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In April 2022, we will be advertising around 60 legal trainee positions (training contracts and pupillages) on the Government Legal Profession's website. The deadline date for applications will be 10 May 2022 (at 12 noon).
Eligibility criteria: You will have (or be predicted to obtain) a minimum of a 2.2 in an undergraduate degree (or have satisfied the academic requirements of the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority or Bar Standards Board by other means). Your undergraduate degree does not have to be in law. You will also need to meet the Civil Service Nationality requirements.
Factors such as the school you attended, the A levels you obtained, your university and degree subject do not form part of the selection process. Online ability tests and a half-day assessment centre have been used in previous years to assess the essential skills, behaviours, strengths and motivation required for the role.
The half-day assessment centre will be held (online) during July. The assessment centre will involve a written exercise and interview.
We are a Disability Confident Employer. Reasonable adjustments are available at any stage of the recruitment process for candidates with a disability as defined by the Equality Act 2010.
How to applywww.gov.uk
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Government Legal Recruitment Team
Method of applicationOnline application form
Method of assessment
- Assessment centre
- Panel interview
- Psychometric testing
- Video interview
- Written exercise
Government lawyers provide a range of legal services to a vast number of government organisations, including central Whitehall departments.
They undertake high quality legal work and have the opportunity to move around and work in different areas of law and practice, and work within different departments, throughout their careers. For those who choose to specialise in a particular area of law or practice, there are opportunities to do so. Other benefits include a good work life balance; flexible-working opportunities, such as homeworking, part-time working or job sharing; and access to high quality training and development programmes.
Types of work
Whether the government is creating new laws, buying goods and services, investigating mergers which could restrict competition, setting the annual budget and collecting the right amount of tax, employing people, fighting organised crime or defending its decisions in court, it needs significant levels of legal advice on a whole range of complex issues. To carry out this work, the government needs its own lawyers, who understand its business, to provide legal services to a wide client base – including a range of central government departments and other government bodies.
Providing legal advice to the government is an important element of the work. Government lawyers work alongside ministers and officials as they seek to turn government objectives into policy and law and enforce regulation. Their work is determined by the business in which their departmental clients are engaged.
The legal work is interesting, intellectually challenging, varied and often unique. The opportunity to be involved in creating and implementing new legislation is simply not available elsewhere. Our litigation lawyers represent the government in the highest courts – with more cases at the Supreme Court each year than any other organisation! The outcome of cases can have wide implications for government policy and even raise questions of constitutional importance.
The legal trainee scheme
A number of government departments recruit legal trainees, each year, via the Government Legal Profession’s legal trainee scheme. Recruitment is usually two years in advance. However, a number of places are also likely to be available for those looking to start their training sooner.
The departments which typically offer legal trainee places through the LTS are the:
Our legal teams are based around the country, with regional offices, for example, in Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, and Manchester.
The majority of the trainee positions are based in London. However, GLD does additionally offer a small number of legal trainee positions in Leeds. There may also be a possibility to undertake a six-month training ‘seat’ in Manchester with HMRC.
GLD's Commercial Law Trainee Scheme offers the opportunity to complete all your training in commercial law. The opportunities are within the Government Legal Department’s Commercial Law Group and the Department for Transport (i.e. the Department for Transport Legal Advisers commercial teams).
If you reach the final stage of the recruitment process, you will be given an opportunity to express a preference for joining one of these departments. If you are successful, your legal training will be the responsibility of that department.
Departments hope to offer those recruited as legal trainees a permanent qualified lawyer position on successful completion of the training period, although this can never be guaranteed.
Who should apply
Government departments are looking to recruit talented people from diverse backgrounds who can demonstrate excellent analytical ability, teamworking and communication skills. Since government lawyers have the opportunity to work in different areas of law and practice throughout their careers, rather than specialise in a particular area, they are also looking for people who can apply their legal skills flexibly and for evidence of innovative thinking. And because the work is often high profile and can have a significant and positive impact upon the lives of millions across the country, the lawyers they recruit will be motivated about public service.
The diversity scheme provides a one-week placement to undergraduates or graduates from diverse backgrounds which are currently under-represented across the legal profession.
The diversity summer scheme has previously worked in partnership with the following organisations.
Bridging the Bar
Black Lawyers Circle
Law Society Diversity Access Scheme
Social Mobility Foundation
The available places on the scheme are all allocated to the above organisations.
Outside of this scheme, we do not offer any vacation placements or work experience opportunities.
It’s important to understand that the diversity summer scheme is not used to assess suitability for a training contract or pupillage (the annual legal trainee scheme is an entirely separate scheme).
