Winner Profiles

Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm

Shoosmiths

Openness and transparency are at the heart of Shoosmiths’ award-winning approach to recruitment, so that the whole process is designed for candidates’ benefit. The programme is geared to enable candidates to do well, not trip them up, and the willingness of people at the firm to engage extensively with students means that even those who do not go on to train at Shoosmiths tend to receive careers advice that will benefit them in the long term. See for yourself why Shoosmiths has been named this year’s Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm and discover the many opportunities on offer to engage here.

Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm

Farrer & Co LLP

There are no “identikit” people at Farrer & Co, a firm that knows its strengths lie in the varied skills, talents and experiences of its lawyers. With the firm’s edge provided by its people, a high-quality recruitment process is a must – the cornerstone of which is Farrers’ first-rate vacation scheme, which deservedly takes this year’s award for Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm for providing candidates with an experience of real trainee life across the variety of practice areas in which it boasts unique expertise.

Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm

Mills & Reeve LLP

What you see during a vacation scheme always reveals much about what a firm is really like, so it’s no surprise that Mills & Reeve’s work experience programme is so well regarded – the firm has been named in The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work For for 16 years running. Now it has added the award for Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm to its heaving trophy cabinet thanks to a vacation scheme that is modelled as a “mini-training contract”, enabling candidates to experience a greater variety of practice areas than most other schemes offer.

Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Sullivan & Cromwell’s mantelpiece is already groaning with awards in recognition of its stellar trainee recruitment programme which, remarkably, is still under 10 years old. S&C eschews the large trainee intakes at other City firms in favour of small cohorts, meaning that the level of investment in every trainee is first rate and that extensive exposure to high quality international work is guaranteed. That approach is mirrored in a best-in-class vacation scheme and the wider recruitment process – read on to learn more about this year’s Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City.

Best Trainer – Medium City Firm:

Bristows LLP

A leading name in the world of intellectual property and patents, Bristows has a long-established reputation for attracting STEM graduates to its award-winning training programme. Trainees benefit from a level of early responsibility that larger firms cannot match, while the small intake of 10 new joiners a year ensures that every trainee’s development is individually tailored. Added flexibility is provided by a mix of three and six-month seats and a variety of secondment opportunities.

Best Trainer – National/Large Regional Firm

Osborne Clarke LLP

Unlike some firms, Osborne Clarke does not recruit for the short and medium-term needs of the business, but is committed to trainees’ long-term career progression with the firm, whatever path they choose. Every trainee in every diverse annual intake benefits from bespoke support that begins even before the training contract officially starts. And once a trainee is through the doors, the firm ensures they experience a wide variety of work areas, which helps to develop a well-rounded skillset ahead of qualifying.

Best Recruiter – Large City Firm

Macfarlanes LLP

Rigour and fairness are the cornerstones of trainee recruitment at Macfarlanes, a firm that goes toe to toe with larger City competitors on clients and work quality, but does things differently when it comes growing its business. The firm has never merged, preferring to grow organically, which is why it invests so much in hiring and training the next generation. Equal weighting of vacation scheme and direct training contract applicants combines with a CV-blind policy and a careful scoring system to ensure that every candidate is measured on exactly the same criteria. This is vital when you’re recruiting your partners of the future – and makes Macfarlanes a worthy winner of this year’s Best Recruiter – Large City Firm award.

All Winners

The 2019 LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards 2019 took place on Thursday 16 May 2019 in Grace Hall, London. The aim of the awards was simple: to highlight and celebrate the great work that firms up and down the country do, and the fantastic events and opportunities they create for their trainees. The 2019 winners can be viewed below.

Best Recruiter – Large City Firm

Macfarlanes LLP

Rigour and fairness are the cornerstones of trainee recruitment at Macfarlanes, a firm that goes toe to toe with larger City competitors on clients and work quality, but does things differently when it comes growing its business. The firm has never merged, preferring to grow organically, which is why it invests so much in hiring and training the next generation. Equal weighting of vacation scheme and direct training contract applicants combines with a CV-blind policy and a careful scoring system to ensure that every candidate is measured on exactly the same criteria. This is vital when you’re recruiting your partners of the future – and makes Macfarlanes a worthy winner of this year’s Best Recruiter – Large City Firm award.

