Trainee Solicitor opportunities 2023 - London and Manchester
Apply for our 2023 Trainee Solicitor opportunities (London & Manchester)
Who are we?
We are a top 100 law firm committed to claimant-only cases, ensuring that individuals have the same access to justice as the UK Government and large corporations. We’re not afraid to take on difficult and challenging cases involving medical negligence, serious personal injuries, discrimination in the workplace, defective products and human rights abuses in this country and overseas. We offer a market-leading service to our clients who include individuals from around the world, charities and global NGOs.
Our trainees are a top priority for the future of our firm. We are very proud that our current retention rate of trainees on qualification is over 90%. Many of our partners and heads of departments have trained with us.
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for candidates who are able to demonstrate:
- Excellent fit with our ethos - a genuine passion for claimant law and providing access to justice for all.
- High standards of academic achievement, at least a 2:1 degree classification and typically 128 UCAS tariff points (or equivalent) or better.
- Ability to solve problems, demonstrating good judgement and critical reasoning.
- Excellent written & verbal communication skills.
- Ability to deal sensitively with clients and experts.
- Excellent organisation and prioritisation skills, with the enthusiasm to work in a busy team environment.
- Confidence, persistence and resilience to consistently deliver the highest quality of work under pressure and in the face of change.
- Sincerity, positivity and flexibility to ensure our clients receive first rate service, at all times.
What is it like to be a trainee with Leigh Day?
Unlike many firms, we offer two 12 month training seats as we believe this is the best way to acquire more responsibilities, get stuck in to cases and develop a true in-depth appreciation of a particular area of law. A London trainee should typically expect to be assigned their first seat in clinical negligence or personal injury, before expressing a preference as to where they would like to spend their second seat, which might be in our employment, human rights or international departments, although much depends on the cases being run and the needs of the firm. Manchester trainees should typically expect to undertake one seat with clinical negligence and the other with personal injury or employment.
As a trainee, you will work closely with a supervising partner/ associate on client work and have a dedicated learning and development team on hand to support you through the professional training. Our learning and development team also support you with a comprehensive development programme, drawing on the experience of internal and external experts, to build your skills as a solicitor for the future.
You will also be actively encouraged to get involved with a lot of cross-department charitable and fundraising activities to get to know the firm. You will also have the opportunity to interact regularly with other trainees, solicitors, partners and staff members through our many social events, clubs and networks.
Read about some of our past and present trainee experiences!
The Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) route to qualification
We are no longer offering the traditional training contract route to qualification from our 2023 intake, and will be following the SQE route, without exception.
This does not change who we are looking for, the structure/ duration of the training you would receive, or the exposure to the work that you would undertake.
Our trainee opportunities will remain as 2 x 12 month seat rotations, and we are not considering any reductions to that duration with existing qualifying work experience (QWE). We expect successful trainee applicants to commit for the full 24 months, so if you already have existing QWE that you would like to count towards qualification, you may wish to reconsider whether this is the best training option for you!
How does the application process work?
All interested applicants need to apply via our online application system.
You will be able to access the link when you click on the Apply Now button at the head of the page.
You will only be able to access the link once the application process is open.
We do not accept speculative and/ or applications made in any other format.
The application process for London and Manchester 2023 Trainee Solicitor opportunities;
Opens on: 24 March 2022 (Thursday) @ 13:00
Closes on: 21 April 2022 (Thursday) @ 23:59
We aim to update everyone on the status of their application within 4-6 weeks of the closing date.
Those candidates who are successful at the application stage will be invited to attend an assessment day.
The assessment day will include panel interviews with Partners, covering a mix of competency, skills and opinion based questions, along with ability tests and a written assessment.
Assessments for London and Manchester will take place from mid-June 2022.
We expect to be able to return to physical assessment days in our London and Manchester offices, however, this is always subject to change, depending on the guidance at the time.
We aim to make our final decisions shortly after the assessment days. Assessed candidates will be informed about the outcome of their applications within 1-2 weeks of their assessment day.
What should I include in the online application form?
We look for a high standard of academic achievement; at least a 2:1 degree classification and the equivalent of 128 UCAS tariff points or better. For any academic qualifications gained outside of the UK, please ensure you provide as much detail as you can about them in the boxes provided.
We do consider extenuating circumstances and contextual information related to your time in education, so we may still be able to consider your application if you have not achieved our academic requirements.
Please highlight any extenuating circumstances in the relevant section of the application form but please note you may be required to provide evidence, should your application be progressed.
Our online application form is integrated with the Rare Contextual Recruitment System (CRS). If you sat your Key Stage 5 exams (A-level or equivalent) in the UK from 2011 onwards, a ‘Performance Indication’ score can be generated relating to the grades you attained from that school/ college against the average that was attained there, that year. If you have significantly over-performed compared to the average grades of that school/ college, for that year, but still fall short of our academic requirements, we may still be able to progress your application.
Our applicants could come from many backgrounds; some may have gained experience with law firms similar to ours or worked with NGOs and charities, where others may have worked across completely different sectors, like retail, service or administration. We're interested in the demonstration of the relevant skills, approaches and responsibilities you have developed from these roles and how you have successfully applied them, no matter where or how they have been gained.
