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Law Training Contract Guide

Law training contracts make up the last stage of training before qualifying as a solicitor.

The training contract application and recruitment process can be lengthy and it’s a well-known fact that the number of training contracts outnumbers the number of applicants.

But don’t panic! Read on for some useful tips and information on things like training contract seats, secondments and salaries.

Training Contracts: Essential Information

What is a Law Training Contract?

A training contract in law is a two-year training period carried out in a law firm or in-house in a large organisation by law graduates pursuing a career as a solicitor.

This period of recognised training is regulated by the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority (SRA). It’s supervised by the law firm or organisation’s experienced solicitors.

You can become a trainee solicitor after a qualifying law degree and the LPC. Or, if you did a non-law degree, after a conversion course, like the GDL.

A law training contract gives a trainee solicitor the opportunity to demonstrate to their firm of legal department and the SRA that you they the skills required to successfully practice law.

Legal trainees do this through completing different seats and immersing themselves in the culture of the law firm.

Law Training Contracts Salary

A training contract salary can vary greatly depending on where in the UK you complete your training and the type of law firm you apply to.

 Starting Law Trainee Salary (London)Starting Law Trainee Salary (Outside London)
Recommended minimum training contract salary£22,212£19,619
Average training contract Salary£35,000 - £48,000£18,000 - £35,000

What Does a Trainee Solicitor do?

As a trainee solicitor, you will put all of your theoretical studies from university into practice.

You will get involved in work for a number of different clients.

Daily tasks may include:

Want to know more about the kind of work you might complete on your training contract? Hear from a trainee solicitor in the banking  department of Norton Rose Fulbright in the video below.

Law Training Contract Seats

Law training contract seats are periods of time that law trainees spend in specific legal departments. Rotating seats allows you to develop and build your legal work experience and practical training in a number of different practice areas of the law.

Depending on where you train, trainee solicitors will either complete four six-month training contract seats or a greater number of shorter seats. In smaller law firms and large organisations with legal teams, legal trainees may have fewer departments to rotate between.

The types of seats you can expect will vary from firm to firm depending on its law specialism. You will be placed in both contentious (those which involve disputes) and non-contentious seats.

In this video, Victoria, Trainee Development Manager at Norton Rose Fulbright, tells us about the seats at the law firm.

Training Contract Secondments

A training contract secondment is a period of training or seat that a trainee solicitor spends in-house in a client’s legal team. It could happen locally, nationally or overseas.

Larger legal firms tend to offer more opportunities to legal trainees for international training contract secondments. So if going on a secondment overseas is something important to you, you must bear this in mind while choosing the right law firm for you.

Professional Skills Course (PSC)

The Professional Skills Course is the last part of your compulsory training before qualifying as a solicitor and builds on the skills you’ve learned during the LPC or GDL.

It covers the following core areas:

During your Professional Skills course, you will take elective modules on areas of the law which interest you.

You can choose between contentious and non-contentious modules from various specialisms including criminal, family and corporate law.

There are also practice skills electives including modules on how to present, improve written communication and negotiate well. Commercial awareness also forms a big part of the course.

When to Apply For Law Training Contracts

When you should apply for solicitor training contracts depends on your chosen study route and choice of law firm.

Study RouteWhen to Apply
Three-year qualifying law degreeYour second year
Three-year non-law degreeYour third year
Four-year qualifying law degreeYour third year
Four-year non-law degreeYour fourth year

To check precise deadline dates for specific law firms, go to our deadlines page.

Training Contract Deadlines

In-House Training Contracts

An in-house law training contract is an alternative route to a career as a solicitor. This type of contract takes place at large commercial organisations such as BT and the BBC or the government and the Crown Prosecution Court which have their own legal teams.

Visit our in house page to find out more about this lesser-known and highly competitive route.

Next: Training contract applications guide


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We spoke to trainees at Freshfields, Bird & Bird, Penningtons and Herbert Smith Freehills about what life as a trainee solicitor is like. Click on the links below to find out more!

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