Nominees: Slaughter and May Reed Smith Hogan Lovells Simmons & Simmons LLP Taylor Wessing CMS

Best Trainer – Medium City Firm:

Bristows LLP

A leading name in the world of intellectual property and patents, Bristows has a long-established reputation for attracting STEM graduates to its award-winning training programme. Trainees benefit from a level of early responsibility that larger firms cannot match, while the small intake of 10 new joiners a year ensures that every trainee’s development is individually tailored. Added flexibility is provided by a mix of three and six-month seats and a variety of secondment opportunities.

Nominees: Forsters LLP Devonshires Solicitors Withers LLP Collyer Bristow LLP Mishcon de Reya LLP Kingsley Napley LLP

Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Sullivan & Cromwell’s mantelpiece is already groaning with awards in recognition of its stellar trainee recruitment programme which, remarkably, is still under 10 years old. S&C eschews the large trainee intakes at other City firms in favour of small cohorts, meaning that the level of investment in every trainee is first rate and that extensive exposure to high quality international work is guaranteed. That approach is mirrored in a best-in-class vacation scheme and the wider recruitment process – read on to learn more about this year’s Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City.

Nominees: Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP White & Case LLP Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK LLP Cooley (UK) LLP Vinson & Elkins RLLP

Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm

Shoosmiths

Openness and transparency are at the heart of Shoosmiths’ award-winning approach to recruitment, so that the whole process is designed for candidates’ benefit. The programme is geared to enable candidates to do well, not trip them up, and the willingness of people at the firm to engage extensively with students means that even those who do not go on to train at Shoosmiths tend to receive careers advice that will benefit them in the long term. See for yourself why Shoosmiths has been named this year’s Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm and discover the many opportunities on offer to engage here.

Nominees: Burges Salmon LLP DWF LLP Addleshaw Goddard Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP BLM Womble Bond Dickinson

Best Trainer – National/Large Regional Firm

Osborne Clarke LLP

Unlike some firms, Osborne Clarke does not recruit for the short and medium-term needs of the business, but is committed to trainees’ long-term career progression with the firm, whatever path they choose. Every trainee in every diverse annual intake benefits from bespoke support that begins even before the training contract officially starts. And once a trainee is through the doors, the firm ensures they experience a wide variety of work areas, which helps to develop a well-rounded skillset ahead of qualifying.

Nominees: Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP Hill Dickinson LLP Gowling WLG (UK) LLP DLA Piper UK LLP Gateley PLC Mills & Reeve LLP

Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm

Farrer & Co LLP

There are no “identikit” people at Farrer & Co, a firm that knows its strengths lie in the varied skills, talents and experiences of its lawyers. With the firm’s edge provided by its people, a high-quality recruitment process is a must – the cornerstone of which is Farrers’ first-rate vacation scheme, which deservedly takes this year’s award for Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm for providing candidates with an experience of real trainee life across the variety of practice areas in which it boasts unique expertise.

Nominees: Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP Withers LLP Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP RPC

Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm

Mills & Reeve LLP

What you see during a vacation scheme always reveals much about what a firm is really like, so it’s no surprise that Mills & Reeve’s work experience programme is so well regarded – the firm has been named in The Sunday Times’ Best 100 Companies to Work For for 16 years running. Now it has added the award for Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm to its heaving trophy cabinet thanks to a vacation scheme that is modelled as a “mini-training contract”, enabling candidates to experience a greater variety of practice areas than most other schemes offer.

Nominees: DWF LLP Ward Hadaway VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) Michelmores LLP Burges Salmon LLP

Best Trainer – Large City Firm

Bird & Bird

Trainees are given a huge amount of responsibility at an early stage. There are opportunities for personal development and knowledge sharing, and you are assigned a trainee buddy to offer support and guidance.

Nominees: Ashurst LLP Norton Rose Fulbright Dentons Travers Smith LLP Charles Russell Speechlys Baker McKenzie

Best Recruiter – Medium City Firm

Boodle Hatfield LLP

The process was very open and friendly and the message was clear about what the firm was looking for. They really do look for a good fit, rather than just churning through candidates.

