Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Reviews | Glassdoor

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer Reviews

Updated December 16, 2016
11 reviews

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Christopher Pugh and Stephan Eilers
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11 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • Great people, interesting work and nice office space (in 10 reviews)

  • Good training, high profile work (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Poor work/life balance even for business services (in 11 reviews)

  • long hours of work, very competitive and work at weekends (in 12 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (2)

    "Revolving door of unhappy support staff"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Brooklyn, NY
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Brooklyn, NY

    I worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Nice offices and perks (soft drinks & coffee), occasional free lunch. Great support staff.

    Cons

    Unrealistic expectations from management without putting any emphasis on training. Promotes culture of fear and blame where employees are afraid to ask questions- I've had a peer procrastinate for hours on a number of tasks for fear of asking the supervisor for help. Out of date IT systems which further slow down efficiency.

    Advice to Management

    Train your employees and they will meet your expectations. Support staff are not machines, if they don't work perfectly- tweak/train them or you are just setting them up to fail- it's in your best interest as well as theirs.


  2. Helpful (3)

    "Intense working culture"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer full-time

    Pros

    Great people to work with. Attorneys are really smart and great to work with. Support staff is well trained and extremely helpful!

    Cons

    Senior Management is not well connected with their staff. Concerned more about themselves.
    Very intense and fast paced working culture.

    Advice to Management

    Be more open minded on how to get work done effectively. Don't do something just because "it's how we have always done things" Support your staff more by listening and understanding the issues they face.


  3. "Prestigious firm, unhappy people"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (More than 5 years)

    Pros

    Access to prestigious clients. Excellent career opportunities once you leave. Market-leading M&A, Competition and Arbitration teams.

    Cons

    90% of the people here are broken and wish they hadn't become lawyers. People are extremely pedantic and rack up huge client costs by being very inefficient or hyper risk-averse, in a way that is very un-commercial. Very hierarchical and the firm 'owns' you. Partners will not hesitate to give you work all night if needed, even when the work product is already immaculate. No sense of perspective among associates - everyone is terrified of risk, even non-existent risk. It's horrible to see so many people trapped inside themselves. Moreover, the firm underpaid its staff for a long time relative to US firms despite requiring almost the same hours in certain teams.
    That said, if you do want to be a depressed lawyer, it's probably the best brand among all UK firms. And if you want to work in M&A, Competition or Arbitration, you will not find a better team anywhere than the ones at Freshfields, as of 2016 when this review is being written. It's also probably the most successful UK firm at developing a real reputation in the US.

    Advice to Management

    Get an MBA or some management experience/credibility. You'll learn about efficiency and team-building.


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  5. "IT Labour Camp"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Contractor - Service Desk Analyst in Manchester City Centre, England (UK)
    Former Contractor - Service Desk Analyst in Manchester City Centre, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer as a contractor (Less than a year)

    Pros

    - Fantastic colleagues.
    - Well paid.
    - Looks great on your CV.
    - Gender equality.

    Cons

    - Brutal working hours.
    - Poor management. Cliquey elitism.
    - Daily responsibilities regularly changed.
    - Heavy and unfair scrutiny.
    - Poor staff development.
    - Contractors treated as second class staff.
    - Applying for other positions within the firm results in disciplinary-style meetings.
    - A culture of fear with regards to job security.

    Advice to Management

    Treat your staff how you would like to be treated. Be more transparent regarding contract lengths. Consider the shifts you expect people to work - You wouldn't work them yourself. Don't hire extra staff and then threaten the service desk with staff cuts because you have over hired.
    Seriously consider the fact that happy staff are more productive staff. When you work people to the point of exhaustion, their performance is impaired.


  6. Helpful (4)

    ""If you're going to come here, make sure you know what you're in for....""

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Trainee Solicitor/Associate in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Trainee Solicitor/Associate in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    I trained and qualified at this firm before swiftly exiting stage left to greener pastures. I now work in-house as general counsel.

    So what are the pros? Obviously the name on the CV, a (reasonably) good salary and an impressive client roster are the three main attractions to coming here. But.....

    Cons

    ...the cons by far outweigh the pros. Here's a sample of them:

    - Non-existent work/life balance. Easy starter for ten which shouldn't surprise anyone - you will be working all the hours God sends. There are some American firms which might work you harder (though there are only 24 hours in a day) but they pay almost twice as much. If money is what you're after, go US. Or quit and become a banker.
    - For a good few years at least, you will be a little insignificant cog in a colossal machine. Which you won't understand.
    - The partners expect reverence at all times, even when neither their character nor ability merits it. Which is usually the case.
    - The work is monotonous and boring. Expect weeks of 15 hour-per-day document reviews and disclosures. Even as a senior associate. If/when you eventually make it out of here, you will quickly realise that the work does not prepare you at all to be a generally competent all-round lawyer.
    - The office culture is stagnant and very hierarchical. Someone is two months more qualified than you? Call them boss. Don't expect to be appreciated for your quirks and personality, they are neither required nor wanted here. All you need is a reasonably well functioning brain, an inoffensive suit and a willingness to put your work above all else.
    - Believe me, I could go on.

    Advice to Management

    There is no point offering advice to the management, for as long as bright young things are willing to throw themselves through the revolving doors, there is no incentive to change. Advice to people considering applying here - go in with your eyes open. The only genuine reason to offer your services is for the name on your CV. Don't go if you don't need it. If you do, make sure you're prepared to pay for it in time, friends, health and self-respect.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "nor recommended"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Good secondary benefits for sure. Many young ambitious people which keep it a nice environment with many social outings

    Cons

    Support staff is badly managed, no talent management at all. Reward and recognition is completely based upon how well you get along with the HR advisor. (so make sure not to ever critisize cause that's how most people lost their job)

    Advice to Management

    Get rid of the useless middle management layer and create a proper succession plan. Some people have been in on role too long.


  8. Helpful (1)

    "A good company to have on your resume"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Good training, high profile work

    Cons

    Management not good, culture in local office is terrible.

    Advice to Management

    look after your support staff


  9. "Dull and hierarchical"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Marketing in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Marketing in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer full-time (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Well paid, good benefits and a lot of talented lawyers.

    Cons

    Support service staff varied greatly in quality and too much politics.
    Long hours culture.

    Advice to Management

    Your lawyers are being let down by an antiquated management style.


  10. Helpful (1)

    "Unresponsive and unimaginative"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Laid back office environment
    Free gym facilities

    Minimum 100 words required, so just filling up space here as there is nothing else to say in this section to be completely honest.

    Cons

    Ex-lawyers are fast-tracked to management positions in HR, posts they have no business holding
    Heads-of-departments and managers are unable to manage or connect with team members
    Ideas for improvement are ignored unless you are well liked

    All in all: an inward looking firm in a competitive space; not a sustainable mind set or business model

    Advice to Management

    Sort all of the above out - ability alone should be the driver for promotions, not likeability
    COO - check that he has enough to do - he is alienating your staff one email rant at a time


  11. Helpful (1)

    "Worst experience of my life"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Associate in London, England (UK)
    Former Employee - Associate in London, England (UK)
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    -decent compensation
    -good people (ie. other associates) to work with

    Cons

    -very unsupportive partners and environment
    -extremely long hours (even by law firm standards)
    -unfriendly environment for women


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