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Training Contracts

As qualification rules begin to change, we can continue to offer the best opportunities and support throughout your training contract.

There are some recent changes to the way Solicitors qualify and we have given a lot of thought as to how we can continue to support you throughout your training contract.

For our 2024 cohort, our Training Contract will support those who are already studying under the current LPC route and those who will take the new SQE route. Both pathways are designed to give you the best possible training with the firm and encourage you to develop the key legal and business skills to enable you to become a successful lawyer.

Will I follow the old or new route to qualification?

I have started or completed the LPC:

If you have already started or completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at point of offer, you will be able to qualify under the existing route:

  • Completed law degree / Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and started / completed LPC already.
  • 2-year ‘Recognised Period of Training’, also referred to as a Training Contract.

You will not need to sit the SQE exams or accrue ‘Qualifying Work Experience’ as outlined in the new route to qualification.

I have not started or completed the LPC:

If you haven’t started or completed the LPC at point of offer, you’ll undertake the new SQE route:

  • Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDip) which replaces the GDL – for non-law students who haven’t already started / sat the GDL.
  • Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam preparation courses and exams – you’ll do both SQE 1 and SQE 2 as well as our SQE Plus programme which will contribute towards a Masters in Legal Practice (LLM).
  • 2 years of ‘Qualifying Work Experience’ with the firm.

Non law students – Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDip)

We have partnered with The University of Law to provide all of our post-graduate courses.

If you have not studied a law degree, we will sponsor you to complete your Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDip).  This will replace the previous version of the GDL course.  This 9-month programme will cover all the foundation subjects covered in a law degree and will begin to prepare you for the SQE exams. 

We appreciate that full time study isn’t feasible for everyone so we also offer a 20-month part time option too. If you prefer to study part time, you’ll be able to choose the approach that works best for you from a range of weekend, evening and online options. 

If you have already started or completed the old GDL, we will accept this form of the course.

Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) Courses and Exams

Once you’ve completed your law degree or PGDip, we will then sponsor you to study for and undertake the SQE.  You’ll undertake the SQE preparation course with The University of Law:

  • SQE 1 Preparation Course – September to January
  • SQE 1 Exam – January
  • SQE 2 Preparation Course – February to April
  • SQE 2 Exam – April
  • SQE Plus programme – May to July

Our programme with The University of Law includes the SQE Plus Programme – you’ll chose modules from our CRS Elective Modules list to study in more detail.  This will prepare you well for practice at the firm by focusing on our areas of specialism, alongside developing practical legal skills. The SQE 1, SQE 2 and SQE Plus programme combines together so you’ll be studying for a Masters in Legal Practice (LLM).

Study fees

We will pay the full fees for the PGDip and SQE courses plus the SQE exam costs.  For each year that you study, we’ll provide you with a maintenance grant of £6,000 for those based in London or £4,500 for those outside of London.

Our preferred supplier is the University of Law.  If you have already completed the GDL or LPC then we have no preference over where you completed these and it will not affect your application.

Keeping in touch with you

As we recruit two years in advance, the Early Talent team will keep in regular contact with you before you start.  We organise Early Talent events throughout the year for our current and future trainees which provides a great opportunity to network and get to know those you will be working with.  By the time you join us, you’ll recognise a few familiar and friendly faces and it will already feel like home.

When you start

You will start your Training Contract in August/September with an induction week in the London office – you’ll receive talks and training from different business areas and will finish with a Social Impact charity challenge day.  From week 2, you’ll start working in your first designated practice area with support from our Knowledge Development Lawyers who will give you practice area specific training designed to get you started in your first seat.

Please note, if you are following the LPC route, you’ll undertake 2 weeks of Professional Skills Course (PSC) modules prior to our internal induction week.

Your Training Contract

For both the LPC and SQE routes, your two-year training contract is divided into four seats, giving you the opportunity to experience a range of different practice areas and engage in high level work with both private and commercial clients.  Before each seat rotation you will be asked which areas you are interested in working in and we will try to accommodate your preferences as much as we can.

The different areas of law that trainees may experience during their training contract include:

Corporate and Commercial:
Employment, Banking and Immigration:
Construction, Real Estate and Disputes:
Litigation and Dispute Resolution:
Private Client

We also offer the opportunity to go on client secondments to high-profile clients in construction, corporate and commercial areas. These in-house secondments are an excellent way to truly understand the finer points of what clients really expect from their lawyers, and to gain an understanding of the issues our clients face.

As well as client secondments, there may also be opportunities to undertake secondments to one of our overseas offices.

For each seat you will be assigned a dedicated supervisor who will work with you to ensure that you continue to receive a broad range of quality work and that you are developing the required skills and knowledge as you progress through your seats.  As well as on-going feedback you will have mid and end of seats reviews where you can formally discuss your development.  You will also be allocated a mentor who will be there to support and guide you through your training contract.

Your legal training will also be supplemented by our Charles Russell Speechlys Business School which has specific programmes designed for Trainees to develop professional and commercial skills.


We offer a range of benefits, which may include:

  • 25 days annual holiday
  • Private medical insurance
  • Income protection
  • Life assurance
  • Pension scheme
  • Employee assistance programme
  • Enhanced maternity/paternity/shared parental benefits
  • Cycle to work scheme
  • Season ticket loan
  • Qualification leave
  • Dress for your day policy

Further details on our benefits can be found here.


We recruit trainee solicitors in the following offices:

  • Cheltenham
  • Guildford
  • London

Applications for our 2024 intake open on 1 October 2021 and close on 31 January 2022.

To apply, please submit an application form here.

A guide to training contracts

A selection of videos to help you through every step of the process. 


Aspiring Solicitors

Charles Russell Speechlys is proud to work in partnership with Aspiring Solicitors

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