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Bates Wells

6 vacancies
12 trainees
35 partners
250 staff

Bates Wells – "Positive People. Positive Impact". The UK's first B Corp law firm.

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

More info

Why Bates Wells

Our values are important to us, they shape our decisions and our working life.

Making a profit is core to all businesses but our goal is to combine this with a real social purpose. Since opening in 1970, we’ve focussed on positive social impact as much as we have on being a successful law firm and we were the first UK law firm with B Corp certification.

Today, our clients are diverse – from corporate household names, to public bodies, to start-ups. We’re also the firm of choice for thousands of charities and social enterprises. We continue to lead the market we helped to shape. 

As a purpose and values driven firm we show commitment to our clients, our people, the environment and society.  We see it as our purpose to create a positive impact. The impact we have on our people, our communities and our planet does more than inform our work – it gets us up in the morning.

Bates Wells challenges what is possible in legal expertise delivery.

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 a range of 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, 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

The form will cover academics, motivation for joining the firm and profession, as well as what work experience you have been involved with. We work with Rare Recruitment for their contextual recruitment tool to make sure that we do not miss any candidates, and we also take mitigating circumstances very seriously. Should there be anything you would like to discuss please contact the senior recruitment and trainee development advisor, Daisy Mortimer ([email protected]).

The application form is a great opportunity to talk about what you are passionate about and how that can be applied to the life of a solicitor. Be sure to understand what a B Corporation is, and why we are proud of that.

We recruit on a rolling basis, so please try to get your application submitted sooner rather than later.

2. Take the Watson Glaser critical thinking test

If you submit an application that aligns to our values, shows academic progression and a commitment to the life of a solicitor, then you may be invited to complete the next stage of the progress, the critical thinking test. If you are sent the test, you will be given up to seven days to complete it, and a free practice test will be sent to you before you take the real thing. The test helps us assess critical thinking, and once you’ve completed the test, we will re-review the application and test score to shortlist candidates to interview.

3. Interviews and assessments

If you have applied for a vacation scheme, you will be invited to have an interview to secure your place. The interview will cover questions about your application as well as some other competency-based questions. You may also be asked to talk about something you are following in the news (it could be anything!) and provide an opinion on the subject.

If you have applied for a direct training contract, you will be invited to an assessment day where you will have an interview with two members of the recruitment team as well as complete a written assessment.

Everyone who gets onto the assessment centre or vacation scheme will complete the same assessment. Feedback on interviews and the assessments are gathered to determine who will be selected for a final interview.

4. Final interview

Our managing partner alongside another partner interviews candidates shortlisted for the training contract. These interviews take place from June, and we aim to have decisions communicated by August.

If there are any questions about the process or if any candidate would like to have adjustments made to the process owing to a disability, please contact the senior recruitment and trainee development advisor, Daisy Mortimer ([email protected]).

All applications must be made via the website:

Applications to

Ms Daisy Mortimer

Method of application

Online Application Form

Method of assessment

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

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

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.

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.

Our vacation schemes 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 schemes 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. 

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 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 version of yourself.

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 a range of 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, 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. Other seats are available in immigration, corporate and commercial, dispute resolution, public and regulatory, 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.

All candidates who have not yet completed the LPC or SQE will need to complete the SQE. You do not need to have enrolled on an SQE course before applying to us for a training contract.

We’re incredibly proud of our people and their creativity. At Bates Wells, everyone is encouraged to develop, innovate and participate in activities to promote a truly equal, diverse and inclusive environment. Our diversity and inclusion forum (DIF), led by two partners, brings together the elements which make for a diverse and inclusive culture.

DIF acts as an umbrella for our creative groups and networks to flourish. Our groups and networks are led by ambassadors who play a key role in fostering that enthusiasm and creativity. They create a comprehensive DIF strategy which sets out our key objectives and actions for the future.

Each of our DIF groups and networks are a true cross-section of the firm, across all practice areas and business support roles, with initiatives dreamt up by members, whoever they may be and no matter how junior, to make the world a better place. The activities of our groups and networks are interwoven into the firm, across our governance, strategy, policies and support tools, to achieve a coordinated approach across our inclusion themes.

We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential whatever their background, and believe a diverse team is integral to our success.We are signatories of the Halo Code Agreement, Race at Work Charter and Race Fairness Commitment.

We will cover your SQE course fees if you have not already committed to your studies at the point at which you apply to us for a training contract. We do not cover fees retrospectively.

  • Dispute resolution
  • Employment
  • Charity & 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: [email protected]
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 10
Minimum qualification: Generally a 2:1 degree, though we are flexible and use RealRating by upReach to contextualise academic achievement.
Start salary: £41,000
Fees paid for:
  • LPC
  • SQE
Turnover: £16,700,000 (2012)
Training programme applications: 600 (2023)
Retention rate: 75% (2012)
Partner diversity:
  • 27.5% female (2012)
Lawyer diversity:
  • 42.0% female (2012)
  • London
  • A4ID
  • UnLtd
  • BITC
  • Black Lawyers Matter
  • Black Solicitors Network
  • Breaking Barriers
  • InterLaw Diversity Forum
  • Pathways to Law
  • Rare Recruitment
  • Social Mobility Foundation
  • Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
  • Sutton Trust
  • upReach