Burges Salmon LLP

Burges Salmon LLP

Address: 1 Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

Web: www.burges-salmon.com

Email: anna.dixon@burges-salmon.com


Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘I wanted the clients of a City firm without having to live in the City’; ‘six-seat training contract’; ‘the strength of their work in the energy sector was appealing’; ‘they made an effort to make us feel comfortable and relaxed during the assessment centre’; ‘inclusive culture full of vibrant personalities’; ‘healthy work/life balance’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘The cake trolley’; ‘there is a real sense of teamwork across the firm’; ‘approachability of senior staff’; ‘the variety of work’; ‘the people’; ‘staff restaurant and coffee bar’; ‘secretarial and admin support’; ‘office location’; ‘I get to do a variety of interesting work despite living out of London’; ‘everyone from the catering staff to partners to the HR team are generous with their time’; ‘six-seat training contract structure’ ‘high-quality work’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘The unpredictable seat system’; ‘policies such as work from home are not consistently applied across the firm’; ‘you don’t always get feedback when it would be helpful to’; ‘lack of international presence’; ‘lack of transparency from HR regarding qualification opportunities’; ‘cold offices’; ‘it’s becoming increasingly City in style’; ‘the cakes have taken a turn for the worse in the canteen’
Best moment? 
 '‘Visiting a client on-site for a hard copy disclosure exercise in the Lake District’; ‘drafting without prejudice proposals which were used without having to be amended’; ‘finding out we had won a High Court trial and an arbitration in the same week’; ‘being taken to a client meeting in London’; ‘completion drinks at the top of the Heron Tower’; ‘seeing ideas and arguments that I came up with contribute to the success of a matter/dispute’
Worst moment?
 '‘Being pushed and pulled in all directions by competing interests/lawyers and having a minor meltdown’; ‘one week of late nights and early mornings’; ‘when I have lots of work with few instructions’; ‘completing too many administrative jobs for supervisors’; ‘when I accidentally called the emergency services instead of IT’; ‘some horrific typos in a basic letter drafted for a partner’; ‘having a very critical supervisor’; ‘having too much work and not enough time’'

If the firm were a fictional character it would be...

Mae Mobley (The Help) – kind, smart and charismatic

The verdict

The firm

Burges Salmon counts wealthy private individuals, entrepreneurial businesses and public bodies among its clients, and has highly-regarded corporate, private client and TMT departments. The Bristol-headquartered firm also works with a select number of like-minded independent law firms across the world.  

The star performers

Agriculture and estates; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: development; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Corporate tax; Education; Environment; EU and competition; Immigration; Intellectual property; Licensing; Media and entertainment; Organisation; Pensions: non-contentious; Professional negligence; Property finance; Rail

The deals

Advised the founding shareholders of Bristol’s Pukka Herbs on its acquisition by Unilever; defended Jockey Club Racecourses in High Court proceedings brought by bookmakers regarding the establishment of betting areas as Cheltenham Racecourse; represented Geo Specialty Chemicals in an unprecedented appeal regarding the company’s obligations under a climate change agreement; advised the University of Bristol on the acquisition of land for its new £300m campus in Bristol city centre; defended the National Crime Agency against compensation claims from an Israeli businessman worth £220m

The clients

Bath Spa University; Bristol City FC; Eurostar International; Financial Services Compensation Scheme; John Lewis Partnership; Maas Capital; Nationwide Building Society; OFSTED; Temporis Capital; Volvo Group UK

The verdict

Based in Bristol, Burges Salmon is perfect for those who want to work outside London and still have exposure to ‘great work’ – ‘our clients are on par with Magic and Silver Circle firms’ claims one trainee. The firm’s ‘strength in environment and energy work’ also attracted aspiring solicitors. Burges Salmon offers a six-seat programme which is seen as ‘a massive benefit’ as you get to ‘experience a variety of work before deciding where to qualify’. The work/life balance at the firm is also decent – one trainee joked that ‘I don’t hear from my peers in London, they’re too busy working through the night’. It’s worth noting, however, that trainees at Burges Salmon do still on occasion work ‘late nights and early mornings’. In fact, a handful of trainees complained that the firm is ‘gradually heading in the direction of London hours’. Working with ‘larger-than-life characters makes for a great office experience’ and the ‘open-door culture’ puts trainees at ease. The firm is a Lex 100 Winner for its vacation scheme and social life as there are ‘great socials’. Also praised was the office itself with its ‘great amenities’ including a ‘staff restaurant and coffee bar’. Trainees grumbled that the ‘firm is opaque about post-qualification salaries’ and ‘lacks transparency as to the qualification route’. Others felt that ‘you don’t always get feedback when it would be helpful to’. Recruits did appreciate, however, ‘seeing my research being used in legal advice’, attending ‘client meetings in Mayfair’ and ‘winning an adjudication for which I wrote the majority of our defence’. To work with ‘great people’ in a ‘fun atmosphere’, apply to Burges Salmon.

