Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Bird & Bird.
To become a trainee solicitor at Bird & Bird, you can apply through two different routes: attending a vacation schemes or applying for a direct training contract.
Applications to our 2023 vacation schemes close on Friday 16 December (spring) and Saturday 31 December (summer) at midnight.
You can apply if you can commence a training contract in 2025. This means you’ll be in your penultimate year of a law degree, final year of a non-law degree, or already graduated by autumn 2023. You must be able to attend the full duration of the spring or summer vacation scheme. We accept applications from those who have, or will expect to have, a minimum of AAB at A level and a 2.1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent).
Direct training contract
Our direct training contract route is an alternative to our vacation scheme. We recruit the majority of future trainees through our vacation schemes. However, we recruit from a range of diverse backgrounds and appreciate that it might not be possible to attend a vacation scheme (e.g., visas, full-time career, caring responsibilities).
Applications to our 2025 direct training contract close Saturday 31 December at midnight.
You can apply if you can commence a training contract in 2025. This means you’ll be in your penultimate year of a law degree, final year of a non-law degree, or already graduated by autumn 2023. We accept applications from those who have, or will expect to have, a minimum of AAB at A level and a 2.1 undergraduate degree (or equivalent).
Early Bird scholarship
Applications to our Early Bird scholarship open on Monday 20 March 2023 and close on Friday 28 July 2023 at midnight. The application process includes an online application form and an in-person assessment centre. Our scholarship is open to all year 13 students who meet our eligibility criteria.
Flying Start programme
Applications to our Flying Start programme open on Monday 2 January 2023 and close on Friday 28 April 2023 at midnight. The application process includes an online application form.
This workshop is for those aren't yet eligible to apply to our vacation schemes or direct training contract. Please only apply if you can attend both Tuesday 11 July and Wednesday 12 July 2023.
How to applywww.apply4law.com
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Method of applicationOnline application form
Method of assessment
- Assessment centre
- Psychometric testing
- Video interview
Bird & Bird is an international law firm with 31 offices across Europe, North America, the Middle East, and the Asia-Pacific region. We’re one firm internationally, which is something our clients value because it brings consistency, collaboration, and clarity. Our approachable culture and inclusive working environment set us apart from the crowd. We pride ourselves in providing an inspiring, supportive, and professional environment where quality, innovation, and collaboration play a key role.
Whatever your background or ambition, join a firm with the scale and spirit to make it possible.
Our vision is to be the number one law firm in the world for organisations being changed by the digital world or those leading that change. We’ve advised clients from over 120 countries within the last year, and our clients include 17 of the world’s most innovative companies according to Forbes. We have a stellar, global reputation for providing sophisticated, pragmatic advice to companies which are carving the world's digital future. We're interested in the world, current issues, and emerging trends. We’re an outward-looking, sector-focussed firm, specialising in automotive, aviation and aerospace; defence and security; energy and utilities; financial services; life sciences and healthcare; media, entertainment and sport, retail and consumer; and technology and communications. We use our sector understanding and legal expertise to unlock the issues and we take a commercial approach when applying the law.
Be at the forefront of change. Be ambitious. Be with us.
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It’s much more than just work experience. It’s an opportunity to discover your potential and kick-start your career in law, taking you straight to the heart of our global law firm.
Our vacation scheme will strengthen your knowledge, legal skills and experience of the legal sector. You’ll have an unfiltered look at the way people work in a law firm and the impact of client relationships. As a sector-focused firm, you’ll learn about our clients across a range of sectors in your department. You’ll experience a variety of training, skill sessions, insight talks, and Q&As from a breadth of people at the firm, including our lawyers, early careers, diversity and inclusion, risk and compliance, and IT teams. You’ll be able to network and socialise with colleagues through our socials and events, immersing yourself in our friendly, vibrant culture.
It’s both an opportunity for you to showcase your potential as a trainee solicitor and decide whether Bird & Bird is the right firm for you. At the end of the scheme, the top performers will be recruited for a training contract.
There are up to 30 positions available across two schemes:
Spring vacation scheme – Monday 17 April to Friday 28 April 2022
Summer vacation scheme – Monday 19 June to Friday 30 June 2022
Flying Start programme
Fly ahead with our two-day interactive workshop for first-year university students, to accelerate your legal knowledge and skills.
