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An in-house training contract is a lesser-known route into a career as a solicitor. If you’re currently weighing up your options and wondering where to apply, consider a training contract in-house within a commercial organisation’s or the government’s legal department.

What Is an In-House Training Contract?

An in-house training contract is a role at a particular commercial organisation within a dedicated legal team.

In-house training contracts tend to be offered by larger commercial businesses which have sufficiently large in-house legal teams.

In-house legal training contract opportunities are generally harder to come by compared with those available in traditional law firm settings. That being said, it’s possible to secure yourself an in-house training contract if you’re prepared to work that extra bit harder to find one.

Doing a training contract in-house essentially means that the organisation employing you is your client. Day to day, you will be involved in advising that organisation on many aspects of law which will, to a large extent, be dictated by the nature of the work undertaken by the organisation and the industry in which it operates.

Given the commercial nature of an in-house legal training contract, commercial awareness and business acumen are key requirements.

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In-House Training Contract Providers

There are several in-house training contract providers. However, unlike law firms (which tend to offer training contracts year on year) in-house legal teams will only usually offer training opportunities as and when needed.

This means that in-house training opportunities will vary from year to year. You can find providers from the media, commercial, finance and industries, along with others.

See below for some of the UK’s largest in-house training contract providers.

Find out what it’s like to work in-house as a trainee lawyer: In-House Counsel Case Study – Seedrs

The Government Legal Training Service Training Contract

The Government Legal Service (GLS) regularly offers in-house training contracts. As the biggest litigation organisation in the UK, it’s a popular choice for many aspiring solicitors. The GLS offers a variety of opportunities within the following departments:

  • Government Legal Department (GLD)
  • Government Legal Department (GLD) Commercial Law Group
  • HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • National Crime Agency (NCA)
  • Competition & Markets Authority (CMA)

The government legal training scheme is a popular option for those interested in societal change, and areas you could explore during a GLS training contract include anything from transport, crime, energy and environmental issues to something as exciting as space travel. It’s no wonder that this is such a competitive option.

To find out more, visit the GLS training contract scheme page.

CPS Legal Training Scheme

The Crown Prosecution Service recruits trainees yearly. A Crown Prosecution Service training contract focuses on criminal law and most eventually go on to become prosecutors. Daily tasks during the CPS legal training scheme include the following:

• Attending conferences with police and counsel
• Researching and reporting back to other lawyers
• Shadowing lawyers at Magistrates and Crown courts
• Assisting caseworkers at court by preparing cases and supporting counsel as needed
• Completing secondments

Read more about a Crown Prosecution Service training contract on its website.

The BBC

BBC offers training contracts to four graduates to work as part of the BBC’s extended legal team. The programme is two-years long and covers 4 seats within the BBC Legal teams. Seats could include commercial, intellectual property, data protection, employment, litigation, Commercial Rights and Business Affairs. There is also an opportunity to complete a secondment in private practice. Although the programme will primarily take place in London, trainees may be required to travel to other BBC locations. The BBC will sponsor trainees during their Professional Skills Course and other stipulated training by the SRA.

For this year’s start-date of September 2021, applicants are required to have a 2:1 degree, have completed their GDL, if necessary, and LPC.

Applications for this recruitment round are closed. Find out more on BBC Training Contract Opportunities.

Sky

British broadcaster and telecommunications company Sky has launched a training contract programme. The two-year programme will begin in September 2021. The trainees will rotate through 4 seats across Sky Legal. Sky’s Training Principal believes the programme is comparable to that of a top law firm, meaning you will learn everything you need to equip you for your career as a lawyer. Trainees will work, post-pandemic, at Sky Studios, Sky’s Headquarters in Osterley, West London. Sky will also provide trainees with financial support to attend and complete the required Professional Skills Course.

Applications are closed right now but do keep an eye out!

British Telecoms (BT)

BT is another good example of an organisation that frequently offers in-house training contract opportunities. BT’s in-house legal team supports BT’s business ‘in everything from contract bids and large commercial transactions to competition and regulatory law and data protection. As a trainee solicitor at BT, you would therefore be exposed to a variety of work.

Find out what it’s like as a trainee at BP: In-House Solicitor Case Study – BT 

Adecco

The largest temporary staffing organisation in the world, Adecco, recruits individuals to its award-winning legal team from legal secretaries up to experienced solicitors. With offices all over the UK, there is plenty on offer.

What Are the Differences Between an In-House and Law Firm Training Contract?

There are a number of differences between an in-house training contract and law firm training contract.

  • Work-life balance in-house is arguably better than in private law practices. This does not mean you will never burn the midnight oil as an in-house trainee solicitor, it just might happen less frequently!
  • In some cases seat choices may be more limited in-house and dictated to a large extent by the type or business the given the organisation is involved in. There is arguably greater variety and flexibility in law firms
  • Pay is likely to be lower for law in-house training contracts than for those based at law firms.
  • Unlike in a private practice where you will be working for a variety of different clients, as a trainee solicitor in-house, you tend to work for just one client: your employer!

In-House Training Contracts Case Studies:

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