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Covington & Burling LLP

  • 9 vacancies
  • 17 trainees
  • 30 partners
  • 219 staff

About Covington & Burling LLP

Covington was founded a century ago. We advise clients on their most challenging matters, drawing on the diverse experience of lawyers across the firm globally.

Remember to cite LawCareers.Net on your application form if you apply to Covington & Burling LLP.

More info

Our two-week vacation schemes are a great way for students to get a ‘taster’ of the firm and decide if a career at Covington is for them. Our vacation schemes provide an opportunity to become integrated into the firm and gain an insight into the work of a Covington lawyer.

Your journey to becoming a trainee at Covington begins with our vacation scheme assessment centre where students undertake an interview and group exercise. Towards the end of the vacation scheme, all students are assessed for a training contract. We aim to recruit trainees predominantly from our vacation schemes. The candidates we choose are sharp, articulate, and quick thinking. They have confidence and composure, but also honesty and humour.


Applications to

Graduate Recruitment Team

Method of application

Online Application Form

Method of assessment

  • Assessment centre
  • Panel interview
  • Partner interview
  • Presentation
  • Written exercise

Our distinctively collaborative culture allows us to be truly one team globally, drawing on the diverse experience of lawyers and advisors across the firm by seamlessly sharing insight and expertise.

What sets us apart is our ability to combine the tremendous strength in our litigation, investigations, and corporate practices with deep knowledge of policy and policymakers, and one of the world’s leading regulatory practices.

This enables us to create novel solutions to our clients’ toughest problems, successfully try their toughest cases and deliver commercially practical advice of the highest quality.

The firm has over 1,000 lawyers globally, in offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai and Washington DC.

We offer trainees the opportunity to work on cutting-edge matters. Our clients include Microsoft, AstraZeneca, and Facebook, Fortune 100 businesses and leading technology, life sciences, and media companies. We have represented Facebook, Inc in its US$22 billion acquisition of WhatsApp and its US$1 billion acquisition of Instagram. We also advised Illumina on a four-year project that will map genomes for breakthroughs into cancer and rare diseases. 


Areas of work

Corporate advisory (capital markets, M&A, finance, private equity, venture capital and funds), commercial litigation, data privacy, competition, employment, financial services, insurance coverage disputes, intellectual property, internal investigations and compliance, international arbitration, life sciences, project development and finance, tax, technology regulatory. In addition, all our lawyers, are encouraged to undertake pro bono work.

We are offering up to 10 vacation placements on our one-week remote winter vacation scheme this year and up to 20 placements on our two-week summer vacation scheme. Students will gain an insight into the practice areas of the firm and also get involved in a research project, participate in group activities and attend a series of presentations. We will also organise a number of social events so that students can have some fun and get to know us.

Trainee profile

We are looking for strong academic performers, (on target to achieve a 2.1 or above), commercial awareness, strong interpersonal skills and the ability to be a team player. The candidates we choose are sharp, articulate, and quick thinking. They have confidence and composure, but also honesty and humour.


Training environment

The training contract in London comprises of four six-month seats, all trainees will undertake a seat within our corporate & dispute resolution practices. We currently offer optional seats in the following areas: employment, life sciences regulatory, technology regulatory, life sciences transactional, project development & finance, competition, business & human rights. We offer secondments to our Brussels office sitting within our competition & anti-trust practice and a secondment to our Dubai office which offers exposure to corporate, project development & finance & white collar crime work. Client secondments may also be available. We aim to distinguish our trainee programme by offering a genuine support network which includes assigning associate mentors & trainee buddies and conducting regular performance reviews. We have an excellent record of retaining trainee solicitors on qualification and we aim to recruit trainees who are interested in making a long term commitment to the firm.

Covington will be moving to the SQE model from our 2024 intake. 

Covington is committed to further quickening the pace of progress, and in December 2019 adopted our first written diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategic action plan. The action plan has three primary goals: to (1) incorporate D&I into firm leadership and practice group priorities; (2) strengthen and expand client relationships through D&I initiatives; and (3) develop, promote, and retain diverse attorneys at all levels.