Our Flying Start programme is a two-day experience on Tuesday 11 July to Wednesday 12 July 2023 for those in the early stages of their career. The programme consists of practical skills sessions, interactive group tasks, insightful talks and presentations, networking events, and Q&A discussions. It’s an opportunity for you to explore your interest in the legal industry. You’ll develop legal skills and commercial awareness, network with our lawyers, and add valuable experience to your resume.
Applications to our Flying Start programme open on Monday 2 January 2023 and close on Friday 28 April 2023 at midnight. The application process includes an online application form.
This workshop is for those who aren't yet eligible to apply to our vacation schemes or direct training contract. Please only apply if you can attend both Tuesday 11 July and Wednesday 12 July 2023.
Virtual experience programme
Immerse yourself in the world of an international law firm and discover what life is like as a trainee solicitor at Bird & Bird.
In partnership with Forage, the virtual experience programme is an opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the world of an international law firm and discover what life is like as a trainee solicitor. By hosting this opportunity virtually, you’re able to experience life at the firm in your own time and in your own space.
You’ll complete three modules that will encourage you to apply law theory to work situations at Bird & Bird; develop your commercial awareness, skills and knowledge; and practice reviewing, drafting and analysing legal documents for clients.
The programme takes six to eight hours to complete, and you’ll need a tablet, PC or laptop to access the programme online. You’ll gain real work experience and learn directly from us, which you can use on your resume, during interviews, and in your future work as a lawyer. You’ll also earn a certificate to share with prospective employers and your professional network.
If you want to research more into the firm or practice completing some work, the programme is a great place to start. You can complete the free, self-paced programme online. This programme is open to all.
Open days and drop-ins
All degrees open day
Tuesday 8 November 2022, 10:00am – 3:00pm
STEM open day
Thursday 10 November 2022, 10:00am – 3:00pm
Our drop-in is the chance for you to meet our lawyers, early careers team, and fellow aspiring lawyers in-person at our London office. You’ll be welcomed with free sandwiches, hot drinks and snacks, as you learn about our firm, the work we do, and our opportunities available to you. Register to attend our drop-in from Thursday 15 September to Friday 7 October 2022. Spaces are limited so please sign up early.
Excellence expected, shaped, and delivered.
Becoming a trainee at Bird & Bird is the first step to fulfilling your potential and shaping your long-term career. You’ll have responsibility from day one, working for stimulating clients across a range of sectors. You’ll experience four seats in different practice areas for six months each during your training contract, giving you a rich learning experience and development opportunities.
You’ll practice different areas of law and work alongside different lawyers and clients every six months, as you find the area you want to pursue. During each seat, you’ll be assigned to a dedicated supervisor who is an associate or partner within the department you’re sat in. We have eight departments to choose from: banking and finance; corporate; commercial; dispute resolution; employment; intellectual property; real estate, and tax. Within our departments, we have sector and sub-sector specialisms, which you’ll experience in your different seats as you discover where your expertise and passion lies as a commercial solicitor.
You may also have the opportunity to experience an international or client secondment to enrich your experience. On an international secondment, you’ll explore life in a new city, immerse yourself in our truly global law firm, and work even closer with our international lawyers. On a client secondment, you'll develop your commercial edge by understanding their business and work from the inside.
To become a trainee solicitor at Bird & Bird, you can apply through two different routes: attending a vacation schemes or applying for a direct training contract. There are up to 18 contracts available each year.
The SQE is the new route to qualification for all aspiring solicitors in England and Wales. It’s designed to assure consistent, high standards for all qualifying solicitors.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) requires aspiring solicitors to have a degree qualification in any subject, pass two centralised assessments (the SQE1 and SQE2), undertake two years’ full-time qualifying work experience (QWE), and meet the character and suitability requirements in order to qualify.
While the SRA no longer requires aspiring solicitors to complete a law degree to be able to qualify, at Bird & Bird we still require all future trainees to either complete a law degree or the Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) before commencing the LLM in Legal Practice.
At Bird & Bird, our preference is that our 2024 training contract cohort onwards will study the SQE route. However, we won’t base our decision on who to recruit for our training contract based on whether they have completed the LPC or SQE, or if they have or have not studied a PGDL, LPC or SQE at all. We’ll discuss individual circumstances with all those offered a training contract.
We know an inclusive culture, alongside a diverse workforce, makes us more innovative and agile.
Diversity and inclusion in all that we do: our ambition is to have a culture built on empathy and respect, where identity is never a barrier to success, and we all have the freedom to be ourselves. To be inspired by the possibilities that diversity offers our people, our clients, and our firm. To reflect the diversity of the communities and societies we operate in and to be inclusive in all that we do.
