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Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

  • 24 vacancies
  • 45 trainees
  • 170 partners
  • 1070 staff

About Charles Russell Speechlys LLP

An international firm offering training contracts in London, Cheltenham and Guildford, with variety and responsibility across the full spectrum of business and personal client needs.

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Applications for our London, Cheltenham and Guildford 2024 training contracts open on 1 October 2021 and close on 31 January 2022.

You’ll submit an application form through our Apply4Law portal.  We require candidates to achieve a minimum of a 2.1 in their degree and to be able to demonstrate other key attributes outside of academia, such as teamwork, communication skills and drive.

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.

The final stage before a vacation scheme or assessment centre is a written task. Following this, you’ll either receive an offer for a vacation scheme or be invited to an assessment centre if you have applied directly for a training contract.

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 reasonable adjustments for those who require it. In these instances you should contact us in advance so that we can make the necessary arrangements.


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, personal relationships with our clients.

After all, we are here to guide them through their most pressing challenges and most rewarding opportunities. We do this by getting to the heart of our clients’ needs to bring them best-fit solutions – based on our years of experience, collective legal expertise and international outlook.

We have a broad range of skills and experience across the full spectrum of business and personal needs. 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.  

Our firm is headquartered in London with offices across the UK, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. 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 together a team 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 vacation scheme will help you to feel fully informed and experience our culture for yourself.

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

You’ll spend two weeks in either our London or Cheltenham office, or one week in our Guildford office depending on which vacation 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 vacation scheme.

We offer training contracts in our London, Cheltenham and Guildford offices. 

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.

For our 2024 cohort, our training contract will support those who are already studying under the current LPC route and those who will take the new SQE route. 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

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 ‘Recognised Period of 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:

- Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDip) which replaces the GDL – for non-law students who haven’t already started / sat the GDL.

- Solicitor’s 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).

- Two years of ‘Qualifying Work Experience’ with the firm.

Non law students – Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDip)

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 Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDip). 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 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, evening and online options.

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

Solicitors Qualifying Exam (SQE) courses and exams

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

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 keep in regular contact with you before you start.  We 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. Your legal training will also be supplemented by our CRS Business School which has specific programmes designed for trainees to develop professional and commercial skills.

Throughout the training contract there are regular catch ups and reviews between the trainees and supervisors to support your development and ensure you are continuing to receive a broad range of quality work. This, together with our in-house training programme, the Charles Russell Speechlys Business School, ensures that you’ll develop the required legal and business skills to become a successful lawyer.

From our 2024 intake, you’ll 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 Post Graduate Diploma in Law (PGDip). 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 Exam courses

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

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).

‘Qualifying Work Experience’

Once you’ve passed 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 a 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 and it is a key part of the Firm’s business strategy. We have partner led action groups in place, with a specific focus on improving our female talent in partnership and senior leadership roles and to improve our ethnic diversity across the firm. Our dedicated Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) team, together with D&I Partners and their respective focus groups, 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.  

The firm’s focus groups 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 Committee 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 25 of the legal sector in the last Stonewall Equality Index.

Gender

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

Religion, Belief, Race and Ethnicity

The Religion, Belief, Race and Ethnicity (RBRE) Committee 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.

CAPability

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 months 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 join the programme through our work experience or mentoring schemes. 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.Our commitment and initiatives relating to social mobility saw us rank 72 in the Social Mobility Index 2020.

We provide sponsorship for PGDip, SQE prep courses and SQE exam fees with our chosen provider, the University of Law.

During your period of study we will also provide you with a maintenance grant of £6,000 if you are based in London and £4,500 if you are based outside of London.

  • Banking & finance
  • Commercial
  • Commercial dispute resolution
  • Construction
  • Engineering & projects
  • Corporate
  • Corporate tax
  • Corporate restructuring & insolvency
  • Employment & pensions
  • Immigration
  • Family
  • Financial services
  • IP litigation
  • Private property
  • Private wealth disputes
  • Real estate disputes
  • Real estate 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]
Web: www.charlesrussellspeechlys.com
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 40
Minimum qualification: 2.1
Start salary: £40,000 London, £35,000 Guildford, £32,000 Cheltenham
Sponsorship: CPE/GDL/LPC
Turnover: £73,400,000 (2013)
Profit per partner: £350,000 (2013)
Training contract applications: 1,000 (2021)
Retention rate: 96% (2021)
Partner diversity:
  • 74.0% male (2021)
  • 26.0% female
Lawyer diversity:
  • 50.0% male (2021)
  • 50.0% female
Has client secondments: Yes
Client secondments:
  • Banks
  • Sporting bodies
Has overseas secondments: Yes
Overseas secondments:
  • Geneva
  • Hong Kong
  • Zurich
  • London
  • Guildford
  • Cheltenham
  • Doha
  • Dubai
  • Geneva
  • Hong Kong
  • Luxembourg
  • Manama
  • Paris
  • Zurich
  • Bethnal Green Legal Advice Centre
  • Blackfriars Settlement
  • European Lawyers in Lesvos
  • LawWorks
  • London Legal Support Trust (LLST)
  • The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants
  • The Royal Courts of Justice Advice Bureau
  • Zacchaeus 2000 Trust
  • #10000BlackInterns
  • Aspiring Solicitors
  • Black Solicitors Network
  • Charles Russell Speechlys LLP Career Start Talent Pipeline Programme
  • City Parents
  • Inspire!
  • InterLaw Diversity Forum
  • Law Society Diversity Access Scheme
  • Legal and Social Mobility Partnership
  • Legal Apprenticeships
  • Pathways to Law
  • PRIME
  • Social Mobility Business Partnership
  • Social Mobility Foundation
  • Stonewall
  • Working Families