Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

Spotlight

We offer a broad range or work so as a trainee / apprentice you’ll be able to experience a variety of types of client and sector across your programme.

 

In our Corporate and Commercial practice we work with everything from early stage, entrepreneurial businesses through to established, international operations. Our Corporate team advises on corporate and private equity deals, fundraising from the capital markets, and offers on-going corporate advisory services.  Our commercial team provides legal and commercial advice to UK and international clients across a variety of sectors with a particular specialism in technology, retail and financial services.  This could involve commercial contracts work, supporting in house teams through deal structure planning, leading on negotiations to advising on implementation and operational issues.

 

Our Private Client group is a dynamic division, spanning a wide range of practice areas including tax and estate planning, family and relationships, property and philanthropy. Our expertise is bolstered by being a full-service city firm, with a strong regional and international presence. Consistently ranked as a leading Private Client group, the team is trusted by a diverse global client base – whose stories are often as interesting as the work!

 

In our Construction, Real Estate and Disputes practice, we support across large and small-scale projects both in the UK and internationally.  Our construction team represent both suppliers and purchasers (including employers, major contractors, specialists and leading engineering consultancies) to provide the full range of construction services including procurement, transactional, project advisory services and disputes advice.  Our Real Estate and Disputes teams spans transactional and contentious work over a range of development, planning, environmental, regeneration and investment specialisms.

 

Our Employment, Banking and Immigration team works with a range of private and corporate clients.  The employment team advises employers from a broad range of sectors on how to manage and mitigate employment law risks, covering issues arising in the day-to-day operation of a business, in the course of corporate transactions and in the context of disputes.  Our Banking team advises corporate entities and private clients on domestic and cross-border financing transactions and restructuring, working closely with other CRS departments at such as Corporate, Real Estate and Construction.  The immigration team provides advice for private individuals and employers.  Individual advice often ties in with other disciplines as International Tax, Family and Private Client.  Immigration advice for employers focuses on Sponsor Licence compliance and international hires, dovetailing well with the firm’s Employment and Corporate disciplines.

 

Our Litigation and Dispute Resolution division works on diverse mandates – ranging from commercial disputes, contentious insolvency, and fraud, right the way through to private wealth disputes (including contested estates and arts & heritage), healthcare and regulatory issues, and IP litigation.

We’re only human. And we consider that our superpower, not a weakness. We’ve built our firm on establishing trusted, meaningful relationships with our clients globally.  After all, we are here to guide them through their most pressing challenges and most rewarding opportunities.

We do this by creating rewarding relationships and adopting a personal approach with total focus on client needs. We do this with kindness, empathy, attention, and clarity. No jargon, no attitude. The results are deep and trusted relationships between our clients and us. Relationships that deliver value and peace of mind long-term. We make a difference to someone’s life.

We have a diverse range of skills and offer legal services globally through a broad range of integrated advisory, transactional and contentious services.  We know it’s not enough to understand the law – we have to understand our clients just as well. So we apply a people-focused lens to every action we recommend to our clients. Our unique approach to law has made us a leader in the world of dynamic growth and family businesses, and among the world’s leading creators and owners of private wealth and their families. Major corporates and institutions benefit from our personalised approach as we embed ourselves in the teams of our clients. Working alongside them and connecting them with the right people across our firm to help them excel in new opportunities.

We are based in London, Guildford and Cheltenham in the UK with international offices in Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.  Our country desks focus on key international markets where we do not have offices including the USA, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Israel, India and China as well major European markets. Our international connections mean we can work with clients anywhere in the world. Whether a business operates in a single country or across borders, we’ll put a team together pulling from our sector and geographical expertise and our partnerships with the best law firms across the world covering 200 legal jurisdictions.

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Statistics and facts

Firm type
  • International
  • Regional
  • City
Practice Areas
  • Corporate
  • Commercial
  • Family
  • Property
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Banking & Finance
  • Employment & Pensions
  • Will & Probate
  • Insolvency
  • IP
  • Tax
  • Construction
  • Private Client
  • Immigration
Head quartersLondon
Number of Offices11
Office Locations - Overview
  • South East
  • South West
  • International
Location of Major UK Offices
  • London
  • Guildford
  • Cheltenham
Location of Major International Offices
  • Europe
  • Middle East
  • Asia
No of Partners170
No of Lawyers500
Average Trainee Salary£47,000 (London), £37,000 (Guildford), £35,000 (Cheltenham)
NQ Salary£80,000 (London), £60,000 (Guildford), £55,000 (Cheltenham)
Managing PartnerSimon Ridpath

Training Contracts

We offer Training Contracts in our London, Cheltenham and Guildford offices.