We know employing a diverse group of people from different backgrounds is key to our future growth and ongoing success. We strive to create and maintain an inclusive work environment where all of all our people are seen as individuals and are each supported and encouraged to achieve. We have a variety of networks, including:
Embrace is an award-winning, non-exclusive, and supportive community that welcomes employees of all cultural and racial backgrounds. Embrace is a network for those who relate to, identify with, appreciate, or celebrate culture, religion, history, and experience. The mission is to raise awareness on multiculturalism in the workplace; create an internal network of support; collaborate with leadership in the firm to enhance diversity and inclusion and host socials and events throughout the year.
StandOUT provides a supportive framework for our LGBTQ+ staff and allies, by representing their views and promoting a culture of diversity and inclusion. StandOUT organise internal and external events and initiatives to raise awareness and educate all employees about our LGBTQ+ community.
NeuroNetwork celebrates neurodiverse minds and all ways of thinking in the workplace. Neurodivergent people can bring unique abilities and qualities to the workplace, but also face challenges and can feel unsupported. NeuroNetwork is a place of support, education, and inclusivity in the firm, to eradicate the challenges faced by neurodivergent colleagues.
Beyond Backgrounds is our social mobility network to increase awareness and visibility of our efforts within the social mobility space and provide a launchpad to build on these efforts. The mission is to foster an inclusive and supportive workplace culture for individuals from less privileged and more diverse social backgrounds, from how we recruit to how we promote.
Click here for more information.
Inclusivity is integral to us. We know an inclusive culture, alongside a diverse workforce, makes us more innovative and agile. We are keen to create a recruitment process where everyone feels supported to succeed, to ensure that we recruit the top candidates onto our programmes, no matter their background or circumstance. It’s also the right thing to do.
• To minimise bias, we operate blind screening and blind interviewing, so all identification details and previous assessments are hidden from our assessors and interviewers.
• To increase support, we offer confidential advice and adjustments to disabled and neurodiverse candidates to ensure they have a barrier-free recruitment experience.
• To increase accessibility, we’re recruiting the majority of our candidates online, with online application forms, Watson-Glaser tests, video interviews, and (some) virtual assessment centres. Our 'Flying Start' programme, virtual experience programme and open days are entirely online.
• To increase diversity in underrepresented groups, we introduced the Rare Recruitment Contextual Recruitment System (CRS) into our recruitment process. Since August 2018, we’ve used contextual data to help us identify candidates with the greatest potential despite their significant academic, personal or socio-economic disadvantage. We can recognise the achievements of candidates in the context in which they were gained.
• To increase diversity in the legal professional, we partner with a number of platforms, networks and initiatives to educate and equip aspiring lawyers with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.
The Global Women's Development Programme is a programme for lawyers, with the aim of retaining our high performing self-defining women, whilst also finding out what the gender-specific barriers are for the women within our firm. We regularly host women-focussed events and seminars to discuss hot tops and network across our international offices. Since the launch in 2016, the programme has won Legal Week's 'Diversity Innovation Award' and Winner of the Managing Partners' Forum 'Best Leadership Programme Award'.
Bird & Bird are founding signatories of the Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter, which is a flagship diversity initiative of the legal profession. We’re also members of IP Inclusive, which was started by the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) with the aim of increasing diversity within the IP profession.
We’re a Stonewall Diversity Champion and we’re also committed to, and partner with, Black Solicitors Network, Race Fairness Commitment, Race at Work Charter, Halo Hair Code, Mansfield Rule, Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP), Prime, Reignite Academy, Real Estate Balance, to name a few.
Sustainability is a core strategic initiative for us – it’s vital to our people, our clients, and our planet.
From paper brochures to tote bags, plastic bottles, and travelling across the country, we recognise the impact of recruitment on the environment, and we’re committed to making a greener way of recruiting. The Early Careers UK team are transforming the way in which they recruit, with sustainability in mind.
• We’re using digital brochures and/or QR codes for people to access our information. You can access all our early career opportunities online, via our social media or website.
• We no longer travel across the UK to universities to participate in in-person law fairs or events, as part of our sustainability and diversity and inclusion initiative. Instead, we’re adopting a hybrid approach by hosting online events and ensuring that any in-person events are accessible by public transport or are hosted at our London office.
• We’re reducing our production of merchandise in early careers UK, and anything we do produce will be from a sustainable, ethical source.
