Join a firm of individuals working in a positive, professional and cooperative culture, in an environment that actively allows you to grow your skills and challenge yourself.
Who We Are
Shoosmiths is a national law firm with a difference. We’re not different in what we do, but in the way we do it. Our approach to meeting clients’ requirements is based on the simple premise that each client has a unique challenge and deserve to get the best service, expertise and attention. We want to build and maintain our reputation for providing all of our clients with valued legal services.
We are close to our clients, constantly listening, thriving on their challenges, bringing the energy, ideas and results they need.
There's no secret to our growth over recent years to become a £181.8m turnover firm. Clients, whether individuals or organisations, love working with Shoosmiths people because of the way we work and the results we consistently deliver for them.
You don't have to take our word for it, many of our clients are happy to talk on our behalf - we've never been ones for banging our own drum.
Our commercial client list speaks volumes for the quality of our lawyers and the experience they provide; from Mercedes-Benz, Octopus Ventures and Travelodge to property developers and some of the UK's largest banks, we work with a growing number of the FTSE 250 and some of the world's most exciting and ambitious growth businesses.
We work to a simple formula: a can do ethos, values that are much more than words on paper, and the agility to find the best way for each individual client - whether that's ways of working, pricing structures or just innovative ideas that make a real commercial difference.
Evidencing independent recognition of our national teams’ legal expertise, Shoosmiths is currently ranked by the Legal 500 UK 2022 across 120 practice areas with 33 top tier rankings. Chambers and Partners 2022 UK Guide ranks 71 of Shoosmiths practice areas with 18 as Band 1 and an additional 10 awarded as National Leaders. In addition Chambers and Partners ranked Shoosmiths 8 Connected Services products Cia® and Matters + as band one in their Global LawTech 2022 Guide.
We are Shoosmiths
We asked our trainee solicitors to tell us about their experience of applying for, and securing a training contract at national law firm, Shoosmiths.
How can I start my legal career at Shoosmiths?
We offer a number of opportunities for university students and graduates. Depending on what stage of your studies you're at, you'll be eligible for different parts of our recruitment process, there are three different routes:
Come and meet Shoosmiths partners, lawyers and current trainees. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear what they have to say, build your network and ask questions. An insight evening is an opportunity for you to get to know Shoosmiths and decide whether we are the right fit for your future. Attending an event will give you an insight into our practice areas and clients, our training contract, and the skills you need to develop and become a successful solicitor. The in-person event will be packed with opportunities for you to meet our people, build relationships, and include valuable advice for your training contract application. You will hear from our current trainees who will explain what attracted them to Shoosmiths, and you’ll hear from our partners who will share their journey from trainee to lawyer. We know you will have lots of questions, so there will be an opportunity for you to speak to people during the networking session.
Why should I attend an insight evening? You will have the opportunity to hear first-hand what current trainees and lawyers think about the firm. It's a fantastic opportunity to network, get to know our people, and ask our trainees about their training contract and their advice on how to apply. Most importantly, you will be able to introduce yourself to us and make a great first impression before you submit your application! Our graduate recruitment team will host the event and will be on hand throughout to answer any questions you have about the application form or the recruitment process.
What else do I need to know? Our events will run between 17:45 – 20:30. We host these in the evening, so you can fit them in around other commitments such as work or study. We have released the dates of the events so that you can add them to your diary. Whilst you’ll want to make a good impression, you won’t be assessed at the event. It’s simply a great chance for you to find out more about us and develop your networking skills.
Come and experience what working in our firm is all about. This is a perfect opportunity to gain quality work experience, see how we live our values and find out if we are right for you! You’ll experience a week in the life of a trainee solicitor, which will include real responsibility, working on case files, and attending meetings. You will be supported by your whole team, but a trainee mentor will guide you through the working week and will answer any questions you may have. In addition to this, we will task you with completing a business development project which will help you to develop and showcase your innovative thinking.
We know you will have lots of questions, so there will be opportunities for you to get to know our people and spend time with them in a social environment too.
Why should I attend a placement? Meeting people in-person, and spending time in our office will help you to get a real feel for the firm’s culture, which is why we’re pleased to be running our placements in-person again. You will have the opportunity to hear first-hand what current trainees and lawyers think about the firm. It's a fantastic opportunity to network, get to know our people, and ask our trainees about their training contract and their advice on assessment centres. Most importantly, you will be able to introduce yourself to us and make a great first impression before you submit your application.