There are some recent changes to the way Solicitors qualify and we have given a lot of thought as to how we can continue to support you throughout your training contract.  Our preference is for candidates to undertake the Solicitors Qualifying Exam going forward, however our Training Contract will also support those who have already commenced or completed the LPC.  Please note, we will only sponsor the SQE going forward.

Both pathways are designed to give you the best possible training with the firm and encourage you to develop the key legal and business skills to enable you to become a successful lawyer.

 

Will I follow the new or old qualification route?

I have started or completed the LPC –

If you have already started or completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at point of offer, you will be able to qualify under the existing route:

  • Completed law degree / Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and started / completed LPC already.
  • 2-year ‘Recognised Period of Training’, also referred to as a Training Contract.

You will not need to sit the SQE exams or accrue ‘Qualifying Work Experience’ as outlined in the new route to qualification.

I have not started or completed the LPC

If you haven’t started or completed the LPC at point of offer, you’ll undertake the new SQE route:

  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) – for non-law students. See further details below.
  • SQE LLM – Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam preparation courses and exams – you’ll do both SQE 1 and SQE 2 as well as our SQE Plus programme which will contribute towards a Masters in Legal Practice (LLM). See further details below.
  • 2 years of ‘Qualifying Work Experience’ with the firm.

 

Non law students – Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDL)

We have partnered with The University of Law to provide all of our post-graduate courses.

If you have not studied a law degree, we will sponsor you to complete your Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDL).  This will replace the previous version of the GDL course.  This 9-month programme will cover all the foundation subjects covered in a law degree and will begin to prepare you for the SQE exams.

We appreciate that full time study isn’t feasible for everyone so we also offer a 20-month part time option which we would be happy to discuss on a case by case basis to accommodate your circumstances. Following that discussion, if you prefer to study part time, you’ll be able to choose the approach that works best for you from a range of weekend, evening and online options.

If you have already started or completed the old version of the GDL, we will accept this form of the course.

 

Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) Courses and Exams

Once you’ve completed your law degree or PGDL, we will then sponsor you to study for and undertake the SQE.  You’ll undertake the SQE preparation course with The University of Law and sit exams as below:

  • SQE 1 Preparation Course – September to January
  • SQE 1 Exam – January
  • SQE 2 Preparation Course – February to April
  • SQE 2 Exam – April
  • SQE Plus programme – May to July

Our programme with The University of Law includes the SQE Plus Programme – you’ll chose modules from our CRS Elective Modules list to study in more detail.  This will prepare you well for practice at the firm by focusing on our areas of specialism, alongside developing practical legal skills. The SQE 1, SQE 2 and SQE Plus programme combines together so you’ll be studying for a Masters in Legal Practice (LLM).

 

Keeping in touch with you

As we recruit two years in advance, the Early Talent team will be here to support you before you start and throughout your training contract.  We keep in regular contact and organise Early Talent events throughout the year for our current and future trainees which provides a great opportunity to network and get to know those you will be working with.  By the time you join us, you’ll recognise a few familiar and friendly faces, and it will already feel like home!

 

Your Training Contract

While at the firm, both routes will consist of 4 x 6-month seats, giving you the opportunity to experience a range of different practice areas and engage in high level work with both private and commercial clients.  We provide a practical learning environment for Trainees where emphasis is given to early responsibility and supervised client contact.

We actively encourage our Trainees to go on either a client or international secondment.  These opportunities help you build a wider skillset and see things from a client’s perspective, or enhance your international outlook by gaining exposure to work in a different jurisdiction.  Secondments vary depending on business need, but our current client secondments include a private equity fund manager, a commercial bank, and an in-house commercial team for one of our large construction clients. Our international secondment opportunities include Private Client in our Swiss offices, or a mixture of practice areas in our Hong Kong, Dubai or Paris offices.

We also encourage you to get involved beyond the day to day work through our Responsible Business activities, whether that’s through our pro-bono practice, volunteering with our CRS Foundation, or getting involved in Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. You can find out more in our Responsible Business reports on our website.

Throughout the Training Contract there are regular catch ups and reviews between Trainees and supervisors to support your development and ensure you are continuing to receive a broad range of quality work.

