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Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

26 vacancies
52 trainees
170 partners
1100 staff

Charles Russell Speechlys is an international law firm with a focus on private capital, at the intersection of personal, family and business.

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LawCareersNetLIVE London 2023: trainee panel

At our LawCareersNetLIVE London event on 1 December 2023, the panel of trainee solicitors provided insights into their experiences of the law firm application process, what being a trainee is really like and their advice for prospective candidates.

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Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Charles Russell Speechlys LLP.

More info

Applications for direct training contracts and vacation schemes will open on 2 October 2023 and close 15 January 2024.

You’ll submit an application form through our application portal. We look for candidates to achieve a minimum of a 2:1 in their degree as well as showcase their other key attributes, such as teamwork, communication skills. If you have mitigating circumstances, we encourage you to add details of these so we can take this into account when reviewing your application.

If you are successful, you’ll be invited to complete a video interview where you’ll see the question appear on your screen and be given time to prepare before recording your answer. Here we want to see more of your individual personality and why you’re keen to join us. We also want to understand your broader commercial acumen and international outlook.

Our assessment centre includes a face-to-face interview and other exercises which are designed to assess our identified performance criteria. People come to us from a variety of backgrounds and degree disciplines, with a range of views that combine to give us our distinctive perspective on the law – our assessment centre is designed for you to showcase your best self and also for you to get to know us in return.

We are able to make adjustments for those who require it so encourage you to get in touch with our early talent team if you think this might apply. It’s important to us that you have the right arrangements to perform at your best, so if you aren’t sure it’s always best to ask and we are happy to help.

For more information and guidance on our assessment process, have a look at our website and Instagram pages.

Applications to

Ms Joanna Stevens

Method of application

Online Application Form

Method of assessment

  • Assessment centre
  • Video interview
  • Written exercise

We’re only human. And we consider that our superpower, not a weakness. We’ve built our firm on establishing trusted, meaningful relationships with our clients globally. After all, we are here to guide them through their most pressing challenges and most rewarding opportunities.

We do this by creating rewarding relationships and adopting a personal approach with total focus on client needs. We do this with kindness, empathy, attention, and clarity. No jargon, no attitude. The results are deep and trusted relationships between our clients and us. Relationships that deliver value and peace of mind long-term. We make a difference to someone’s life.

We have a diverse range of skills and offer legal services globally through a broad range of integrated advisory, transactional and contentious services. We know it’s not enough to understand the law – we have to understand our clients just as well. So we apply a people-focused lens to every action we recommend to our clients. Our unique approach to law has made us a leader in the world of dynamic growth and family businesses, and among the world’s leading creators and owners of private wealth and their families. Major corporates and institutions benefit from our personalised approach as we embed ourselves in the teams of our clients. Working alongside them and connecting them with the right people across our firm to help them excel in new opportunities.  

We are based in London, Guildford and Cheltenham in the UK with international offices in Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong. Our country desks focus on key international markets where we do not have offices including the USA, Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Israel, India and China as well major European markets. Our international connections mean we can work with clients anywhere in the world. Whether a business operates in a single country or across borders, we’ll put a team together pulling from our sector and geographical expertise and our partnerships with the best law firms across the world covering 200 legal jurisdictions.

Deciding which law firm is right for you is not always easy. Our placement scheme will help you to feel fully informed and allow you to experience our culture for yourself.

Our placement scheme provides a chance to spend time at Charles Russell Speechlys and see exactly what we do on a daily basis.

You’ll spend either one or two weeks in our office depending on which placement scheme you apply for. Each week is spent in a different practice area where you will carry out real fee earning work that could include attending client meetings and going to court.

Support is always close at hand, with a current trainee as mentor and an associate as sponsor for each placement. You’ll also meet a variety people, either at organised social events or as part of your day to day interactions, and this will give you a real insight into the culture of the firm.

During your time with us you’ll be automatically considered for a training contract and will take part in an assessment centre which will be reviewed along with your performance during the placement scheme.

