Foot Anstey LLP

Foot Anstey LLP

Address: Salt Quay House, 4 North East Quay, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth PL4 0BN




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘Innovative firm’; ‘location in the South West’; ‘I was impressed with the growth of the firm in recent years’; ‘it’s open to truly flexible and agile working’; ‘variety of work’; ‘healthy work/life balance’; ‘good reputation’; ‘beginning to rival major law firms in Bristol’; ‘opportunity to move around offices’; ‘the firm is modern in its outlook and approach to work’; ‘good roster of clients’; ‘friendly culture’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘Staff at all levels are kind and friendly’; ‘the support given to trainees is incredible’; ‘the weekly lifestyle hour which allows us to take a paid hour off each week’; ‘quality of work and clients’; ‘we’re trusted to do real work’; ‘option to get involved with the virtual trainee scheme’; ‘the people are the best thing!’; ‘the balance of quality work without a culture of long hours’; ‘its ethos’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘The hairdryers in the changing rooms’; ‘experiencing burnout’; ‘having to travel or relocate for seat rotations’; ‘the working culture varies across departments’; ‘long work days can be challenging’; ‘trying to organise social events with trainees from different offices is difficult’
Best moment? 
 '‘Spending an afternoon at a key client’s office learning about their business and identifying cross-selling opportunities’; ‘being involved with an extraordinary case that made global headlines’; ‘witnessing my development over my training contract years’; ‘attending a conference with experts, counsel and the client to discuss the merits of a case and litigation strategy’
Worst moment?
 '‘Missing a mock tribunal training session because I was ill’; ‘getting up at 5am to commute to Exeter’; ‘dealing with quieter periods’; ‘inputting lots of repetitive information into a spreadsheet to assist on a large corporate deal’; ‘working a couple of very late nights on a big project’; ‘undertaking administrative work’'

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

Mrs Incredible (Elastigirl) – strong, capable and not to be underestimated

The verdict

The firm

South West-based Foot Anstey has offices in Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton, Truro and Bristol, the last of which has seen strong growth in recent years. The firm’s growing client base comprises regional, national and international businesses and public sector organisations. Firm strengths include agriculture and estates, corporate tax, commercial property and insurance.  

The star performers

Agriculture and estates; Banking and finance; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate tax; Education; Employment; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Intellectual property; IT and telecoms; Licensing; Local government; Media and entertainment; Pensions; Property litigation; Reputation management; Sport

The deals

Advised Sky UK in relation to customers illegally streaming broadcasting content as part of a wider campaign to crack down on piracy; defending Trinity Mirror PLC against two defamation claims brought in the High Court by Mr Tariq Alsaifi; advised Salcombe Town Council on the potential transfer of assets such as green space and recreation land under localism devolution; advised Lucasfilm in relation to the leaking of plot and character information of the latest Star Wars films; assisted Greenridge Investment Management on the financing of its £35.5m acquisition from administration of a commercial site in Sheffield

The clients

Aardman Animations; BlueVenn; BMW; British Solar Renewables; Eden Project; Flo Group; Football Safety Officers’ Association; National Farmers Union; Royal Shakespeare Company; Save the Children

The verdict

Offering ‘just as high-quality work as some of the London big hitters’, Foot Anstey draws those attracted to a life away from the City. The firm is ‘innovative’ and ‘forward-thinking’, and trainees admire that it has a ‘clear vision for its future’. Distinguishing Foot Anstey from its competitors is its training contract structure – trainees complete six seats of four months each, and a bonus is that there are ‘opportunities outside your seat such as the Virtual Secondment that add to the experience’. Approachability is taken seriously by the firm and as such there is ‘very little traditional hierarchy’. ‘Everyone from the legal support assistants to senior partners are available for help and guidance’ – in fact, ‘trainees attend a Q&A lunch with the managing partner every six months’. Also a big hit amongst recruits is the firm’s ‘lifestyle hour’ – employees take a paid hour off each week to do with as they please: ‘I use mine to leave early one day a week’ explained one respondent. ‘Attending an approval hearing for a multi-million pound medical negligence settlement at the RCJ’ was a highlight for one trainee. Another cited ‘filming carpool karaoke for the trainee’s annual skit’ as a stand-out moment. ‘Having to relocate to different offices for seat moves is probably the biggest downside of the training contract’ said many trainees, especially as there is ‘minimal financial support’. The firm is actively involved in charity work and ‘offers two paid days of leave to employees for any CSR project’ – one recruit used the time to ‘volunteer in Rwanda’. If you like Foot Anstey’s approach and appreciate its Lex 100 Winner status in three categories: confidence of being kept on, inclusiveness and approachability, look no further.

 A day in the life of...

ellie jack

Ellie Jack , Foot Anstey LLP 

Departments to date:  Corporate, litigation and banking


8.30am:  I live near the centre of Bristol so it’s not a long walk into the office. I normally arrive at about 8.30am when the office is still quiet and make myself a coffee. I check my emails and for client and local news updates.