Your legal training will also be supplemented by our CRS Business School which has specific development programmes for each stage of your career, including the Ignite programme which is designed for Trainees to build professional and commercial skills.

Furthermore, as part of our Sports and Social Committee offering, you could get involved with a range of additional activities from Football or Netball to Yoga or Tennis.  Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, it doesn’t matter – its about connecting with your colleagues and taking part.

No of Trainees / Yr26
Average Retention Rates96%
Location
  • London
  • Guildford
  • Cheltenham
Degree class2:1 degree classification (or equivalent)
A levelsAAB at A-Level (or equivalent )
IB36 points
Sponsorship - LPCSometimes
Sponsorship - GDLYes
Sponsorship - AllowanceYes
Sponsorship - CommentsWe provide sponsorship for PGDL and SQE LLM courses with our chosen provider, the University of Law, alongside covering the cost of the SQE exams with Kaplan. During your period of study, we will also provide you with a maintenance grant of £8,000 if you are studying in London and £6,500 if you are studying outside of London.
LPC / GDL Provider
  • Ulaw
Assessment Process
  • Application Form
  • Online Interview
  • Written Exercise
  • Assessment Centre (including face to face interview)
Vacation Scheme Requirement?
  • No (not a requirement of TC application)
Number of Seats4
Secondment SeatsThere are opportunities to go on client secondments.
Overseas SeatsThere are opportunities to go on overseas secondments

Current Opportunities

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Vacation Schemes

Deciding which law firm is right for you is not always easy. Our Placement scheme will help you to feel fully informed and allow you to experience our culture for yourself.

Our Placement Scheme provides a chance to spend time at Charles Russell Speechlys and see exactly what we do on a daily basis.

You’ll spend either 2 weeks in our London office of 1 week in Cheltenham office or Guildford office depending on which Placement scheme you apply for. Each week is spent in a different practice area where you will carry out real fee earning work that could include attending client meetings and going to court.

Support is always close at hand, with a current trainee as mentor and an associate as sponsor for each placement. You’ll also meet a variety people, either at organised social events or as part of your day to day interactions, and this will give you a real insight into the culture of the firm.

During your time with us you’ll be automatically considered for a Training Contract and will take part in an assessment centre which will be reviewed along with your performance during the Placement Scheme.

Our 2023 Placement Schemes will take place on the following dates:

London:

  • Spring 2023 – 27 March – 6 April 2023
  • Summer 2023 – 5 June – 16 June 2023

 

Guildford:

  • Spring 2023 – 17 April – 21 April 2023
  • Summer 2023 – 10 July – 14 July 2023

Cheltenham:

  • Summer 1 2023 – 26 June – 30 June 2023
  • Summer 2 2023 – 3 July – 7 July 2023

 

Applications open: 1 October 2022

Applications close: 31 January 2023

No of Vacation Schemes / yr5
Average % of Vacation Schemers who secure a Training Contract40
Location
  • London
  • Guildford
  • Cheltenham
Degree class2:1 Degree Classification (or equivalent)
A levelsAAB Classification (or equivalent)
IB36 points
Training Contract Interview included?Yes
Training Contract Interview included? Additional commentsYou will be automatically considered for a training contract on application for a vacation scheme. As part of your vacation scheme programme, you'll take part in an assessment centre during your time with us.
Assessment Process
  • Application Form
  • Online Interview
  • Written Exercise

Current Opportunities

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Open Days

We know it’s important to focus your applications towards law firms that fit with you rather than adopting a scattergun approach.  It’s key to get as much information as possible and a feel for the firm before applying.

Come along to an Open Day to find out more about life at our firm.  You’ll hear about what life is like as a trainee and from associates and partners across the firm about the breadth of work that we do.  The Early Talent team will also be on hand to answer any questions you have about our Training Contract application process.

Applications are open to first year university students onwards and can be made by submitting an application form through our Apply 4 Law portal here – https://charlesrussellspeechlys.grad.allhires.com/

Please note, you can apply for Training Contract and Placement Schemes separately after having submitted and attended an Open Day.

Reasonable travel expenses will be covered for in person open days.

 

2022/2023 Open days will take place on the following dates:

  • London Open Day – 7 December 2022
  • Cheltenham Open Day – 8 December 2022
  • Guildford Open Day – 13 December 2022
  • Virtual Open day – 11 January 2023

 

Applications open: 1 October 2022

Applications Close: 16 November 2022

Number of Open Days4
Location
  • London
  • Cheltenham
  • Guildford
  • Virtual open day
Assessment Process
  • Application Form

Current Opportunities

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Apprenticeships

We offer Solicitor Apprenticeships in our Guildford and London offices.