All our placement schemes are paid at £420 per week in London, and £382 per week in Cheltenham and Guildford.

Our 2024 placement schemes will be running on the following dates:


Spring 2024: 2 – 12 April 2024 

Summer 2024: 3 – 14 June 2024 


Spring 2024: 15 – 19 April 2024

Summer 2024: 8 – 12 July 2024


Summer one 2024: 24 – 28 June 2024

Summer two 2024: 1 – 5 July 2024

Hong Kong: TBC

Placement scheme applications open on 2 October 2023 and close on 15 January 2024.

We offer training contracts in our London, Cheltenham and Guildford offices, as well as a new programme for our Hong Kong office.

There are some recent changes to the way solicitors qualify and we have given a lot of thought as to how we can continue to support you throughout your training contract. Our preference is for candidates to undertake the Solicitors Qualifying Exam going forward, however our training contract will also support those who have already commenced or completed the LPC. Please note, we will only sponsor the SQE going forward.

Both pathways are designed to give you the best possible training with the firm and encourage you to develop the key legal and business skills to enable you to become a successful lawyer.

I have started or completed the LPC at point of offer

If you have already started or completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at point of offer, you will be able to qualify under the existing route:

completed law degree/Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and started/completed LPC already

two-year period of recognised training, also referred to as a training contract

you will not need to sit the SQE exams or accrue qualifying work experience as outlined in the new route to qualification

I have not started or completed the LPC

If you haven’t started or completed the LPC at point of offer, you’ll undertake the new SQE route:

Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL) – for non-law students. See further details below

SQE LLM – Solicitors Qualifying Exam preparation courses and exams – you’ll do both SQE1 and SQE2 as well as our SQE Plus programme which will contribute towards a Masters in Legal Practice (LLM). See further details below

two years of qualifying work experience with the firm

Non-law students – Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL)

We have partnered with The University of Law to provide all of our post-graduate courses.

If you have not studied a law degree, we will sponsor you to complete your Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL). This will replace the previous version of the GDL course. This nine-month programme will cover all the foundation subjects covered in a law degree and will begin to prepare you for the SQE exams.

We appreciate that full time study isn’t feasible for everyone so we also offer a 20-month part-time option which we would be happy to discuss on a case by case basis to accommodate your circumstances. Following that discussion, if you prefer to study part time, you’ll be able to choose the approach that works best for you from a range of weekend, evening and online options.

If you have already started or completed the old version of the GDL, we will accept this form of the course.

Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) and SQE preparation courses

Once you’ve completed your law degree or PGDL, we will then sponsor you to study for and undertake the SQE. You’ll undertake the SQE preparation course with The University of Law and sit exams as below:

SQE1 Preparation Course – September to January

SQE1 Exam – January

SQE2 Preparation Course – February to April

SQE2 Exam – April

SQE Plus programme – May to July

Our programme with The University of Law includes the SQE Plus Programme – you’ll chose modules from our CRS elective modules list to study in more detail. This will prepare you well for practice at the firm by focusing on our areas of specialism, alongside developing practical legal skills. The SQE1, SQE2 and SQE Plus programme combines together so you’ll be studying for a Masters in Legal Practice (LLM).

Keeping in touch with you

As we recruit two years in advance, the early talent team will be here to support you before you start and throughout your training contract. We keep in regular contact and organise early talent events throughout the year for our current and future trainees which provides a great opportunity to network and get to know those you will be working with. By the time you join us, you’ll recognise a few familiar and friendly faces, and it will already feel like home!

Your training contract

While at the firm, both routes will consist of four  six-month seats, giving you the opportunity to experience a range of different practice areas and engage in high level work with both private and commercial clients. We provide a practical learning environment for trainees where emphasis is given to early responsibility and supervised client contact.

We actively encourage our trainees to go on either a client or international secondment. These opportunities help you build a wider skillset and see things from a client’s perspective, or enhance your international outlook by gaining exposure to work in a different jurisdiction. Secondments vary depending on business need, but our current client secondments include a private equity fund manager, a commercial bank, and an in-house commercial team for one of our large construction clients. Our international secondment opportunities include private client in our Swiss offices, or a mixture of practice areas in our Hong Kong, Dubai or Paris offices. 

