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Trainee Solicitor Pathway

First things first: why have we changed the name of the ‘training contract’ to ‘Trainee Solicitor Pathway’? It’s because training contracts, as they used to be, are no longer the way you train and qualify as a solicitor. Our Trainee Solicitor Pathway will take you through the new requirements: to take the Solicitors’ Qualifying Exam (SQE1 & 2) and to do two years’ Qualifying Work Experience (QWE). 

Our Trainee Solicitor Pathway is just one of our pathways to become a lawyer with us: we’re passionately inclusive and are proud that our trainee solicitors are, together with our pupil-barristers, trainee CILEx lawyers and solicitor apprentices, all our Future Lawyers. 

Our Trainee Solicitor Pathway sets you up for success in the new way to qualify as a solicitor: on it, you’ll do your first year as a trainee solicitor with us, then one year of SQE study and assessments, and then return for your final year as a trainee solicitor before qualifying.  You’ll be assessed in year one to secure sponsorship for SQE study/assessments, and whilst studying you’ll be paid a bursary equivalent to our trainee solicitor salary.

We’re here to help you shape your career. Our Trainee Solicitor Pathway (previously called a training contract) aims to give you the best possible start, this is why: 

  • your choice of career - we welcome those who aren’t sure which sector or service is their passion and those who already have one in mind and are keen to build on it. You’ll be given seat options and guidance to ensure you get a broad mix of experience. This enables you to obtain an overview of our practice whilst gaining valuable qualifying work experience in a commercial law firm. 
    Our sectors
    Our services
  • location, location, location - we offer opportunities each year at all our office locations; 
  • inclusivity – this is at the heart of everything we do, and we want everyone to feel that they have an equal access to opportunities, that’s why we offer part-time opportunities on our Trainee Solicitor Pathway; 
  • the level of work you’ll receive aims to prepare you for SQE assessments and qualification - this puts you in good stead for the realities and expectations of working as a qualified solicitor. With us, you’ll gain invaluable practical experience before sitting your SQE assessments; 
  • interested in pro bono work - we give back to our community and many of our Future Lawyers are on our Community Action Committee; and 
  • you’ll receive all the support you need – as the first law firm to partner with O Shaped we’re proud to create a safe and productive learning environment where you’ll be comfortable to give and receive feedback, discuss your progress, and address the challenges you face (we all have challenges) to ensure we set you up for success. You’ll also have support from our HR team, who you’ll be in contact with right from recruitment until qualification and beyond.

Frequently asked questions

The earliest you can apply is in the penultimate year of your law degree (or equivalent), or the final year of a non-law degree.

Yes, you will study the SQE with the College of Legal Practice.

Yes, we sponsor the GDL, you will study the course with our SQE provider (College of Legal Practice).

Once you’ve submitted an online application you won’t be able to add to/amend it, but you will be able to edit your contact details. 
If you wish to add additional information to your application please email the details to emerging talent team before the closing date.

No, taking a gap year is fine.

Yes, from time to time we offer temporary and permanent contracts for legal assistants which are advertised on our dedicated careers website.

We have a blog called ‘ Future Lawyer blog’, written by our Future Lawyers, which gives you up to date information about the firm and what they’re up to.  

Our website should have all the information you need but if you have any further queries, please contact our emerging talent team.

We do consider applications from candidates outside the EEA.

We don’t have a minimum grade requirement for A levels or degree: we look at people, not grades.

Yes, you can apply.  All our trainee solicitors will be qualifying via the SQE route, however, LPC students will be exempt from taking SQE1.

There are two main routes to join our Trainee Solicitor Pathway:

  • Firstly, via our summer vacation scheme - a two-week placement that takes place in the last two weeks of June. Assessment centres usually take place in April/May.
    Summer vacation scheme
  • Secondly, via a direct application. Assessment centres usually take place in July.

The application process is the same for both routes, therefore you can only make one application to either the summer vacation scheme or via the direct route per calendar year. The majority of Trainee Solicitor Pathway offers are made to candidates who have been on our summer vacation scheme, so we encourage applications via this route. However, we also understand that not everyone can attend our summer vacation scheme so if this is the case, please do apply via the direct route.

Your journey starts with an online application. Shortly after your application you’ll be invited to take our online tests (situational judgement assessments). The next stage for successful candidates is a telephone interview - your chance to showcase your skills, experience and ambitions. The final stage is an assessment centre which includes: 

  • Face-to-face interview 
  • Case study exercise (which involves a presentation) 
  • In-tray exercise 

Most assessment centres are taking place virtually, via Microsoft Teams. Our emerging talent team will provide you with all the information you’ll need to access a virtual or in-person assessment centre nearer the time.

Assessment centre exercise examples

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