 A day in the life of...

Sophie Potter

Sophie Potter first-year trainee, Burges Salmon LLP  

Departments to date:  Banking, real estate, corporate

University:University of Northumbria at Newcastle; University of Law (Bristol) 
Degree:Law LLB, 2(1); MSc in Law, Business and Management (Distinction) 

8.30am:  I live within walking distance of the office, which is great because it means I can easily get some exercise into my daily routine. I meet my friend, who is a fellow trainee, and we walk into work together.

9.00am:  I arrive in work and head to my office to start the day. Before I get my computer started up, I make myself a hot drink and bring it back to my desk. I usually start my working day by reviewing my to-do list and ranking the tasks in order of priority. I am currently sitting in the corporate department and the day-to-day tasks can be extremely varied. I could be carrying out due diligence on a number of corporate entities, or preparing to leave the office and attend an offsite completion.

9.15am:  I have a brief catch up with my supervisor and go through the tasks which are on my to-do list. My supervisor is very supportive and makes an effort to ensure I have a varied workload.

9.30am:  I pick up a task set by a partner which involves preparing a suite of documents for a matter concerning the allotment of shares in a company. This task involves reviewing the company’s articles of association and drafting a range of documents which are required to effect the transaction.

11.30pm:  I have been asked to help with a matter which is likely to complete over the next few days. The associate working on the matter would like me to have a catch up with a colleague who has been dealing with the banking-related aspects of the transaction and prepare an update email for the client. I really enjoy interacting with the different departments across the firm.

1.00pm  I meet some of the other trainees for lunch in our restaurant, Glassworks. It is really good to catch up with fellow trainees and hear about their experience in other departments.

2.00pm:  I am a member of the trainee charity committee and we have a meeting regarding the upcoming trainee charity event. We hope to raise as much money as possible for the firm’s charity of the year, Bristol Mind.

2.30pm:  A partner has asked if I will join in on a call with a potential new client. I make notes during the call and type up a formal attendance note once the call is over. The partner explains that I will most likely be required to draft an engagement letter once the client’s instructions have been confirmed.

3.30pm:  I return to drafting the board minutes required for the share allotment matter which I worked on in the morning. Once I have prepared all the necessary documentation, I have a chat with the partner on the matter and discuss how the completion mechanics are going to work. I really enjoy the transactional nature of the work in corporate and enjoy the level of responsibility which you get as a trainee.

4.30pm:  I pick up a task from my supervisor. He would like me to proof read a share purchase agreement before he sends it over to the client for review. It is always good to have a fresh pair of eyes look over a large document.

5.30pm:  I finish the proof reading task for my supervisor and send the first draft of the document to the client for review. As a trainee in corporate you get a lot of exposure to clients and regularly get the chance to speak with them over the phone and over email.

6.00pm:  I create my to-do list for the next day and close down my computer for the day.

6.15pm:  The firm is throwing a ‘future trainee summer party’ on the roof-top terrace. I get the chance to meet the future intake of trainees and network with people from across the firm. Thankfully the sun is shining and everyone has a brilliant time.

About the firm

Address:1 Glass Wharf, Bristol, BS2 0ZX

Telephone: 0117 307 6938





Senior partner:  Chris Seaton

Managing partner:  Roger Bull

Other offices: London 

Who we are: Based at the heart of one of the UK’s best cities to live in, we’re an independent UK law firm with an enviable range of national and international clients. Joining 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 legal practices.

What we do: Our practice areas include dispute resolution, real estate, corporate, private client, employment, projects and banking.

What we are looking for: What all our people have in common is an enthusiasm for the law and a drive to deliver top-quality results for clients. We look for a minimum 2(1) degree in any discipline alongside excellent communication and analytical skills.

What you'll do:As well as the professional skills course we provide a range of in-house training and on the job training across a six-seat programme with an allocated qualified lawyer supervisor.

Perks: Pension, life assurance, private health insurance, firm-wide bonus scheme, discounted local gym membership, sports and social club, volunteering days.

Sponsorship:All GDL and LPC fees plus £7,000 maintenance grant for each course.


Facts and figures

Total partners: 87

Other fee-earners: 424

Total trainees: 55

Turnover in 2017: £87m (+0% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £436,000 (-17%)

Trainee places available for 2021: 20

Applications received pa: 1,300 

Percentage interviewed: 10% 


First year: £35,000

Second year: £36,000

Newly qualified: £48,000

 Application process

Apply to:Anna Dixon, resourcing specialist

How: Online application

When to apply:By 28 June 2019 for 2021 contracts

What's involved:Application form, assessment centre including group exercise, written exercise, psychometric testing and interview.

 Vacation schemes

Spring:1-12 April 2019

Summer:10-21 June 2019 and 24 June- 5 July 2019 (apply by 11 January 2019)

Winter: 10-14 December 2018 (apply by 2 November 2018)