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.
Commendation for diversity: Baker McKenzie
This firm has demonstrated a strong and consistent commitment to increasing diversity and to building an inclusive culture.
Best Recruiter – Medium City Firm: Bircham Dyson Bell LLP
The firm provided thoughtful recruitment and selection activities, which were different to those I had expected. They tested 'soft' people skills in addition to technical abilities, which I thought was great.
- Nominees: Bircham Dyson Bell LLP, Bristows LLP, Forsters LLP, Mayer Brown International LLP, RPC, Travers Smith LLP, Wedlake Bell LLP
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. Colleagues go out of their way to explain the more complicated issues and give you plenty of time to go away and conduct your own research/revision.
- Nominees: Browne Jacobson LLP, Burges Salmon LLP, Gowling WLG (UK) LLP, Hill Dickinson LLP, Mills & Reeve LLP, Shoosmiths, Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP
Best Work Placement Scheme – Regional Firm: DWF LLP
The vacation scheme was an extremely valuable insight into life at the firm. Spending two weeks carrying out trainee tasks, working with future colleagues and experiencing the culture of the firm solidified my decision to join.
- Nominees: Bevan Brittan LLP, BLM, Burges Salmon LLP, DWF LLP, Osborne Clarke LLP, TLT LLP, Veale Wasbrough Vizards LLP
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. My supervisors went out of their way to give me information about their practice areas and allocate me interesting tasks where possible. Vac scheme students were invited to all firm social events and I felt very welcome at them.
- Nominees: Baker McKenzie, Bird & Bird, Bristows LLP, Farrer & Co LLP, Fieldfisher, Shearman & Sterling (London) LLP, Withers LLP
Best Training Principal – Stuart Penswick: 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.
- Nominees: Stephen Kay - EMW Law LLP, Stuart Penswick - Forbes Solicitors, Gwen Evans - Hugh James, Sarah Passemard - Paris Smith LLP, Letitia Glaister - Tees Law, Mark Beeley - Vinson & Elkins RLLP
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. They are always very clear in their briefings and updates to future joiners and they are highly responsive to the needs of the people they work with.
- Nominees: Bird & Bird, Clyde & Co LLP, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Hogan Lovells, Reed Smith, Simmons & Simmons LLP, Slaughter and May
Best Recruiter – Medium Regional Firm: Hugh James
- Nominees: Birkett Long LLP, Higgs & Sons, Hugh James, Michelmores, Roythornes Solicitors, Tees Law, Wilkin Chapman LLP
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.
- Nominees: Farrer & Co LLP, Fladgate LLP, Goodman Derrick LLP, Hodge Jones & Allen LLP, Kingsley Napley LLP, Marriott Harrison LLP, Russell-Cooke Solicitors
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.
- Nominees: Actons, Hanne & Co, Lanyon Bowdler Solicitors LLP, Pothecary Witham Weld, Wrigleys Solicitors LLP
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. The firm actively encourages juniors to engage in business development.
- Nominees: Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, Latham & Watkins, Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP, K&L Gates LLP, White & Case LLP
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. What first impressed me about the firm was that the recruitment process was very transparent and open, so that I genuinely felt that I was getting an insight into the firm and could make an informed decision.
- Nominees: Bond Dickinson, DLA Piper UK LLP, DWF LLP, Freeths LLP, Irwin Mitchell, Osborne Clarke LLP, TLT LLP
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.
- Nominees: Ashurst LLP, Baker McKenzie, Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, CMS, Macfarlanes LLP, Reed Smith, Taylor Wessing
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.
- Nominees: Atherton Godfrey, Curzon Green Solicitors, Maples Teesdale LLP, Thackray Williams LLP, Wilson Solicitors LLP
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.
- Nominees: Anthony Collins Solicitors, Blaser Mills LLP, Foot Anstey LLP, Forbes Solicitors, Nockolds, Paris Smith LLP, Thomson Snell & Passmore LLP
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. The recruitment team is very honest and fair during and after the process, and once recruited, you are made to feel part of the firm straightaway.
- Nominees: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, Shearman & Sterling (London) LLP, Covington & Burling LLP, Vinson & Elkins RLLP, Weil, Gotshal & Manges
Best Training Principal – Ceri Vokes: 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.
- Nominees: Jonathan Angell - Dechert LLP, Anthony Turner - Farrer & Co LLP, Sean Lavin - Macfarlanes LLP, Simon Hart - RPC, Giles Chesher - Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP, Ceri Vokes - Withers LLP