Macfarlanes is a distinctive London-based law firm, focused on its clients and on delivering excellence in the international legal market. The firm is known for the quality of its work; not just in dealing with the full range of corporate and commercial matters, but in advising clients on their private affairs as well.

Macfarlanes has made a deliberate choice to remain smaller than many of its peers. The cohesive nature of the firm means that clients benefit from collective experience and close-knit teams. The firm has decided against growth at the expense of quality, against size at the expense of efficiency and agility. So whilst large enough to advise on the most complex matters, the firm is also small enough to ensure that its people and work are exceptional, without fail.

Main areas of work

Our main practice areas are: commercial, competition, corporate and M&A, derivatives and trading, employment, finance, financial services regulation, investment management, litigation and dispute resolution, pensions, private client, private equity, real estate, restructuring and insolvency and tax.

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Statistics and facts

Firm type
  • International
  • City
Practice Areas
  • Corporate
  • Commercial
  • Property
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Banking & Finance
  • Insurance
  • Employment & Pensions
  • Infastructure
  • Criminal
  • Will & Probate
  • Competition & EU
  • Insolvency
  • IP
  • Tax
Head quartersLondon
Number of Offices2
Office Locations - Overview
  • South
  • International
Location of Major UK Offices
  • London
Location of Major International Offices
  • Europe
No of Partners90
No of Lawyers393
Average Trainee Salary£48,000 First Year £52,500 Second Year.
NQ Salary£90,000
Managing PartnerJulian Howard

Training Contracts

We pride ourselves on providing a learning experience that is genuinely distinctive. What defines that experience? Above all, we have an enduring commitment to the development of trainees because they are intrinsic to what we do and the future of our firm. It means your training programme at Macfarlanes will combine hands-on experience with a first class education programme.

During the two-year training programme you’ll be working on real cases, doing real work for real clients from day one. As a trainee you will complete four six-month seats in different practice areas, with most trainees spending time in corporate and M&A.   You will have the opportunity to submit your seat preferences and we will do our best to ensure you get to work in the seats that most interest you. In each seat, you will share a room with a partner or senior solicitor who personally supervises and supports you in your work.


Once you begin your training programme you will follow an intensive schedule of seminars and lectures – these will mostly be presented by partners or senior solicitors from within the firm. The programme is ‘front-loaded’ to develop your knowledge and skills from the start. In some practice areas you may even be asked to contribute to a seminar or to update the team on recent developments in a particular area of law.

Feedback & Mentoring

Each of your seats will feature a mid-seat and end-of-seat review. This is an opportunity to help gauge your progress. You will be allocated a partner mentor who is personally responsible for you for the duration of your training programme. These mechanisms are there to ensure that you get the best and most appropriate experience during your first years. What may surprise you at the outset is how quickly you will become part of the team and how quickly people at all levels in the firm will know your name and value your contribution.

No of Trainees / Yr33
Average Retention Rates100%
  • London
Degree class2:1
Sponsorship - LPCYes
Sponsorship - GDLYes
Sponsorship - AllowanceYes
Sponsorship - CommentsA maintenance grant of £10,000 is available during the PGDL and SQE preparation course.
LPC / GDL Provider
  • BPP
Assessment Process
  • Application Form
  • Partner Interview
  • Written Exercise
  • Case Study Interview
Vacation Scheme Requirement?
  • No (not a requirement of TC application)
Number of Seats4
Compulsory Seats
  • Corporate
  • M&A
Compulsory Seats - Additional commentsMost trainees will complete a seat in our corporate and M&A team.
Secondment SeatsN/A
Overseas SeatsN/A

Current Opportunities

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Vacation Schemes

The vacation scheme at Macfarlanes is designed to give you an insight into life as a trainee over the course of two weeks.

As a vacation scheme participant, you will be given as much hands-on experience as possible, enabling you to develop a real understanding of the firm’s culture and work. You might draft a letter and then work through the draft with a solicitor or trainee; or research a live issue for a client. Alternatively, you may be taken to client meetings or to meet counsel.

The two weeks will be split across two different practice areas to maximise your exposure. You will find yourself working alongside a partner, associate or trainee. At the same time, you will undertake a mock transaction that will run for the duration of your placement.

Away from the work the scheme has a strong social component. As well as the organised events (socials with our trainees for example or lunch with our partners) there will be many opportunities to get to know people throughout the firm and to find out if Macfarlanes is right for you.

No of Vacation Schemes / yr3
Average % of Vacation Schemers who secure a Training Contract50
  • London
Degree class2:1
Training Contract Interview included?Yes
Assessment Process
  • Application Form
  • Partner Interview
  • Written Exercise
  • Case Study Interview.

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Open Days

The first year insight scheme is designed to provide you with an insight into City law and to give you the opportunity to meet trainees, solicitors and partners within the firm. The scheme includes:

  • A negotiation exercise
  • Speed networking
  • Lunch with trainees, solicitors and partners
  • An application skills workshop
  • Work-shadowing a trainee – you will get to see the real work that goes on here

We will advise you on how to make good applications and, because the day is all about helping you decide if a career in law would be right for you, we recommend that you come armed with plenty of questions.

Number of Open Days1
  • London
Degree classOn track for a 2:1
Assessment Process
  • Application Form
  • Telephone Interview

Current Opportunities

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