What Is A Training Contract?

A training contract is a period of training undertaken with an organisation, often a law firm but now allowed to include a number of different organisations, to get you qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales (as recognised by the SRA). In other words, it is a period of training which satisfies the SQE route’s requirement for ‘qualifying work experience’ (QWE).

Training Contract Deadlines Table

Please note, while these training contract deadlines are maintained to the best of our ability, we always recommend checking deadline dates on the relevant law firm website.

Study RouteWhen to Apply
Three-year qualifying law degreeSecond year of study
Three-year non-law degreeThird year of study
Four-year qualifying law degreeThird year of study
Four-year non-law degreeFourth year of study
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When Do Training Contract Applications Open?

Most law firms look to fill their training contract placements two years in advance. You should aim to apply for your legal training contract by May or June of your penultimate year at university – if you are a law student. If you are a non-law student, you should apply in your final year.

How Competitive Are Training Contracts?

Training contract applications are certainly very competitive. Some statistics have suggested that some Magic Circle firms have an acceptance rate around 2%. However, with a carefully researched and well-written application, your odds are likely to be much higher.

How Many Training Contracts Should I Apply To?

The ideal number of applications is essentially whatever number you can complete while still keeping your answers well- researched and original to the firm. In short, aim for the greatest quantity possible without sacrificing on quality. For the average applicant, this might be somewhere in the range of 5-15 applications.

How Do I Decide Where to Apply?

There are a number of factors you should consider when picking where to apply for a training contract, including:
– Salary
– Career progression
– Location
– Firm reputation/rankings
– Practice area focus
– Secondment opportunities
– Firm culture
– Other benefits/perks


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