Trowers & Hamlins

In the fields of affordable housing and public sector, Trowers & Hamlins towers above the competition. In addition, Trowers & Hamlins is a leading light in the Middle East and has a disproportionately successful international projects practice for a mid-sized firm.

8.5 / 10 14 reviews Overall Satisfaction

Quirky, friendly, quality.

402 employee reviews - read more


  • High levels of responsibility and client interaction from the start – trainees are often given their own files to run
  • Good support network and quality training
  • Excellent secondment opportunities in the Gulf
  • Reasonable hours and good work/life balance
  • Relaxed working environment and friendly colleagues


  • Do not always get your top seat preference
  • Firm deserves a better reputation
  • Not a huge number of perks, unless you do an overseas seat
  • Poor standard of regional offices

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Trowers & Hamlins may not be the largest firm on the block, but in the fields of affordable housing and public sector law, it towers above the competition. In addition, Trowers & Hamlins also ranks as a heavyweight in the Middle East and has a disproportionately successful international projects practice for a mid-sized firm. 

Trowers & Hamlins' lineage can be traced back an incredible 230+ years to London in 1777. Since Richard and John Woodhouse ran the firm in its early days, Trowers & Hamlins has gone through 20 changes of identity and amalgamations. Walter Trower (who was knighted in 1915) joined the partnership in 1886, with the second half of the current appellation stemming from the firm, Hamlin &Grammer – which was practising in 1875. Though the two firms had been in association for many years, it was not until 1987 that they finally joined forces to become Trowers & Hamlins.

Since settling on the current moniker, the firm has made considerable international strides. Trowers & Hamlins' first foreign foray was in Oman in 1980, with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Cairo and Dubai all following in the 1990s. In addition to its Middle Eastern stronghold, Trowers & Hamlins has domestic outposts in London, Exeter and Manchester, with the brand new Birmingham office completing the firm’s national footprint. Today, Trowers & Hamlins has just under 700 staff operating across its offices in the UK and Middle East.

Many firms have since set up practices in the Middle East, but Trowers & Hamlins moved into the region early, leaving its peers far behind. However, to pigeonhole Trowers & Hamlins as just a Middle Eastern firm would be both unfair and inaccurate. The firm’s real estate practice is amongst the strongest in the UK, and its corporate work is not to be scoffed at either.

Trowers & Hamlins has appeared in the Sunday Times’ ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’, partly because it employs a number of initiatives to keep its staff happy. For instance, the firm makes allowances for working from home, career breaks, and part-time and job-share arrangements, to name but a few. Understandably, defections are relatively low and trainee retention is high.

In keeping with its treatment of staff, Trowers & Hamlins' altruistic activities are high on the agenda. The firm is involved with numerous community schemes, ranging from helping out with reading in primary schools, to arranging placements in corporate organisations for East London residents. In Manchester, the firm works with the Manchester Methodist Housing Association to support the Northmoor Community Association; partners have assisted with a range of projects to support local residents, including decorating, gardening and rubbish clearance. This benevolence isn’t solely domestic either; Trowers & Hamlins' pro bono and CSR extends to its Middle Eastern sites, with projects ranging from an Abu Dhabi recycling programme to fundraising in Bahrain.

Read all 402 employee quotes

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If you’re interested in affordable housing, public sector and / or international projects (with the occasional seat in the Middle East), Trowers & Hamlins should be on your employer shortlist. However, before you start daydreaming about spending your time in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai or Oman – bear in mind that there are around 20 training contracts on offer each year, so brace yourself for a tough competition.

So how do you make the route to success less bumpy? First up, you need to have strong academics – a minimum of 320 UCAS points (ABB) and a strong predicted or achieved upper second class degree or above are needed. However, Trowers doesn’t just select its trainees from the top 20 unis; the firm is known to ‘recruit a real mixed bag of people’, as one current trainee points out. It’s also good to know that Trowers & Hamlins has a tendency to pick ‘candidates who have some experience of another career, further study, or relevant work experience’.

After an initial online application that will assess the usual – educational background, extracurricular interests, skills – you’ll be faced with an assessment centre, followed by a two-partner interview. The assessment centre is said to be challenging, but fun and ‘run in a very unintimidating way’.

Should you be successful with the whole process, you can expect to complete four six-month seats at Trowers & Hamlins. ‘It is possible to sit in a wide variety of departments, including property, litigation, banking, corporate, projects and construction, as well as private client, employment and public sector’ claims one trainee. While there are no compulsory seats, it is likely you will spend some time in a real-estate related area. If this gets you excited, here’s some even better news: due to the small intake, trainees don’t usually have to fight for a secondment abroad and are in fact expected to ‘go to the Middle East at some stage during their training contract’.

Vacation Schemes

Many of the firm’s trainees got their foot in the door through the Trowers & Hamlins summer vacation scheme; so if you’re eyeing up a training contract with the firm, you’re best advised to apply for a vac scheme first. These are by no means a guarantee, but they can certainly provide a helpful stepping stone to landing a full-time position with the firm.
The firm offers around 30 candidates the opportunity to do a summer vac scheme in the firm’s London, Manchester or Exeter offices. Over the placement, a supervisor and buddy will make sure you get all the support you need when working on various tasks, which may include drafting, conducting legal research or interacting with clients.
Trowers & Hamlins Graduate Recruitment Info

Mr Anup Vithlani
Graduate Recruitment & Development Manager

Application Deadlines:
Training Contracts: 1st August 2013
Vacation Schemes (summer): 1st March 2013

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No. of lawyers firm-wide: 316
No. of lawyers in London: 217
London partners: 90
London associates: 107
London trainee intake: 29
Manchester trainee intake: 4
Exeter trainee intake: 2
Trainees retained: 100% (March 2013)
Approx. no. of applications per year:
500 (Summer Vacation Scheme)
1,000 (Training Contract Autumn Assessment Centre)


# 48 in Top 50 Law Firms (5.1/10)


1st year trainee: £36,000
2nd year trainee: £39,000
Newly Qualified: £58,000

Manchester & Exeter
1st year trainee: £27,000
2nd year trainee: £29,000
Newly Qualified: £37,000 (Manchester); £34,000 (Exeter)

Compare 2014 Law Firm Salaries


Banking & Finance
Commercial Property
Constructions & Projects
Dispute Resolution
Employment & Pensions
Energy & Infrastructure
Housing & Regeneration
Middle East
Private Wealth
Public Sector / Local Government

They look to hire candidates who are truly invested in the firm. Candidates who show an long term interest in the firm - an interest that goes beyond the training contract - will be more likely to succeed. This includes knowing more about the firm than just the kind of training they are known to provide.

Read all reviews in Interview: Tips & Advice

All of the supervisors I have worked for have been keen to mentor me and have given good feedback. All are keen to field questions and as they have often trained with the firm themselves they can talk with experience about the training and how the firm seeks to develop its trainees. Where I have been judged to have worked well I have been recognised accordingly.

Read all reviews in Informal Training & Mentoring

The process was quite lengthy and thorough - involved an application form, an assessment centre and an interview with HR.

Read all reviews in Interview Process

I was impressed by the reputation in a number of key areas. Another striking factor is the firm has a genuine open door policy and gives trainees real levels of responsibility from day one. There is also a real emphasis on work/life balance.

Read all reviews in Why your firm?


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London Office:
3 Bunhill Row
Tel: +44 (0)20 7423 8312

No. of worldwide offices: 10
Abu Dhabi