Graduate FAQs


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What is the deadline for a Training Contract?
31st May 2019.

What is the deadline for a placement?
28th February 2018.

What is the deadline for an insight evening?
Applications for 2019 are now closed.


What locations do you offer to complete my placement or training contract?
We offer placements and training contracts in eight of our 12 office locations across the UK, these include Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Nottingham, Reading & Solent. It is likely that you will spend three six-month seats in your base office, and one six-month seat on secondment with a client or in another Shoosmiths location.

Over two years, a trainee solicitor at Shoosmiths will complete four six-month seats in two office locations to give a broader exposure to the firm.

A trainee will sit within any of the five core areas of law; commercial, corporate, banking, real estate and private client.

There may also be opportunities to work on secondment at a client's office if a business need arises.

Can I apply for a placement in a different location to where I would like to apply for a training contract?
We advise candidates to apply for the same location for both the placement and the training contract. If successful, the placement offers you the opportunity to get a real feel for the firm, people, and office.

Why don't you recruit into your London office?
Shoosmiths' London office is growing, but we don't currently have teams that could support the development needs of a full time trainee solicitor. There may be opportunities in the future for trainees from other offices to be seconded to our London office for a seat.


What year should I be in to apply?
If you are an English or Scots Law degree student, you can apply in your penultimate or final year, or as a graduate. If you are an English Non-Law degree student, you can apply in your final year, or as a graduate. If you are a Scottish non-law degree student, and intend to convert to Scots Law, you can apply from your 1st year of the accelerated LLB or after.

To be eligible to apply, you must be able to commence a Training Contract in September of the year you apply for and have completed your postgraduate studies by that date (e.g. LPC).

What are the minimum grade requirements to apply for the placement and training contract?
Applicants should have a minimum of CCC at 'A' level and a degree in any subject (or equivalent). Think about how you'll show evidence of the strengths you have in other areas, as we score our application forms in four equally weighted parts; academics, employment history and work experience, answers to questions, extra (including spelling and grammar). This means that you will need to score consistently high in all parts of the application form to receive an offer.

Will you withdraw my offer if I do not receive a 2:1 degree?
You should aim for the best grades as you can, we will consider all degree grades if you are able to show strengths in other areas your application.

If I initially studied a non-law degree will this put me at a disadvantage compared to someone with a law degree?
Studying a non-law undergraduate degree does not put you at a disadvantage. We accept applications from all undergraduate students and welcome applicants with diverse knowledge and skill sets.

I am an International Student, can I apply?
Yes absolutely, providing you are eligible to work within the UK. Unfortunately we don't hold a licence to provide sponsorship.


What is the salary for a trainee?
The salary for a 1st year trainee in England is £27,000, rising to £28,000 in the 2nd year. The salary for a 1st year trainee in Scotland is £20,500 rising to £23,500 in the 2nd year.

What is the salary for a placement candidate?
Placement students are paid £285 per week (2017 rate).

Application form

When is the application open to apply from?
The application for placements and training contracts opens in December each year.

What if I would like to add supplementary information to my application once I have submitted it, for example exam results or work experience?
Please email us at [email protected] with your additional content, we can then attach this to your application.

Must I complete a Shoosmiths online application form?
In order for your application to be screened you must complete our online application form. We do not accept a cover letter and a CV as an application for a placement or training contract.

Can I request feedback if I was not accepted onto the placement or training contract?
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of applications, it is not possible to provide all applicants with individual feedback. Applicants who attend an assessment day are given thorough feedback.

If I attend an open day at a law firm, does this count as legal work experience?
We consider legal work experience to be a placement of at least 1 week.


How long is a placement?
The placement is one week, you will complete the week with one team, and will be paid £285 for the week (2017 rate).

Am I still in with a chance to secure a training contract if I wasn't offered a placement?
Yes, we are aware that our placement numbers are limited and places are highly competitive so your application will still be considered if you were not offered a placement. Remember, applications with other skills or experiences that show commitment and longevity in a job are also highly important to us and will strengthen your application.

Do you offer work experience other than the placement?
Unfortunately we do not offer any other work experience here at Shoosmiths other than our Summer Vacation Placements.

When are the exact dates of the placement?
Summer placements will be held during w/c 3rd and 10th June 2019.

Can I apply just for a Summer Vacation Placement?
No, the week placement opportunity is only available to candidates who are also applying for a Training Contract. It's only one application for both.

Insight Evenings

We offer a number of insight evenings so that you can gain an insight into working as a solicitor at Shoosmiths.

Am I eligible to apply for an insight evening?

Shoosmiths insight evenings are open to applicants in any year of study at university, in any discipline, graduates and postgraduate students interested in a career as a solicitor.