We also encourage you to get involved beyond the day to day work through our responsible business activities, whether that’s through our pro-bono practice, volunteering with our CRS Foundation, or getting involved in diversity and inclusion initiatives. You can find out more in our responsible business reports on our website. 

Throughout the training contract there are regular catch ups and reviews between trainees and supervisors to support your development and ensure you are continuing to receive a broad range of quality work.

Your legal training will also be supplemented by our CRS business school which has specific development programmes for each stage of your career, including the Ignite programme which is designed for trainees to build professional and commercial skills.

Furthermore, as part of our sports and social Committee offering, you could get involved with a range of additional activities from football or netball to yoga or tennis. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, it doesn’t matter – its about connecting with your colleagues and taking part.

All our future trainees will undertake the new Solicitor’s Qualifying Exam (SQE) route, unless you have already started or completed the LPC at point of offer.

If you haven’t studied a law degree

If you have studied a non-law degree, we’ll sponsor you through a Postgraduate Diploma in Law (PGDL). Usually this takes nine months to study full time but we appreciate that this isn’t feasible for everyone so we also offer a 20-month part time option too. If you prefer to study part time, you’ll be able to choose the approach that works best for you from a range of weekend or evening plus online options. 

SQE and SQE preparation courses

In order to support you through the SQE exams, we have partnered with The University of Law to provide comprehensive courses focused on SQE1 and SQE2. Alongside studying for SQE1 and SQE2, our programme with The University of Law includes the SQE Plus Programme. You’ll chose modules from our CRS elective list to study in more detail. This will prepare you well for practice at the firm by focusing on our areas of specialism, alongside developing practical legal skills. The SQE1, SQE2 and SQE Plus programme combines together so you’ll be studying for a Masters in Legal Practice (LLM).

Qualifying work experience

Once you’ve passed your SQE LLM (including your SQE1 and SQE2 exams), you’ll join us at the firm for two years of qualifying work experience. This will consist of four six-month seats, giving you the opportunity to experience a range of different practice areas and get involved in high level work with both private and commercial clients. We provide a practical learning environment where emphasis is given to early responsibility and supervised client contact.

We are committed to ensuring we offer an inclusive work environment where equal opportunities are available to all, everyone is assessed on their own abilities and that we maintain a culture of mutual respect; where everyone can bring their whole self to work and where our differences are welcomed and celebrated.

This commitment is driven from the top by our dedicated future firm group (FFG), co-chaired by our managing partner and senior partner and supported by senior operational leads, D&I partners and other key roles to ensure D&I is embedded in the firm’s business strategy and weaved into all elements of our business. We also have a dedicated D&I team and five active employee networks that focus on specific strands of diversity, who meet regularly to identify initiatives, changes to policies and processes, training, events and other ways to raise awareness, support and promote an inclusive work environment. Each Network has a dedicated D&I partner or senior associate who acts as a champion/ambassador. 

The firm’s focus networks include:

LGBTQ+ and allies

It is important to us that we provide an inclusive environment where everyone within our organisation can feel comfortable being who they are. Our LGBTQ+ and allies network plays an active role to help ensure we offer an inclusive and welcoming environment for our LGBTQ+ colleagues and clients. Our initiatives and engagement to support the LGBTQ+ communities saw us secure a space in the Top 100 Employers in the last Stonewall Equality Index, ranking 53rd overall, 11th in the legal sector and achieving both a Gold Award and Highly Commended Network Award. 


The gender committee help to support our ‘Achieving Balance’ programme which specifically looks at different initiatives to support an increase in our gender balance in partnership and leadership roles. The network are also focussed on identifying other initiatives to engage greater engagement from underrepresented genders for example promoting shared parental leave. 

