The in-house training contract route is arguably a lesser known route into a career as solicitor, but they offer something very different to a law firm training contract. If you want to work in an organisation’s in-house legal team or the UK government’s legal department as a solicitor, then an in-house training contract is worth considering.

What Is An In-House Law Training Contract?

An in-house law training contract follows a similar format to a law firm training contract, but instead involves training with a company’s in-house legal team or a government legal department. In-house training contracts are mostly offered by large commercial companies that have big in-house legal teams.

Doing a training contract in-house means you will be involved in advising an organisation or government department on several aspects of law. The type of work you do as part of your in-house training contract will depend on the company you work for and the industry in which it operates.

If your in-house contract is with the government, the work you do will depend on the department you are in.

Like law firm training contracts, in-house legal training is approved by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) as part of a compulsory, two-year period of recognised training, which you need to complete before you can qualify as a solicitor.

In-House Law Training Contract Vs Law Firm Training Contract

As a comparison, there are many pros and cons between doing an in-house training contract and a law firm training contract.

In-house law training contracts are rare, but the number of trainee solicitors choosing this route is rising. There are more law firm training contracts available, but competition for places is high. If you want to develop a range of legal skills, then an in-house law training contract offers the opportunity to expand your legal knowledge, especially in commercial awareness and the economic climate.

Most law firms require you to specialise in a specific area of law. Working in an in-house legal department means you will be responsible for assisting your company with a variety of legal issues, covering many aspects of law. This could help you to specialise in multiple areas of legal practice.

However, you may only be working for one client as part of an in-house training contract, whereas working for a law firm will expose you to a variety of different clients.

An in-house training contract will give you the opportunity to enrol on a part-time LPC, and salary levels for a trainee solicitor in-house are likely to be much higher than salaries offered by law firm training contracts.


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In-House Training Contract Providers

There are many in-house training contract providers ranging from Amazon to Tesco and Balfour Beatty to McDonald’s. However, unlike law firm training contracts, which are offered on a yearly basis, in-house legal training contracts tend to be offered as and when needed.

The in-house opportunities available will vary from year to year. Some of the main industries offering in-house training contracts include media, banking and finance and healthcare, but there are many more.

Some of the UK’s largest in-house legal training providers include:

The UK Government

Government training contracts are offered by the Government Legal Service (GLS). The GLS offers in-house legal training on a regular basis. As the biggest litigation organisation in the UK, many aspiring solicitors choose the GLS for their two-year period of recognised training. The GLS offers different legal training opportunities in 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)

If you are interested in societal change, Government training contracts are ideal. You can explore many different areas as part of an in-house training contract with the Government including crime, energy and environmental issues, transport, space travel and more. However, places on Government training contracts are extremely competitive.

You can visit the Government’s dedicated GLS training contract scheme page for more information.

Alternatively, you could consider a local authority training contract. If you are interested in making a difference in your local community, a local government legal training contract could be ideal.

CPS Legal Training Scheme

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) recruits trainee solicitors annually. A CPS training contract focuses on criminal law and could lead to a career as a prosecutor. A CPS legal training contract can involve:

  • 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
  • Completing secondments

The window for submitting CPS training contract applications is very short, opening mid-March and closing in mid-April. The application process requires you to submit an online application and CV, undertake online tests, undergo a video, a final interview and a legal assessment.

Visit the CPS website for more information on the CPS Legal Trainee Scheme.

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) Training Contract

The BBC training contract offers four graduates the opportunity to train and work with the organisation’s extended legal team. The BBC legal training contract is two years long and covers four seats across the organisation’s legal teams.

The seats could include:

  • Commercial law
  • Intellectual property law
  • Data protection law
  • Employment law
  • Litigation
  • Commercial rights and business affairs

The BBC training contract also offers an opportunity to complete a secondment in private practice. Training contracts are mostly available in London, but you could be asked to travel to other BBC locations. The BBC will sponsor you for your Professional Skills Course and any other training stipulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

Learn more about the BBC’s training contract, here.

Sky Training Contract

The Sky training contract launched in 2021. Intakes are usually in September and a training contract lasts for two years, but there is the possibility to reduce this by six months if you have relevant prior experience. You will rotate through up to four different seats across Sky Legal, giving you the opportunity to develop a broad range of legal skills and experience.

Throughout your Sky training contract, you will be under the guidance of Sky’s Training Principal, a manager, other legal colleagues and the wider Sky team. You will be involved in Sky Legal’s Learning and Development programme and will be given access to a wide range of personal and professional development tools.

Learn more about Sky training contracts, here.

British Telecoms (BT) Training Contract

BT’s training contract is a unique graduate scheme that lasts for two years. Much of the training contract is spent with the commercial team, but you will get involved in other areas such as procurement law and product law. The BT training contract gives you a lot of opportunity to lead on legal matters – with appropriate support from a designated supervisor.

Your training contract with BT could involve:

  • Legal research
  • Drafting and reviewing contracts
  • Dealing with external suppliers to negotiate contract terms

You could also be involved in a number of internal projects, including meetings with internal stakeholders.

Find out what it’s like to be a trainee solicitor at BT. Read our BT, In-House Solicitor Case Study.

Other Organisations Offering In-House Legal Training Contracts

Other well-known organisations offer legal training, including:

  • Amazon training contract
  • The Barclay’s Bank legal training contract
  • The NHS training contract
  • McDonald’s legal training programme
  • Mercedes training programme for trainee solicitors
  • Vodafone legal training contract

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