You can find out more about the events on our insight evening page.

Assessment Centre

What happens at a Shoosmiths assessment centre?
You will be assessed over four main exercises including a group exercise, written exercise, interview, and 5 minute presentation.

Is there any time to learn more about Shoosmiths on the day?
As part of the assessment day, there will be time to get to know our people over refreshments in the morning, and during an informal buffet lunch. There is also a dedicated session where you can sit with our current trainees to ask them anything - these parts of the assessment centre aren't assessed, but of course you'll want to make the best impression of yourself at all times!

What does CV blind interviewing mean to Shoosmiths?
We implemented CV Blind Interviewing into our assessment centre more than 12 years ago. It means that your application gets you past the first stage of the recruitment process, then on the assessment centre you are assessed on your performance on the day.

You will have an interview as part of the assessment day, but the interviewers will not see your application form, and they won't know anything about you except your name.

Will you reimburse my expenses for travelling to an assessment centre?
Yes, when you are invited to attend a Shoosmiths assessment centre, we will let you know how to claim your travel and/or accommodation expenses back.

Scottish Traineeships

If I want to apply for a Scottish Training Contract when can I apply?
If you are applying for a Scottish Traineeship, the earliest you can apply is in your penultimate year of a Scottish law degree, or 1st year of the accelerated Scottish LLB.

If I want to apply for the Edinburgh Summer Vacation Scheme when can I apply?
If you are applying for a Scottish Traineeship, the earliest you can apply is in your penultimate year of a Scottish law degree, or 1st year of the accelerated Scottish LLB.

If I want to apply for the Edinburgh placement when can I apply?
If you are applying for a Scottish placement, the earliest you can apply is in your penultimate year of a Scottish law degree, or 1st year of the accelerated Scottish LLB.

What is the salary for Scottish Trainees?
The salary for a 1st year trainee in Scotland is £20,500 rising to £23,500 in the 2nd year.

Postgraduate Studies

Do Shoosmiths offer financial assistance with my studies?
Shoosmiths will offer financial support towards your future postgraduate studies (GDL/LPC or equivalent) and in some circumstances will also offer a living allowance whilst you study. Full details are provided with your offer of a Training Contract.

Do Shoosmiths have a preferred LPC provider?
Shoosmiths do not require you to attend a specific LPC provider.

Do Shoosmiths recommend specific electives?
We recommend that you choose electives that are in keeping with the firm's practice areas, that you will enjoy and are likely to sit in as a trainee at Shoosmiths.

Other FAQs

How many trainees are kept at Shoosmiths after qualification?
Shoosmiths recruits the number of trainees each year which it expects to retain on qualification. As we recruit so far in advance of qualification, this can often be difficult to predict. In recent years our retention rates have been:

  • 2012: 100%
  • 2013: 65%
  • 2014: 65%
  • 2015: 65%

In recent years we have had more NQ vacancies available than trainees, but these didn't necessarily match trainee's preference for department or location. We recruit the number of trainees each year which we expect to retain on qualification.

What if I have mitigating circumstances?
If you have sufficient evidence to suggest that your exam results did not fully reflect your abilities, then please complete the mitigating circumstances section on the application form. You will be required to send us further details with the submission of your application form to [email protected], by the deadline of the vacancy you are applying for (e.g. 30th June for a Training Contract).

The application form asks if I require any reasonable adjustments. What does this mean?
If you require any reasonable adjustments for your attendance at an insight evening, on a placement or assessment day, or in the workplace, for example wheelchair access or extra time for any written assessments, please do let us know so we can accommodate your request.

You mention you are a Disability Confident Employer. What does this mean?
Shoosmiths is proud to be a Disability Confident Employer. Disability Confident is a government scheme designed to encourage employers to recruit and retain disabled people and those with health conditions. The Disability Confident scheme replaced the Two Ticks Positive about Disabled People scheme. We had been accredited as a two tick employer for many years - Disability Confident broadens and develops that original commitment, and demonstrates we have adopted a proactive approach to employing disabled people and developing their abilities.

As part of our accreditation, we commit to interviewing any disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for each vacancy and Shoosmiths reserve the right to determine the minimum criteria based on applications received this year. If you would like to discuss this further, please contact Sarah Winship who is the firm's diversity, inclusion & wellbeing manager [email protected].

If successful, can I request what Seats I take?
You are invited to share your preference with your Training Principal at each seat move. We will endeavour to match your seat preference, but this must also be balanced against the needs of the business.

Contact Information

How do I contact the Graduate Recruitment Team at Shoosmiths?
Please feel free to contact Graduate Recruitment with any questions on our email address at [email protected].