Law solicitors
Training contracts deadlines

Don't miss this year's training contract deadlines

Use our handy list of training contract deadlines to plan your applications. Warning: many commercial law firms have scrapped the traditional 31 July deadline and now use spring deadlines for training contracts starting in 2018.

Most commercial law firms recruit their trainee solicitors two years in advance. That means that aspiring trainee solicitors planning to start their training contracts or ‘period of recognised training’ in 2018 need to apply in 2016.

Those on a law degree need to plan ahead and submit polished online applications at the end of your second year. If successful, the upside is you’ll go into your final year with a graduate job all lined up plus, in some cases, sponsorship from your law firm for the legal practice course or LPC

Of course, 50% of trainees come from a non-law background and complete the graduate diploma in law (or GDL) conversion course before starting the LPC. Most of these law firms accept training contract applications from final-year, non-law undergraduates by this key date too, but it varies from firm to firm so do check the online profiles below. Some firms, such as Clifford Chance and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, have December or January deadlines for non-law students; Hogan Lovells and Slaughter and May use a March deadline for students on a non-law degree.

The rules around when in the year law firms can recruit trainees and offer training contracts were relaxed in 2015. As a result, not all firms use the previously popular 31 July deadline. When putting together the list below, we noticed that 30% of TARGETjobs Law's advertisers have moved their training contract deadlines away from 31 July to earlier in the year; some as early as December 2015 or January 2016: Allen & Overy wants all training contract applications in by 31 December 2015; Jones Day uses a 15 January 2016 deadline for all its applications.

It’s worth noting that smaller, niche and high street firms tend to recruit closer to trainees' start dates: see Freeth’s profile.

Applying well before the deadline is recommended

Word of warning: many commercial firms start sending out invites to assessment centres and interviews before their training contract deadline so it’s worth being organised, checking firms' websites for more details and submitting your application well before the deadline if you can. On its website, Slaughter and May warns non-law students that it opens applications in October, starts interviewing in November but the firm doesn't close its applications until March. Most firms with July deadlines open their online applications on 1 April 2016 or 1 June 2016.

Training contract deadlines 

22 July 2016

29 July 2016

31 July 2016