These firms are among the best in their class, providing enriching training contracts and fair, thorough recruitment processes which give aspiring lawyers the opportunity to shine, whether in the City or a regional hub. Read our profiles of these winning firms to learn more about what makes them special when it comes to training, recruitment and vacation schemes, as well as commercial law.

2018
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

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: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy, Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP, Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP, K&L Gates LLP, White & Case LLP
Burges Salmon LLP

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: Osborne Clarke LLP, Burges Salmon LLP, Ward Hadaway, DWF LLP, Addleshaw Goddard, Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP, Blake Morgan LLP
Farrer & Co LLP

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: Farrer & Co LLP, Bircham Dyson Bell LLP, Wedlake Bell LLP, Kingsley Napley LLP, Withers LLP, Leigh Day, Devonshires Solicitors
Forsters 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: Goodman Derrick LLP, Farrer & Co LLP, Bristows LLP, Forsters LLP, Boodle Hatfield LLP, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, RPC
Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher UK 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: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Hogan Lovells, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Kennedys, Fieldfisher, Watson Farley & Williams LLP, HFW

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: Thackray Williams LLP, Helix Law, Kesar & Co Solicitors, Atherton Godfrey, Beale & Company Solicitors LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills 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: Travers Smith LLP, Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Slaughter and May, Allen & Overy LLP, Dentons

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: Atkins Hope, Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors LLP, Thackray Williams LLP, Birchall Blackburn Law, Curzon Green Solicitors
Michelmores LLP

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. The firm is alert and capable of responding 'out-of-the box' when they see the opportunity is right to do so.

  • Nominees: Hugh James, Michelmores LLP, Trethowans LLP, VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards), Muckle LLP, Bevan Brittan LLP, Royds Withy King
Mills & Reeve LLP

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: Mills & Reeve LLP, TLT LLP, Pinsent Masons LLP, BLM, Shakespeare Martineau LLP, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, Browne Jacobson LLP
Osborne Clarke 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. It was also very open, transparent and honest, so I felt that the side of the firm I was seeing was real and not just put on for the recruitment period.

  • Nominees: Osborne Clarke LLP, Shoosmiths, Womble Bond Dickinson, Walker Morris LLP, Burges Salmon LLP, Freeths LLP, DWF LLP
Reed Smith

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. Backed up by impressive statistics and a range of initiatives that include a reverse-mentoring programme and agile working policy, as well as the launch of its inaugural Diversity Summit, this firm is determined to do more than just pay lip service to the importance of having a diverse workforce.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Best Recruiter – US Firm in the City: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

I enjoyed the recruitment process at [this firm] 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: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Vinson & Elkins RLLP, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, Cooley (UK) LLP, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (UK) LLP, Winston & Strawn London LLP
Taylor Wessing

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: Taylor Wessing, Macfarlanes LLP, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Norton Rose Fulbright, Baker McKenzie, Clyde & Co LLP, CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
Thomson Snell & Passmore 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: Mundays LLP, Tees, Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP, EMW Law LLP, Blaser Mills, Steele Raymond, Foot Anstey LLP
Vinson & Elkins RLLP

Best Training Principal (Small trainee intake) | Mark Beeley – Vinson & Elkins RLLP: 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: Stephen Morris – Mundays LLP, Peter Todd – Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, Mark Beeley – Vinson & Elkins RLLP, Ben Perry – Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Letitia Glaister – Tees, Minesh Thakrar – Blaser Mills
Withers LLP

Best Training Principal (Large trainee intake) | Ceri Vokes – Withers LLP: 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: Ceri Vokes – Withers LLP, Catherine Wolfenden – Osborne Clarke, Sean Lavin – Macfarlanes LLP, Caroline Dean – Mills & Reeve LLP, Kevin Devanny – Pinsent Masons LLP, Ian Gascoigne – Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP