Forsters LLP

Forsters LLP

Address: 31 Hill Street, London, W1J 5LS




Survey results


The lowdown (in their own words...)

Why did you choose this firm over any others? 
 '‘High-quality training’; ‘small trainee intake’; ‘trainees get decent exposure to clients’; ‘private client expertise’; ‘better work/life balance than many London-based firms’; ‘property focus’; ‘wide range of work’; ‘welcoming atmosphere’; ‘interesting practice areas’; ‘meritocratic attitude’; ‘it’s a forward-thinking firm’; ‘the wellbeing of employees is highly valued’; ‘the training contract here is more hands-on’
Best thing about the firm? 
 '‘Working with highly intelligent people who treat you as an equal is amazing’; ‘we get to work closely with partners’; ‘working culture is great’; ‘relaxed office vibe’; ‘everyone is kind and supportive’; ‘we get to learn from great teachers’; ‘the firm has a very strong identity and everyone strives to adhere to it’; ‘the family feel’; ‘people are relaxed’; ‘the office culture is very good’
Worst thing about the firm? 
 '‘Doing administrative work’; ‘not being adequately supervised at times’; ‘the lack of international secondment opportunities’; ‘the firm is based across two offices’; ‘office is located in an expensive area making affordable lunches limited’; ‘no offices abroad’; ‘lack of diversity’; ‘getting your preferred seat choice isn’t that easy’
Best moment? 
 '‘Completing some fascinating research’; ‘attending the new qualifiers fancy dress party’; ‘getting told my attendance note was impressive’; ‘getting a thank you post-it note from a client’; ‘getting to the end of my first seat and feeling like I finally understood what was going on’; ‘completing a lease which I drafted myself’; ‘attending interesting meetings’
Worst moment?
 '‘Feeling a bit overwhelmed in the first month’; ‘starting my second seat not knowing anything again’; ‘accidentally sending an embarrassing email to someone outside of the firm’; ‘dealing with demanding clients’; ‘Christmas time – the workload is intense’; ‘receiving negative feedback’; ‘being given administrative work because my supervisor had nothing else for me to do at that point in time’; ‘disappointing a friend because I couldn’t meet them for a long-awaited meetup’ '

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

Top Cat – relaxed but intelligent and crafty

The verdict

The firm

Mayfair-based Forsters traces its roots back over 265 years. The firm’s principal areas of expertise are in the real estate and private wealth sectors, which are complemented by dispute resolution, corporate and private client work. Forsters advises companies and individuals on their business and personal interests. 

The star performers

Agriculture and estates; Art and cultural property; Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property: development; Contentious trusts and probate; Family; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Property finance; Property litigation; Residential property

The deals

Assisted The Crown Estate with its £120m acquisition of three Central London properties; acted for Investra Capital in connection with the sale and leaseback of a retail portfolio; advises on multimillion pound pre-nuptial agreements; acts for trustees and high-net-worth individuals and families on a wide variety of contentious trusts and probate cases, in addition to professional negligence claims that arise in the context of trust and estates work; advises clients who own and invest in art; advises domestic UK families on wealth structuring

The clients

British Airways Pension Fund; Hunter UK Retail Unit Trust; Investra Capital; LXB Retail Properties; OakNorth Bank; Rothschild Bank International; The Crowne Estate; United National Trust Bank

The verdict

Based in the West End of London, Forsters is perfect for those seeking a firm with a ‘family feel’ without sacrificing ‘high-quality training’. Respondents listed Forsters’ ‘property focus’ and ‘private client work’ as their reasons for applying to the firm and now, as trainees, they enjoy ‘getting interesting work from highly intelligent people’. Having substantial contact with partners pleased recruits – they ‘work closely with senior staff’ and get to be ‘more hands-on’ when assisting with matters. Forsters’ culture is also a big hit amongst trainees; they admire the firm’s ‘meritocratic attitude’, explaining that ‘training at Forsters is fair, you don’t have to fight to be noticed by senior staff’. A downside is that ‘occasionally there’s a lack of supervision’. The Forsters team not all being in the same building was disliked, but a silver lining is that colleagues are based just two streets away. Trainees also grumbled about it being a ‘nightmare to get cheap food in Mayfair’. Forsters is a very social firm and has a Lex 100 Winner medal to prove it – the ‘NQ fancy dress party’ was a highlight for many respondents. Other memorable moments included ‘completing a lease which I drafted and managed by myself’, ‘getting stuck into the regeneration of Greenwich Peninsula’, and of course, ‘reaching the end of my first seat and feeling like I finally understood what was going on’. Recruits enjoy a nice balance between work and home life, as evidenced by the firm’s second Lex 100 Winner medal, but this can be difficult to maintain around December: ‘the run up to Christmas was tough’ sighed one recruit. If working in a ‘more relaxed firm’ with ‘sociable hours’ is appealing to you, apply to Forsters.

 A day in the life of...

