The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Bevan Brittan has a strong public sector focus which includes work in the healthcare, education and local government sectors. The employment, insurance and real estate teams are also highly regarded. The firm has offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and London.
The star performers
Administrative and public law; Clinical negligence; Commercial litigation; Construction; Court of protection; Education; Employment; Energy; Health; Health and safety; Immigration; Local government; Pensions; Personal injury: defendant; Planning; Power (including electricity and renewables); Professional discipline; Project finance and PFI; Property litigation; Social housing
Representing Sysmex (UK) in a multimillion-pound procurement challenge brought against Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust; assisted Peabody with its £38m acquisition of 190 affordable units at the Elephant and Castle regeneration site; advised Together Housing Group on ISDA derivative agreements with three of the client’s lenders; advised Yeovil District Hospital NHS Foundation Trust on its plan to recruit nurses from the Philippines; representing North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust in a number of disputes arising from the defective design and construction of the Peterborough City Hospital
Birmingham Women’s NHS Foundation Trust; Creagh Concrete Products; Defra; East Wick and Sweetwater Projects; Legal & General; London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham; Newcastle University; Plymouth City Council; Viridor Waste; Warrington Borough Council
With offices in four cities (London, Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol), Bevan Brittan has built up a reputation across all its localities for its work with public sector clients. Indeed, trainees were drawn to the firm’s ‘emphasis on public sector work’ which they deemed ‘interesting’. One trainee reported that ‘the firm’s knowledge and understanding of their public sector clients is unparalleled. You develop niche legal and commercial insight from the start of your training contract’. The firm’s ‘friendliness’ was sensed through interactions trainees had with the team at law fairs and also whilst working as paralegals: ‘I preferred my experience here over that at other firms’ comments one respondent. Trainees were pleased they were given ‘plenty of responsibility’ and ‘the opportunity to get involved with the nitty-gritty parts of transactions’, which goes some way in explaining the firm’s eight Lex 100 Winner medals. One criticism though is the firm’s salary which is ‘a tad low’, however, recruits do enjoy a better ‘work/life balance’ and ‘supportive atmosphere’ – ‘partners are interested in helping you get the best out of your training’. Despite the support from partners, trainees complained about the ‘lack of organisation’ surrounding seat choices, as well as the limited number they had to choose from. Worst moments occurred when trainees ‘failed to follow instructions to the letter’ or ‘spent hours preparing hardcopy bundles’. They did, however, revel in the moments when they ‘conducted the advocacy at an inquest’ and ‘managed construction projects for a central government agency without micro-management’. If you’re keen to work in an ‘environment in which everyone is committed to excellence’, apply to Bevan Brittan.
A day in the life of...
Claire Bradford first-year trainee, Bevan Brittan LLP
Departments to date: litigation, advisory and regulatory; clinical risk
University:London South Bank University
Degree:Law, First Class
8.10am: I choose to start work fairly early in the morning: I value the time when I first arrive to consider all tasks for that day and how best to approach them. This enables me to work as efficiently as I can; I begin the day by dealing with any particularly urgent matters. I can see that for today, I have a number of deadlines, and decide that I will start with drafting the letter of instruction to an expert in one of our high-value clinical negligence cases, seeking his expertise on complex issues of causation.
Once I have considered and prioritised tasks for the day, I make myself a cup of tea (one of many to come!) and make a start on the letter of instruction. I review in detail the particulars of claim in order to determine which particular allegations require comment from our expert. After also reviewing the claimant’s medical records, I have enough information to prepare the letter and send the draft to my supervisor for approval.
9.20am: There is a conference scheduled at 11am to take place on a case I am assisting on. This allows me time to make progress with a number of other tasks, such as contacting potential witnesses to be involved in another case and telephoning chambers to book counsel for hearings and trials. I make a detailed attendance note of all calls out to witnesses and chambers, so that our records clearly show the matters discussed and my colleagues can view these if required.
10.50am: I gather all relevant documents to take to the conference with counsel, witnesses and experts. My supervisor has asked me to take a detailed note of comments on the allegations and the claimant’s prognosis during the conference. Once the conference has finished, we are in a much clearer position as to the strengths and weaknesses of our case and we are able to update our client on whether there is any change to the litigation risk of continuing to defend the claim.
I take some time to finalise the conference note and list any arising action points.
12.30pm: It’s a nice day outside so I decide to take an early lunch break, hoping to beat the queues in Pret! Post-lunch, I offer to make the tea round – a good excuse to catch up with some of my colleagues from other pods, see how their day has been and discuss our plans for the weekend!
1.45pm: The next task I have on my list is to draft a letter of advice to our client; we have received medical records, expert reports and obtained witness statements for a particular case and I make a start on carrying out a review of key documents and considering our advice on liability and causation. This takes me well into the afternoon but I’m confident that I have carefully considered all evidence and send my draft letter to my supervisor to approve.
3.40pm: My inbox has filled up while I have been drafting the letter of advice. I have been asked to assist with disclosure and prepare a list of documents, detailing all relevant documents which we have had or have access to. Once drafted, the list of documents is sent to the solicitor who oversees this case for approval.
4.20pm: Next on my list today, I contact a number of experts and witnesses in order to arrange a conference for a case. It is a case in which the experts express different views on the claimant’s prognosis; the significance of this is the extent of damages which may be payable to the claimant. Now that emails requesting availability have been sent, hopefully we’ll have a date in the diary by the end of the week.
4.50pm: Not long to go until end of the month office drinks! I spend some time diarising directions received from the court before heading out to meet my colleagues in the client suite. It is a nice way to end the day: having drinks with pizza and catching up with friends!
About the firm
Address:Kings Orchard, 1 Queen Street, Bristol, BS2 0HQ
Telephone: 0370 194 1000
Senior partner: Joanne Easterbrook
Managing partner: Duncan Weir
Other offices: Birmingham, Leeds, London
Who we are: Bevan Brittan is a UK top 100 national law firm providing a comprehensive range of legal and advisory services to over 300 private sector businesses, as well as being a market-leading firm within health and social care, housing and local and central government.
What we do: Based in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and London, our award-winning teams provide commercial, corporate, property, regulatory, employment and litigation (commercial and clinical negligence) legal advice.
What we are looking for: We are looking for bright people with sound common sense and plenty of energy, who can think logically and clearly. An interest in the type of clients we work for is essential. You need drive, commitment, willingness to take responsibility and the ability to work and relate well with others.
What you'll do:Our trainee solicitors get a tailored training and development programme that gives them early exposure to real work for real clients. Trainees complete four six-month seats with a choice across all our departments.
Perks: Life insurance, private healthcare insurance, pension, group income protection, health assessments, cycle scheme.
Sponsorship:We sponsor fees for you if you have not yet completed the GDL or LPC. We will also pay you a £5,000 bursary while you study.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 60
Other fee-earners: 196
Total trainees: 19
Turnover in 2017: £39m (+3% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £317,000 (+4%)
Trainee places available for 2021: 10 (approx.)
Applications received pa: 400 (approx.)
Percentage interviewed: 25%
First year: competitive
Second year: competitive
Newly qualified: competitive
Apply to:Graduate recruitment team
What's involved: Online application form followed by a verbal reasoning test. Successful candidates will then have a telephone interview before attending either the vacation scheme or an assessment centre.
When to apply:
Training contract: By 30 June 2019
Summer vacation scheme: By 28 February 2019.