The training period (whether you are looking to qualify as a solicitor or barrister) will be for two years. Departments do not take into account previous training completed elsewhere.
Whilst the broad structure of the training may be similar to what you will find elsewhere, the nature of the work is likely to be very different. You will be given early responsibility and will undertake real work for real clients from an early stage.
You will experience a range of interesting and challenging legal work – and may have the opportunity to participate in the legislative process itself.
Training contract structure
The nature of your training will vary according to the department you have been recruited to.
Generally speaking, you can expect to undertake a mix of non-contentious (advisory) and contentious (litigation) work.
If you have a particular interest in commercial law and would like to complete your training contract and embark on a career within this area, i.e. work across the teams providing commercial legal services to a range of client departments, you may wish to consider applying for GLD's commercial training contracts.
The structure of the training period may vary between departments (ie GLD and HMRC).
During the pupillage period (first 12 months) your time will be split between your department and a set of external barristers’ chambers.
You’ll be involved in the wide range of work in which your department and chambers are involved in. You can expect to attend client meetings, attend court with your supervisor, carry out research for other lawyers and draft opinions.
Government departments use the services of external counsel for much of their court work. This means that legal trainees get the opportunity to work with and learn from experienced panel counsel who are leading experts in their respective fields. Barristers working within government departments may have the opportunity to conduct cases in tribunals and courts but this cannot be guaranteed and the extent of that opportunity will vary between departments and teams. Candidates wishing to focus principally on an advocacy career should bear this in mind.
Departments will cover the cost of your Legal Practice Course (LPC) or Bar Training Course (BTC) in full, where you have not started the course, or have only just started the course, at the time of accepting an offer.
There is no preference which Law or Bar School you attend, or, to the electives you undertake as part of the course.
You may also be eligible for a grant of about £5,400 (national) to £7,600 (London) for the vocational year if you intend to study for your LPC or Bar Course on either a full-time, or part-time, basis. You’ll need to discuss your eligibility for a grant with the department at the offer stage.
Unfortunately, departments will be unable to provide funding for the Graduate Diploma in Law.
Note: Please be aware that salaries and terms and conditions will vary according to department and location and are subject review and change.
- General Commercial
- Corporate & Commercial
- General Practice
Administrative & public law
Public law comprises several interlinking practice areas that concern relationships between people, government and other public bodies.
Agriculture & rural issues
It is unsurprising that some of the country's strongest agricultural law practices are to be found in rural regions.
Aviation lawyers provide commercial, regulatory and insurance advice and litigation services to the world's airlines, manufacturers and financiers.
Charities lawyers advising the not-for-profit and social enterprise sector cover a vast area of legal ground, from wills and trusts to commercial and real estate law.
Civil liberties & human rights
Sponsored by Hodge Jones & Allen. Human rights law broadly refers to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Human Rights Act 1998.
Clinical or medical negligence lawyers advise on instances of injury or death arising from incorrect or inadequate medical treatment or diagnosis.
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.
Company & commercial
Sponsored by Gowling WLG (UK) LLP. Commercial lawyers focus on trade, from commercial agreements about supply, manufacture and distribution to identifying the best routes to market.
Competition & EU law
Competition and regulatory work includes merger control, regulatory and court proceedings, issues arising from sector-specific regulation and utility procurement issues.
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.
Criminal solicitors advise and appear in court on behalf of both accused persons and the prosecution.
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.
Sponsored by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Family lawyers deal with diverse issues including marriage, civil partnerships, cohabitation, separation, divorce, financial claims and pre and post-nuptial agreements.
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.
Immigration lawyers deal with all legal matters relating to immigration and nationality.
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.
Media & entertainment
Among the different types of client in this area are performers, managers and agents, artists, theatres, broadcasters and publishers.
Sponsored by Russell-Cooke. Personal injury law falls under the law of tort and involves civil claims brought to obtain compensation for injuries.
Sponsored by Charles Russell Speechlys LLP. Private client solicitors looks after the affairs of individual clients and trustees, managing all aspects of their personal wealth.
<p>Professional negligence occurs when a professional fails to carry out their responsibilities to the required standard, or they breach a duty of care.</p>
Shipping & trade
Sponsored by HFW. Contentious shipping law involves contractual issues such as bill of lading and charterparty disputes while non-contentious work includes ship finance and commercial agreements.
|Training contract applications:||3,100 (2021)|
|Retention rate:||95% (2021)|
- Aspiring Solicitors
- Black Lawyers’ Directory
- Law Society Diversity Access Scheme
- Social Mobility Foundation