Training Contract, Vacation Scheme and First Year Insight Day

Firm Profile
Macfarlanes is a leading City law firm with a straightforward, independently-minded approach.  The driving force behind the firm is an absolute commitment to delivering the right advice in the right way to our clients.  The size of our firm is important. We’ve kept things simple.  We’ve decided against growth at the expense of quality, against size at the expense of efficiency and agility.  So whilst we’re large enough to advise on the most complex matters, we’re also small enough to ensure that our people and our work are exceptional, without fail.  Finally, rather than opening multiple overseas offices, we take a “client first” approach to international work.  Our clients get the best advice from the right lawyer – where in the world they need it.  Our combination of culture and expertise makes us a formidable force in the legal market.  Sustaining our position depends on recruiting and training successive generations of truly exceptional lawyers.

Types of work
Our main practice areas are: banking and finance; commercial; competition; corporate and M&A; corporate and regulatory investigations; data privacy; derivatives and trading; employment; financial services; hedge funds; investment management; litigation and dispute resolution; pensions; private client; private equity; real estate; restructuring and insolvency and tax.

Training Contract
Woven into every aspect of life at the firm is an enduring commitment to the development of trainees. Training begins with tailored electives on the LPC at BPP with regular seminars and social events at the firm, along with the support and advice from a trainee mentor.  

During the two-year training contract you'll be working on real cases, doing real work for real clients from day one.  As a trainee you will complete four six-month seats in different practice areas; typically it is one seat in corporate and M&A, two seats in either private client, litigation, commercial real estate or tax, and then a seat in one of the firm's specialised practice areas within corporate.   The precise allocation of seats is flexible so that it can offer you as broad a legal training as possible.  Support and guidance are, of course, vital and you will find your supervisor a valuable source of information and inspiration.

Once you begin your training contract you will follow an intensive schedule of seminars and lectures, presented largely by partners or senior solicitors from within the firm.  The programme is front-loaded to develop your knowledge and skills.  In some practice areas you may even be asked to contribute to a seminar or to update the team on recent developments in a particular area of law.

Each of your seats will feature a mid-seat and end-of-seat review, where you can discuss your progress and which areas need focus.  Throughout your contract you will also have six-monthly reviews with your principal, who acts as a mentor, and a member of the trainee solicitor committee.  All these mechanisms are there to ensure that you get the best and most appropriate experience during these first years.  What may surprise you at the outset is how quickly you will become part of the team and how quickly people at all levels in the firm will know your name and value your contribution.

Vacation Schemes
Our vacation schemes are designed to give you a two-week snapshot of life as a trainee.  We offer vacation schemes at Easter and two summer vacation schemes.  We welcome applications from students who are in at least their penultimate year of a degree from any degree discipline, with a predicted 2.1 or above.

First Year Insight Day
The First Year Insight Day is designed to provide you with an insight into City Law and to give you the opportunity to meet trainees, solicitors and partners within the firm.  We want to equip you with the knowledge and offer as much advice as you need to help determine whether a career in law is right for you. We welcome applications from students with any degree discipline in the first year of an undergraduate degree or second year of a four-year undergraduate degree.

When and how to apply
All candidates need to apply via our online application form on our website, please click the Apply button.

The deadline for training contract applications beginning September 2019 or March 2020 is 31 July 2017.  Applications for training contracts beginning September 2020 or March 2021 will open on 1 October 2017 and close on 31 July 2018.

Applications for our 2018 vacation schemes will open on 1 October 2017 and close 31 January 2018.

First Year Insight Day applications will open on 1 October 2017 and close 28 February 2018.

For further information on our graduate vacancies visit our website at

Click here to hear from our trainee, Valery Nformba, as he talks to Lawyer2B about his life as a trainee at Macfarlanes.    

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