The lowdown (in their own words...)
If the firm were a fictional character it would be...
Our Core Values define who we are, how we behave and how we make decisions in Lester Aldridge. We value: 1. Our Clients: Our clients are at the centre of everything we do. 2. Our People: Our people are key to the success of our business. 3. Teamwork: We recognise the importance of a collaborative approach to our work so that we achieve successful results. 4. Ownership: We want everyone to strive to deliver optimal results.
The star performers
Charities and not-for-profit; Commercial litigation; Commercial property; Contentious trusts and probate; Corporate and commercial; Debt recovery; Employment; Family; Health; Health and safety; Insolvency and corporate recovery; Personal injury: claimant; Personal tax, trusts and probate; Planning; Professional negligence; Property litigation; Shipping
Represented the owner of a motor yacht in a £2m class warranty dispute with its insurer after the yacht suffered damage during a grounding in Florida; represented Moore Stephens as administrator of Pinnacle (Angelgate), which included the residential development and sale of a site; advised a consortium of retirement housebuilders in a challenge to the Mayor of London’s decision to publish supplementary planning guidance on affordable housing which would have the effect of causing a lack of retirement housing development in London; advised Meggitt Properties on the property aspects of its £57.5m sale to QinetiQ Group; advising EE and Three on the property issues arising from a government-sponsored project to supply emergency network services
Big Yellow; CHG Development; Dorset Wildlife Trust; Marina Developments; Osprey Europe Limited; Santander; Shawbrook Bank; Smith & Williamson; The Stroke Association; Volkswagen Financial Services
Trainees laud the ‘amount of client contact and practical experience’ on offer at Lester Aldridge. The training is ‘much more hands-on’, with reports of ‘attending client meetings, inquests and hearings’ common. Hard work is encouraged but ‘late nights for appearances’ sake are definitely not part of the culture’ at the Bournemouth, Southampton and London-based firm where the ‘work/life balance is good’. As is perhaps to be expected, trainees did not enjoy the beginning of their seats during which ‘you can feel that you are not very helpful and you’re not quite sure what to expect’. However, a ‘corresponding amount of responsibility and support is given’ which ensures that ‘learning is made easier and you are able to get the most out of every seat’. Recruits ‘feel trusted to get on with work’ and savour ‘opportunities to get involved in important transactions and deals from the start’. ‘Running my own matter from start to end’ and ‘undertaking a vessel arrest’, the latter in the firm’s ‘strong marine practice’, were cited as memorable moments. Whilst the ‘variation of work’ was generally applauded, some expressed frustration that there were ‘inconsistent expectations between departments’ and that ‘the selection of available training seats can be a bit thin on the ground’. However, ‘the atmosphere is fun, friendly and happy’ and ‘partners are approachable and eager to help you improve’. To top it all off, ‘you get acknowledgment and praise if you do something well’. If you’re looking for responsibility and variety of work ‘in a firm that cares about you’, take a closer look at Lester Aldridge.
A day in the life of...
Emma Robinson second-year trainee, Lester Aldridge LLP
Departments to date: Care (corporate), property litigation
University:University of Warwick
8.30am: I’ll be on my way to work, usually arriving at about 8.45am with my morning Starbucks – my Friday treat!
9.00am: First thing on my to-do list is always to check my emails. I’ll often have a few from overnight. I will diarise any deadlines and update my task list. I check the team calendars for any meetings or deadlines. As a trainee, most of my work will be checked before it gets sent out, so I need to factor the availability of my supervisors into my schedule.
9.30am: I know the team has a 4.00pm deadline today for filing a statement of costs. One of the emails I received overnight asked me to prepare this. I also have a couple of short letters to draft, and a file note to prepare for a new matter.
10.00am: I start on the statement of costs. I have done a couple of these before but I review the Civil Procedure Rules again (preferably in the White Book). Trainees are expected to do their homework! At 10.30am I take a new telephone enquiry, and following initial discussions arrange a further telephone call later that day. I update my calendar with this new appointment and continue to work on the costs schedule.
11.00am: Although I mainly work in the property litigation team, I occasionally assist the wider dispute resolution teams, which gives a great breadth of experience. A partner from contentious probate asks if I want to attend a conference with counsel with her at 3.00pm. This will lead on to further involvement in the case and, subject to client approval, I will be supporting counsel at the hearing next week. We have a brief run-down of the case and I make a note to review the file before the meeting.
12.00pm: I finish the statement of costs, email this to the partner and leave a paper copy on her desk with an explanatory note for when she gets back from her meeting. With the 4.00pm deadline and the conference at 3.00pm, I took the initiative to draft the required cover letters and have left these with the statement for signature. I have 20 minutes before lunch so I review the file for the meeting at 3.00pm.
12.45pm: It’s amazing weather so I meet up with the other trainees, grab some food and head down to the beach.
1.30pm: I continue reviewing the file for the meeting at 3.00pm and note that the case will be heard by the Chancery Masters at The Rolls Building. I have already been lucky enough to represent LA at a judicial review hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice (sat behind Queen’s Counsel). I chase up the schedule of costs and cover letters; the partner approves these and I file them before calling back the potential client at 2.30pm.
3.00pm: I attend the conference with counsel feeling prepared, and confident that I understand the issues to be discussed. As a trainee, it is always my job to take a detailed note of meetings.
4.00pm: The meeting ends at 4.30pm – I was right to ensure that the statement of costs was filed prior to the conference! The partner takes half an hour to run over what was said in the meeting, to make sure I have a good understanding of the case and to prepare me for the hearing next week. I really appreciate the time taken to support my learning.
5.00pm: I get back to my desk and type up the attendance note. I have a couple of emails to fire off and take 15 minutes to ensure my time recording for the day is accurate and my timesheet is submitted. I will update my training contract diary on Monday. I leave the office at 6.30pm, which is slightly later than our standard hours of 9.00am to 5.30pm, but I’ve had some great trainee experience today making the extra time invaluable!
About the firm
Address:Russell House, Oxford Road, Bournemouth, BH8 8EX
Telephone: 01202 786161
Managing partner: Matthew Barrow
Other offices: London, Southampton
Who we are: Lester Aldridge is based in Bournemouth, Southampton and London. We advise businesses and individuals on a regional, national and international scale.
What we do: Our core areas are banking and finance, dispute resolution, commercial services, private client and real estate, which we deliver nationally and internationally.
What we are looking for: We expect you to have academic qualifications, but you are also resourceful and know how to get on with people.
What you'll do:Training consists of four six-month seats in contentious and non-contentious teams. You will have meetings and appraisals with your training principal.
Perks: We offer a range of flexible benefits, training schemes and great facilities that allow our people to work happily and productively. Our benefits package gives staff the freedom to match benefits to their own circumstances and lifestyles including pension scheme, private healthcare options, childcare vouchers, professional subscriptions and up to 25 days’ holiday.
Facts and figures
Total partners: 47
Other fee-earners: 83
Total trainees: 12
Trainee places available for 2021: Approximately 8
First year: £22,500 (subject to annual market review)
Second year: £23,500 (subject to annual market review)
Newly qualified: Market rate
Apply to:Emma Starmer, senior HR business partner.
When to apply:By 30 June 2019
What's involved:Interview, assessments
Summer:July 2019 (apply by 1 March 2019).