There is a world of opportunities for you to get involved and make your mark at Sidley, from trainee right through to partner.
Who We Are
More than 150 years after the founding of our firm, Sidley today comprises a diverse group of legal professionals from many cultures who are dedicated to teamwork, collaboration and superior client service. Forging enduring relationships with the business community, while remaining attuned to the dynamic legal landscape, we understand and work to fulfill the needs of our global clients. We are proud to serve this varied and high-calibre group of market leaders, many of whom are pioneers in their respective industries and professions.
Leadership in Law
The firm has built a reputation for successfully representing clients on complex transactional, regulatory and litigation matters spanning a range of legal areas. From our offices in the commercial, financial and regulatory centres of the world, we harness our knowledge to provide thoughtful advice for the myriad legal and business challenges that our clients face.
Committed to Positive Change
We strongly believe in creating opportunities for people of all backgrounds by retaining and promoting outstanding lawyers who reflect the global marketplace and communities that we serve. Our dedication to achieving greater diversity and inclusivity extends beyond our firm to the legal profession as a whole. We are passionate about making a meaningful impact by fostering positive change in many ways. Through our four firmwide pro bono projects, our lawyers and staff devote more than 125,000 hours annually to pro bono work, playing a vital role in people’s lives around the world. In addition, we partner with several charitable organizations as part of our corporate responsibility program, enabling our professionals to contribute their talents to a variety of volunteer projects that benefit communities in need.
Culture & Values
Sidley’s London office offers students the best of both worlds — the experience of working in one of the largest international law firms along with the, down-to-earth friendliness of a smaller office. Here you will find high-quality work at a firm that offers an energetic, meritocratic, and supportive environment.
There is a world of opportunities for you to get involved and make your mark at Sidley, from trainee right through to partner. We have a reputation for working on innovative, complex transactions, which helps make life here all the more interesting and challenging.
Pro bono is an integral part of Sidley’s culture and we regard pro bono service as an essential part of our professional responsibility. We encourage our trainee solicitors to get involved in pro bono matters from day one because we know that our trainees want to give back to communities and develop their skills as lawyers whilst doing so.
Under our London pro bono programme, we help individuals and families who face significant barriers in obtaining access to justice. We work with a range of organisations, from small charities to start-up social enterprises, focusing on enhancing community impact and strengthening human rights. We also support front-line legal service organisations by sponsoring a number of Pro Bono Fellowships. Each year, all final seat trainees are invited to apply to undertake a three-month fellowship secondment in a charity or non-profit, prior to commencing their roles as newly qualified associates.
Vacation scheme students will receive £500 per week. Candidates from less advantaged backgrounds can apply for additional support to support their vacation scheme.
Trainees receive a salary of £55,000 in their first year, which increases to £60,000 in the second year, alongside a selection of market-leading benefits. Upon progressing to a newly qualified associate, your annual salary rises to £159,500.
We aim to recruit all of our trainees from the vacation schemes. Each year, we take on around 15 recruits.
All applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. If you are selected for the next stage of the process, we will invite you to a 1:1 interview with our partners/counsel. If successful, we will offer you a vacation scheme place.
Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Sidley is a pioneer in workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives. We
value diversity among our lawyers and clients and have long been actively
involved in the diverse communities in which we live and work. Our mission
is to continually attract, retain, and promote to partnership and leadership
outstanding lawyers who reflect the global marketplace and those
communities. The London office has a number of policies and initiatives
to support this mission.
Summary of Key Policies
Sidley was one of the first large law firms to grant parity in healthcare, leave,
and other employee benefits to same-sex partners of lawyers. We have
gender transition guidelines for lawyers and staff and email signatures that
can be customized to include preferred pronouns.
Sidley has generous gender-neutral parental leave benefits for birth and
adoptive parents and provides access to an external coach for lawyers
returning from parental leave, as well as subsidized emergency and backup
childcare and eldercare.
Any Sidley lawyer may work a reduced schedule for proportional
compensation. Associates and counsel working reduced hours remain
on the partnership track and are treated the same as full-time lawyers in
evaluations, access to work, and promotion.
The firm supports business development efforts by all lawyers, and the
Diversity and Inclusion team is on hand to help diverse lawyers build their
internal and external networks through coaching, mentoring programmes,
and access to funding to hold events with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
Sidley has a number of European and global diversity networks that meet
regularly. The firm holds celebrations worldwide to mark, among others,
LGBTQ+ Pride Month, Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month,
and Transgender Awareness Month. Additionally, Diversity Dialogues is a
series of events held across the year to encourage discussion and education
internally on a wide variety of diversity-related topics.
We partner with SEO London, a career-oriented network of students from
underserved and underrepresented backgrounds, to target and attract a diverse
pool of exceptional candidates.
We use Rare Recruitment’s Contextual Recruitment System, which enables us
to understand the context of a candidate’s experiences and qualifications. This
helpful tool allows us to compare a candidate’s academic achievement against
the average for their school, as well as other social mobility factors, thereby
helping to level the playing field between candidates from different backgrounds.