Jo Thompson second-year trainee 

Departments to date:  Commercial real estate, private client, residential property, corporate and dispute resolution

University:University of York 
Degree:English and related literature (1st) 

8.30am:  I grabbed a coffee in the kitchen with another trainee and caught up with emails.

9.30am:  I got taken to a client meeting with an Australian client by one of the partners who specialises in offshore work. The client wanted advice on the most tax-efficient way to structure his purchase of a UK property. I took an attendance note of the meeting.

10.30am:  After the meeting, the partner and I discussed what our next steps would be.

11.00am:  I typed up the attendance note for the meeting, and started research on a few points that had arisen in the meeting. I sent the partner a memorandum detailing my findings.

1.00pm:  I went to Forsters’ running club in Green Park.

2.00pm:  I had a quick meeting with another partner, who instructed me to draft a will and letter of wishes and outlined the client’s various requirements for each.

2.20pm:  I drafted the will and letter of wishes, and a covering letter explaining the terms of the will, and sent them to the partner for review.

4.30pm:  I had a meeting with an assistant to discuss an American client. The assistant explained the client’s background and how Forsters proposed to structure the ownership of his assets and then asked me to draft the necessary documents.

4.50pm:  I drafted the various documents, and telephoned the client in order to obtain more details.

6.15pm:  Once I had finished the drafts, the assistant went through what I had done and gave me feedback on my work.

6.45pm:  I made the required amendments, sent the documents to the client, left the office for the evening and met up with my fellow trainees for a drink at The Coach and Horses.

What is the training like at Forsters?  I was surprised by how much responsibility we were given. Although being plunged head first into the work is quite daunting, trainees here receive a lot of support and thorough feedback on the tasks undertaken, which means you learn quickly. They also tend to be involved on a deal or piece of work from start to finish. For example, in commercial real estate, I assisted with the work involved in each stage of the sale of a building, which was an invaluable experience in allowing me to understand the whole process.

What is the most interesting thing you have done at Forsters to date?   The thing I find most interesting is attending a client’s first meeting with the firm and then assisting with the follow-up work. Attending a first meeting is a brilliant experience for a trainee: it means you get a feel for the client’s background and concerns and it allows you to understand the principal issues involved because the partner has to put their initial advice in client (and trainee!) friendly terms. Assisting with the follow up work then means you can consolidate your knowledge on the issues at hand and get involved in the more complex elements of the advice, which often require further research.

What do you enjoy most about working for Forsters?  Everyone will say it, but it is such a lovely group of people. They look out for you and are keen to make sure you enjoy your time in the various departments. The friendly nature of the firm means help is always on hand if you need it.

About the firm

Address:31 Hill Street, London, W1J 5LS

Telephone: 020 7863 8333

Senior partner:  Smita Edwards

Managing partner:  Paul Roberts

Who we are: We are a dynamic, successful firm committed to being the best at what we do. Based in Mayfair, Forsters was founded in 1998 and has since more than trebled in size.

What we do: While we are best known for our top-flight real estate and private client practices, we have thriving corporate and dispute resolution teams. Forsters offers interesting, intellectually challenging work, high-quality clients and fantastic people to work with and learn from. We are dedicated to providing outstanding client service in a highly professional, collaborative and supportive environment.

What we are looking for: In addition to proven academic ability, we are looking for drive and ambition, commercial awareness, resilience, a strong work and service ethic, creativity, the ability to solve problems and thrive under pressure.

What you'll do:Trainees at Forsters undertake six four-month seats and are given real work and responsibility from day one as well as comprehensive training (see graduate recruitment website for more details).

Perks: Trainee benefits include 24 days’ holiday (increasing to 25 on qualification), pension scheme, private medical insurance, private dental insurance, subsidised gym membership (interest-free annual loan), season ticket (interest-free annual loan), cycle to work (interest-free annual loan), life assurance, group income protection and employee assistance programme. There are also plenty of sporting, fund-raising and social events to get involved with!

Sponsorship:Full payment of GDL and LPC course fees, plus a maintenance grant of £6,000 per year of study, is offered to future trainees who have yet to complete these courses.


Facts and figures

Total partners: 53

Other fee-earners: 158

Total trainees: 17

Turnover in 2017: £48.7m (+4% from 2016). Profits per equity partner: £530,000 (-4%)

Trainee places available for 2021: 7-9

Applications received pa: 600+ 

Percentage interviewed: 15% approx. 


First year: £40,000

Second year: £42,000

Newly qualified: £62,000

 Application process

Apply to:Victoria Towers, partner and head of graduate recruitment

How: Online application form via our graduate recruitment website

When to apply:By 31 July 2019 for training contracts commencing in September 2021

What's involved:Shortlisted candidates attend an assessment day, which involves a written case study exercise, a group exercise and an interview with two partners. Candidates successful at this stage will be invited to attend a second round interview with two partners.

 Vacation schemes

Summer:June-July 2019 (apply by 31 January 2019).