Nominees: Goodman Derrick LLP Farrer & Co LLP Wedlake Bell LLP Stephenson Harwood LLP Mayer Brown International LLP RPC

Best Trainer – US Firm in the City

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP

Great supervision and training. I felt valued and supported as a trainee and was able to undertake a broad spectrum of work.

Nominees: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld Covington & Burling LLP Milbank LLP Latham & Watkins Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP

Best Recruiter – Medium Regional Firm

Muckle LLP

The recruitment process was transparent and open. It gave me a good sense of the firm before being offered a training contract.

Nominees: Gordons LLP Birkett Long LLP Michelmores LLP Capital Law Mundays LLP VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards)

Best Trainer – Medium Regional Firm

Tees

I received excellent client contact throughout my training contract. The supervision has been fantastic – there is a good balance between assisted work and independent exercises.

Nominees: Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP Steele Raymond LLP Trethowans LLP Clarion Solicitors Taylor Walton LLP Sills & Betteridge LLP

Best Recruiter – Small Firm

Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors LLP

The process was incredibly fair and thorough. The partners interviewing were extremely welcoming and enthusiastic. The process could not be faulted and it gave a very good impression of the firm.

Nominees: Wrigleys Solicitors LLP Acuity Legal Curzon Green Solicitors FBC Manby Bowdler LLP

Best Trainer – Small Firm

Thackray Williams LLP

The supervision and assistance has been excellent.  The access to senior members of the firm is as good as I could have envisaged, and all members of the firm are pleasant to deal with and helpful.

Nominees: PDT Solicitors Kesar & Co Solicitors Atherton Godfrey LLP Beale & Company Solicitors LLP

Best Training Principal – Large trainee intake

Hill Dickinson LLP – Richard Capper

I cannot praise this person enough. They are personable, supportive and encouraging. They really listen and take into account your own wishes, strengths and qualities as a trainee, and have a vision for you at the firm that tends to wholly match your own.

Nominees: Macfarlanes LLP – Sean Lavin Weightmans LLP – Sarah Dowd Addleshaw Goddard – Garry Elliott Hugh James – Gwen Morgan-Evans Accutrainee – Susan Cooper

Best Training Principal – Small trainee intake

Milbank LLP – Tom Canning

Our training principal is extremely approachable and discreet, human and understanding. They are very clearly enthusiastic about the training programme and receptive to new ideas from the trainees on how the programme is run.

Nominees: Wrigleys Solicitors LLP – Sue Greaves Beale & Company Solicitors LLP – Ian Masser Marriott Harrison LLP – David Strong Howard Kennedy – Vernon Dennis Thrings – Fiona Kellow

Commendation for Diversity

Dechert LLP

Dechert immediately stood out among the submissions for its commitment to both fostering a diverse and inclusive culture at the firm, and its passion for driving change within the profession across a whole range of areas. Their unrivalled success in partnering with Aspiring Solicitors for two years coupled with their recent adoption of Rare’s contextual recruitment system has resulted in extremely impressive statistics. With the firm’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee, various initiatives, and a focus on mental health training, Dechert showed us that they are serious about improving diversity and supporting their employees.

Central London was crackling with excitement on 17 May as representatives from over 60 top law firms convened at IET London: Savoy Place to find out who would be the winners of the prestigious LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards 2018.

Best Trainer – US Firm in the City

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

A brilliant level of client contact from an early stage and a nurturing environment where each supervisor looks out for your best interests.

Nominees: White & Case LLP K&L Gates LLP Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy

Best Trainer – Medium City Firm:

Farrer & Co LLP

The work environment is brilliant, with a truly collegiate feel. It strikes the right balance between efficiency, hard work and support.

Nominees: Devonshires Solicitors Leigh Day Withers LLP Kingsley Napley LLP Wedlake Bell LLP

Best Recruiter – Medium City Firm

Forsters LLP

The recruitment process was excellently run. With friendly communication, and a high level of partner involvement, I was made to feel that the firm genuinely valued its trainees and was fully invested in the recruitment process.