We are signatories to PRIME, a commitment by the legal profession to provide
fair access to high-quality work experience for students from less privileged
backgrounds. We host PRIME students for work experience at the firm each year,
and via our collaboration with the Social Mobility Business Partnership, we also
provide an additional week of work experience to those students with a client.
Undergraduate Bursary Programme
In 2022, Sidley launched the Sidley London Undergraduate Bursary Programme,
which supports talented students from less advantaged backgrounds through
their legal degree by providing financial support, work experience, and
InterLaw Diversity Forum
Sidley is a sponsor of the InterLaw Diversity Forum, which seeks to improve
access and inclusion within the legal profession for lawyers and aspiring lawyers
from all backgrounds. As part of this sponsorship, our diverse lawyers can be
mentored by a diverse in-house counsel at a client.
Other Diversity Partners
The Sutton trust
Social Mobility Business Partnership
The Stephen James Partnership
10,000 Black Interns
Corporate Social Responsibility
Sidley London’s Corporate Social Responsibility programme focuses on supporting our local community and providing equal opportunities for all young people. In May 2022, we launched our five-year flagship charity partnership with YMCA London City and North as part of our commitment to lasting impact. We also place a heavy emphasis on sustainability, ensuring that our business endeavours are environmentally conscious and that our culture remains committed to working and living sustainably. As well as our main programmes, Sidley takes part in numerous fundraising events throughout the year, such as the Tour De Law, the London Legal Walk, and the Standard Chartered City Race.
Some of the programmes that support our neighbours and neighbourhoods include:
Flagship charity partnership: YMCA England and Wales, YMCA London City and North, and Sidley’s office in London have joined together for a five-year partnership to create a brand new multi-functional Youth Hub based in Islington. This project will support vulnerable young people living in London by providing essential services and creating a safe and welcoming environment.
Thanks to Sidley’s financial contributions, this new space will reach at least 1,000 young people in its onset and will lay the foundation to help more young Londoners in years to come. Beyond fundraising, Sidley’s staff will be participating in volunteering and mentoring activities.
Matched giving: The firm will match your fundraising donation to any charity of your choice up to a limit of £250 payable once per year.
Payroll giving: Payroll giving is a tax-efficient way to make charitable donations. It enables you to make regular donations, tax-free, straight from your gross pay to any UK registered charity of your choice.
Community volunteering programmes: All employees in the London office are entitled to volunteer for local community organisations on up to two occasions each year. Sidley volunteers have previously supported dozens of employee volunteering opportunities in the London area, including causes focused on health, education, homelessness, arts, disabilities, and elderly assistance. Prior to the pandemic, Sidley personnel contributed nearly 300 hours to charitable causes annually.
In-house volunteering programmes: Sidley recognises that allowing young people to visit corporate environments is key to developing their ambition and driving their future success. The London office offers opportunities for students from less advantaged backgrounds to meet a number of lawyers and support staff who provide encouragement and advice on how to focus on their own career goals. We also work with the Social Mobility Foundation to help and encourage students to improve their employability skills.
- Mentoring: All personnel are invited to take part in mentoring programmes that allow them to provide one-to-one support to students who require some extra encouragement. The firm has worked directly with The Westminster Academy for a number of years.
As part of Sidley’s ongoing commitment to support the health and
wellness of all of our lawyers and staff, the firm offers a range of
health benefits, including:
- Private GP service
- Private medical insurance
- In-house counselling service
- Complimentary access to Headspace meditation app
- Employee assistance programme
- Gym membership subsidy
- Dental insurance
- Ongoing wellness activities as part of the firm’s “Living Well”
During your training contract, you will have many opportunities to learn and develop new skills. You will get involved in real work from day one, and will gain international experience by working on multijurisdictional matters with people from around the world.
Trainees spend time in at least four of our practice groups, which include: Banking and Financial Services, Capital Markets, Global Finance, Healthcare and FDA, Insurance, Investment Funds, Litigation, M&A and Private Equity, Regulatory and Enforcement, Restructuring, and Tax.
Trainees also have the opportunity to apply for international secondments, as well as ad hoc client secondments.
In each group, you will be supervised by a partner or associate to ensure that you receive individual training that is both effective and based on practical experience. In addition, there is a structured timetable of training on a cross-section of subjects.
We take a flexible approach that is driven by your ability and willingness to contribute and develop. As a result, you can get as much as you like out of a particular seat, depending on how much you invest in it.
Sustainability has always been a key priority for the London office and impacts the way we work on a daily basis. Externally, we ensure that all vendors who provide a service for our London office share our environmental values and are focused on limiting our impact and finding suitable eco-friendly alternatives. At Sidley, we are dedicated to doing our part to ensure a sustainable future, conducting business in a responsible and mindful way that creates long-term value for our people, clients, and communities. We aim to minimize our impact on the environment by setting ambitious climate commitments to reduce our carbon emissions, as well as by creating a more sustainable workplace and culture across our global firm. From routine but important acts — such as recycling paper and waste — to impactful legal and pro bono work that empowers businesses and social enterprises alike, sustainability is integral to our operations.