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Revealed: The law firms with the best perks 2019-20

Junior lawyers are a pretty pampered bunch but which firms offer the perkiest of perks?

It’s well-established that a career in corporate law comes with considerable perks.

From swell salaries that can stretch to six figures, freebie tickets to glamorous events, private medical care, dinner allowances and even a swimming pool — junior lawyers are a pretty pampered bunch but which firms offer the perkiest of perks?

We put the question ‘How good are your firm’s perks?’ to over 2,000 trainees and junior associates at the country’s leading corporate law firms, as part of this year’s Legal Cheek survey. Respondents then rated their places of work on a perk-o-meter ranging from one to ten — with one defined as ‘Austerity’, and ten as ‘Magic Money Tree’.

We’ve crunched the numbers and eleven firms have been commended for their exquisite perquisites. Here is the shortlist, listed alphabetically, for the best corporate law firm perks 2019-20:

Allen & Overy
Clifford Chance
Dechert
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
Hogan Lovells
Kirkland & Ellis
Linklaters
Shearman & Sterling
Skadden
Weil Gotshal & Manges
White & Case

It’s quite telling that four out of five of the magic circle feature in the above list. Clifford Chance’s signature perk is, of course, its very own swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Canary Wharf, while Freshies splashed the cash this summer with a game-changing £100,000 plus bonus for its newbie qualifiers — the highest NQ salary of any of the elite fivesome. The roof terraces (there are three) at A&O’s London office win rave reviews, as does the free gym, canteen (Silks) and on-site healthcare over at Links, as rookie Eve Cornwell recently showed us in one of her vlogs.

Hogan Lovells, with its fitness centre and free ‘arts pass’, is the only other UK-headquartered firm to feature on the list. The rest are the London offices of US-headquartered firms, known for their mega moneylaw salaries. The perks at Kirkland are plentiful: solicitors here rake in dollar-pegged salaries that hit the £150,000 mark (the joint highest salary in the UK, according to our Firms Most List) and have access to a fancy concierge service in one of the City’s ‘most Instagrammable’ skyscrapers, the Gherkin. The cookies, and more importantly, the £30 Deliveroo allowance (one of the City’s most generous, apparently) at Shearman & Sterling goes down a treat, while the wood-decked furniture at Skadden and wellness vouchers and guaranteed international secondment abroad at White & Case, also received a favourable mention.

The 2020 Firms Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full

But hear from the rookies themselves. As part of this year’s survey we received hundreds of anonymous comments from junior lawyers about the perks they receive. Here are a select few from some of the firms listed above:

How good are your firm’s perks?

“Topnotch. Pool is great and really good for my mental health — I use it once a week (contrary to the rumours). Gym recently refurbished, swanky spinning classes, squash courts, cheap dry cleaning and shoe polishing on site. Free dinner after 7pm which includes a daily live pasta chef, steak, burgers, grilled food and a huge salad bar. Cab home after 10pm which makes it easier to work later without having to worry about getting home.”

“$$$”

“Think 24-hour free concierge service to book your concert tickets and holidays, £25 for dinner every night (with dedicated runners to bring it from the ground floor to your desk), black cabs home after 9.30pm plus closing dinners, introductory lunches at the start of every seat, blow-out Christmas and summer parties…”

“We have a piano stashed away in the basement which is an amazing thing to de-stress with when you have a spare 15-30 minutes.”

“Excellent range of well-funded sports teams. We get ‘sports leave’ specifically to use on sports tours and team ski trips. Ice-creams in the summer.”

“We regularly get offered free tickets to football games, rugby matches, cricket and gigs at the O2. When the trainees reached out to our events team and asked if we could use our box at the O2 one night for a trainee social to go watch Drake, they were immediately onboard. I have also used VIP passes to the V&A (to cut all the queues or the need to book) and VIP passes to the Royal Academy.”

The canteen has really improved and the food (particularly the Pad Thai bar and the Pasta bar) are really yum. We also love going down for scrambled eggs and salmon at breakfast. The gym is second to none — I forget it is an office gym as it’s so fully-functioning. The four free private GP appts a year are surprisingly helpful and I also really like the massage facilities.

“Closing lunch in Paris, group retreat to Cannes, cricket tour to Corfu to name but a few.”

“On-site gym with free classes and discounted personal training sessions, healthcare benefits, beauty treatments. Two rooftop terraces with BBQs in the summer. On-site canteen is great. Trainee mobile phones are very basic though, and we don’t get laptops (so I have had to use my personal laptop for work on the weekends). I think we are spoiled but don’t realise it though.”

The winning law firm will be announced at the Legal Cheek Awards 2020, held at Sea Containers House, the swish riverside building located on London’s South Bank, on Thursday 26 March.

The 2020 Firms Most List – featuring the Legal Cheek Survey results in full




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About Aishah Hussain

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