Macfarlanes Trainee Recruitment

Training Programme, Vacation Scheme and First Year Insight Scheme

Firm profile

Macfarlanes is a distinctive London-based law firm, focused on its clients and on delivering excellence in the international legal market. The firm is known for the quality of its work; not just in dealing with the full range of corporate and commercial matters, but in advising clients on their private affairs as well.

Main areas of work

Our main practice areas are: commercial, competition, corporate and M&A, derivatives and trading, employment, finance, financial services regulation, investment management, litigation and dispute resolution, pensions, private client, private equity, real estate, restructuring and insolvency and tax and reward.

Who we’re looking for?

At Macfarlanes, we don’t have any preconceptions about who you are or where you’re from. In fact, we were one of the first law firms to introduce application-blind assessments. We want people with determination and drive. However, we aren’t looking for any particular educational background. For us, it’s your potential that really counts. We’ll always value you for who you are, for the skills you can add to our team and for all the qualities that make you, you.

The Training Programme​

We recruit 33 trainees annually and your training with us begins on the tailored SQE preparation course which you will complete with your cohort of Macfarlanes future trainees before your start your two-year training programme.

We pride ourselves on providing a learning experience that is genuinely distinctive.  What defines that experience?  Above all, we have an enduring commitment to the development of trainees because they are intrinsic to what we do and the future of our firm.  It means your training contract at Macfarlanes will combine hands-on experience with a first class education programme.

As a trainee you will complete four six-month seats. Our seat rotation is designed with trainees in mind – we want to give you enough flexibility to shape your training programme and undertake seats that interest you. 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 programme you will follow an intensive schedule of seminars and lectures – these will mostly be presented by partners or senior solicitors from within the firm. The programme is ‘front-loaded’ to develop your knowledge and skills from the start. 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.

Feedback & Mentoring

Each of your seats will feature a mid-seat and end-of-seat review.  This is an opportunity to help gauge your progress.  You will be allocated a partner mentor who is personally responsible for you for the duration of your training programme.  These mechanisms are there to ensure that you get the best and most appropriate experience during your 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 Scheme

Over two weeks you will experience life as a trainee solicitor at Macfarlanes, working in two different areas of the firm alongside partners, solicitors and trainees.

You get hands-on experience enabling you to develop a real understanding of the firm’s culture and our work. You may draft a letter to a client, then work through it with a solicitor or trainee. You may research a pressing issue on a live piece of work. Or, you may sit in on a client meeting. In between, you carry out a mock transaction that runs throughout the two weeks.

Away from the work, the scheme has a strong social component. This includes socials with trainees or lunch with partners, as well as lots of conversations with people who work in various parts of the firm.

In the second week you have the opportunity to be assessed for the training programme.

The dates of our 2022 vacation schemes are as follows:

Spring: Monday 4 April – Thursday 14 April 2022
Summer One: Monday 27 June – Friday 8 July 2022
Summer Two: Monday 11 July – Friday 22 July 2022


First Year Insight Scheme

The first year insight scheme 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. The week-long scheme includes:

  • A mock negotiation exercise
  • Speed networking
  • Lunch with trainees, solicitors and partners
  • An application skills workshop
  • Work-shadowing a trainee – you will get to see the real work that goes on here
  • A range of firm talks 
  • Group presentation project

We will advise you on how to make good applications and, because the scheme is all about helping you decide if a career in City law would be right for you, we recommend that you come armed with plenty of questions.

Our 2022 first year insight scheme will take place from 19 – 22 April 2022.

When and how to apply

Our application form is online. We do not recruit on a rolling basis for our graduate recruitment opportunities, so will not begin screening applications until the programme deadline has passed. 

The deadline for training programme applications beginning September 2024 or March 2025 is  25 July 2022. 

Applications for our 2022 vacation schemes close on 3 January 2022.

First Year Insight Scheme applications close on 31 January 2022.

For further information on our graduate vacancies visit our website at

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