Nominees: RPC Hodge Jones & Allen LLP Boodle Hatfield LLP Brsitows LLP Farrer & Co LLP Goodman Derrick LLP Bircham Dyson Bell LLP

Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK LLP

The vacation scheme gave me a real insight into the work areas and environment of the firm, and I felt as if I was undertaking the same sort of work that I would be doing as a trainee.

Nominees: HFW Watson Farley & Williams LLP Kennedys Fieldfisher Charles Russell Speechlys LLP Hogan Lovells

Best Recruiter – Medium Regional Firm

Michelmores LLP

The firm demonstrated themselves to be very approachable, proactive in their approach to me as an individual, and flexible about integrating me into the recruitment process.

Nominees: Royds Withy King Bevan Brittan LLP Muckle LLP VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) Trethowans LLP Hugh James

Best Trainer – National/Large Regional Firm

Mills & Reeve LLP

The supervision is excellent. As a trainee you are treated equally to fellow fee-earners and receive meaningful and valuable work. I was given exposure to clients very early on in my first seat, alongside a brilliant support system.

Nominees: Browne Jacobson LLP Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP Shakespeare Martineau LLP BLM Pinsent Masons LLP TLT LLP

Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm

Osborne Clarke LLP

The recruitment process was fantastic. Everyone was very friendly and supportive, and I was made to feel at home.

Nominees: DWF LLP Freeths LLP Burges Salmon LLP Walker Morris LLP Womble Bond Dickinson Shoosmiths

Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

I enjoyed the recruitment process at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP the most out of all those I applied to. It was straightforward and transparent. The interviews with a partner and counsel were informal and conversational, focusing on commercial awareness and my CV.

Nominees: Winston & Strawn London LLP Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP Cooley (UK) LLP Kirkland & Ellis International LLP Vinson & Elkins RLLP

Best Training Principal – Large trainee intake

Withers LLP

Ceri is very friendly and enthusiastic about the training programme at Withers. I know they are always available, and I can contact them if I have any issues or general queries about my training.

Nominees: Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP Pinsent Masons LLP Mills & Reeve LLP Macfarlanes LLP Osborne Clarke

Best Training Principal – Small trainee intake

Vinson & Elkins RLLP

Mark is an excellent training principal. They are very warm, friendly and approachable. They offer practical insights and help prepare you to be a good associate. They are not only helpful in respect of work issues, but also personal matters.

Nominees: Blaser Mills Tees Sullivan & Cromwell LLP Hodge Jones & Allen LLP Mundays LLP

Best Trainer – Medium Regional Firm

Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP

I have conducted my own client meetings, as well as fee earners making a real effort to take me to their meetings where appropriate. I feel very valued and am always happy to come into work.

Nominees: Foot Anstey LLP Steele Raymond Blaser Mills EMW Law LLP Tees Mundays LLP

Best Trainer – Large City Firm

Taylor Wessing

Excellent training, plenty of responsibility and trust, and great exposure to a variety of work and to clients at an early stage.

Nominees: CMS Clyde & Co LLP Norton Rose Fulbright Charles Russell Speechlys LLP Macfarlanes LLP Baker McKenzie

Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm

Burges Salmon LLP

The firm’s culture particularly struck me; we were given trainee buddies and everyone was genuinely friendly. Now I have joined the firm, some of the connections I made on my vac scheme got in touch to welcome me. The work was high quality and I got a real flavour for how life would work here.

Nominees: Blake Morgan LLP Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP Addleshaw Goddard DWF LLP Ward Hadaway Osborne Clarke LLP

Best Recruiter – Small Firm

Helix Law

The partners are directly involved in recruitment, which gives a clear point of contact and also establishes a good relationship from the very beginning of the recruitment process.

Nominees: Beale & Company Solicitors LLP Atherton Godfrey Kesar & Co Solicitors Thackray Williams LLP

Best Recruiter – Large City Firm

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

The main application question was not the typical “Why law?” or “Why a City firm?”; rather, it was aimed at understanding the applicant, their background, their achievements and what they were interested in, which provides scope for a broader range of answers and, ultimately, a more diverse intake.

