GUIDANCE FREEDOM N
Expect more from your training contract
Get to know us
What we offer
What we are looking for
Meet our trainees
What can you apply for?
Let’s get to know each other
Fair and inclusive
A day in the life of a trainee
A partner’s perspective
Find out more online
Choose wisely, choose Burges Salmon
Top quality work High profile clients Inspiring colleagues Cutting edge training
Finding a training contract that is right for you is a critical step in your legal career.
At Burges Salmon, we do not believe you should have to compromise. We offer complex, quality work coupled with dedicated support and advice. Headquartered in Bristol (with offices in Edinburgh and London) with all of our trainees under one roof, we are an independent UK
law firm with an enviable range of national and international clients. Join our award winning training programme, you’ll enjoy exposure to our high profile client list and friendly, collaborative culture as you gain quality experience across a broad range of practices.
Legal Cheek – Best Law firm canteen award 2020
LawCareers.net – Best work placement scheme award 2018
Get to know us
Burges Salmon by numbers...
we operate in all three UK jurisdictions
we are headquarted in Bristol with an office in Edinburgh and a client meeting space in London.
annual fee income to April 2020
of partners trained at the firm
trainee retention rate in 2020
of the firm used their volunteering day in 2019/20
What we offer
l Corporate responsibility opportunities including pro bono work with Bristol Citizens Advice Bureau and volunteering at local schools. l A friendly, collaborative culture balancing early responsibility with an open door policy. l As well as the Professional Skills Course , we also provide a range of in-house training. l We offer a comprehensive
l Exposure to high-profile clients from First Group to The John Lewis Partnership. l A six-seat training programme across a variety of areas from Banking and Real Estate to Dispute Resolution and Private Client. l A brilliant reward package including a firm-wide bonus scheme, private health insurance, discounted gym membership and a group personal pension plan with a matching contribution from the firm. l Secondment opportunities to clients and firms within our Preferred Firm Network.
sponsorship package to our trainees. So if you haven’t yet completed the GDL and/or the LPC, we will pay your fees and provide you with a £7,000 maintenance grant whilst you study each course.
What we are looking for
What all of our people have in common is an enthusiasm for the law and a drive to deliver top quality work for our clients.
A 2:1 degree in any discipline
To be a great team player
Drive and resilience
You’ll also need:
Strong analytical skills and good judgement
Excellent communication skills
Meet our trainees Hear what some of our trainee solicitors say about working at Burges Salmon.
Joanna Peasland “Trainees have the opportunity to experience a truly diverse range of work as a result of the firm’s sector approach and be exposed to lots of different areas of expertise to build a broad range of skills”
Roslyn Jackson “Burges Salmon is a great place to work; it has a very open and supportive culture. As a trainee you are encouraged to follow your interests and get involved in a variety of work, and there’s a real sense of being able to find your niche.”
To read more, visit our trainee Blog page - click here
What we offer can you apply for?
Law students As a law student you can apply for a vacation scheme and training contract during your penultimate or final year. This means you will have time to complete the final year of your degree and the LPC before you start with us.
Non-law students 50% of our trainee intakes studied another subject at undergraduate level. As a non-law student, you can apply for a place on our vacation scheme or for a training contract from your final year. This will give you the chance to complete the GDL and the LPC before you start with us.
Graduates/Career changes Once you have graduated you can apply for a vacation scheme or training contract at any time
We run a number of events aimed at anyone interested in a career in law. From your first year at University, you can apply to attend a presentation evening, open day, Insight events The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) is the new route to qualification and consists of a series of exams that are planned to be introduced from September 2021. These will replace the need to complete the GDL and LPC. We are preparing for the introduction of the SQE and will
be posting updates as soon as we have made decisions on how we will be adopting the new system. In the meantime, if you start a law degree or GDL up to and including September 2021 you can continue studying and follow the current route to qualification.
or one of our ‘Food for thought’ networking and information sessions. You can find out more information and apply here .
Online application form
Assessment day our assessment centre consists of a group exercise, a written exercise, a Watson Glaser psychometric test and a short interview with a partner. You will also attend a networking lunch with current trainees and get the opportunity to learn more about the firm from one of our recruitment partners.
Vacation scheme (one or two week scheme)
Training contract interview
with a partner and member of the People team. Direct training contract applicants will be invited back for an interview if successful following the assessment day.
Let’s get to know each other A vacation scheme is a great way for you to experience life at Burges Salmon. It is also an excellent opportunity for us to get to know you and help shape your career.
interview on your final day and if we decide that we’re right for each other, you’ll be offered a training contract to start two years later. During your vacation scheme, you’ll gain a real insight into our award- winning law firm as you: • Get involved in real work • Have the chance to go to client meetings • Attend skills sessions and presentations run by qualified lawyers and trainees • Attend social events with our trainees and have the opportunity to sign up for sports events
Every year we run a winter scheme (one week), spring scheme and two summer schemes (two weeks), which are open to anyone who is eligible to apply for a training contract – regardless of your degree discipline. We recruit between 60-70% of our trainees from the vacation scheme. You will be offered a training contract
Winter vacation scheme
“The firm was friendly and welcoming, with everyone making an effort to make us feel comfortable and relaxed“ Recent vacation scheme candidate
Spring/summer vacation scheme
Our six seat system offering you more choice.
