Royds Withy King - True Picture

Regional royalty, this full-service player has a commanding presence in the South West.

Watch the throne

From the lovely Roman city of Bath (“where we’re the absolute top dog”) to the bright lights of London (“where we are looking to significantly build up our presence”), the Royds Withy King-dom sprawls across the south of the UK. This regional outfit offered a compelling alternative to trainees looking for something different to City giants: “I didn’t fancy the prospect of being destroyed in London,” one remarked. The firm’s office in the capital does house trainees, who told us they looked “for a firm which would care about my personal life – I didn’t want to be working 10-hour days all the time.” The clear message to take away is that this is a King which looks after its people. 

London, Bath and Oxford each house roughly a third of the firm’s trainees; Swindon takes one every so often and Marlborough serves “as more of a support office.” Our sources dubbed Royds Withy King “one of the big names in the regions,” especially in the South West – “only a few firms in Bristol could be described as a cut above the rest.” Sure enough, Chambers UK awards the firm top rankings in Somerset for clinical negligence, family matrimonial and personal injury. Oxford likewise receives top marks for its personal injury and clinical negligence expertise; the litigation, real estate, construction and M&A teams are all favourably ranked within the South West region. 

“...a firm which would care about my personal life – I didn’t want to be working 10-hour days all the time.”

RWK splits its offering into two broad divisions. ‘Business’ covers the commercial aspects including corporate, real estate, employment and dispute resolution; while the ‘For You’ division mainly covers family law, personal injury, private client and court of protection work. Unlike at some firms you “don’t need to choose one of the schemes,” as confirmed by sources who’d happily mixed seats from both streams during their training contract. Trainees submit three preferences for their first two seats, then provide another three preferred options for their third and fourth seats a year later (second year trainees get priority). Most of our interviewees had been able to secure their preferences but conceded that there “were a lot of conversations behind closed doors with HR.” One explained that “if you fight your corner and kick up a fuss, they normally bow to your wishes.” There’s also some flexibility for trainees to move between offices for different seats.

Jewel in the crown

“There’s a bit of everything” on offer within RWK’s commercial disputes teams, from basic contract and aviation disputes to IP and director issues. “We do tackle some multi-million-pound cases, some of which are international,” sources explained; in one recent example the firm represented the Bank of India in connection with a $9.5 invoice discounting facility granted by it to a Dubai company, Firestar Holdings. Other clients on the roster include Bath City Football Club and the National Association of Jewellers. Trainees on bigger cases start out with bundling, attending hearings and drafting instructions to counsel as well as “the odd day manning the printer.” They also work on smaller disputes, during which trainees “can take the lead from start to finish.” Product liability, shareholder disputes, civil fraud allegations and consumer complaints are among RWK’s litigious strengths. One trainee in Bath explained that the firm has “a contract with a national mobile phones network and we handle all the small claims for them. That might be as simple as dealing with someone who has overspent their bill on holiday.” These lower-value cases offer more substantive opportunities for trainees “to draft witness stations, defences and settlements.” 

“From week two I was sent to meetings and interviews on my own.” 

Trainees typically work under one fee earner in the private client department. The group handles wills, probate and trusts for high net worth individuals: “From week two I was sent to meetings and interviews on my own, taking instructions and visiting’s people’s properties,” one trainee reported. They jokingly added that “it’s not just about visiting estates on the edge of Bath with huge manicured lawns and ponies, but it is interesting getting out and meeting people.” Another made it clear that a private client seat isn’t just about living your Downton Abbey fantasies: “I’ve been doing lots of drafting – which is great experience –  including trust declarations, private loan arrangements and some deeds of appointment.” Most Bath trainees see a mix of non-contentious and litigious work; in London and Oxford the practice is nearly all non-contentious {check}. This department keeps the names of its clients under wraps but with top rankings in Somerset, Swindon and Oxford you can bet there’s a fair few big money names on the list. 

Speaking of big money, the firm’s corporate offering is no rival to international City giants but fares well in the lower mid-market. The firm recently advised luxury clothing brand Barbour on the opening of a new flagship store in Mayfair; acted for Oxford Genetics, a leader in synthetic biology-based technologies, on a £7.5 million investment into its operations in the US and the UK; and advised the senior management team of national forensic and DNA testing services provider Cellmark Forensic Services on the acquisition of the company from LabCorp. The firm also represents some international clients including Punjab National Bank and Baglioni Hotels Group. “It does feel like you’re thrown in the deep end” according to one trainee, reminiscing about their time in a corporate seat, “but once I was up to speed I was grateful for my experienceI was able to draft a lot of the ancillary documents and take charge of the disclosure schedule.”  

Royal wedding

Royds Withy King formed when London-based Royds and regional outfit Withy King joined forces in 2016. Three years later, some of our interviewees felt that “there are still some divisions between the London office and the rest of the firm.” They pointed out that “the firm’s offices are quite self-contained” on a business development level, and felt that culturally “London feels more commercially-driven and present themselves as sleek, professional lawyers.” Some reckoned this is just a “London thing” rather than being specific to RWK. We also heard that “the London trainees never come to the Christmas social just because it’s held in the Swindon Steam Museum.” Ouch.