8.45am:  I open my to-do list and prioritise my tasks for the day. I have a few research tasks on my desk: one relating to the financing of a TV series (the financing options and the mortgaging of intellectual property) and another relating to community benefit societies. There’s been quite a lot of variety in my seat so far.

9.10am:  I receive an email from a partner in my team asking if I want to join an all parties conference call to discuss headline issues on a deal at 2.30pm. I have a quick call with him to briefly discuss the background to the deal.

10.30am:  We’re working on a £12m real estate finance deal. My supervisor asks me to review some draft corporate authorisation documents that we’ve just received from the borrower’s solicitors (we’re acting for the lender – a key client of the firm). My supervisor checks my review and we get the mark-up back out to the other side. We normally work to tight timeframes on deals so all documents are turned around quickly.

12.00pm:  I completed a small deal at the end of the previous week and I receive some original documents in the post. I sort the documents, along with some other post-completion admin, and send the suite of original signed documents to our client.

12.30pm:  I leave the office and head out to the market to get lunch with some of the other trainees and colleagues in the office.

1.30pm:  I get back to my desk and check my emails. I’ve received an email from my Virtual Trainee. Most trainees in the firm have a client where they act as the VT. The VT scheme is run to give trainees direct exposure to clients and interesting tasks. It also provides FA with insight into the client’s business which helps us to provide a better service overall. In this instance they have asked for my assistance on a property matter. My VT is a large retail client so I usually get a wide variety of interesting work from them.

2.30pm:  The all parties call lasts for two hours and we manage to cover a lot of the sticking points. We’re representing the borrower on a £42m term loan facility. There are lots of moving parts to this deal – it’s definitely one of the most interesting I’ve worked on since joining the banking team and there’s a lot of negotiation ahead. Following the call I have some questions about the deal. The partner runs through all my questions and answers them in detail, making sure I understand. We’re looking to complete in the next week or two so getting a good understanding now will help my understanding when it comes to the negotiation.

4.45pm:  I get back to my desk and check my emails and continue to work on my research tasks from earlier in the day.

5.30pm:  I update my to-do list; do a final check of emails and action any that are urgent. I then log off and get ready for a friendly cricket match. I haven’t played much cricket before – we have a range of abilities in our team and people from across the firm make up our FA cricket team. It’s a great way to socialise. Tonight’s match is in Bristol, however, the matches take place across the locations in the South West where our offices are located.

About the firm

Address:Salt Quay House, 4 North East Quay, Sutton Harbour, Plymouth PL4 0BN

Telephone: 0117 915 4900


Managing partner:  John Westwell

Other offices: Bristol, Exeter, London, Southampton, Taunton, Truro. 

Who we are: Who we are: Foot Anstey is a leading regional law firm. Through a network of eight offices across the South and South West, we work as one national team offering specialist legal advice and services to regional, national and international clients, both businesses and individuals.

What we do: The firm is arranged into four main practice groups; real estate, business (which includes commercial, corporate, dispute resolution and employment), private wealth and clinical negligence practice Enable Law. We operate within four key sectors: financial services, media and technology, property, infrastructure and construction and retail, leisure, food and drink.

What we are looking for: We welcome applications from all law and non-law graduates who have a strong academic background, exceptional communication skills, and the vision to be part of our future. We are an ambitious firm – we want people that will help take us there.

What you'll do:Our training programme is designed to help you reach your full potential. Our trainees undertake six seats of four months’ duration with regular, open communication between the trainees and supervisors as standard. You’ll get exposure to situations to develop your legal and commercial expertise, in an environment that is friendly and supportive. You will have the opportunity to be part of our award winning Virtual Trainee programme supporting national and international clients.

Perks: All trainees are entitled to the flexible, forward-thinking ‘Choices’ benefits package which includes: 25 days’ holiday, options to buy/sell holiday, contributory pension scheme, life assurance, cycle scheme and paid sabbaticals every five years (after ten years’ service). In addition, we offer a popular Lifestyle Hour, the chance to take one hour off work each week to promote a healthy work/life balance.

Sponsorship:Grants available towards GDL, LPC and living expenses.


Facts and figures

Total partners: 49

Other fee-earners: 180

Total trainees: 24

Trainee places available for 2021: 12


First year: £28,000

Second year: £30,000

Newly qualified: £45,000

 Application process

Apply to:Ed Scrivener, head of recruitment

How: Apply online via the careers page. Applications will be accepted from 1 October 2018

What's involved:Online application, Skype interview and assessment day, which includes an interview, a group exercise, a presentation and a written exercise.

When to apply: 

Training contract 2020: By 1 June 2019.

Summer vacation scheme: By 1 April 2019.