What else do I need to know? Our in-person placements will run for one week, and you will be paid for your time. The recruitment and selection process includes an online application, and an online strengths based assessment. More information about what to expect in the application and assessment stage can be found on our careers blog. You cannot apply for a vacation placement without also applying for a training contract, which is why if you wish to complete a summer vacation placement at Shoosmiths, you will need to apply for the ‘combined summer placement and training contract application’.
You will be assessed on your placement, and if successful, you’ll be invited to attend an in-person training contract assessment centre. You will not need to submit an additional application at this stage. We know that there are other things in your life which may mean you cannot make the placement dates, which is why a placement is not a requirement in our process, and you can apply directly for a training contract instead.
As a trainee lawyer you will be handling real case files, get client contact and have the opportunity to work client-side on secondment opportunities.
When and where can I start a training contract at Shoosmiths? Shoosmiths has two intakes of trainees annually, a larger intake in September each year of around 26 trainees, and another in March each year of around 8 trainees. The March intake is only available in select offices, usually Birmingham, Thames Valley and Manchester. You will not have an opportunity to select an intake preference when you apply, but this is something we will talk to you about if you reach the assessment centre. When you apply for a training contract marked as starting in September 2025 in England, you’ll also be considered for the following March (i.e. March 2026).
Trainee Seats - Throughout your two-year training period at Shoosmiths, we'll give you the support to build your career and boost your skills in a stimulating and rewarding environment. You will be guided by expert solicitors, working across a number of areas of law. In addition to legal knowledge, you’ll also develop skills in business development and client management. As a trainee solicitor, you will be working on large workloads, extracting and analysing key pieces of information. You’ll have daily contact with Partners and clients, and deadlines to meet. A career in law can be challenging,and applying legal knowledge in a real-world context can be very different to the theory you learn at law school, so it’s important to know that you will enjoy your job.
What do you look for in a trainee solicitors? We’re looking for great people who will work hard and be proud of who they are and what they do. Ambitious people thrive at Shoosmiths because of the enterprising and innovative way we work. You'll be expected to make things happen and take initiative from day one. You will need a strong academic background and proven ability to apply your intellect in the real world. But we know there’s more to amazing solicitors than academics alone, which is why we take a holistic view when we assess you throughout our selection process. We welcome applications from all degree disciplines and universities, and value the wealth of experience that a non-law student or career-changer can bring to the firm.
You’ll join a firm of individuals working in a positive, professional and cooperative culture, in an environment that actively allows you to grow your skills and challenge yourself. And you'll find a refreshing lack of hierarchy – just happy, energised individuals at the heart of our success.
What areas of law will I train in? Shoosmiths is a law firm with core teams in commercial, banking & finance, corporate, litigation services and real estate. In addition to these we have many other practice areas which offer seats on a slightly less regular basis and include intellectual property, EU & competition law, pensions, insurance, regulatory & compliance, planning, construction and engineering. Plus, there’ll be the opportunity to go on a client secondment. We don't have any compulsory seats, but you must sit within three distinct areas of law consisting of at least one non-contentious, and one contentious area. We will train you in legal practice and skills in line with the law society requirements.
Work-life balance We actively promote and implement a healthy work-life balance. While we expect you to work hard, we don't want work to dominate your life. If you've done what you need to do, then it's time to go home - there's no 'face-time' at Shoosmiths. Sometimes the people we want to work here can't conform to a typical nine-to-five day. In these cases, we'll look at flexible working hours to help you fit your job to your life and your life to your job. We're ready to listen to any suggestions from anyone and consider any reasonable request.
What else do I need to know? Our training contracts typically run full-time for 2 years, where you’ll experience four six-month seats. You can see the current rate of pay for a trainee solicitor on the FAQ page of our website. You will be required to complete all of the elements of the LPC or SQE (England) or the Diploma (Scotland), before your training contract commences. If you are a non-law graduate, you will also need to complete a law conversion course called the PGDL (England) (previously the GDL) or the accelerated LLB (Scotland). We do offer funding towards your postgraduate studies.
The recruitment and selection process is designed to assess whether you have the potential to be an excellent solicitor at Shoosmiths. We assess this via the online application, an online strengths-based assessment, and an in-person assessment centre. More information about what to expect in the application and assessment stage can be found on our careers blog.
Top Training Contract Tips
Join Shoosmiths' graduate recruitment manager, Samantha Hope, who shares her top three application tips with you, and an overview of the training contract assessment centre at top national law firm, Shoosmiths. View all of the upcoming videos on the Shoosmiths Graduates page
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