000 to cover SQE/LPC costs.

Diversity and inclusion

Percentage of female partners: 43%