Law training contract•
Training beyond your expectations.
To become a trainee solicitor at Bird & Bird, you can apply through two different routes: attending a Vacation Scheme or applying directly for a training contract. We are recruiting for our August/September 2026 cohort.
Solicitors Qualification Examination (SQE)
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requires aspiring solicitors to have a degree qualification in any subject, pass two centralised assessments (the SQE1 and SQE2), undertake two years’ full-time Qualifying Work Experience (QWE), and meet the character and suitability requirements to qualify.
We partner with The University of Law to deliver a bespoke SQE programme prior to your training contract. The SQE1 tests your legal knowledge and the SQE2 which assesses practical legal skills. You must pass each stage of the SQE before progressing onto the next. The SQE+ programme is a tailored experience for our future trainees joining Bird & Bird, which is being designed by our award-winning lawyers and Early Careers team in collaboration with The University of Law.
Your relationship with us starts from the moment you secure your training contract. You will be invited to firm-wide socials, events, and be updated on firm news. Our aim is to ensure your transition into the firm is as smooth as possible. We will also assign a Trainee Buddy to support you during this period of change, acting as a point of contact from offer letter to qualification.
Prior to starting your first seat, you will have a comprehensive two-week induction designed by our Learning & Development team, providing you with the basic building blocks for your personal growth and professional success as a trainee solicitor. From practical learning to insight sessions and skill-based workshops, we will ensure that you are set up for success. We will introduce you to all areas of the firm, from business services to fee earners, strengthening your understanding of how we operate as one seamless international, sector-focused firm.
Qualifying Work Experience (QWE)
At Bird & Bird, your QWE is your training contract. You will spend time in four different departments for 6-months each, known as ‘seats’, giving you a rich learning experience and development opportunities. During each seat, you will be assigned to a dedicated supervisor who is an associate or partner.
Within our departments, we have sector and sub-sector specialisms. You will get exposure to different areas of law whilst working alongside an array of lawyers and clients, as you find the area you want to pursue and qualify into.
You may also experience an international or client secondment to further your experience. On an international secondment, you will explore life in a new city, immerse yourself in our global firm, and work even closer with our international lawyers. On a client secondment, you will develop your commercial edge by understanding their business from the inside.
Learning & Development
Alongside your seat rotations, you will take part in a tailored Learning & Development Programme which will equip you with a broad range of technical and business skills. This programme is led by a mixture of internal and external speakers in a combination of online and in-person sessions. You will put this learning into context as you rotate around different departments throughout your training contract.
You will receive regular feedback from your supervisors and the Early Careers team to provide you with the support and guidance fundamental to you excelling in your law career.
From induction to qualification, networking and social events will allow you to immerse you in our friendly, vibrant culture. You can also get involved in pro-bono and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, support the Early Career team with events and mentoring, or get involved in other firm-wide opportunities such as sports teams and our employee networks.
At the end of your two-year training contract, you will qualify as a solicitor and each year we hope to retain most of our trainees in newly qualified (NQ) roles across the firm.
How to apply
The application process typically includes an online application form, a Watson-Glaser test, a video interview, and an assessment centre. Once you have applied, you will receive a confirmation of your received application form. You will be notified if your application has been unsuccessful or receive an email regarding the next stage of the application at each stage.
We accept applications from those who have, or will expect to have, a minimum of AAB at A-Level and a 2:1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent). However, we do understand that you may not have received the grade you hoped for due to extenuating or mitigating circumstances. Please detail any relevant information in your application for us to take into consideration. We also use a Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) to enable us to recruit people from different backgrounds and help us understand your achievements in the context in which they were gained.