Covington’s intentional approach to D&I has contributed to a diverse population of lawyers at all levels. This diversity is also reflected among the leaders of our firm. Women, people of color and LGBT+ lawyers play senior leadership roles in our practice and industry groups within the firm and senior roles on firm committees, including our associate advisory, business, diversity, evaluation, hiring, and legal personnel committees.

Over the last year, we have broadened and enhanced our existing training programs to focus on identifying and addressing implicit bias, leading inclusively, and supporting the contributions of our diverse colleagues.

Our D&I affinity groups (such as women’s, LGBTQ+, ethnic minority and veteran-focused groups) reflect and support the diverse population of our lawyers and professional staff. Our affinity group programming includes speaker series, focus groups and one-on-one conversations which create safe spaces to address difficult topics and promote our inclusive culture.

Covington is a member of Out Leadership, a global LGBT+ business network. Lawyers from several of our offices have benefited from the organization’s leadership development programs. Lawyers from our London office participate in “Out of America” events that bring together several London-based LGBT+ affinity groups from firms headquartered in the US.

Our London office has also partnered on graduate recruitment and mentoring activities with Bright Network, an organization started in 2013 to create a network of the brightest students and connect them with the best career opportunities. The organization supports a diverse membership: 75% of their membership is state-educated, 58% female, 40% BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic), and 43% are the first generation to go to university. In conjunction with Warwick University, we hold regular skills sessions for diverse graduate applicants which include talks about the Firm and our practice areas as well as practical sessions such as mock interviews, networking skills and CV workshops. We are also members of the Black Solicitors Network.

In Brussels, Covington became one of the founding members of the Legal Diversity & Inclusion Alliance (LDIA ), a collective effort by several law firms in Belgium that supports creating a diverse and inclusive work environment by exchanging good practices on diversity and inclusion and raising awareness of non-discrimination and diversity issues. This is the first effort of this kind in Brussels and we are pleased to be among the initial signatories.

Looking forward, we remain wholly committed to diversity and inclusion as core elements of the firm. The job is never complete -- it is always a continuum -- but we aim to make progress against the overarching objectives of building a diverse population within the firm and a culture that is inclusive of the many backgrounds that are represented among our lawyers and staff. 

For more information on D&I at Covington, please go here.

Covington will pay tuition and examination fees and a maintenance grant will be paid at the current rate of up to £8,000 per annum.

  • Corporate
  • Dispute resolution (commercial litigation & white collar crime & investigations & international arbitration)
  • Employment
  • Life sciences regulatory
  • Life sciences transactional
  • Technology regulatory
  • Project development & finance
  • Competition
  • Business & human rights
  • Client secondment
  • Secondments to Dubai & Brussels offices
  • General Practice
  • Corporate & Commercial
  • General Commercial
  • Niche

Practice Areas

Extra info

265 Strand, London, WC2R 1BH
Phone: 020 7067 2000
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.cov.com/en/careers/lawyers/london-graduate-recruitment-programme
Work placement: Yes
Number of work placements: 30
Minimum qualification: 2.1 degree & ABB at A level (or equivalent)
Start salary: £48,000
Sponsorship: GDL/LPC
Turnover: £390,166,028 (2012)
Training contract applications: 486 (2014)
Retention rate: 85% (2021)
Partner diversity:
  • 52.0% male (2021)
  • 48.0% female
Lawyer diversity:
  • 42.0% male (2021)
  • 58.0% female
Has client secondments: Yes
Client secondments:
  • Media and TV organisations
  • Pharmaceutical companies
Has overseas secondments: Yes
Overseas secondments:
  • Brussels
  • Dubai
  • London
  • Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
  • LawWorks
  • TrustLaw Connect
  • Black Solicitors Network
  • Bright Network
  • InterLaw Diversity Forum
  • Warwick University Multicultural Scholars Programme