Corporate and Financial Institutions (CFI) • Banking • Corporate • Corporate Financial Services and Funds • Commercial • Employment • Pensions Disputes, Planning and Construction (DPC) • Dispute Resolution • Construction and Engineering • Planning and Compulsory Purchase Tax, Trusts and Family (TTF) • Private Client and Tax • Family Projects Real Estate
Unlike traditional training contracts that offer four seat rotations, we designed our six seat system to provide you with the greatest breadth of experience possible as a trainee solicitor.
What does this mean for your legal career?
More opportunities to build valuable working relationships, deeper expertise and sector knowledge and a better insight so that you are fully informed before applying for your qualification department. Our trainees have the opportunity to spend time in the following departments:
“The six seat rotation works really well; it is a unique opportunity to gain experience in more departments, which gives you a wider breadth of knowledge overall. It also enables you to meet more people across the firm, which ties in with Burges Salmon’s collegiate culture” Current trainee
We believe in nurturing talent, which is one of the reasons we offer secondments.
We also believe that commercial awareness, adaptability and people skills are what set a great lawyer apart from a good one. As well as giving trainees and lawyers a three dimensional view of the profession at large, secondments are an invaluable opportunity to learn more about our clients. Recent secondments have included working with EDF Energy , Amazon and The John Lewis Partnership . Secondments also extend to working with our Preferred Firm Network, a non-exclusive group of like-minded leading independent firms around the world, involving a mix of cultural and legal education, which benefits your overall career as a lawyer.
Ranvir Singh “The international secondment to the Law Society in Brussels was an amazing experience. Living and working in a new environment is a hugely rewarding experience which allows you to grow both professionally and personally, and form relationships with people you would never otherwise have met. The work the Law Society does is also hugely interesting as it relates to the EU institutions, especially with Brexit as an issue for the foreseeable future”
We have an impressive list of national and international clients.
• The John Lewis Partnership, • The Financial Services Compensation Scheme, • FirstGroup, • HSBC Bank plc, • Virgin, • Costain Group, • The Crown Commercial Service, • Babcock International Group, • Highways England.
“Clients of Burges Salmon LLP praise the firm’s unparalleled service, which is on par with London firms.” Legal 500 “They are very commercial and pragmatic. They really understand our business well and go the extra mile to get under the bonnet of our
business.” Chambers 2019
Our values We work hard to ensure that Burges Salmon is a great place to work and we were awarded with the prestigious Investors in People Gold Standard for the second time for 2018-2021.
As a responsible business we identify activities where our people can make a real difference in our local communities and for the environment. Our membership of Business in the Community (BITC) helps us to deliver on this agenda.
Pro bono work We are proud to support our
Volunteering Our clients, contacts and friends see our values in action when they interact with our people. Teams from around the firm get involved with some very hands-on, rewarding projects with local charities such as supporting the homeless and foodbanks. We work with local schools in a number of ways, such as: Bright Sparks (our bespoke school aged work experience programme), reading buddies and number partners in primary schools. All of our people are given two volunteering days a year, which can be used to help one of the organisations supported by the firm, or something close to your heart.
community using the skills of our people in a pro bono basis, i.e. for free or at a reduced cost. This includes supporting advice provision at drop-in centres at the Citizens Advice Bristol and the Avon and Bristol Law Centre. Charitable fundraising We have many organised opportunities to fundraise and use this as a way to come together socially and with purpose. BSustainable We are committed to reducing the impact of our activities on the environment. Our BSustainable group organises our annual Green Week as well as other green initiatives throughout the year. We encourage our people to cycle to work and join our active Bike User Group (BUG)
53% of the firm used their volunteering day in 2019/20
Fair and inclusive We believe in diversity and value individuals for their skills, potential and what they can bring to the firm–rather than simply their background. We are just as interested in where you want to go in your career as where you have been.
Our culture is open and collaborative and we promote an inclusive working environment, so that we continue to recruit, retain and motivate the highest calibre of people across the business. We want our people to feel they can be themselves at work.
We are members of Stonewall and Business Disability Forum. The firm has active LGBT+, BAME, gender diversity and disability networks and we support a range of other professional networks with which our people can engage. Be valued, Be Inspired, Be yourself at Burges Salmon.
“It’s great to be part of a firm that prioritises D&I. With the launch of BCultured there’s much more engagement with BAME employees and opportunities to contribute towards the firm’s strategic aims”
We are a leading independent UK law firm with a unique model and culture.