Please provide information on all roles where you have demonstrated the attributes that we value and that will make you a successful trainee/ future solicitor; this could include (but not limited to) successfully working with people (clients, customers, colleagues), document/ data management, a high level of attention to detail, a high level of verbal and written communication (with clients, customers, colleagues), and excellent client/ customer service/care skills.
This should include why you are interested in our Trainee Solicitor opportunities, including relevant life experiences (personal or professional) that have shaped your aspirations and worldview; highlight the personal attributes that we value; and evidence of your commitment to providing exceptional client/ customer care, and access to justice, to all.
The covering letter section is limited to a maximum word count of 1000. This is typically equivalent to two sides of A4 in font Arial, size 11.
We value everyone’s unique background, circumstances and pathway equally, so if you feel that you have not been able to articulate and express any information relevant to your application elsewhere in the form, please include it here. However, you should not feel obligated to share anything here if you are satisfied that you have already included everything to support your application in the previous sections.
Commitment to social mobility - SQE funding
As a firm that has not previously funded the Legal Practice Course (LPC) fees for all trainees, we recognise this can create a barrier to application for some candidates who are not in a position to self-fund their studies, and who may consider larger firms that are able to provide financial assistance, ahead of us.
We are delighted to announce that from the 2023 trainee intake, we will be funding the SQE exam (only) costs for all successful candidates, and will also provide additional funding to cover SQE tuition and preparation courses for successful eligible candidates, on a needs basis.
We also recognise that applicants that have not been able to gain valuable insight and work experience in the legal sector or with vulnerable individuals through legal internships, mini pupillages or volunteer work, may feel they are at a disadvantage through the application and selection process and decide not to apply.
We do not wish this to be the case, so to help counteract this, we are proud to be continuing our partnership with Rare’s Contextual Recruitment System (CRS), which aids identifying and progressing high potential candidates from less-advantaged backgrounds. We also ensure that all application and selection criteria can be achieved through multiple means, including legal and non-legal work experiences, which are both valued, and do not put any individual or group at a disadvantage.
For more information about the additional SQE funding....
Commitment to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Leigh Day is committed to the principles of equality, diversity and inclusion, and actively work with those principles in mind. We are well aware of the inequalities in society, and how these might impact our applicants/ candidates, so we seek to minimise the impact of these inequalities wherever possible. We value the diversity of our colleagues, our clients and the third parties with whom we work. We seek to create an environment where everyone feels included and valued for their unique characteristics, skills and abilities and supported in their needs and responsibilities. We already have well established committees and networks that have achieved significant success already, and we are in the process of developing and launching more.
Our Race, Intersectionality, and Structural Equality (RISE) Committee is led by a committee of staff from across the firm. It focuses on improving recruitment and progression of all Global Majority staff, encouraging diversity within the firm’s networks, educating and reflecting on the wider race debate and increasing accessibility to the legal profession.
Our LGBT+ & Allies Network is driven by a committee of staff members. The network’s activities include organising seminars and events of LGBT+ interest, providing a peer support network for LGBT+ staff and ensuring the firm's policies and practices support LGBT+ staff.
We are a Stonewall Diversity Champion and are currently ranked no.21 on the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.
Our Disability & Allies Network is led by the Disability Steering Committee, and progresses our aims through a variety of specific events and activities and hold events jointly with the other Leigh Day Networks to explore areas of common experience and interest.
The Women's committee is inclusive in its approach and its work covers all women, including trans women.
The scope of the Committee’s work also includes non-binary people and trans men where they face similar issues to those facing women in the workplace.
The Committee recognises that people with caring commitments may experience similar issues regardless of their sex and gender identity and takes an inclusive approach to considering issues relating to absence arrangements, flexible working and part-time working.
The Committee recognises the importance of an intersectional approach to equality and works closely with the firm’s RISE Committee, Disability & Allies Committee, and LGBT+ & Allies Committee.
We only accept applications through our online application system. We do not accept speculative and/ or applications made in any other format.
We are currently a registered Tier 2 visa sponsor and will be accepting applications from those who will need sponsorship for the 2023 intake.
Once you have submitted your application form, you are able to log back in and update your personal details and academic achievement sections if you have changed address or have received exam results after your submission. All other sections will be locked from editing after submission, so please ensure you have thoroughly reviewed your application content and are happy with it before submission.
Due to the number of applications we receive, we are unable to provide feedback on unsuccessful applications. However, we are able to provide feedback to candidates who attend an assessment day.
We now offer SQE exam (only) funding for all of our trainees, however we do have additional funding support for tuition and preparation courses, which will be accessed based on financial need.
Those self-funding SQE tuition and preparation are free to chose their own provider, however, those in receipt of additional funding may be required to stay with our preferred provider. More information will be made available to those eligible candidates who are successful through he selection process, and are in receipt of an offer.
During the selection process you will always be asked if reasonable adjustments are required, and you can contact the recruitment team in confidence that they will do what they can to ensure you are supported appropriately.
Likewise, a successful trainee will discuss the necessary support required, so our facilities team, IT team, trainee supervisors and training course providers are all able to respond accordingly.
We are only supporting the SQE route to qualification for the 2023 intake, however, if you already have the LPC, you will be expected to complete the SQE2 before commencing your traineeship.
We do not have a preference on applicant background.
Many of our trainees have been paralegals with Leigh Day or other firms before taking up their training contract, however, any applicant that can demonstrate the skills, attitude and ethos we're looking will be considered equally.