Nominees: Dentons Allen & Overy LLP Slaughter and May Reed Smith Hogan Lovells Travers Smith LLP

Best Trainer – Small Firm

Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors LLP

I can’t speak highly enough of the client interaction afforded to trainees at the firm. From almost my first week, I was meeting clients and being exposed to real-life legal issues. This has given my fellow trainees and me a practical, human approach to solving legal issues that you just can’t get sitting at a computer all day.

Nominees: Curzon Green Solicitors Birchall Blackburn Law Thackray Williams LLP Atkins Hope

Commendation for Diversity

Reed Smith

This firm stood out for its commitment to both fostering a diverse and inclusive culture at the firm, but also for a passion to drive change within the profession.

Last night saw the announcement of the winners of the 14th annual LawCareers.Net Training & Recruitment Awards. The awards set out to identify and laud those firms that give their trainees a flying start in the legal profession, by playing it straight during the recruitment process, and supporting and nurturing their burgeoning careers.

Commendation for Diversity

Baker McKenzie

This firm has demonstrated a strong and consistent commitment to increasing diversity and to building an inclusive culture.

Best Training Principal – Small trainee intake

Forbes Solicitors

This person is an exceptional training principal and mentor, and is demonstrably committed, enthusiastic about and invested in the firm’s training programme and trainees. They are extremely approachable; if you have any type of query or difficulty, it will be taken seriously.

Best Training Principal – Large trainee intake

Withers LLP

This person is a natural teacher and inspiring mentor, as well as being incredibly committed and approachable. You can go to them with anything from technical questions or concerns about training, to creative ideas about different ways that trainees can get involved with business development.

Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm

DWF LLP

The vacation scheme was an extremely valuable insight into life at the firm.

Best Work Placement Scheme – City Firm

Farrer & Co LLP

I was really surprised by the genuine interest that people took in the vac scheme students.

Best Trainer – Small Firm

Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors LLP

I cannot fault the experience that I have had. I have seen an increase in responsibilities, coupled with as much support as I need; every single staff member is approachable and willing to help. I have been given the opportunity to express how I would like my training contract to be shaped by having a choice of seats. I feel privileged to be able to say that I have trained with this firm.

Best Recruiter – Small Firm

Thackray Williams LLP

It was the most personal recruitment process that I have been through, by far. The partners that interviewed me could not have been any more friendly or helpful.

Best Trainer – Medium Regional Firm

Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP

My supervision throughout all my seats so far has been excellent. I have always felt that my questions and concerns can be answered, and I was reassured from day one that there is no such thing as a ‘silly’ question. I feel that the work I do is appreciated and I am always made to feel valued as part of the team.

Best Recruiter – Medium Regional Firm

Hugh James

Best Recruiter – Medium Regional Firm

Best Trainer – National/Large Regional Firm

Burges Salmon LLP

The atmosphere and culture at the firm is extremely open and straightforward – and the training you receive reflects that.

Best Recruiter – National/Large Regional Firm

Osborne Clarke LLP

The firm prides itself on its friendly and approachable culture and this is very much in evidence during the recruitment stage.

Best Trainer – US Firm in the City

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP

I am genuinely astounded by the level of support that I have received. The client contact has been far more than I was expecting and the partners always insist on getting you involved where possible.

Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City

Vinson & Elkins RLLP

The recruitment process is geared towards creating a long-term fit, from both the firm’s and the candidate’s point of view.

Best Trainer – Medium City Firm:

Kingsley Napley LLP

I have found that my supervisors and senior staff are willing to take the time to answer questions and explain instructions clearly. I have been given client contact throughout my training, including having my own clients. While enjoying this responsibility, I also felt well supervised, rather than being thrown in at the deep end.

Best Recruiter – Medium City Firm

BDB Pitmans LLP

The firm provided thoughtful recruitment and selection activities, which were different to those I had expected.

Best Trainer – Large City Firm

Taylor Wessing

The firm provides excellent training. All the partners and associates are on the same page in terms of ensuring that trainees are provided with a broad spectrum of work, which enables a holistic understanding of the particular seat. They also actively encourage learning and their doors are always open.

Best Recruiter – Large City Firm

Hogan Lovells

The recruitment team at the firm is exceptional – they are friendly, approachable and professional in their dealings with future joiners and trainees.

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