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When to apply

Spring scheme and spring open days

Applications for our 2024 scheme and open days have now closed. Applications for our 2025 scheme and open days will open in October 2024.

Summer work experience schemes

We encourage summer work experience applications as early as possible within our application window. Interviews are scheduled on a rolling basis.

Applications for our 2024 schemes have now closed. Applications for our 2025 schemes will open in September 2024.


Training contract

Applications for the September 2026/March 2027 law intake (for penultimate year law students, law finalists and law graduates) will open on Monday 3 June and close on Friday 5 July.

Applications for the September 2026/March 2027 non-law intake (for finalists and graduates) are closed. Applications for our September 2027/March 2028 intake will open in September.

We encourage training contract applications as early as possible within our application windows.

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, the Law Conversion Course (Post Graduate Diploma in Law – PGDL), 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 Conversion Course (PGDL) and you would be considered to be a non-law student for the purposes of our application process.

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

Although we typically recruit two – three years in advance of your firm start date, 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 interviews. If you are made a training contract offer following your interview, there is a possibility that this may be for a later intake.

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.

If you attend an interview with us, you will have the opportunity to ask any questions regarding start dates during your HR interview.

How to apply

Applications for all our vacancies 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 (or your responses to questions if applying for the spring work experience scheme) and CV.

Every application received is reviewed by our Trainee Recruitment Team. There is no automatic filtering of applications.

CV - top tips

We recommend that your CV is no more than two sides of A4. The information included should be factual – tell us what you have done, where and when.

You must demonstrate evidence of an interest in, and commitment to, a career in commercial law through, for example, open days, virtual internships, virtual or in-person law firm events/university events such as law fairs or firm presentations, or legal work experience.

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.

Watch the video below for further insights from Natalie Cook, one of our partners involved in trainee recruitment, for more top tips on putting together your CV.

Cover letter - top tips

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 may like to reference virtual internships you have completed or law firm events/university events you have attended to support this.

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 Recruitment. You do not need to include your address or the address of the firm on the letter.

Strong applications will be authentic and personal to you. The use of generative AI to help you prepare your application may result in inaccuracies and a lack of originality and creativity.

Watch the video below for further insights from Natalie Cook, one of our partners involved in trainee recruitment, for more top tips on putting together your cover letter.

Preparing your CV and cover letter

In these two videos, Natalie Cook – one of our partners involved in trainee recruitment – talks through what to include on your CV, what we are looking for in the cover letter, and shares some of her top tips on preparing these for your application.

Preparing your CV

Preparing your cover letter

What we look for

We aim to employ the brightest minds regardless of what or where they have studied – you will find graduates from 68 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.

Across all of our opportunities, we are looking for candidates with:

thumbnail 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 so far. If you are applying for any opportunities in your first year, we understand that you may not yet have any university grades to include in your application.

thumbnail Drive and an interest in commercial law

We are looking for you to have an interest in a career in commercial law, an understanding of what the firm does, and motivation and enthusiasm to find out more about working at Slaughter and May.

You don’t need legal work experience to apply for our work experience or training contract opportunities, but you must demonstrate your interest in this career and what you have done so far to research this through, for example, open days, virtual internships or virtual or in-person law firm events/university events such as law fairs or firm presentations.

thumbnail Commercial awareness

Our clients need us to be their trusted legal advisers, so you need to have an interest in the commercial world and how business works.

thumbnail Communication and interpersonal skills

Good verbal and written communication skills are a key skill for all of our lawyers to have, so it’s something we look for in our application and interview process. Our collaborative culture also means that we look for candidates who can demonstrate that they can work successfully in teams.

thumbnail The ability to show grit under pressure

Our multi-specialist approach means that our trainees work on the full range of transactions on which the group they are sitting in advises, which is hard work. The support is always there, but there will be times when you are stretched and need to work long hours in order to deliver the exceptional service that we provide for our clients. We are looking for candidates who can show us they are resilient when dealing with the unexpected and can remain focused under pressure.

thumbnail Independent thought

We value diversity and individuality very highly – different perspectives are crucial when it comes to providing innovative advice – so through our interview process, we will look for your ability to articulate and defend your point of view.

We are also looking for candidates who have a range of interests outside of a career in law, so please include these on your CV. They can also be used to demonstrate how you may have developed some of qualities and skills above that we are looking for.

To thrive here, you will also need enthusiasm, a willingness to accept responsibility and a sense of humour!

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.

For any 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).


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 health condition.

If you require any adjustments to be made to the application and interview process, please contact Grace Parkinson, Trainee Recruitment Operations Manager, via email or on 020 7090 5324.

To ensure that no-one is prevented from attending an interview or participating in a work experience opportunity due to financial constraints, expenses payments are provided where relevant. 

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