Religion, belief and ethnicity

The religion, belief and ethnicity (RBE) network play a key role in supporting our ‘Race Action’ initiative which is specifically focussed on improving our ethnic diversity within the firm and in encouraging a greater representation within the profession. They also focus on raising awareness and help to identify ways in which the firm can better support colleagues from different religious, racial and ethnic communities.  


We do not see disability as barrier to an individual’s success. As a signatory to the Valuable 500 we are committed to ensuring disability inclusion remains on the agenda and actions/initiatives are undertaken to provide better support, inclusion and awareness for colleagues, candidates and clients who are living with a disability.  

Mental health and wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing is a major focus for our firm, particularly as the difficulty of recent years has shed light on the strains suffered by many. We have over 60 trained mental health champions and first aiders in place and continue to promote training and initiatives to raise awareness, encourage conversation and to ensure everyone knows where and how to access the appropriate support. As a signatory to the Mindful Business Charter we are committed to remove unnecessary workplaces stresses and promoting best working practices.

Social mobility

Our flagship social mobility initiative, the career start talent pipeline programme, provides five years’ contact and support to year 12 students who receive both mentoring and work experience in their first year on the programme, followed by relevant workshops throughout their academic and career journeys. During the five-year period the firm hosts various skills sessions, employability events, networking and other informative events at key milestones in the student’s academic and career journey. In addition, we also partner with the Social Mobility Business Partnership (SMBP) to deliver a weeklong skills and insights programme, where our students get the opportunity to experience a day at four different high profile organisations with the fifth day provided by a professional sports club delivering the SMBP resilience day.

We provide sponsorship for PGDL and SQE LLM courses with our chosen provider, The University of Law, alongside covering the cost of the SQE exams with Kaplan.

During your period of study, we will also provide you with a maintenance grant of £8,000 if you are studying in London and £6,500 if you are studying outside of London.

  • Banking & finance
  • Commercial
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Construction engineering & projects
  • Corporate
  • Corporate restructuring & insolvency
  • Corporate tax
  • Employment
  • Family
  • Financial services
  • Immigration
  • IP litigation
  • Private property
  • Private wealth disputes
  • Real estate
  • Real estate disputes
  • Tax trusts & succession
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • General Commercial
  • General Practice

Practice Areas

Extra info

5 Fleet Place, London, EC4M 7RD
Phone: 020 7203 5353
Email: [email protected]
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 55
Minimum qualification: 2:1 (although we take mitigating circumstances into account)
Start salary: £47,000 London, £37,000 Guildford, £37,000 Cheltenham
Fees paid for:
  • SQE
Turnover: £73,400,000 (2013)
Profit per partner: £350,000 (2013)
Training programme applications: 1,600 (2023)
Retention rate: 96% (2021)
Partner diversity:
  • 74.0% male (2023)
  • 26.0% female
Lawyer diversity:
  • 50.0% male (2023)
  • 50.0% female
Has client secondments: Yes
Client secondments:
  • Banks
  • Consultancies
Has overseas secondments: Yes
Overseas secondments:
  • Dubai
  • Geneva
  • Hong Kong
  • Paris
  • Zurich
  • London
  • Guildford
  • Cheltenham
  • Doha
  • Dubai
  • Geneva
  • Hong Kong
  • Luxembourg
  • Manama
  • Paris
  • Zurich
  • SIngapore
  • Bethnal Green Legal Advice Centre
  • Blackfriars Settlement
  • European Lawyers in Lesvos
  • London Legal Support Trust (LLST)
  • The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
  • The Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau
  • Windrush Justice Clinic
  • Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
  • #10000BlackInterns
  • Aspiring Solicitors
  • Charles Russell Speechlys LLP Career Start Talent Pipeline Programme
  • City Parents
  • Generation Success
  • Halo Code
  • Inspire!
  • InterLaw Diversity Forum
  • Law Society Diversity and Inclusion Charter
  • Legal Apprenticeships
  • Mindful Business Charter
  • Social Mobility Business Partnership
  • Social Mobility Foundation
  • Stonewall
  • The Valuable 500