• We’re recruiting the majority of our candidates online, with online application forms, online Watson-Glaser tests, online video interviews, and (some) virtual assessment centres. Our 'Flying Start' programme, virtual experience programme and open days are entirely online.
• We’re reducing the amount of meat served at our events and offering more meat-alternatives for vegetarians, vegans, and those with dietary requirements.
• You can read more about our firmwide sustainability programme, including our commitment to set science-based net zero targets here.
We provide £10,000 maintenance grant and all fees covered for the PGDL and £15,000 maintenance grant and all fees covered for SQE studies prior to the training contract start date. We don’t offer retrospective funding, we only fund those yet to study their PGDL and/or SQE. Unfortunately, we can’t reimburse you for your PGDL, LPC or SQE if you’ve completed these before securing a training contract with us.
We also offer sponsorship with the Early Bird programme for year 13 students going to study law at university.
- Banking & finance
- Dispute resolution
- Intellectual property
- Real estate
- Corporate & Commercial
- General Commercial
Aviation lawyers provide commercial, regulatory and insurance advice and litigation services to the world's airlines, manufacturers and financiers.
Banking & finance
Sponsored by Milbank LLP. Banking and finance involves many financial products, from bank loans to companies to highly structured financing arrangements across multiple jurisdictions.
Commercial property/real estate
Sponsored by Mills & Reeve LLP. Commercial property lawyers work on a wide range of transactions including offices, retail developments and infrastructure projects.
Competition & EU law
Competition and regulatory work includes merger control, regulatory and court proceedings, issues arising from sector-specific regulation and utility procurement issues.
Construction & engineering
Contentious construction work involves the resolution of disputes while non-contentious work involves drafting and negotiating contracts and advising on projects.
Corporate finance/mergers & acquisitions
Sponsored by Sullivan & Cromwell LLP. Corporate finance lawyers advise companies on all aspects of the buying and selling of whole businesses or business assets.
Corporate tax involves involves advising clients on the tax risks associated with acquiring, selling or restructuring assets.
Sponsored by RPC. Commercial litigators represent and advise commercial clients when disputes arise from joint venture projects, civil fraud, commercial and banking transactions, corporate governance, financial services regulation and professional negligence.
Employment, pensions & incentives
Sponsored by Lewis Silkin. Employment lawyers work across all areas of employment law, including handling discrimination, staff restructuring and whistleblowing issues.
Energy & natural resources
The energy sector is an important part of the legal landscape and is making more headlines than ever before.
Sponsored by Osborne Clarke LLP. Issues such as climate change and the need for alternative energy sources make environmental laws more important than ever.
Following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the covid-19 pandemic and various financial scandals, there is always lots going on in this area.
Restructuring and insolvency lawyers are necessary when a company, individual or other organisation is in financial difficulties.
Sponsored by Bristows LLP. Intellectual property is an umbrella term for a variety of different rights which protect intellectual creations, such as inventions, brands, designs, and literary and artistic works.
Sponsored by Shakespeare Martineau LLP. The term ‘Islamic finance’ refers to a system of banking that is consistent with Sharia law.
The life sciences sector combines a range of legal practice areas, demanding expert advice from lawyers with detailed knowledge of the relevant trends and innovations in areas including food, healthcare, MedTech, veterinary and biotechnology.
Media & entertainment
Among the different types of client in this area are performers, managers and agents, artists, theatres, broadcasters and publishers.
Outsourcing has grown increasingly more prevalent in the public and private sectors since it emerged in the 1980s.
Sponsored by Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP. Sports law involves the legal issues at play in the worlds of both amateur and professional sport.
Phone: 020 7415 6000
Email: [email protected]
|Number of work placements:||30|
|Minimum qualification:||AAB at A level (or equivalent) and 2.1 degree|
|Fees paid for:||
|Profit per partner:||£515,000 (2012)|
|Training contract applications:||1,000 (2018)|
|Retention rate:||83% (2017)|
|Has client secondments:||Yes|
|Has overseas secondments:||Yes|
- Abu Dhabi
- The Hague
- Hong Kong
- San Francisco
- Own It
- Prince’s Trust
- South Westminster Legal Advice Centre
- Aspiring Solicitors
- Black Solicitors Network
- Breaking Barriers
- Bright Network
- City Parents
- GROW Mentoring
- Halo Code
- InterLaw Diversity Forum
- Lawyers in Schools
- Legal Apprenticeships
- Mindful Business Charter
- Rare Recruitment
- Social Mobility Business Partnership
- Social Mobility Foundation
- Windsor Fellowship
- Young Citizens