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Bates Wells

  • 6 vacancies
  • 12 trainees
  • 38 partners
  • 300 staff

About Bates Wells

Bates Wells - "City firm with a conscience". Practice areas: charity; commercial; general litigation; administrative; media; sports; employment; immigration/asylum; and property.

Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Bates Wells .

More info

Bates Wells is a City law firm with a difference. We’re looking for trainees who are genuinely excited to join a smaller firm that’s driven by its values, where making a positive impact is as important as making a profit. If a magic circle environment is what you’re aiming at, we’re probably not the firm for you.

We’re looking for the brightest future commercial lawyers, who understand the work we undertake, the clients we work for, and who are passionate about principles. We encourage candidates with outside-work interests – we’d like to see those interests maintained and developed over the coming years. If you’re all this and an excellent communicator with a sound academic  background, get in touch.

How the application process works

You’ll need to be successful at each stage to move to the next.

1. Fill in an online form.

2. Take the Watson Glaser critical thinking test.

3. Do a short, competency-based interview at our office.

All applications should be made via the website: https://www.apply4law.com/bateswells/.


Applications to

Ms Francesca Evans

Method of application

Online Application Form

Method of assessment

  • Assessment centre
  • Partner interview
  • Presentation
  • Psychometric testing
  • Written exercise

Bates Wells (bateswells.co.uk) is an expanding and progressive City law firm servicing a wide range of commercial and statutory organisations, charities and social enterprises.

The firm is ranked by Legal 500 and Chambers across 17 areas of law, with two top-tier rankings in Chambers and four in Legal 500. We are committed to maintaining a reasonable balance between work, home and other interests.

Bates Wells is the only UK law firm to have certified as a B Corporation, for which it met rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

We stand out as a law firm – combining practical, commercial legal expertise with the deep understanding of the third sector that comes from working with more charities and social enterprises than any other UK firm. We are not only recognised as the leading charity law firm in the UK; we are also ranked in the major UK legal directories for our excellence across many of our specialist practice areas.

In 2014, Bates Wells became an ABS (alternative business structure) – the first City-based firm to do so specifically to provide a unified service to our clients. Jim Clifford, a chartered accountant and leading force in social finance, joined Bates Wells along with his Impact and Advisory team. This division provides two complementary service lines to Bates Wells clients: helping to plan, measure and deliver impact, and creating and realising value through strategic projects including service development, mergers, acquisitions, fundraising, disposals and restructuring.


Our mission statement

Our purpose is to do worthwhile work to the best of our ability for clients we respect as commercial lawyers, recognising that we do so in a highly competitive environment. We will, at all times, seek to value everyone in the firm and strive to provide secure and enjoyable employment, preserving a balance between work and home.

We will encourage a diverse and open culture which fosters innovation, together with trust and loyalty among all within the firm and with clients. All this we undertake in the context of making a reasonable living and always with a commitment to justice and the public interest.

If you’re beginning the GDL or LPC after you’ve accepted an offer from us we will provide full funding and a maintenance grants of £7,000 if you’re studying in London, or £6,000 if you’re studying outside of London.

Our summer placements are a great way to make your mark – and could lead to a training contract.

If you’re committed to applying for a trainee position at Bates Wells, our vacation placements are worth a look. By applying for a vacation scheme, you’re guaranteed to be considered for a training contract. You don’t need to apply for both the vacation scheme and the training contract – you only need to choose one.

Summer schemes: 

Summer vacation scheme 1: Monday 1 – Friday 12 June

Summer vacation scheme 2: Monday 15 – Friday 26 June 

What you can expect from the vacation scheme

You’ll sit in two different departments during your fortnight with us. But from day one, you’ll feel part of something bigger. You’ll have the chance to explore the firm and the values that drive us, and we’ll always support you to be yourself.

You’ll meet a wide range of our people, and you’ll get to know our shared sense of purpose and values. We encourage you to get involved with the whole department and any events happening during your time with us.

How the vacation scheme fits into the training contract application process

When you arrive for your vacation scheme, we’ll let know how we’ll be assessing you throughout the placement. If you’re successful, we’ll invite you back for a final interview in July with two partners (including our managing partner). After final interviews, we’ll offer training contracts to successful candidates.

As a firm with a shared purpose, we’re on a journey to create a positive impact.

When you join us, you’ll be ready and willing to bring your ideas and the best of yourself, but in the cockpit rather than as a passenger.

We’re looking for the brightest future commercial lawyers, who understand the work we undertake, the clients we work for, and who are passionate about principles. We encourage candidates with outside-work interests, which we’d like to see maintained and developed over the coming years. If you’re all this and an excellent communicator with a sound academic background, get in touch.

Finding and developing home-grown talent is important to us. We recruit six trainees each year and look to retain all of them at the end of their training contracts.

Trainee seats

Over the two years of the training, you’ll do two six-month seats in the first year, followed by three four-month seats in the second year.

All trainees do seats in charity and social enterprise, as well as dispute resolution or public and regulatory. Other seats are available in immigration, corporate and commercial, employment and real estate. We’ll help you to choose the seats that will best prepare you for your preferred career path.

You’ll have a dedicated supervisor in each seat, who’ll make sure your work is relevant and varied, with training where necessary.  At the interim and final appraisals for each seat, your supervisor will give feedback on your performance and set objectives for the next stage.

  • Dispute resolution
  • employment
  • charities
  • social enterprise
  • immigration
  • real estate
  • corporate
  • commercial
  • public
  • regulatory
  • General Commercial
  • Niche
  • Corporate & Commercial

Practice Areas

Extra info

10 Queen Street Place, London, EC4R 1BE
Phone: 020 7551 7777
Email: Training@bateswells.co.uk
Web: bateswells.co.uk/careers/trainees/
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 12
Minimum qualification: 2.1 degree
Start salary: £36,000
Sponsorship: LPC
Turnover: £16,700,000 (2012)
Starting salary: £36,000
Training contract applications: 750 (2012)
Retention rate: 75% (2012)
Partner diversity:
  • 27.5% female (2012)
Lawyer diversity:
  • 42.0% female (2012)
  • London
  • Aspiring Solicitors
  • Bright Network
  • PRIME
  • Rare Recruitment
  • Social Mobility Foundation
  • Stonewall