Many agreed that “integration will happen, it will just take more time,” and encouragingly the firm’s newest recruits had the most positive outlooks. “While London does have a different feel, it definitely doesn’t seem like two separate firms,” they reasoned. “Management recently put on an away day in the Cotswolds for the firmwide corporate team. It was a big team-building day doing strange things with logs, but also a great opportunity to meet trainees from other offices” One source said they “have since felt entirely comfortable reaching out to colleagues in London with questions.” All our sources were keen to highlight “the family feel” of Royds Withy King. “I look forward to coming to work because my colleagues are so amazing,” one source reported; another told us “you get a lot of support working here. Of course there are politics like any office, but that doesn’t get in the way of your day-to-day life and there’s little imposition of hierarchy: I genuinely can’t tell who’s an NQ and who’s a partner.” London has a more corporate vibe, but that’s compensated for by a more social atmosphere – “people are much more likely to go for a drink after work,” sources there said.  

“It was a big team-building day doing strange things with logs…” 

Most of our regional interviewees were likely to work 9am to 5:30pm then head home. Busier groups such as corporate and dispute resolution come with an extra half hour to the day, but weekend work is unlikely and none of our interviewees were taking their work home with them. London trainees saw slightly longer hours, though one source said “the latest I’ve ever stayed was 11pm and I can easily count the times I’ve been here past 8.30. Most of the time I’m gone before 6.30pm.” We heard a few grumbles about pay being low compared to what’s offered by neighbours in Bristol and other London firms, but most accepted the work/life balance was a fair trade. 

“Retention hasn’t been great the past couple of years, especially in London,” though trainees felt “the firm tries their to best to retain everyone.” Good news then that Royds Withy King retained nine of ten qualifiers in 2019.


How to get into Royds Withy King

Coming soon

Royds Withy King

5-6 Northumberland Buildings,
Queen Square,

Royds Withy King

5-6 Northumberland Buildings, Queen Square, Bath BA1 2JE Telephone: 01225 730100 Email: [email protected] Website: Partners - 70Associates –43Total trainees –23UK offices – 7

Graduate recruiter: Jessica Parsons
Training partner: Richard Brooks
Application criteria
Training contracts: 12
Minimum required degree grade: 2:2
Dates and Deadlines
Training contract applications: open 03.12.219
Training contract deadline: 14.04.2020 2021/2022 start
Vacation scheme applications: open 01.11.19
Vacation scheme 2020 deadline: 31.01.2020
Salary and benefits
First-year salary:£26,500 or £32,000 (London)
Second-year salary:£27,500 or £34,000 (London)
Post-qualification salary:£37,000 or £40,000 (London)
Holiday entitlement: 26.5 days
LPC fees - No
GDL fees– No
Maintenance grant pa– No
International and regional
Offices with training contracts:
Bath x2
Overseas seats – No  

Firm profile
Established in 1873 Royds Withy King is a progressive UK top 100 Law Firm with the combined expertise of over 500 staff. Their reputation to advise national and international clients has allowed their lawyers to rank highly in their industry’s most well respected guides to law; the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. As a firm Royds Withy King pride themselves on delivering first class client service, but are only able to do this through nurturing, motivating and developing their people.

The firm are a composite practice known for their commercial, private client, medical negligence and personal injury work. The firm’s lawyers advise individuals and businesses on local, national and international matters. The firm operates in a number of specialist sectors, including retail and leisure, international banking, technology, private wealth, charities, health and social care, sport and racing and bloodstock.

The team are committed to the firm's core values – living these core values is an essential part of working life at Royds Withy King. All employees are valued for their efforts, personality and contribution and they play a major part in the continued success of the firm. The firm is looking for trainees that can bring to life their ability to respond to clients’ needs, demonstrate commercial understanding, build networks with others and contribute to their wider community.  

Main areas of work
Private Client
Real Estate
Personal Injury
Clinical Negligence
Residential Property, Farms and Estates

Training opportunities
Trainees are provided with a full and comprehensive induction programme including a buddy to support them during their first seat at Royds Withy King. During the training contract trainees will receive support and guidance from supervisors as well as regular meetings with the firm's training principal. 

The firm's trainee programme is made up of four seats, each lasting six months, allowing trainees to gain experience in a broad spectrum of legal work. You will work within partner-led teams sharing the workload and getting stuck into client matters. You will also have mid and end of seat reviews to provide clear and constructive feedback. The firm look to retain its trainees as NQs as you are the future of the firm. Many of the current partners and senior lawyers, including the managing partner trained at Royds Withy King.

Vacation scheme
If you would like to be considered for a three-day work placement with Royds Withy King please visit our website to find our work experience application form. Applications can be submitted online and are open until late December. If successful, your work placement will be in the spring.

Other benefits
Day off for your Birthday
Pension Perkbox
Buying and Selling Annual Leave
And many more!

University law careers fairs 2019

Bristol University of Law: 13 November 2019

Bath University of Law: 21 November 2019

Guilford University of Law: 27 November 2019

This Firm's Rankings in
UK Guide, 2019

Ranked Departments

    • Clinical Negligence: Mainly Claimant (Band 3)
    • Clinical Negligence: Mainly Claimant (Band 1)
    • Family/Matrimonial (Band 2)
    • Personal Injury: Mainly Claimant (Band 1)
    • Clinical Negligence: Mainly Claimant (Band 1)
    • Family/Matrimonial (Band 1)
    • Personal Injury: Mainly Claimant (Band 1)
    • Construction (Band 3)
    • Corporate/M&A: Lower Mid-Market (Band 3)
    • Litigation (Band 4)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Real Estate Litigation (Band 4)
    • Family/Matrimonial (Band 1)
    • Real Estate (Band 4)
    • Personal Injury: Mainly Claimant: Industrial Disease Recognised Practitioner
    • Sport: Horse Racing & Equestrian (Band 1)