Law is an exciting career prospect for many, but university isn’t always the right choice for every person.  Whether you want to avoid university fees or you are keen to get stuck in and work straight away, our Solicitor Apprenticeship Programme gives you to a great alternative route to qualify as a Solicitor.

Our established programme has been running for 6 years so we know how to help you achieve your goals and how to support you along the way.

 

The programme

Our Solicitor Apprenticeship programme is a 6-year programme, during which you will complete an LLB in Legal Practice, undertake the SQE 1 and SQE 2 exams, and complete 2 years of Qualifying Work Experience.  Across all 6 years, you will work in our London or Guildford office for 35 hours per week, 4 days will be spent working in our practice groups and one day will be allocated to study.

During the first 4 years, you’ll be studying towards your law degree with our academic partner, the University of Law.  You’ll spend a year in 4 different practice areas where you’ll be involved in many of the day to day tasks of a trainee lawyer.

In year 5 and 6, you’ll be studying for the Solicitor’s Qualifying Exams whilst rotating into a new team every 6 months.  Throughout your Apprenticeship you will experience a range of different practice areas and get involved in high level work with both private and commercial clients.

Some of your key tasks as a solicitor apprentice may include:

  • Drafting documents and correspondence
  • Assisting partners and associates with various tasks
  • Liaising with clients, other law firms and third parties including Local Authorities, Companies House etc.
  • Conducting legal research
  • As you gain more experience, you’ll be given more responsibility such as attending client meetings with your supervisor and running parts of files

 

Training & Support

Throughout your Apprenticeship programme and in addition to your studies you will receive regular training.  This could come in the form of on the job training with your supervisor, or more formal training sessions through the Charles Russell Speechlys’ Business School.

In each group that you work in you will be assigned a dedicated supervisor who will work with you to ensure that you are developing the required skills and knowledge and will also assist you with your portfolio.  You will also receive support from Human Resources throughout your apprenticeship.

In addition to this, you will have a personal tutor at the University of Law who will meet you at regular intervals throughout the programme.

We also encourage you to get involved beyond the day to day work through our Responsible Business activities, whether that’s through our pro-bono practice, volunteering with our CRS Foundation, or getting involved in Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. You can find out more in our Responsible Business reports on our website.

In the latter part of the apprenticeship, we also encourage our Apprentices to go on either a client or international secondment.  This helps you build a wider skillset and see things from a client’s perspective, or will enhance your international outlook by gaining exposure to work in a different jurisdiction.  Secondments vary depending on business need, but our current client secondments include a private equity fund manager, a commercial bank, and an in-house commercial team for one of our large construction clients. Our international secondment opportunities include Private Client in our Swiss offices, or a mixture of practice areas in our Hong Kong, Dubai or Paris offices.

Your legal training will also be supplemented by our CRS Business School which has specific development programmes for each stage of your career, including the Ignite programme which is designed for Apprentices to build professional and commercial skills.

 

Salary & Benefits

You will earn a starting salary of £25,000 in London or £23,000 in Guildford which will increase as your progress through the apprenticeship programme.

You will also be entitled to the full range of staff benefits including:

  • 25 days annual holiday, plus long service accrual
  • Private medical insurance
  • Income protection
  • Life assurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Employee assistance programme
  • Enhanced maternity/paternity/shared parental benefits
  • Virtual GP services
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Season ticket loan
  • Qualification leave
  • Dress for your day policy
No of Apprenticeships4
Location
  • London
  • Guildford
GCSEs8 GCSE’s grades 9 - 4 including English and Maths
A Levels Achieved or be predicted at least BBB at A-Level (or equivalent)
IBEquivalent of BBB at A-level
Assessment Process
  • Application Form
  • Written Exercise
  • Assessment centre
Partner Law School
  • Ulaw

Current Opportunities

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Diversity Opportunities

We offer summer internships as part of the 10,000 Black Interns scheme.  Applications can be made directly though the 10,000 Black Interns website.

Interns will undertake a 6 week internship and have the opportunity to experience several practice areas within their internship.  You’ll also have the chance to take part in a mock assessment day.

This is open to university students and beyond.

No of Opportunities3
Location
  • London
Assessment Process
  • CV & Cover Letter

Current Opportunities

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