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When to apply

If you are a law student studying in England and Wales, you should apply for a training contract in the summer of your penultimate year. If you are a law finalist or a law graduate, you can also apply during this summer application window.

If you are a non-law student, you can apply for a training contract in the autumn of your final year or as a graduate. If you are completing, or have completed, a law conversion course (e.g. GDL, PGDL or Law Foundations Course), you will be considered to be a non-law student.

If you are completing, or have completed, your undergraduate law degree at a university outside of England and Wales, we may require you to complete some modules of the Law Foundations Course (PGDL) at BPP and you would be considered to be a non-law student for the purposes of our application process. This is likely to be necessary if you have not completed modules in these seven key areas of law: Contract, Tort, Criminal Law, Constitutional and Administrative Law, Property Law, Equity and Trusts, and the Law of the European Union.

Please visit the ‘The route to qualification’ page for information about the Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) and our new SQE preparation programme, the City Consortium Solicitors Training Programme (‘CCP’).

Application dates for the September 2025/March 2026 law intake will be confirmed in the autumn.

Applications for the September 2025/March 2026 non-law intake will open in autumn 2022.

We encourage applications as early as possible within our application windows. Training contract offers will be made on a rolling basis and we are therefore unable to guarantee the availability of places as we progress with these interviews.

We recruit two – three years in advance of your firm start date but, from time to time, we may have places available to start in an earlier intake than advertised. If you are eligible to start in an earlier intake, you should mention this in your application - this can be discussed during your training contract interview and at point of offer.

What we look for

A law degree is not essential – only about half of our trainees studied law as undergraduates. We aim to employ the brightest minds regardless of what or where they have studied – you will find graduates from 70 universities at Slaughter and May.

Background, race, colour, ethnic or national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, religious beliefs and age are all irrelevant to our application process.

We like people with:

  • energy and spark, who can relate to those around them
  • common sense, integrity and drive
  • a range of interests outside of the law
  • a sharp intellect – our work is intellectually demanding so we look for three good A levels (or equivalent) and a good 2:1 in your degree
  • independent thought
  • commercial awareness
  • resolve and judgement
  • an interesting take on things
  • the ability to show grit under pressure
  • a good sense of humour

To thrive here, you will also need enthusiasm, commitment and a willingness to accept responsibility.

All applications are considered on their own merits and we encourage you to include details of any mitigating circumstances which may have impacted your academic results. 

We use the Rare Contextual Recruitment System across all our trainee recruitment activity. The system helps us identify high-potential candidates by putting applicants’ grades and achievements in the context of their social and educational background.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted using the online form, which can be accessed here. You will be asked to provide some personal details (including a full breakdown of all your examination results) and to attach your cover letter and CV. Every application received is reviewed by our Trainee Recruitment Team. There is no automatic filtering of applications.

Slaughter and May is committed to ensuring that our recruitment processes are barrier-free and as inclusive as possible to everyone. This includes making adjustments for people who have a disability or long-term condition. If you have any questions, or require any adjustments to be made to the application and/or interview process, please contact Grace Parkinson, Trainee Recruitment Operations Specialist via email or on 020 7090 5324.

For all other application, interview or general queries, please visit the application FAQs page. If you have a question which has not been answered there, please contact the Trainee Recruitment Team via email or on 020 7090 4454. (Enquiries only - we do not accept applications by email).

Application advice

Your cover letter should tell us about you, why you are interested in a career in law and why you are applying to Slaughter and May. You should also include any other information which you think may be relevant to your application. Please ensure that your cover letter is no longer than one side of A4 and address it to Janine Arnold, Head of Trainee Recruitment.

We recommend that your CV is no more than 2 sides of A4. The information included should be factual – tell us what you have done, where and when. You should include details of everything you have been involved with, whether or not these activities are related to a career in law. We want to understand your journey and how you spend your time outside of your studies.

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