We have opted for organic and steady growth, rather than through mergers and acquisitions. We are headquartered in Bristol, have an office in Edinburgh and a client meeting space in London. All of our trainee solicitors are based in Bristol, which is key to shaping and maintaining a supportive and collaborative training environment and culture. We do not do hierarchy. Everyone’s contribution is valued and we mean it when we say our doors are open. Throughout your training contract, you will be an integral part of the team, working alongside lawyers
who are experts in their field and with a supervisor who will support your growth and development. And its not all work at Burges Salmon. You can build your network through our active sports and social clubs. Football, hockey and running groups meet on a regular basis and Pilates, yoga and circuits classes are available at the office. Our social club also organises other events such as wine tasting and weekend trips away, which are great opportunities to meet colleagues from across the business.
“The culture of the firm is fantastic and there are always lots of great events to get involved with.”
Feedback from Burges Salmon People survey 2019
A day in the life of a trainee All of our trainees are based in our Bristol HQ. Located in the heart of the Temple Quay area, you’ll find us in the business hub of the city, less than five minutes walk from Temple Meads station. Tabitha Gould 2nd year trainee shares a typical day with us.
have come in to my inbox overnight, then catch up with my supervisor. 9.30am: I head to our department’s weekly catch up meeting. This is a great opportunity to see what jobs everyone is working on, and I can volunteer to help out with any of the tasks. 10.00am: Back at my desk I get started on my main task of the day. Today’s task is drafting some wording for a development consent order (DCO). A DCO is a type of planning permission granted by the Secretary of State. Clarity in drafting and attention to detail are the key skills required on this task. I review previously granted DCOs as examples of good drafting and then draft my own wording before sending to the partner for approval.
8.20am: I leave my house in the lovely area of Southville and take the scenic walk along the river for half an hour which leaves me feeling energised for the rest of the day. 8.50am: I head straight to our canteen and to the DIY toast station; I normally bump into another toast regular and we have a chat. 9.10am: I look at my to-do list and check tosee whether any new jobs
11.30am: Time for a quick coffee break – my supervisor and I head down to our canteen with our keep cups (as we have gone disposable coffee cup free!). 11.45am: One of the senior associates asks if I have time to complete a research task for him that day. He would like help finding out how and when privately owned road bridges can be publicly adopted by highways authorities for a call he has at 4.00pm. I make a start on the research straight away just in case something more urgent comes up later on, and send over my findings before lunch. 1.00pm: I’ve arranged to have lunch in the canteen with a number of the other first-year trainees. Our canteen puts on a real feast each day, and the salad bar always has an amazing variety at a great price. After lunch we go for a walk along the river to get some fresh air and stretch our legs. 2.00pm: I make a start on a presentation which I am due to give at the department’s monthly ‘Hot Topics’ lunchtime session. I am presenting on a recent case which discusses the Environmental Information Regulations and whether energy companies are considered to be public authorities. The outcome of
this case is of particular significance to our clients as we work with a lot of energy providers and so we need to keep up to date with the law in this area. 3.30pm: I head over to the partner’s office to discuss my DCO drafting from this morning. On the whole she is happy with my drafting, but has suggested some small amendments. I make the changes she has requested and send the final version to her to sign off. 4.00pm: The senior associate who requested the bridge research asks if I would like to pop along to his meeting with our disputes colleague. I agree as it would be good to understand how my research fits into the bigger picture. 4.45pm: I spend the last bit of my afternoon updating my Unity trainee records. These records are a log of the work I have completed as part of my training contract and will need to be submitted to and approved by the SRA before I can qualify. 5.30pm: I create my to-do list for tomorrow, and shut down my computer. As today is a Monday I change into my running gear to run home; if it was a Thursday or Friday I would probably be heading to the downstairs wine bar instead!
A partner’s perspective 33% of our partners trained at the firm and are now experts in their field. Commercial partner Helen Scott-Lawler shares her story.
I joined Burges Salmon as a trainee 25 years ago, and have been at the firm ever since. I did a law degree at Merton College, Oxford and I wanted to have a very high-quality training contract outside London. Burges Salmon fulfilled that objective, but also turned out to provide something else – a culture of collaboration, which helped me to feel part of the firm from the very start. That culture is core to the firm, and is just as palpable today.
As a trainee, I sat in four departments in six four month seats (as we continue to do): Disputes, Real Estate, Tax, Trust and Family and Corporate (which incorporated our Commercial practice) and then revisited Disputes and Commercial. I qualified into Commercial in the midst of Rail Privatisation (I have already dated myself, so don’t be too shocked by that), and was at the heart of the firm’s involvement in that project during my training
contract and on qualification. We were one of very few firms to have that experience, and we have had a market leading Rail practice since that time. I also got to try some other aspects of commercial work, including IP and commercial contracts. I became a partner in 2001 in that practice area, and since then have spent time in our management team, both on our Board and as a Head of Department. But there is still time to be involved in some of our wider activities too: our bi-annual Strictly Legal event that we run for our Charity of the Year is my favourite example.
I am far from alone as a home-grown partner: about a third of our partners did their training contracts at the firm, 25% of whom are women. Indeed, both our senior partner and managing partner trained at the firm. Burges Salmon has always taken the view that trainees are the future of the firm: my 25 years here is one of many examples of that. And the reason so many trainees choose to stay and spend their careers here. It’s the combination of quality of work and clients with the strong culture of collaboration and shared values.
Find out more online
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