Wragge & Co
Somewhat of a contradiction in terms, Wragge & Co is a provincial powerhouse with a global reach. This full service firm is best known for its work in property and outsourcing.
- Dynamic trainee work
- Social ethos – regular after-work drinks and events
- Cramped office
- London culture of long hours starting to creep in
Established in 1834, international law firm Wragge & Co garnered a list of revered and eminent clients during its first 60 years, including Lloyds Banking Co and the Bishop of Worcester.
Following World War I, the firm began its first expansion push, becoming Birmingham’s largest firm. After long evangelising its ‘single-site’ approach, the firm broke with doctrine in 2000, opening an office in the capital following a merger with boutique intellectual property firm, Needham & Grant. However, Wragge & Co remains the largest UK firm not to be headquartered in London.
Wragge & Co continues to undercut its City competitors by passing work back to Birmingham and charging provincial prices. 80% of the firm’s work comes from outside of Birmingham. The London office is home to nearly 150 staff members, and many of the Birmingham partners regularly find themselves in the City office.
Wragge & Co has an extremely broad practice, divided into real estate, human resources, dispute resolution, corporate & finance, and commercial, projects & technology groups. The firm is best known for its work in property and outsourcing matters, and for many years it has positioned itself as the second firm of choice for major UK and international corporations needing legal advice in Britain. As a result, Wragge & Co acts for many of the FTSE 100 in some capacity.
Over a quarter of Wragge’s business is international in nature – helped by its offices in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Guangzhou, Munich and Paris, plus a trusted network of foreign referral partners.
Wragge & Co has developed a reputation for looking after its staff, having appeared in the Financial Times’ ‘50 Best Workplaces in the UK’. The firm takes a single-team approach, with everyone equally important, from front-office staff to senior partner – and profits are doled out on a merit basis.
In 2015, Wragge & Co is looking to recruit 15 trainees to its Birmingham office and a further five to its London branch. The firm looks for bright, ambitious people with a global outlook, and is not particularly picky about what subject and degree grade you have as long as you do well in their recruitment process.
The process starts online with an application form and a situational judgement test designed specifically for Wragge & Co to assess how well you’d deal with the sorts of situations and problems that trainees at the firm will face. Selected candidates are then asked to complete an online verbal reasoning test. This will be followed by a ten-minute telephone interview to allow the firm to get to know you a little better.
If you have impressed during all of these stages, you will then be invited to the final stage of the application process: the assessment day. Assessment days differ slightly for those applying for vacation schemes and those applying for training contracts but both include a group exercise, a role play exercise and either one or two interviews with partners and a member of the HR team. There will also be the opportunity to meet current trainees and ask them questions.
The best tactic for the assessment day is to let your enthusiasm and interest in law and business come through naturally. Make sure you’ve done your research on the firm too. Wragge & Co prides itself on being honest and on being able to spot those who are also being honest: don’t try to be the person you think the firm wants you to be – be yourself.
As part of the training contract, trainees spend six months a piece in four different practice areas. One must be in real estate and one could be abroad or on secondments to clients, such as Unilever and Mercedes-Benz.
Wragge & Co runs vacation schemes in London and Birmingham in the summer and another one in Birmingham at Easter too. Though not a necessity for those looking to gain a training contract at the firm, it’ll certainly help you out. During your two weeks you will be looked after by trainee and have a mentor responsible for ensuring you get involved in real client work.
Graduate Recruitment Info
Training Contracts: 31st July 2013
Vacation Schemes: 31st January 2013
No. of lawyers firm-wide: 624
No. of partners: 123
Birmingham trainee intake: 15
London trainee intake: 5
Trainees retained: 100% (March 2012), 87% (Sept 2012)
1st year trainee: £26,250
2nd year trainee: £29,250
Newly qualified: £38,000
1st year trainee: £35,750
2nd year trainee: £38,750
Newly qualified: £59,000
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55 Colmore Row
Birmingham B3 2AS
Tel: +44 (0)870 903 1000
3 Waterhouse Square
London EC1N 2SW
Tel: +44 (0)870 903 1000
No. of offices: 7